Village Life in Dordogne



Experience the authentic provincial character of Dordogne for one full week in Sarlat-la-Canéda, one of the most beautiful and well-preserved medieval villages in France. Stay in the family-owned Plaza Madeleine Hotel, formerly a grand 19th-century townhouse. Discover the region’s charming villages, medieval castles and prehistoric treasures through specially arranged excursions and cultural enrichments—the medieval pilgrimage site of Rocamadour and the fascinating prehistoric cave paintings of Rouffignac and Cap Blanc, all part of UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Grace Gary is the study leader on the May 11 departure.

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Trip Type
Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
Departure Dates
May 11, 2023 - May 19, 2023
Oct 5, 2023 - Oct 13, 2023


Plaza Madeleine Hôtel, Sarlat-la-Canéda
Enjoy the traditional pace of Village Life® during your stay in the family‑owned Plaza Madeleine Hôtel, 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 historic hôtel de charme marries traditional features with French esprit contemporain. Each of the 39 comfortable, air‑conditioned guest rooms have been renovated and upgraded and feature two twin beds or one queen bed with private bathroom, individual climate control, satellite television, phone, Wi‑Fi access, safe, minibar, and hair dryer. The hotel dining room, where continental breakfast is served daily featuring fresh baked breads, pastries and charcuterie, is reserved for the exclusive use of hotel guests. There is a brasserie pub with lounge and private terrace, a petit lounge with computer facilities and Internet access, a heated outdoor swimming pool, solarium, and spa with Jacuzzi and sauna. The dedicated hotel staff is pleased to provide attentive service.


Pre‑Program Option – Bordeaux and Saint-Émilion
May 9 to 12, 2023 or Oct. 3 to 6, 2023
Start your trip with two nights in the Bordeaux region, long distinguished as the wine capital of the world. Visit a château in the nearby Médoc region to taste grand cru classé wines. Tucked away in the heart of the rolling countryside and endless vineyards, visit the charming village of Saint‑Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for growing the merlot grape and for its medieval Église Monolithe, one of the largest underground churches in Europe. Accommodations are in the deluxe Hôtel De Sèze in the heart of Bordeaux.
Price per person, based on double occupancy: $895
Price per person, based on single occupancy: $1,395

Albi and Toulouse – Post‑Program Option
May 19 to 23, 2023 or Oct. 13 to 17, 2023
Conclude your tour with a four‑night extension featuring Albi, Carcassonne, Toulouse, and three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sample Gaillac wines in a lovely château; explore cherished cathedrals and old‑world villages, equal parts storied and spectacular; enjoy the bucolic scenery of the French countryside; and admire the largest collection of Henri de Toulouse‑Lautrec works. Walk the gothic streets of Cordes sur Ciel and tour UNESCO-inscribed Carcossonne. Spend two nights each in the Hotel Mercure Albi Bastides and the Grand Hôtel de l’Opéra in Toulouse.
Price per person, based on double occupancy: $1,545
Price per person, based on single occupancy: $1,895
Further details will be provided with your reservation confirmation


  • 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 25 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 abut the five major case sites in the Dordogne and the evolution of Paleolithic cultures.

  • Grace Gary

    Grace Gary

    > Grace Gary’s relationship with the National Trust began when, while in graduate school, she was chosen as a National Trust Maritime Intern.  She’s hard to pin down on how many years ago that was, but she admits to having served as a lecturer on more-than fifty Trust tours over a span of more-than thirty years.  She is also the author of two titles in the Trust’s “Information” series and served as director of the Trust’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Office.  She also served as executive director of Preservation Pennsylvania, Longue Vue House and Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg’s Tourism Leadership Program, and Nemours Mansion and Gardens.  While at Nemours she oversaw an $80 million restoration program, which received the highest award from the AIA ever bestowed on a restoration project.  She and fellow National Trust Tours lecturer Dwight Young also co-authored “Nemours: A Portrait of Alfred I. DuPont’s Home,” which was published by Rizzoli.  She is a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and has a Master’s in architectural history from the University of Virginia, where she had the privilege of living on the Range in one of the original, Thomas Jefferson-designed rooms.



96 days or more prior*

95-61 days prior

60-45 days prior

44-0 days prior


Full refund

50% of program price

75% of program price

100% of program price

*In the event of a cancellation between 45 and 95 days prior to departure, the refund will be by credit, usable on a future Gohagan & Company trip which commences on or before December 31, 2023. In addition, for all bookings, any applicable airline cancellation fees, optional excursion cancellation fees and administrative fees may apply. Click here for more information.



Dordogne map


  • day 1

    Depart Home City

  • day 2

    Bordeaux, France/Sarlat-la-Canéda

    Transfer to Sarlat to check into the Plaza Madeleine Hôtel.

  • day 3


    Your charming “village home” is in the pre-French Revolution capital of Périgord Noir. It is a bon vivant’s dream—with close proximity to Bordeaux. Stroll through cobblestone streets illuminated by gas lamps and lined with Renaissance‑style stone houses. 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 from the Middle Ages.

  • day 4


    The UNESCO World Heritage‑designated Rocamadour has one of the most dramatic settings of any village in the world. 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 at the crypt of Saint Amadour. Embedded in the cliff above the doorway to the Chapelle de
    Notre Dame is a sword said to be that of the heroic knight Roland. Nearby, visit the quaint town of Souillac and its 12th‑century Abbaye Sainte‑Marie.

  • day 5

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

    The Eyrignac Manor has been the continuous family residence of 22 generations spanning over 500 years. On this 17th-century estate located just outside of Sarlat, view what many consider the finest gardens in France. Enjoy a guided tour of the National Museum of Prehistory in Les Eyzies and see L’Abri du Cap‑Blanc’s UNESCO-designated prehistoric cave friezes. In Sarlat this evening, meet dordognais in the Village Life ® forum.

  • 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. See a perfect reproduction in the International Center for Cave Art at Lascaux. Continue to the petite village of Saint-Amand-de-Coly, officially designated as one of the “most beautiful villages” in France and dominated by the 13th-century abbey church, and then sample regional cheese and wine in a specialty épicerie in Sarlat.

  • day 7

    Rouffignac/La Madeleine

    Start your day at Sarlat’s market, a twice-weekly medieval tradition in the heart of the village, and attend a presentation in the hotel by a local expert on preserving the village’s medieval architecture. 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. Enjoy a private, 19th-century French folk music and dance performance after a three‑course dinner in La Madeleine.

  • day 8


    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. Continue to visit Domme, an authentic medieval fortified village. Enter through its original ramparts and see graffiti etched by the Knights Templar on the inner village walls.

  • day 9

    Sarlat-la-Canéda/Bordeaux/ Return to the U.S.

    Continue on to the Albi and Toulouse Post-Program Option or transfer to Bordeaux for your return flight.

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