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  • Rail holiday to the castles of the Dordogne

    Le Vieux Logis

    Le Saint James

    Chateau des Vigiers

    Gardens at Le Vieux Logis

    Le Saint James

    Chateau des Vigiers

    Le Vieux Logis

    Le Saint James

    Chateau des Vigiers

    Tour of the castles of the Dordogne by rail

    In this holiday you explore the Dordogne region of France travelling out and back by train. The Dordogne is an excellent holiday region and travelling by rail eliminates what can often be a long drive or inconvenient flights to reach the area.
    The region features clear flowing rivers, craggy hillsides, hill-top villages and castles. The Dordogne is ideal for walking, cycling and canoeing. The gastronomy is excellent – with truffles, foie gras and walnuts produced locally. The train journey to the Dordogne is via Paris, and it is possible to reach Bordeaux in one day by making use of the high speed TGV connections. On the return we suggested travelling back to Paris from Brive-la-Gaillarde, allowing you to enjoy the scenery a different route home.
    Click here to download a pdf with full details of some of our rail holidays to France.

    DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
    Day one

    Depart London St Pancras on a morning Eurostar service, and after changing stations in Paris continue through the beautiful French countryside to Bordeaux. You arrive here around 5.30pm and collect your hire car, before heading to your hotel in Boulliac – just 15 minutes away on the other side of the River Garonne.
    Day two
    You have today at leisure to explore Bordeaux and its surroundings. Bordeaux is famed for its gothic cathedral, Saint André, but the city has more to offer. We suggest that you visit the Porte Cailhau, a 35m turreted gate that was built in 1495 to commemorate French victory at the battle of Fornovo in Italy. From here you also have a wonderful view of the Pont de Pierre, Bordeaux’s oldest bridge.
    Day three
    You drive around one hour and a quarter from Le Saint Jame to the Chateau de Vigiers near Monestier. On the way, we suggest that you stop off to visit the Chateau de Vayres on the banks of the Dordogne. This medieval castle once belonged to the kings of Navarre before being inherited by Henri IV. It has been classified as a historical landmark of France and its original gardens, which were recreated in 1938, are listed among the Notable Gardens of France.
    Days four and five
    We suggest two days at leisure to see the sites around Monestier. The Chateau de Montaigne – 40 minutes away – was a 14th century building in which Michel de Montaingne was born and died. The original chateau burnt down in 1885, but the library tower was spared from the fire. Visitors to the chateau can see Montaigne’s rooms which have not been altered since he lived and worked there, as well as his bedroom, the chapel and the library. Guests can also visit the Chateau de Monbazillac, a 16th century chateau from the Renaissance period whose vineyards and wines are well known beyond the borders of the Aquitaine region.
    Day six
    Drive just over one hour from Chateau des Vigiers to Le Vieux Logis at Tremolat where you spend three nights. The hotel is located on a bend in the river Dordogne and is ideally located for visits to local markets and activities such as canoeing on the river.
    Days seven and eight
    You have two days to explore the castles and local area around Trémolat. We suggest a visit to the village of Belves, a lively and attractive bastide town built up the side of a steep rocky outcrop. Belves is known for its seven bell towers that date from as far back as the 11th century, and the troglodyte dwellings offer a fascinating glimpse of medieval life. The last castle that we recommend for this tour is the Chateau de Biron near Monpazier. This extensive building dates back to the 12th century and commands stunning views of the surrounding countryside, however since the last owner sold all the furniture to pay off his debts the rooms and halls are sadly empty.
    Day nine
    From Tremolat you drive an hour and a half north east to Brive-la-Gaillarde. You return your hire car and catch the midday TGV service north to Paris, allowing you to return home along a different route. You change onto the Eurostar at Paris and finish your rail holiday in London at 9.30pm.

    PRICES
    From £1,690 per person for first class rail travel.
    From £1,550 per person for second class rail travel.
    Prices based on two sharing a double or twin room.
    What’s included?
    First or second class travel on all trains (as above) including Eurostar
    At the hotels:
    2 night’s bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Le Saint James in Boulliac
    3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Chateau des Vigiers in Monestier
    3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Le Vieux Logis in Tremolat
    Category A car hire for the duration of your stay in the Dordogne.
    What’s not included?
    Meals other than breakfast at the hotels
    Any services not mentioned above
    Dates
    This rail holiday can be arranged throughout the year. Timings can vary depending on the month and day of the week.
    For more information regarding rail services to and within France, view our train guide.

    Castles of the Dordogne by rail

    Hotels featured in this touring itinerary

    Below is some information regarding each of the hotels featured in this touring itinerary. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations - please contact us for full details.

    Le Saint James – 4 star – Boulliac, nr Bordeaux
    Le Saint-James is a charming property housed in converted farmhouse buildings on the outskirts of a sleepy village just six miles from Bordeaux. The hotel’s unusual architecture was designed by Jean Nouvel to resemble the tobacco-drying barns of the region, surrounding the 18th century farmhouse buildings. This special property only has 10 rooms and 3 suites so booking early is strongly recommended. The hotel’s restaurant offers a stunning backdrop through floor-to-ceiling windows, whilst guests enjoy fine cuisine from Michelin-starred chef Nicolas Magie. Le Saint-James is the perfect rural getaway just a stone’s throw from Bordeaux town.
    See more detail on Le Saint James.

    Chateau des Vigiers – 4 star – Monestier
    The Chateau des Vigiers is a refined grand property set in vineyards. It was built in the 16th century by Jean Vigier, royal judge, although parts of the building are estimated to be from as early as the 12th century. The Chateau has 85 rooms which are located in the main chateau, the Dependances buildings and the modern Relais annex. Les Fresques, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, is open in the evenings and serves excellent regional cuisine accompanied by an extensive wine list. There is also a more relaxed and informal restaurant, Le Chai, which is open for both lunch and dinner. The hotel is a beautiful place to relax and unwind, with a great range of sporting activities and historical sites on your doorstep.
    See more detail on Chateau des Vigiers.

    Le Vieux Logis – 4 star - Tremolat
    Le Vieux Logis is a 400 year old manor house in a quaint, traditional village. The hotel is a member of Relais and Chateaux and is full of charm and character. There are 23 rooms, suites and apartments all of which are furnished to exceptionally high standards with antiques and rich coloured fabrics that complement the stone and timbers of the building. The hotel’s restaurant is situated in the old tobacco drying house and focuses on seasonal specialities of the local region. La Vieux Logis is a hotel of outstanding charm and character in a glorious rural location.
    See more detail on Le Vieux Logis.

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  • France

    Find out more about France

    France FAST FACTS

    Capital

    Paris
    Airport
    Main airports are in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon, with scheduled and low cost airlines flying into the country from all over the UK.
    Currency
    Euro (£1 = Euro 1.24)
    Size
    Roughly 600 miles wide and 700 miles long
    Population
    66 million
    Average temperature
    Varies dramatically, from about 8 degrees in winter in Brittany to 26 degrees in summer in Corsica, with snow on the Alps and Pyrenees year-round

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