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. Sara James is the study leader for the May 2020 departure. Barbara Horlbeck is the study leader for Sept. 2020.

Pricing from

Early booking discounts available!

Trip Type
Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
Departure Dates
May 21, 2020 - May 29, 2020
Sep 10, 2020 - Sep 18, 2020


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.


Splendors of Bordeaux
Saint-Émilion u Médoc
Pre-Program Option
Long distinguished as the wine capital of the world, France’s verdant Bordeaux region has been growing, fermenting and bottling grapes since the eighth century. Just north of Bordeaux in the Médoc region, visit a château to enjoy a tasting of distinguished grand cru classé wines. Tucked away in the heart of rolling countryside and endless vineyards, visit the charming village of Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for growing the merlot grape, and medieval Église Monolithe, one of the largest underground churches in Europe. Spend two nights in the deluxe Hôtel Burdigala, located in the heart of Bordeaux.

Albi u Toulouse
Cordes-sur-Ciel u Carcassonne
Post-Program Option
The cobblestone towns and villages of southwest France showcase the region’s storybook charm. Experience the classic refinements and medieval allure of Cordes‑Sur‑Ciel, Albi, Carcassonne and Toulouse on this four‑night itinerary featuring three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sample Gaillac wines in a lovely château; explore cherished cathedrals and old‑world villages, equal parts storied and spectacular; admire the largest collection of Henri de Toulouse‑Lautrec’s works; and enjoy the incomparable scenery of the bucolic French countryside. Accommodations are for two nights each in the Hotel Mercure Albi Bastides and the Grand Hôtel de l’Opéra in Toulouse.


  • 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.

  • Sara N. James

    Sara N. James

    A specialist in Italian Renaissance art with a particular passion for narrative fresco programs, her 30-year teaching career has given her the opportunity to teach a broad range of courses, which include Classical, Medieval, Renaissance (Italian and Northern), and Baroque art and architecture. Now an Independent Scholar, she serves on the faculty of the Beverley Street Studio School in Staunton. An avid gardener and garden lover, she is a certified Master Gardener and a member of the Garden Club of Virginia and the Garden Club of America.

  • Barbara Horlbeck

    Barbara Horlbeck

    Barbara Horlbeck is an adjunct instructor of art history, an independent researcher, lecturer, and writer. She developed and teaches innovative virtual and face-to-face college-level art history courses, including Arts of the Medieval World, Renaissance and Baroque Arts, Ancient Arts, and Arts of Asia. Founder of Arts and Influences, she gives lectures and seminars on a wide range of art historical and cultural topics including. She has been a docent at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for fifteen years, where she leads tours for educators and specialists as well as the general public. She has traveled in more than thirty countries, including five continents and the North Pole, throughout Europe, and from Iran to India and Russia to Pakistan and China.


Dordogne map


  • day 1

    Depart the U.S.

  • day 2

    Bordeaux, France/Sarlat-la-Canéda

  • day 3


  • day 4


  • day 5

    Les Eyzies/L’Abri du Cap-Blanc

  • day 6


  • day 7

    Rouffignac/La Madeleine

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