Village Life – France



Immerse yourself in the authentic provincial character of the Dordogne region in Sarlat-la-Canéda, one of France’s most beautiful and well-preserved medieval towns, on this one-of-a-kind, 7-night experience. Discover charming villages, medieval castles, and prehistoric treasures through specially arranged excursions, including Sarlat’s famous open-air market; the pilgrimage site of Rocamadour; the English-style gardens of Eyrignac; the fascinating prehistoric cave paintings of Cap-Blanc; the perfectly reproduced cave art at Lascaux and Rouffignac; and a specially arranged gabare cruise on the Dordogne River.

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Trip Type
Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
Departure Dates
May 8, 2025 - May 16, 2025
Sep 25, 2025 - Oct 3, 2025


Hotel Burdigala
Located near the heart of Bordeaux’s historical city center, the deluxe Hotel Burdigala is a modern oasis. Each of its 83 rooms are tastefully appointed with luxurious finishes, creating a sophisticated yet intimate environment. The hotel’s Madame B restaurant and bar offers the quintessential French venue for an evening nightcap.

Plaza Madeleine Hôtel & Spa
The Plaza Madeleine Hôtel & Spa is located just beyond the ancient walls of Sarlat‑la‑Canéda’s medieval quarter, a short walk from the village center. A grand 19th‑century townhouse, this historical hôtel de charme marries traditional features with French esprit contemporain. Each of the 39 stylish, air‑conditioned guest rooms has been renovated or upgraded.


Airport transfers and luggage handling abroad are only included if air arrangements are booked through Gohagan & Company. If travelers make their own air arrangements, transfers and luggage handling are not included; transfers can be organized through Gohagan & Company and purchased by the traveler.


  • Christine Desdemaines-Hugon

    Christine Desdemaines-Hugon

    Christine has worked with the scientific community, lectured on prehistoric art, and shared her knowledge and enthusiasm for the Dordogne region of France with visitors for the past 30 years. Her first visits to the caves of the Dordogne sparked an insatiable passion for the subject of Paleolithic art and she returned to the University of Bordeaux to continue her studies, resulting in a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Anthropology. Recently, Christine completed a book about the five major case sites in the Dordogne and the evolution of Paleolithic cultures.

  • Linda Harper

    Linda Harper

    Linda was on the NTHP National Main Street program’s management team working with over 200 communities.  As the director for Exchange Programs for the Countryside Institute she provided oversight for communities in 3 counties to implement sustainable environmental and economic programs. Her time as the Board Chair and Executive Director of Historic Congressional Cemetery saw the property go from being listed on the NT’s 11 Most Endangered to being listed as a National Landmark with a $4M endowment. Most recently she served as the CEO for Cultural Tourism for Washington, DC promoting the embassies, monuments, arts and neighborhoods as an integral part of the city’s economic development plan.  Her background in historic preservation, cultural tourism and community engagement will help each traveler better understand the flavor and significance of our stops along the way.


A non-refundable administrative fee of $300 per person will apply for all cancellations received more than 7 days after booking and before other fees take effect at 120 days:
120 days $300 per person admin fee after 7-day grace period from booking
120 – 91 days 25% of full invoice fare
90 – 61 days 50% of full invoice fare
60 – 31 days 75% of full invoice fare
30 – 0 days 100% of full invoice fare
Separate airfare Terms & Conditions apply



VL Dordogne map


  • day 1

    Depart Home City

    Depart your home city on an overnight flight. Linda Harper is the Study leader on the Sept. departure.

  • day 2

    Bordeaux, France/Sarlat-la-Canéda

    Arrive in Bordeaux and transfer to Sarlat-la-Canéda. Check into the Plaza Madeleine Hôtel.

  • day 3


    Start the day with a presentation on the preservation of the village’s medieval architecture by a local expert at the hotel. Stroll through the streets of Sarlat-la-Canéda and see the 16th-century cathedral of Saint Sacerdos and the sublime Romanesque design of the Chapel of the White Penitents. The cultural heart of Sarlat is the Place de la Liberté, where every Wednesday and Saturday one of France’s most storied markets is held—a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. Enjoy lunch with a sampling of wine, cheese and other delectable local food at the market and take the rest of the afternoon to experience the market at your leisure. Join your fellow travel companions at the welcome reception at the hotel.

  • day 4

    Rocamadour May 5 | October 20

    Heritage-designated Rocamadour has one of the most dramatic settings of any village in the world, essentially carved into a grand sheer limestone cliff. During the Middle Ages, pilgrims flocked here from across Europe to perform penance by ascending the 216 steps of Le Grand Escalier on their knees—seeking miracles from the sacred 12th-century statue of the Black Virgin and Child, a walnut carving more than 1,000 years old. Embedded in the cliff above the doorway to the Chapelle de Notre Dame is a sword that is said to have belonged to the heroic knight Roland. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and explore Rocamadour at your leisure before returning to the hotel.

  • day 5

    Les Eyzies-de-Tayac- Sireuil/L’Abri du Cap-Blanc

    Discover Les Eyzes-de-Tayac-Sireuil, where the first known bones of Homo sapiens were discovered. Explore the National Museum of Prehistory in Les Eyzies in a guided tour and see L’Abri du Cap‑Blanc’s UNESCO-designated prehistoric cave friezes. Marvel at some of the earliest artifacts and remains of human civilization, along with one-of-a-kind life-size cave paintings. (b,l)

  • day 6


    In 1940, a quartet of schoolboys stumbled onto the Lascaux cave, a repository of the most stunning works of prehistoric art and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although the original cave is no longer accessible to visitors for the sake of preservation, you will see a perfect reproduction in the International Center for Cave Art at Lascaux.

  • day 7

    Sarlat-La-Canéda/ Rouffignac/Tursac, Madeleine Village

    Visit Rouffignac, “Cave of a Hundred Mammoths,” known for its extraordinary Great Ceiling decorated with beautifully rendered friezes of woolly rhinoceros and mammoth engravings at an enormous scale. After lunch at a local restaurant, travel to Tursac to discover the prehistoric village of La Madeleine, perched on the high cliffs above the Vézère River. See the remains of majestic caves occupied by families over more than 15,000 years, most recently inhabited in the 19th century. Enjoy a private French folk music and dance performance after dinner on your own in Sarlat.

  • day 8

    Sarlat-La-Canéda/ Beynac/Domme

    Traverse an elaborate series of stone walls, parapet walks, watchtowers, and passageways at the fortified Château de Beynac. Cruise the Dordogne River aboard a private 19th-century gabare, followed by lunch in a local restaurant. Travel along the meandering road from Dordogne to Domme, an authentic medieval fortified village. Enter through its original ramparts and see graffiti etched by the Knights Templar on the inner village walls. See an unforgettable panoramic view of old pale stone houses topped with bright orange roofs yielding to the cliff’s edge—and a lush, green horizon stretching for miles. Enjoy free time in Domme before heading back to the hotel for dinner.

  • day 9

    Bordeaux/ Return to the U.S.

    Enjoy an early breakfast buffet at the hotel before your overnight return flight to your home city.

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