Tailormade tour Dordogne self-drive touring holiday France

8 nights/9 days

Honfleur • Loire valley near Angers • Dordogne • Chinon

The Dordogne is the focus of this self-drive touring holiday in your own car which also has overnight stops in Normandy and the Loire Valley, staying in chateau-hotels. You witness France’s varied landscape, from the rich pastures of Calvados to the chateaux amid the former hunting grounds of the Kings of France, to the ancient land of the Dordogne, home to magnificent prehistoric art.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £1,340 per person.

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to the Dordogne

Highlights

Normandy • Visit Honfleur • Loire valley • Dordogne • Visit Bergerac • Visit Bordeaux vineyards • Visit St Emilion • Visit Les Eyzies • Visit Sarlat • Chinon

Day by day

You cross the Channel by Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais and then drive south past Boulogne and Le Touquet, crossing the River Somme at Abbeville and then you head for the coast near Le Havre. Here you take the Pont de Normandie across the mouth of the Seine, arriving very close to Honfleur. Take time to visit Honfleur, favourite haunt of artists, with its picturesque fishing harbour before reaching your hotel which is in the countryside not far away.

Today’s drive takes just under three hours, so there is time to linger in Normandy, perhaps to visit the seaside towns of Deauville or Trouville or to drive across the charming Calvados countryside south of Honfleur and stopping to admire the pretty villages and the scenery. The road takes you towards Le Mans and then it’s motorway towards Angers before you head across country following the course of the River Loir to your overnight stop.

Today’s drive can take you south to skirt the edge of the Marais Poitevin before joining the motorway heading in the direction of Bordeaux, passing the town of Saintes. North of Bordeaux you pass the edge of the Pomerol vineyards before veering south, crossing the river Dordogne west of Bergerac to reach your base in the Dordogne region for five nights.

You are situated conveniently in the lush Dordogne countryside between the towns of Bordeaux and Bergerac. There is a wealth of visits and local sightseeing from here, to the east and west. To the west you have Bordeaux, the city and its surrounding vineyards and wine towns such as St Emilion. Bordeaux itself is shaped by bold and impressive architecture, from the Amphithéâtre de Bordeaux dit Palais Gallien, to the amazing Cathédrale de Bordeaux, Basilica of St Michael, and Opéra National de Bordeaux. Spend a leisurely afternoon taking in the sights, and really appreciating the aesthetics of these buildings, before seeing a show at the Grand Théâtre or viewing the artwork in the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Visit such châteaux as the Château Rauzan Gassies, or the Château Mouton Rothschild, to taste the fruity Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. To the east of Monestier, Bergerac also offers wine-tasting opportunities in the Musée du Vin et de la Battelerie. In Bergerac, experience the lively hubbub of conviviality at the weekly (Wednesday and Saturday) market in the centre of town, whilst picking up a few local treasures, be it food, wine, or arts and crafts. To the north-east, the village of Sarlat-la-Canéda offers a tour of the palaeolithic art of the Dordogne that takes you through the National Prehistory Museum and into the Lascaux Cave II. For a trip back into Dordogne history, visit the many nearby hidden gems, such as the small mediaeval village of Issigeac, the Château de Lanquais (recognised to be one of the greatest historical monuments in the area), the Château de Monbazillac with its unusual combination of mediaeval and Renaissance architecture, the model bastide of Monpazier, or the crystalline Maxange caves.

Retrace your route today northwards from the Dordogne to the Loire Valley and your overnight stop south of Chinon. It is worth making an early start to give yourself time to explore Chinon, with its fortress set above the banks of the River Vienne. The main street is full of little shops selling local artefacts and wine, of course. Take a tour of modern wine-making processes at the Domaine de Noire or investigate more traditional processes in the atmospheric La Cave Monplaisir.

The drive today is just under six hours and the most direct route to Calais takes you northwards to Le Mans and then Rouen on the River Seine. From Rouen it’s motorway to Abbeville and then you retrace your outbound route, passing le Le Touquet and Boulogne to reach Calais and your return Eurotunnel crossing to Folkestone.

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,340 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code FRSD13

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to the Dordogne

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,340 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code FRSD13

Our prices include ● Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais return for car and passengers
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Country double room at the Auberge de la Source, near Honfleur
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Manor-house room at the Château de Noirieux, Angers
● 5 nights' bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at the Château des Vigiers, Monestier
● 1 night's bed and breakfast in a Standard room at Château de Marçay, near Chinon
● 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 transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● 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 Driving times for this self-drive touring holiday
Calais to Honfleur 3 hours
Honfleur to Angers 2 hours 45 minutes
Angers to Monestier 4 hours 40 minutes
Monestier to Chinon 4 hours
Chinon to Calais 5 hours 10 minutes

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,340 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code FRSD13

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to the Dordogne

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.

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to the Dordogne

Highlights of the Loire Valley

Cultural highlights include wines and wine vinegars, wild mushrooms - (visit the mushroom museum), the Troglodyte caves, and local art exhibitions.

Festivals in the Loire Valley

Son et Lumiere in the chateaux in the summer months. Summer festival in Chinon in August.

Climate of the Loire Valley

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: Jan: 7.8, Feb: 6.8, Mar: 10.3, Apr: 16.1, May: 16.4, Jun: 23.6, Jul: 25.8, Aug: 24.5, Sep: 21.1, Oct: 16.2, Nov: 11.2, Dec: 7.0. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France.

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to the Dordogne

Highlights of Normandy

Calvados, cider and camembert, horse-races in Deauville in August, markets every day of the week throughout the region, the Route du Cidre, and the summer art exhibitions.

Climate of Normandy

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: Jan: 7.6, Feb: 6.4, Mar: 8.4, Apr: 13.0, May: 14.0, Jun: 20.0, Jul: 21.6, Aug: 22.0, Sep: 18.2, Oct: 14.5, Nov: 10.8, Dec: 7.9. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France.

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