Albi, Carcassonne & the Dordogne by Rail - Discover medieval France as you explore fortresses and riverside towns and sample wine at a local vineyard.
Albi, Carcassonne & the Dordogne by Rail
Discover medieval France as you explore fortresses and riverside towns and sample wine at a local vineyard. Try delicious cuisine and visit more of the region’s hidden treasures independently.
Walking tour of Albi
Carcassonne & Castres
St. Cirq-Lapopie, Cahors & Rocamadour
The services of an experienced Tour Guide
Standard class return rail travel by Eurostar/European train provider
Station transfers (if applicable) and transfers between stations and hotels
Gaillac & the Gorges de l’Aveyron
Boat trip along the River Dordogn
Capture the romance of medieval France
Visit the incredible fortified town of Carcassonne
Sample local wine at the vineyard where it is produced
Day 1 - UK/Albi
You will take the Eurostar service to Lille from London St. Pancras or Ebbsfleet, then connect with the TGV train to Montauban and transfer to Albi.
Day 2 - 5 : Albi
Gazing out over the River Tarn, Albi is a historic red-brick town steeped in the history of the religious wars between the Cathars and Crusaders. You can soak up the atmosphere on a guided walk through the medieval streets of the old quarter to see the impressive 13th-century Gothic Cathedral of St. Cecile. Visible from miles around, this architectural giant dwarfs the town and the sumptuous inner decoration comes as something of a surprise after the austere outer defensive architecture. Albi is also famous as the birthplace of Toulouse Lautrec and art-lovers may want to visit the 13th-century palace containing the most comprehensive collection of his work, which offers stunning views from its beautiful gardens.
Carcasonne & Castres: Get further under the skin of this stunning region as you spend a full day exploring Carcasonne and Castres. Your scenic journey leads you to Carcassonne, one of the most dramatic towns of the Languedoc region, where a breathtaking double walled turreted fortress crowns the hill above the River Aude. This amazing building is the largest fortress in Europe with walls that stretch over two miles, enclosing a maze of medieval streets and museums. Wander through these narrow streets, admire the panoramic views over the countryside from the battlemented walls and explore the beautiful Church of St. Nazaire with its wonderful stained glass and intricate stone carvings. En route to Carcassonne there will be a stop at the pretty town of Castres, where you can take a stroll through the charming riverside quarter to see the old tanners’ and weavers’ houses overhanging the River Agout.
Gaillac & Gorges de l'Aveyon: Wine buffs, or even those who enjoy the odd tipple, will not want to miss the chance to taste some of the region’s fine wines at a local vineyard. Gaillac is an area of magnificent historic towns and villages, and produces delicious wine from locally grown grapes – immerse yourself in French culture by drinking in the heady aromas and learning about the fantastic flavours of local produce. Afterwards the local landscape beckons, urging you to explore the soaring limestone cliffs of the magnificent Gorges de l’Aveyron.
Ville-Bastides: Perhaps step back in time to the 13th and 14th centuries, when England and France fought for control of south-western France in the Hundred Years War. Many ville-bastides were built around the Dordogne at this time and you cannot fail to get a sense of history when you see their ancient stone walls. An equally romantic vision of the past prevails in Najac, with its photogenic hilltop castle and houses that seem to tumble down to the valley below. Your journey of discovery continues in the amazing town of Cordes, a Cathars stronghold and one of the oldest and bestpreserved bastides. You may like to wander through the steep cobbled lanes or relax in one of the cafés alongside the locals.
Day 6 : St Cirq-Lapopie, Cahors & Rocamadour
Leave Albi today and take a scenic drive into the Dordogne. Stop at St Cirq-Lapopie, perched on a cliff high above the River Lot, where you can join your Tour Guide on a stroll through the cobbled lanes of half-timbered houses. Your exploration of this delightful region continues with a visit to Cahors, famous for its Pont Valentre, one of the few remaining fortified bridges in Europe, as well as its red wine. Later you reach Rocamadour, built almost vertically into the rocky backdrop of the Alzou Valley.
Day 7 : The Dordogne Valley
Pass honey-coloured riverside cliffs and be awed by exquisitely photogenic villages such as La Roque Gageac, where many of the ochre stone houses are cut from the rock face itself. You’ll also appreciate the bustling market town of Sarlat, known as one of the prettiest towns in France. Be sure to look up at the unusual roofs when you pass through the medieval quarter, where they are often made from ‘lauze’ - carefully cut stone. You also have the opportunity to indulge in a boat trip on the river.
Day 8 : Rocamadour/UK
Today you will take a coach to Limoges station for the TGV service to Paris and onward Eurostar to London St. Pancras or Ebbsfleet.
Eurostar is the high-speed rail service directly linking the UK to France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel. It started operating in 1994, providing convenient city centre to city centre services.
TGV: Train à Grande Vitesse, (high-speed train) is France's high-speed rail service.
Albi - Best Western Grand Hotel d’Orleans (3-star): 5 nights This delightful family-run hotel has a restaurant serving fine local cuisine and dinner is included on three evenings. Comfortable guest rooms have satellite TV, telephone and hairdryer.
Rocamadour - Hotel Du Chateau (3-star) or similar: Conveniently located near the mediaeval city of Rocamadour, this hotel is situated close to the Rocher des Aigles wildlife centre and the lifts up and down the cliff-face. The hotel facilities include restaurant, swimming pool, tennis court and gardens. All guest rooms have private facilities, TV and telephone. The restaurant offers a selection of local specialties.