Giving to
Bryn Mawr

Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center

Village Life in the Dordogne

April 23-May 1, 2009


ON THIS DELIGHTFUL NINE-DAY EXPLORATION, discover the treasures of the Dordogne River Valley— one of France's best-kept secrets. Experience the joys of life in the heart of southwestern France's Dordogne River Valley, a delightful region renowned for its stunning beauty, delectable cuisine, splendid castles and charming villages. From your base in the historic town of Sarlat-la-Canéda, officially recognized as one of France's best-preserved medieval villages – explore the region's numerous historic, cultural and natural attractions, including the prehistoric caves of Lascaux and Rouffignac, Richard the Lionheart's castle at Beynac, the ancient fortified town of Domme and the dramatic cliff side town of Rocamadour, a fortified 13th-century village built on a sheer 492-foot cliff and one of Europe's most important pilgrimage destinations during the Middle Ages. Your experience will be enhanced with exclusive lectures and the Village Forum discussions with local residents.

Detailed Preliminary Itinerary


Day 1
Depart the United States for Bordeaux, France

Day 2
Arrive in Bordeaux. Travel through the scenic Dordogne region to Sarlat-la-Canéda and check in at the Hôtel de la Madeleine.

Day 3
Excursion - Sarlat-la-Canéda
Walking tour of historic Sarlat-la-Canéda; you will visit the town's architectural centerpiece, the 16th century cathedral of Saint Sacerdos. The afternoon offers an excellent opportunity to explore Sarlat's legendary market.

Exclusive Enrichment
Lecture focusing on architectural preservation in Sarlat-la-Canéda.

Attend a private welcome reception in the hotel this evening.

Day 4
Excursion - Rocamadour
Tour Rocamadour's Notre Dame Chapel and the Musee d'Art Sacrée.
Lunch features regional cuisine.

Day 5
Excursion – Cap-Blanc, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac and St-Amand-de-Coly
Visit L'Abri du Cap-Blanc and the National Museum of Prehistory in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac. Explore St-Amand-de-Coly, including its fortified Abbey Church, and St-Genies, with its Gothic Chapelle du Cheylard.

View the monumental frieze of sculptures and a human skeleton dating from 15,000 years ago. As Cro-Magnon man had often painted or engraved cave walls, at Cap-Blanc they sculpted the entire images of the animals, over the entire walls of which some are life size. This feature makes the site totally original and unique. For this reason the site has been classed as a Historical Monument and entered by U.N.E.S.C.O. on the list of Human World Heritage sites.

Visit the small picturesque town north of St-Amand-de-Coly where you will see the impressive Augustinian abbey.

Day 6
Excursion - Lascaux II and Rouffignac Cave
Tour of pre-historic art in Lascaux II and Rouffignac Cave which is called the "Cave of a Hundred Mammoths" for its more than six miles of underground galleries and plentiful depictions of mammoths and other long gone species.

Exclusive Enrichment
Enjoy a performance of traditional Perigord Noir folk music and dance

Day 7
Excursion – Perigueux
Excursion to Perigueux, featuring a tour of the town's historic landmarks, including the Cathedrale St-Front, and a visit to the Vesunna Museum which is built over the remains of a Roman villa. Visit the town's weekly market.

Exclusive Enrichment
Meet with local residents during a specially arranged Village Life Forum of local residents of Perigueux and the Perigord region.

Day 8
Tour of Beynac-et-Cazenac Castle; Dramatically situated atop a towering limestone cliff is the regal Chateau de Beynac , the imposing medieval fortress of Beynac-et-Cazenac. In the late 12th century, Richard the Lionheart and the Bynac Family waged a bitter war for the castle's intriguing (and eclectic) interior, admiring the monumental 17th century stairway, the wooden chimney sculpted with mythological figures and the 15th century frescoes of the Last Supper and Pieta.

Next board a gabare (19th century boats used for trade on the river) for a cruise upriver past the castle of Castelnaud.

Finally we will travel to Domme, one of the most beautiful Perigord towns. We will enter the walled city through the 13th-century Tower Gate where two enormous semicircular towers frame the Gothic-arched gate.

Day 9
Transfer to Bordeaux for your return flight to the United States

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Cost and Program Inclusions


Trip Cost (preliminary)........................................................................................ $2,895*

*Land portion only based on double occupancy (tentative)

The program includes the following special features:

In Sarlat-la-Canéda

  • Seven nights in the historic, family-owned Hôtel de la Madeleine.
  • Private welcome reception in the hotel featuring wine and cheese from southwestern France.
  • Three meals each day — including two-course lunches and three-course dinners — featuring traditional French cuisine and regional specialties, prepared by the Hôtel de la Madeleine's owner and acclaimed chef, Philippe Melot. Local wine is included with dinner.

All tours and excursions below are led by expert local guides:

  • Half-day architectural walking tour of Sarlat-la-Canéda.
  • v Excursion to the dramatic cliff side village of Rocamadour and its Musée d'Art Sacrée. Lunch in the Hotel Beau Site.
  • Half-day tour of L'Abri du Cap-Blanc and the Museum of Prehistory in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac.
  • Half-day tour of the charming villages of St-Amand-de-Coly and St. Geniès.
  • Half-day excursion to Lascaux II and Rouffignac Cave.
  • Full-day excursion to the historic town of Périgueux, a major center of trade and culture since the days of the Roman Empire.
  • Tour of the fortress of Beynac-et-Cazenac, with lunch in the village of Beynac.
  • Specially arranged gabare cruise on the scenic Dordogne River past the fortress of Castlenaud.
  • Tour of Domme, a 13th-century walled village.

A full program of educational and cultural enrichment including:

  • A lecture on architectural preservation by Philippe Melot, who leads preservation efforts in Sarlat-la-Canéda.
  • Exclusive VILLAGE FORUM with local residents who will discuss life in provincial France.
  • Specially arranged performance of traditional 19th-century French folk entertainment.

Airfare is additional and can be booked either individually or through Gohagan & Company

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Hotel Information


Hôtel de la Madeleine

While enjoying the tranquil pace of Village Life in the Dordogne, you will truly feel at home during your seven nights at the family owned Hôtel de la Madeleine. Converted from a 19th-century townhouse and steeped in provincial appeal, this charming property is ideally located just outside the ancient walls of the medieval quarter, a mere five-minute walk from the center of the village. Each of the 39 guest rooms in the intimate hotel is individually furnished, and all feature private bathroom facilities, air conditioning, television and a minibar.

The hotel is owned by Philippe Melot, an accomplished chef who specializes in offering a variety of delectable recipes drawn from the distinguished culinary heritage of the Périgord Noir region. He and his staff, many of whom have worked at the hotel for a generation, will make you feel like a member of the family through their warm hospitality, good humor and personal, attentive service. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included daily.

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Make a Reservation


To make a reservation on this program, please contact:

Sarah Tomsky
Senior Passenger Services Coordinator
Thomas P. Gohagan & Co.

Eleven South LaSalle Street
Second Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-1240

Tel: (800) 922-3088 Ext. 259
Fax: (312) 609-1141

stomsky@gohagantravel.com

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