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

This 8-night self-drive touring holiday to the Dordogne offers you an interesting route to and from the Dordogne which is your base for five nights but allowing for overnight stops in Normandy and Angers on the way out and near Chinon in the Loire Valley on the way back. Your self-drive tour to the Dordogne starts in Calais after a Eurotunnel crossing from Folkestone. Your first night is spent near Honfleur in Normandy, and it’s a drive of about 3 hours through Picardy, crossing the estuary of the Somme and then over the River Seine on the Pont de Normandie. After Honfleur the next stop is just north of historic Angers in the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the Loire you journey south, with the roofs of the houses changing from slate to terracotta. You reach your base for five nights in the countryside of the Dordogne, south of the river itself and not far from the wine town of Bergerac. The Dordogne resonates with history. It is here that the prehistoric cave paintings were discovered at Lascaux and Les Eyzies, and here too that over a thousand fortified castles were built in the Middle Ages as France and England fought the Hundred Years War over this territory. Today, these historic sites, the beauty of the rivers Dordogne and Vezere, the fertile landscape and the proximity of excellent vineyards make the Dordogne a delightfully rich region to visit. Enjoy your time here pursuing your interests. There are many sporting activities from golf to kayaking, from walking to cycling. On the way back we include just one night near Chinon in the Loire Valley, before you arrive at Calais and the return Eurotunnel crossing to Folkestone.

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

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

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

About Dordogne

The Dordogne region at the heart of Perigord abounds in clear, flowing rivers, craggy hillsides of golden rock, hill top villages and castles built of the local stone, and attractive houses with grey slate roofs and mini turrets, with vines trained along their walls. A holiday in the Dordogne is ideal for those seeking a combination of activity, sightseeing and relaxation. There are pre-historic grottoes to explore, market towns of mediaeval houses and cobbled streets such as Sarlat, numerous sporting activities such as riding and cycling and castles to visit. Plus, the gastronomy of the Dordogne is renowned for its truffles, foie gras, `magret de canard` and walnuts. The Dordogne region possesses much of the essential delights for a visitor to France. A self-drive touring holiday is an excellent way to travel to the Dordogne, perhaps discovering the chateaux and manor houses of northern France along the way. A quicker alternative is to travel to the region by train, collecting a hire-car on arrival which allows you to explore at your own pace.

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

About Loire Valley

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to the Loire Valley offers travellers a chance to explore this magnificent region, known as the `Garden of France`, traditionally the hunting grounds of the Kings of France, is renowned for its gentle countryside, vineyards, forests, rivers and numerous chateaux. At the centre of this region are the regal river Loire and its numerous tributaries, attractive historic towns and cathedral cities such as Tours, Blois and Chinon and of course the chateaux. The chateaux range from vast palaces to fortresses, from mediaeval strongholds to Renaissance delights and include the well-known ones of Chenonceaux, Chambord, Villandry and pretty Azay le Rideau. The vineyards offer great variety from sparkling Vouvray to the reds of Chinon and Bourgueil. Our `Loire Valley` covers the central region of Touraine and the more westerly region of Anjou as well as taking in a more southern part that extends towards Poitiers. The visitor to the Loire Valley is embraced by seemingly endless amusements whatever the time of year, enticing for longer stays and so well situated for overnight stops or short breaks. It is very easy to reach the Loire Valley by train, combining a holiday here with a visit to Bordeaux. Alternatively, a self-drive holiday to the Loire Valley is an excellent option, allowing you to explore the region's Chateaux by car or to combine a stay in the region with a holiday to the Dordogne region and Normandy.

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

About Normandy

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to Normandy holds an astonishing familiarity for the British visitor, due to its lush green pastures and close historical ties. Normandy is an attractive land of white chalk cliffs, long sandy beaches, fishing ports and harbours, rich green pastures and apple orchards, half-timbered and thatched houses and barns, lively market towns, sophisticated sea side resorts such as Deauville and Cabourg and sleepy villages. Famous for its dairy produce, cider and calvados, the cuisine of Normandy is hearty reflecting both its rich pastures and its proximity to the sea. Historical ties provide links from William the Conqeror to 1944. Normandy is a gentle and friendly land, small and pretty where the comforting aroma of apple wood fires lingers in the air and where the salt of the sea is in the breeze. With its nearby location, beautiful scenery, countless activities and charming hotels, Normandy is well-suited to both short breaks and longer holidays. A self-drive touring holiday is an excellent way to explore Normandy, and the region is a perfect place to stay en route further south, perhaps to the Dordogne region or the Loire Valley.

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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