Dordogne – 6 nights
Classic France in the beautiful Dordogne valleyBack to Routes
Beautiful Beaulieu on the serene Dordogne
Rocamadour, clinging to the limestone cliffs
A sleepy afternoon in Autoire
A pretty country track
Mist in the valley
Loubressac, one of the 'plus beaux villages'
The imposing fortress of Castelnau-Bretenoux
The Dordogne at Meyronne
Cliff-top chateau at Belcastel
Loved all of it. So glad to go at a quiet time of the year and to a less popular/well known part of the Dordogne.
All the villages were a revelation to me - those we stayed in and those we walked through. Just gorgeous.
Ann Shirtcliff, Crickhowell, Wales - June 2022
The transit of the luggage worked brilliantly and being able to rely on this made a big difference. The same goes for the walking notes which were supremely reliable.
The most rewarding aspect was the vast variety of experiences crammed into a week - scenery, hotels, and great gastronomic experiences.
Alexander MacIntyre, Aberdeen, UK - May 2022
Auberge du Vieux Port - Lovely place overlooking the river. The proprietor was charming and the dinner was superb, especially the flaming pudding.
Caroline Croft, London, UK - April 2022
We loved the whole thing, being able to get away and have a change of scene. I love the high limestone plateau with the oak, chestnut, beech and maple woods - such beautiful colours at this time of year.
Good walking on some beautiful paths through attractive countryside and pretty villages.
Nick & Diana Brewer, Norwich, UK - October 2021
We can't say enough positive about Emily Stokely!!!
Every time we needed any support from Emily during the walk she was there for us and went above and beyond to provide whatever we needed. We'd give her 7 stars on a 1-5 scale!!
Bill Cook, USA - October 2021
We have always wanted to take a walking trip and appreciated the independent reviews that you make available.
We also found it appealing that you clearly only offer trips on routes that you really know and routes where you have a good local contact. That was of great value in our decision to use On Foot and proved to be a real asset during the trip itself.
Laura Gates, Alexandria, USA - October 2021
The trip was marvelous in that it allowed us to explore intimately a small region of France, a region which neither of us had ever been to before.
Following country lanes, farm tracks and forested trails was lovely, as was being transported back in time to medieval villages and fortified castles.
Victoria Seton, St Lazare, Canada - September 2021
What we liked most was the wonderful walking - one of the best On Foot holidays we've enjoyed in this respect - because nearly all the walking was on footpaths and very little on roads, and the countryside was quite beautiful. As an added bonus, it being autumn, the fruit was literally dropping off the trees - apples, plums and we sated ourselves on ripe figs!
The distances each day and the balance between easy, medium and slightly harder were well explained and easily managed (given that we are probably rather older than the average On Footer).
Jane Irons, Lewes, UK - September 2019
The walking route was terrific. It was varied in the terrain and in the vegetation we passed through. The Hotel Pont de l'Ouysse provided the perfect end to our holiday. The setting was beyond beautiful and the meal was fabulous.
Our holiday with On Foot was much more than we ever expected. Thank you.
Rob and Daveda Foster, Sunshine Coast, Canada - September 2019
Absolutely outstanding holiday - thank you!
The quality of the materials we were sent for the walk was fantastic, the maps and clear instructions took out any frustration or concerns about getting lost. Emily as our point of contact was great, well done for such an enjoyable, well varied walk.
Tracy Refson, Wells, UK - May 2019
At a glance
Dordogne 6-night version (missing walk to and stay at Port de Gagnac, but still with two nights in magical Rocamadour). Add extra nights in Beaulieu, Carennac, Meyronne, or Rocamadour. See 'Prices' tab for what's included.
How much walking?
Full days: 13¼-22½km per day, 3-5½ hrs walking
Using shortening options: 8-14km per day, 1½-3¼ hrs walking
Hills and valleys, vineyards, bridges and chateaux
The River Dordogne, beloved of travellers for decades, courses its way from the Massif Central to the Atlantic at Bordeaux, and passes through some of the most beautiful countryside in France. Each section has its own character, but the stretch we have chosen reflects that variety, giving the walker a taste of the Middle Dordogne landscape in all its forms.
From the start at Beaulieu, where the wide river flows gently through the water meadows outside the old town, our route climbs into the hills above, with fine views and bucolic countryside on each of the first three walking days. You’ll then head over the limestone causse to the historic and dramatic pilgrimage centre of Rocamadour. The final day, should you choose to walk it, takes you along the steep-sided valley of the river Ouysse, a tributary of the Dordogne, perhaps for a late lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Stay in traditional inns and small hotels, many of them riverside, including a former château. And being France, the food is exceptional, with a lot of local specialities. The wines from the area are gaining a reputation too, and are worth exploring!
The walking is graded medium, but with built-in shortening options for those who would like to walk the route at a more leisurely pace.
Walked by On Foot staff: Simon and Debbie
REVIEWS: For independent walker reviews of this route submitted to the Association of Independent Tour Operators visit AITO.com.
ARTICLES: Read an article about On Foot’s Dordogne holiday on our blog here.
TRAVEL ADVICE: To find the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for UK citizens travelling to France, click here. Citizens of other nations will also find it useful, but should always check their appropriate local agency.
COVID-19 SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: Please read our summary of current regulations.
- The limpid waters of the Dordogne middle reaches
- Castelnau castle
- The Autoire waterfall and clifftop walk
- Medieval fortified villages
- Walking across the Causse
- The sanctuary of Rocamadour
- The valley of the Ouysse
This route features the following characteristics and interests: Villages and farms, Drive to route, Food, History
Extra nights in Beaulieu, Carennac, Meyronne and Rocamadour.
Eating and drinking
While the general standard of meals throughout the route is good, special mention should be made of the dinners provided by our hosts at Carennac (Petite Auberge) and Meyronne (La Terrasse) and, if your itinerary includes it (6- and 7-night routes only), the possibility of lunch at a starred Michelin restaurant in Belcastel.
How much Walking?
Using shortening options: 8-14km per day, 1½-3¼ hrs walking
The paths are mainly waymarked, are well looked after, though careful attention still needed to your route directions.
Medium: Average cumulative uphill stretches (CUSs) 500m (220m-745m) per day.
Easy-Medium: CUSs 325m (150m-425 m) per day using taxi shortening options (pay locally) most days.
GPX file available for handheld GPS or smartphone App for complete route.
Important note: Times given for each day are walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops. “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb. See “Walk Grading” for more information.
When to go?
The best months to walk: April, May, June, September, October
Other possible months: early July, August (very end)
Enjoy the Dordogne in April, May and June for the spring flowers and in September and October for the golden autumn warmth. Route not available between mid-July and late August. Please note that stays in Port de Gagnac are not possible on a Sunday night.
Temperature and rainfall in Rocamadour
Day 1 - Arrival day
Arrive and settle into your accommodation. Wander around the town to check out a restaurant for the evening, and perhaps enjoy an aperitif ...
Day 2 - Port de Gagnac (after taxi from Beaulieu) to Autoire (or Loubressac)
After a short taxi ride (included), a delightful day visiting the village of Glanes, the vineyards of the Coteaux de Glanes and the majestic castle of Castelnau (we recommend delaying your start if you want to catch the opening times – see below), before winding up the Autoire valley to its eponymous historic village and your next accommodation in a traditional inn. (4¼ hrs, 18km, CUSs 430m) (If our accommodation in Autoire is fully booked, we will book our simple hotel in Loubressac, which adds another 1.5 hrs to your day … but of course that makes the next day’s walk 1.5 hours shorter!)
Alternative: Arrange night before and continue from Port de Gagnac to Pesquies (saving 2hrs) or Castelnau (saving 2¾ hrs) – €15 supplement payable direct to driver.
Day 3 - Autoire (or Loubressac) to Carennac
Today’s scenic walk takes you to a dramatic waterfall, then out of the Autoire valley and up to a fine clifftop walk before descending to the pretty and historic village of Loubressac, which demands a ramble around the old part before continuing on (perhaps after a coffee at Le Cantou’s excellent restaurant). The second part takes you through pretty countryside with views out over the Dordogne valley, to the lovely village of Gintrac, before a final ascent and then descent to Romanesque Carennac. (Medium-hard: 4½ hrs, 16¼ km, CUSs 745m)
Alternatives: Either travel with the luggage as far as Loubressac (supplement of €15) (thereby missing the cascade, but also a steep climb up!) or all the way to Carennac.
Day 4 - Carennac to Meyronne
A long (if done in full), beautifully varied day starting and ending with two very different aspects of the Dordogne, and leading through woods and wide-open countryside, over the limestone plateau and into small villages. There’s a lot of ground to cover, but there’s also a lot of opportunity for striding out over easy paths and tracks. (Medium-hard: 5½ hrs, 22½ km, CUSs 735m)
Alternatives: Lift with the luggage to Floirac (saving 2¼ hrs) or even Montvalent (saving 4 hrs). Supplement of €15 payable to the driver.
Day 5 - Meyronne to Rocamadour
An easier day largely through remote farmland on the Causse, belying the busyness of your destination – the tourist hub that is Rocamadour. The village’s dramatic setting grew up around a shrine to a black Madonna, and is now one of France’s “Grand Sites”, visited by pilgrims and travellers alike. (Easy-medium: 3¼ hrs, 13¾ km, CUSs 425m)
Alternatives: none except to travel with the luggage all the way.
Day 6 - Rocamadour to Belcastel
Today you have a choice: a walk to Belcastel – an easy valley route, or an upper route of ups and downs, some steep, but nothing too long, with wide views at the top before a descent on quiet asphalt to the still-working Moulin de Cagnaguet, where it meets the valley route to wind alongside the river to Belcastel (for a late lunch at the Michelin-starred Hotel Pont de l’Ouysse perhaps). Return via the valley route, or take a taxi back for a second night in Rocamadour. The other option is obviously to spend the day exploring the extraordinary site of Rocamadour! (Valley: Easy– 3hrs, 13¼kms, CUSs 220m; Upper: Easy-medium– 3½hrs, 14km, CUSs 420m)
Leave for home – or have another night to explore Rocamadour further
ARRIVING BY AIR
Four airports serve the route – Brive is the nearest, but quite seasonal; Bordeaux is possible too; Toulouse is the furthest, but may have the best choice of flights; Bergerac, a little further, is very seasonal, and will need a taxi transfer all the way (it’s not a cheap option). Alternatively, fly into one of the Paris airports and take the train as far as Brive la Gaillarde, where our (included) taxi will pick you up. Intercontinental journeys use Paris.
Land by: Bordeaux 13:00; Toulouse 15:00; Bergerac no limit – taxi needed all the way; Brive no limit – supplement for taxi extension from airport.
Return flight earliest (for public transport options): Bordeaux 19:00 (but earlier with taxi to Brive rather than Souillac – supplement); Toulouse 12:00 (with very early start from Rocamadour); Bergerac no limit – taxi needed all the way; Brive no limit – supplement for taxi extension to airport.
No limit if opting to take a taxi all the way.
Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner (see below) before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights until we have confirmed that we have provisionally reserved accommodation for you.
For up-to-date schedules and flights from all airports check Skyscanner.
See “Getting to the start of the walk” below for transfer information.
ARRIVING BY TRAIN
Nearest railway station:
Start: Bretenoux-Biars (nearest, but limited number of trains, so the holiday cost includes a taxi from Brive).
Finish: Souillac – holiday cost includes taxi from Rocamadour (or Meyronne) to Souillac station
Sample journey by rail:
Via Paris: Gare d’Austerlitz to Brive ~4½ hrs
Souillac to Paris: direct to Paris ~5 hrs
We suggest thetrainline.com for times, ticket booking and other information.
ARRIVING BY CAR
Leave your car at the start of the route in a public car park in Beaulieu (no charge). Taxi back at end.
Getting to the start of the walk
The first hotel is in Beaulieu, and the last in Rocamadour, or Meyronne for shorter versions. Transfer times and methods are suggested for the three nearest airports below. For train arrival transfers see below.
Outward: Pre-booked taxi from airport to Beaulieu (included).
Return: Pre booked taxi (included) to Souillac (15 mins), train to Brive (30 mins), taxi off train station rank to airport – allow 1-1½ hours.
BORDEAUX MERIGNAC AIRPORT
Outward: shuttle bus to main station, train to Brive, pre-booked taxi from there to Beaulieu.
Return: pre-booked taxi Rocamadour to Souillac station (included); train to Bordeaux; shuttle bus to airport – allow 3 hours.
TOULOUSE BLAGNAC AIRPORT
Outward: shuttle bus to main station, train to Brive, pre booked taxi from there to Beaulieu.
Return: pre-booked taxi Rocamadour to Souillac station (included); train to Toulouse; shuttle bus to airport – allow 4+ hours unless arranging for the pre-booked taxi to take you to Brive.
Needs taxi all the way in both directions.
Train station transfers:
Outward: Pre-booked taxi from agreed arrival point (supplement for stations other than Brive)
Return: Taxi to Souillac station (included). Supplement for stations other than Souillac.
Full transfer advice, including timetables, is provided in your Walkers’ Pack. Contact us if you would like additional pre-booking information. For pre-bookable taxi prices see “Prices”.
Where You'll Stay
The Dordogne is a popular holiday destination, and as such, there is a good variety of hotels and B&Bs – some very simple, such as those at Port de Gagnac and Autoire, others more sophisticated, such as those in Loubressac and Meyronne. Do consider an upgrade in Beaulieu or Rocamadour, or perhaps upgrade to a tower room or suite in Meyronne.
All accommodations have ensuite bathrooms and WiFi. Only Le Turenne (upgrade) in Beaulieu, La Terrasse in Meyronne, and the Beau Site (upgrade) in Rocamadour have aircon.
Small riverside hotel with comfortable rooms and terrace restaurant.
Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne – Hôtel Les Flots Bleus (B&B)
Small riverside hotel with comfortable rooms and terraced restaurant.Website
Autoire – Auberge de la Fontaine (B&B)
Renovated 18th century village house in a historic village.Website
Rocamadour – Le Terminus des Pélerins (B&B)
In the heart of the medieval town, overlooking the Alzou valley. Popular local hotel and restaurant, with cosy rooms.Website
Rocamadour – Hôtel Beau Site (B&B)
19th century house tucked below the cliff, with a panoramic view.Website
Total 6 nights in double/twin room, all breakfasts, 3 picnics and 2 evening meals, luggage transfers between all hotels on walking route; taxi from Brive railway station at start to Beaulieu, and from Rocamadour to Souillac railway station at end; full Walkers Pack with route directions, maps, transfer and background information; local telephone support.
All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated, and are based on a standard booking in May. Prices may vary seasonally and a fixed price will be given to you before you commit.
Single Room Supplement (SRS): From £235
Lone Traveller Additional Supplement (LTAS): From £250
Large Party Saving (LPS): Groups of more than 2 people (on an identical itinerary, on the same booking and booked at the same time) – discount of at least £50 per person.
Maximum party size: 10
Extra nights possible throughout the route: Contact On Foot for ideas and prices
Pre-booked taxis: a taxi from Brive railway station to Beaulieu sur Dordogne and from your final hotel back to Souillac railway station is included in your holiday price – if you would like to come from or go back to another town, ask us for a quote.
Arrange locally: Local taxi as required
Sending Walkers Packs to addresses outside the UK: £10-£40 (per pack, location dependent)
Our local team
This particular part of France has been part of Emily’s life since she was a little girl holidaying here with her parents. It was one of the first places she visited after meeting Jeremy and as keen outdoors enthusiasts, they spent many subsequent holidays discovering the area on foot and by bicycle. In 2005 they decided to move here with their young family in order to build a house, and now live in the hills above Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne where they run a small business managing holiday houses.