France ~ Dordogne & Gironde
These rides explore the Gironde, Lot and Dordogne valleys in south west France, an area boasting some 1200 Chateaux and steeped with Anglo French history dating back to the Hugenot era. Beautiful oak forests, river valleys and rolling hills make it a wonderful area to explore by horse and the region’s superb cuisine and its renowned Cahors and Bordeaux wines, all add to its attraction. The Perigord, Vineyard of Bordeaux and Prehistory & Chateaux of Cahor Ride itineraries follow routes from village to village, whilst the Moulin de Labique & Chateau de Rouffiac Rides are centred at a lovley watermill / chateau, with rides out from the base. The new Prestigious Dordogne itinerary is semi-progressive, spending 2 nights at each of 3 luxurious hotels.
There are picnic lunches to enjoy along the way and classic French food and wine is served at your hotel at night, a welcome indulgence after a day in the saddle. Of the long ride itineraries, the Prehistory & Chateaux of Cahor Ride includes the most riding; the Vineyards of Bordeaux Rides is the faster paced. All rides are fairly relaxed with visits to local sights, wine tasting etc.
Riding: 4-6 hours a day.
Horses: locally bred French saddle horses.
Pace: slow to moderate (moderate on Bordeaux ride).
Riding ability: confident novice riders and above.
Weight limit: 86kg (13st 7lbs).
Accommodation: 3* & 4* hotels, chateau hotels & chambres d'hotes.
Group size: max 6.
Season: April to November.
Horses: The horses used are mostly locally bred French saddle horses of between 14.2hh and 15.2hh. They are well schooled, good-natured and a sensible but forward going and responsive ride. Saddles are either English, 'Maclellans' (which are a comfortable cross between an English and western saddle), with western style also available for those who wish. Most of the horses are ridden western style and are used to neck reining and to a light contact with the mouth. Saddle bags are provided when necessary. The horses are tacked up / prepared for you by the local staff. Rides are normally limited to a maximum of 6 guests and are lead by Michel who is French and owns the horses. He is an experienced, knowledgeable guide and speaks fluent English.
Hours: There is usually between 4 and 6 hours riding a day (it varies with the itinerary, the Prehistory & Chateax of Cahor ride including the longest riding hours), broken up with rests and for lunch and sightseeing.
Pace and experience required: To join these rides you should have a reasonable amount of previous riding experience and should be secure and comfortable on a well-schooled horse at a walk, trot and canter over varied terrain. The pace is fairly slow to moderate overall and quite relaxed (the Bordeaux ride offers more chances to canter). There is a weight limit of 86kgs (13 stone 7lbs).
Accommodation on the rides is in a variety of good quality 3* and 4* hotels and chambres d'hotes. Hotels are comfortable, chosen as far as possible for their character and all rooms have their own bathroom. Most have a good restaurant and several have their own swimming pool for a relaxing dip after the day's ride. The Moulin de Labique, where one ride is based and which is also used on the Perigord Ride for a night, is a lovely country house in the heart of the Dordogne. Labique & Chateau de Rouffiac have just 7 and 4 bedrooms respectively, all with individual bathrooms, and there are swimming pools at both. On the Prestigious Dordogne Ride 4* and 5* hotels are used. Rates assume accommodation in twin rooms but single rooms are available at a supplement.
Perigord Ride (6 nights) - Euros 2675;
Vineyards of Bordeaux
Itinerary in brief - Perigord Ride. Please enquire for other itineraries
|Day 1||You will be met at Bergerac railway station or airport and driven to a country hotel for dinner and the night.|
||After breakfast meet the horses and set off riding to Chateau de Biron. Lunch, then ride on to the lovely, well preserved bastide town of Monpazier, founded in 1284 and famous for its architecture. Dinner and overnight in Monpazier.|
||Today's ride takes you to Montferrand-du-Perigord on the Couze river. A picnic lunch and continue to Cadouin. Time to visit the beautiful abbey before a short drive to a nearby hotel for dinner and the night.|
||Breakfast and rejoin the horses, riding through the Bessede forest to another unique bastide - Belves. Lunch followed by an afternoon drive to visit the 'Gouffre de Proumeyssac' caves, known as the 'Crystal Cathedral'. Return to Belves for dinner and the night.|
||Ride on through chestnut woods, stopping for lunch at a local duck farm.In the afternoon continue riding to Villefranche du Perigord. Time to visit this wonderful bastide before dinner and the night in Villefranche du Perigord.|
||A short drive to rejoin the horses then ride to Chateau de Bonaguil, an imposing medieval fortress built on a rock face. After lunch and a tour of the chateau, ride on crossing the Lot river. Dinner and the last night at a charming country hotel.|
||Breakfast, then you will be driven to Bergerac for your onward journey.|
|Contact us at email@example.com or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.|
Bergerac is the meeting place for most rides - Prehistory & Chateaux of Cahors, Pergiord and Moulin de Labique, Chateau Rouffiac; Departure is also from Bergerace except for Prehistory & Chateaux of Cahors where it may be either Cahor station or Bergerac.
Bordeaux is the meeting and departure point for Vineyards of Bordeaux Ride.
For the Prestigious Dordogne the meeting and departure point is Brive la Gaillarde Train Station.
The nearest international airports are Bergerac, Bordeaux and Toulouse and there are good train services from between Toulouse and Bordeaux. There are also trains to Bordeaux and Bergerac from Paris.
There are flights from several regional UK airports to Bergerac with low cost airlines
There are also direct flights from London to Bordeaux / Toulouse - budget around £200 economy return (varies with the airline and season).