Tailormade tour Dordogne, Cognac and Atlantic Coast fly-drive holiday France

8 nights/9 days

Dordogne • Cognac • Ile de Ré

This 8-night fly-drive holiday encompasses town, coast and countryside. Start in the Périgord countryside of the Dordogne before driving north to the town of Cognac surrounded by its famous vineyards. End the holiday with time on the Atlantic Coast on the charming Ile de Ré.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from £2,190 per person.

Luxury fly-drive touring holiday to the Dordogne, Cognac and the French Atlantic Coast and Ile de Re

Highlights

Dordogne • Visit Sarlat • Visit La Roche-Gageac• Visit Les Eyzies and Lescaux• Cognac • Visit Cognac houses such as Martell and Monnet •Ile de Ré • Atlantic Coast • Visit Baleines lighthouse • Beaches

Day by day

Your fly-drive touring holiday starts with a flight to Bordeaux where you collect your hire-car which you will keep until you return to Bordeaux for the flight home. The drive eastwards follows the course of the River Dordogne until you reach Trémolat, an authentic Périgord village in a bend in the river Dordogne, where you stay for three nights.

You have two full days at leisure to explore the Dordogne region. The Dordogne has a great number of very picturesque small towns, most of which have markets on various days of the week. Sarlat is probably the best known but Domme, La Roque-Gageac, Les Eyzies and Beynac are worth seeking out. Some of the towns also have night-time markets where you can eat, drink and listen to music. Experience the rich culture and history of the region, from the prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux and Les Eyzies to the mediaeval fortresses that perch on rocky crags above the meandering valley of the Dordogne, to beautifully fashioned gardens, at Eyrignac and Marqueyssac for example. Bergerac is situated 40 minutes to the west of Trémolat, on the river Dordogne. The town is renowned for its wine and it is possible to go on vineyard tours. Nearby, visit Chateau de Monbazillac, where you can visit the chateau with its small wine museum and stop off for tastings.  Another chateau to visit is the Chateau de la Jubertie at Colombier near Monbazillac. Visit Perigueux, the capital of the Dordogne region, and 50 minutes to the north of Trémolat. The town is famed for its gastronomic specialities. It is home to the Cathedral of St Front which dates from the 12th century and is Romanesque with Byzantine influences. On the River Dordogne at Trémolat there is a water sports base where you can practise water-skiing, stand-up paddle, diving, fishing and canoeing, in a lush setting on the huge bend in the river here. Horse-riding and cycling are also available nearby.

Your drive today will take about 2 hours 35 minutes through the French countryside leaving behind the wooded valleys of the Dordogne to the open fields and rolling vineyards of the Cognac region. Your next hotel, Hotel Chais Monnet, has been artfully created from the historic Monnet cognac cellars that date from 1838 and blended with the ultra-modern. Spend two nights here.

You have one full day in Cognac and can explore the town on foot. Visit one of the many cognac houses such as Martell, Hennessy, Camus and Monnet. Visits and tastings are possible. In the town itself, you will find elegant grey-blond stone houses as well as a Museum of Art and History which houses collections of paintings, sculptures and archaeology. Other interesting things to visit include Chateau de Cognac which dates from the 12th century and the Romanesque church of Saint Leger. Take a leisurely stroll through the town park, laid out along the lines of an English garden, a short walk from the River Charente. About 30 minutes outside of Cognac lies the city of Pons with medieval streets and dungeons.

After a leisurely breakfast, check-out of your hotel and drive through the towns of Saintes and Rochefort to follow the Atlantic Coast northwards to the charming port and seaside resort of La Rochelle. Whilst the driving time, door to door, is only about one hour and forty minutes, make the most of the day and stop off to visit both the inland and the coastal towns along the way. Your last stop on this touring holiday is St-Martin-de-Ré on the Ile de Ré. You spend three nights here.

You have two full days at leisure to explore the Ile de Ré. There are many interesting places to visit within a short distance of the hotel, by car, on foot and by bike, as well as places of interest further afield. Your hotel is situated on the edge of the port in Saint-Martin-de-Ré, a UNESCO world heritage site and a pretty, fortified town and Vauban citadel. This charming town is a maze of narrow, cobbled streets with a pleasant harbour lined with shops and restaurants. It is worth hiring a bike or taking a leisurely stroll to explore other harbour villages and golden beaches such as Plage de la Cible and Le Bois Plage. Visit the Ernest Cognacq Museum to discover the history of the island: art collections, archaeological findings and historical documents describe island life over the years.  Another interesting sight is the Phare des Baleines lighthouse, about 30 minutes from your hotel by car. The vantage point of the lighthouse enjoys panoramic views of the island of Ré at a height of 60 metres. There are 257 steps to climb which lead to the top. There are two museums in the north of the island which are worth visiting to discover the region’s fauna and flora. There is the eco-museum of the salt marsh and the Maison du Fier set in a former salt warehouse. La Rochelle is around a 30-minute drive away and offers an attractive old town and historic port and harbour with numerous interesting public buildings to see, such as the Town Hall and 15th Century houses.  Perhaps have dinner one evening here at one of the many fish and seafood restaurants. Visit La Rochelle towers, three towers which are remains of mediaeval maritime fortifications. There are also museums here including the Bunker, home of U-Boat officers during World War II and the New World Museum, which explores colonial history. During your 3 night stay here on the Ile de Ré, there is ample choice between rest, relaxation, visits to beaches, sailing and water sports, cycling and walking, visiting museums, local arts and crafts and markets and exploring a little further afield.

Today, depending on the time of your flight, you check-out after breakfast and make your way to Bordeaux. Drop off your car at the airport before taking your flight back to the UK.

Holiday price guide Prices from £2,190 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code FRFD14

Luxury fly-drive touring holiday to the Dordogne, Cognac and the French Atlantic Coast and Ile de Re

Holiday price guide Prices from £2,190 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code FRFD14

Our prices include ● Scheduled return flights with British Airways from London to Bordeaux
● Hire of a Group C car for the duration of the holiday
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a standard room at Le Vieux Logis, Trémolat
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a deluxe room at Hotel Chais Monnet, Cognac
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a deluxe room at Hotel de Toiras, Saint-Martin-de-Ré
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as additional transfers, entrance fees and meals except daily breakfast
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Euros 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel

Additional information This holiday can be arranged throughout the year. Additional nights can be added at any point on this itinerary. Timings can vary depending on the month and day of the week.
Travel times for this holiday
Bordeaux Airport to Trémolat: 2 hours 5 minutes by car
Trémolat to Cognac: 2 hours 35 minutes by car
Cognac to Saint-Martin-de-Ré: 1 hour 40 minutes
Saint-Martin-de-Ré to Bordeaux Airport: 2 hours 25 minutes
arranged throughout the year. Additional nights can be added at any point on this itinerary. Timings can vary depending on the month and day of the week.

Luxury fly-drive touring holiday to the Dordogne, Cognac and the French Atlantic Coast and Ile de Re

Highlights of Bordeaux

Visit vineyards and chateaux, for tasting and buying. Visit the oyster beds. Experience the Cognac distilleries, and the Romanesque architecture. Bordeaux is the historical centre for wine however you may also visit the villages of the wine region such as St Emilion.

Climate in the Bordeaux Region

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: Jan: 10.0, Feb: 9.4, Mar: 12.2, Apr: 19.5, May: 18.0, Jun: 23.7, Jul: 27.2, Aug: 25.7, Sep: 24.2, Oct: 19.7, Nov: 15.4, Dec: 11.0. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France

Luxury fly-drive touring holiday to the Dordogne, Cognac and the French Atlantic Coast and Ile de Re

Highlights of Dordogne

Cultural highlights include ceramics, wine festivals, foie gras and truffles, wild mushrooms, castles, valleys, water-sports, and local walks.

Climate of Dordogne

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: Jan: 10.0, Feb: 9.4, Mar: 12.2, Apr: 19.5, May: 18.0, Jun: 23.7, Jul: 27.2, Aug: 25.7, Sep: 24.2, Oct: 19.7, Nov: 15.4, Dec: 11.0. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France.

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