Adventure vacations in France

Fortresses and Forests of the Dordogne


The Dordogne is a wonderful region in which to go riding in southwest France, known for its history, charming small villages, bastides, caves and regional foods.

The beauty of its picturesque landscape of overhanging cliffs, cultivated plains and rivers, of the dense and mysterious forests, verdant farmland and pastures, make the area an unforgettable and little-known destination for travelers. You will ride good horses through this beautiful and varied region with the opportunity to see many of the sites while taking the path less traveled.

Enjoy not only the history and people of the region, but its unique and beautiful accommodations, and in particular – the food. Magret, confit, cheese, warm fresh breads, wine, foie gras, fresh fruits and vegetables are just some of the area’s specialties to savour and enjoy throughout the week.

You will be staying in quiet but lovely French village hotels, an old water mill converted into a bed and breakfast, and traditional country hotels.

Whether dining in a local restaurant or hotel, meals will be a sampling of wonderful French regional cuisine. Breakfast and most evening meals are taken in the hotels where you will be staying. The well-done lunches are usually picnics taken on the outskirts of villages. They may consist of pâté, ham, cold seafood, salads, fresh fruit, cold meats, cheeses, fresh breads, wine, beer, juices and soft drinks.

  • Overview:
    The mixed breed horses used on this ride are well suited to their environment. These hardy horses stand 14-15.2 hh. English, Western, and MacClellan type saddles with sheepskins, cruppers, saddlebags, breast collars and bridles with curb, or snaffle bits and hackamores are used. Most horses neck rein. The tacking and un-tacking of the horses is taken care of by the staff.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Hardy mixed breeds
  • Trip Pace:
  • Tack:
    Western, English trekking, McClellan
  • Weight limit:
    190 lbs

This is not a recommended option for non-riders.

Bergerac train station

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

You will be met at Bergerac railway station or airport at 3:30 pm and taken to your hotel in the countryside.

Day 2

After breakfast and allocation of the horses, ride through the countryside, and at times ride along the famous Saint-Jacques de Compostelle trail. By mid-day you will arrive at the Chateau de Biron. Its architecture spans eight centuries and it is one of the best-preserved castles in Europe. Lunch will be a picnic just below the castle, which you will visit afterwards. Ride into the Dordogne in the afternoon to Monpazier, the bastide famous for its superb architecture, which was founded by Edward I, King of England in 1284. Visit Monpazier, swim in the hotels pool, or just relax before dinner and overnight in this beautiful bastide, known for its historic atmosphere.

Riding time: 4 hrs in the morning, 2 hrs in the afternoon.

Day 3

This morning’s ride continues further north to the beautiful bastide of Montferrand-du-Perigord. Located on the Couze River, the village is dominated by a half ruined chateau from the XII century. A listed site, it has conserved the authentic charm of its old houses, some of which are beautiful examples of Perigord homes with their Renaissance facades. The old homes, pigeonniers and Roman chapel all add to the charm of this picturesque village. Legend claims the village has stood on the plateau since prehistoric times, though the oldest remaining structures today are its XII century chateau and church. Enjoy lunch in the village under the XVI century covered market before taking a few minutes to explore this lovely village. The afternoon’s ride takes you further north through the farmlands and forests of the area, before arriving at your accommodations. Before dinner, enjoy an optional visit of the nearby village of Cadouin. With its XII century Romanesque church and Gothic cloister, the abbey of Cadouin is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Riding time: 2 hrs in the morning and 2 hrs in the afternoon

Day 4

Today’s ride continues through the Bessède forest before arriving just outside another beautiful and unique bastide – Belvès. Classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, you will be spending the evening within the walls of this XI century fortified village. In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to drive to the Gouffre de Proumeyssac – baptized the Crystal Cathedral. The largest developed abyss in the Perigord, the Cavern of Proumeyssac is a beautiful underground vault decorated with a multitude of crystallization. The visit is available in English and includes a beautiful light show at the beginning of the tour. After returning to Belvès, you can either relax at the hotel or take a tour of the village before dinner.

Riding time: 3 hrs in the morning

Day 5

Ride south now, through the chestnut woods of the Dordogne stopping for lunch at a lovely family run duck farm for a special tasting of the farm’s products, including “foie gras” and local sweet white wine from Monbazillac. In the afternoon, enjoy a ride through the forest before arriving at the medieval village of Villefranche du Périgord, a XIII century bastide built by Alphonse de Poitiers, brother of king St Louis IX. Enjoy a relaxed stroll through the village before dinner at your hotel. Your evening meal will again include some of the area’s specialties for you to try.

Riding time: 2.5 hrs in the morning and and 2.5 hrs in the afternoon

Day 6

This morning ride to the Chateau de Bonaguil, a fortress built on a rock face in the XV century. Your picnic lunch is followed by a tour of this wonderful castle. Dating back to the Hundred Years War, Chateau Bonaguil was classified as a Historical Monument in the XIX century, and is remarkable to explore. Then ride on through woods passing through pristine villages, vineyards, and fields of wheat and sunflowers. The ride ends at a charming country hotel. Your farewell dinner in this lovely place is a wonderful end to a great week of riding.

Riding time: 3 hrs in the morning and 3 hrs in the afternoon

Day 7

After breakfast transfer to Bergerac railway station, arriving by 12 noon.

Itinerary Addendum


Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

The Prestige ride is also offered on the same dates, guaranteed according to interest.
Additional Pricing Information:
Prices are based on the dollar/euro exchange and are subject to change. Ride price is set, guaranteed, and final at the time deposit is paid.

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Preferred Trip Dates

Fortresses and Forests of the Dordogne
May 21, 2024
January 1, 1970
January 1, 1970

Group Information

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The guide was an excellent leader and host. While our hotels and meals were excellent, he also prepared picnic lunches that were 4-Star! The venue for the trip was both exciting and interesting, stopping to visit castles, chateaus, caves and villages of great historical importance in French history. It was an unforgettable... Read more  

Pastore, 2019