Trek Notes - France

Quercy Perigord Walk

Quercy Perigord Walk

Day 1 You will be met by James at the café Hall 5 Arrivals at Toulouse airport. You will be driven to the pretty brick and stucco town of Moissac situated on the banks of the river Tarn. You will lunch in front of the fantastic Romanesque abbey. After lunch a talk about the tympanum and cloisters admired so much by Kenneth Clark in his series 'Civilisation'. Then you will continue by car, passing through the pretty bastide of Montjoi.before arriving at the charmingly restored stone mill house of Moulin de Labique near Villereal. Here you will find yourselves in the depths of the Haut Périgord Agenais where many of the great chevauchées led by the Earl of Derby/Duke of Lancaster and the Black Prince took place. The Moulin has excellent cuisine and delightful hosts. The bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms are wonderfully comfortable. Your first three nights are here.

Day 2 After a classic French breakfast we set off by foot to the great bastide of Monflanquin with the donkeys and full kit and Daniel the donkey man. You are in an area where the Hundred Years War was at its foremost. Bastides are dotted around within a few kilometres of each other. Some French controlled, some English controlled. Monflanquin was founded in 1252 by Alphonse de Poitiers, the brother of Louis IX, in order to keep an eye on the English sympathisers of the nearby Chateau Biron and Chateau Gavaudun. We will eat lunch here in the unusually sloping Place des Arcades. After lunch we will visit the Musée des Bastides in the square before returning by foot to the Moulin de Labique. Dinner at the Moulin. 10miles

Day 3 We leave by car to meet Daniel and donkeys again for a walk to the twelfth century bastide of Monpazier founded by our Edward 1st in the build up to the Hundred Years War. This is probably the most beautiful of all bastides.and we will lunch beneath the perfectly proportioned arcades of the Place des Cornières. In the afternoon we will continue by foot towards another historical masterpiece; Chateau Biron. A cup of tea at the Café du Chateau before a voluntary visit to this extraordinary chateau. From here we return to Moulin de Labique for our last dinner. 7 miles

Day 4 A drive in the morning to Floressas. We set off by foot for stunning views over the valleys of the Quercy Blanc. We will pass through vineyards and the one church three house village of Segos before arriving for a leisurely picnic with Diana beneath the shade of the orchard trees of Mademoiselle Goul. An option after lunch to take it easy at Le Vert to read, swim or paint etc. Otherwise we will walk through pastures littered with stands of orchids and wild flowers to the village of Sainte Croix. We will visit a Lavender Distillery on the way. Lavender Distilleries are a dying breed here in the Quercy and Maryse Theyvenet will explain to us how they obtain their oil. From Sainte Croix we will be picked up to be taken back to Le Vert passing by a little known fourteenth century frescoed Romanesque church painted in the typical Quercy style. Tea and dinner at Le Vert. 10 miles (or 4 miles)

Day 5 We leave in the vehicles to be dropped off in the Bouriane. We will walk to the charming vineyard of Domaine d'Ardailloux where we will picnic with Diana amongst the vines. They have won a gold medal for their Chardonnay here and their Gamay makes interesting lunchtime drinking. In the afternoon we will walk down hill to the mighty honey coloured castle of Bonaguil built immediately after the Hundred Years War having been sacked by the English in the early fifteenth century. Time here to wander around this masterpiece of martial architecture so admired by T.E. Lawrence. We return in the cars to Le Vert for tea and dinner. 4 miles

Day 6 A drive to the village of St Vincent Rives d'Olt, on the banks of the river Lot, to meet up with Daniel and his donkeys. We will walk along the river for the first part of the morning catching glimpses of loping herons before we move on up through woods where wild boar roam in plenty. We will arrive at the little port of Albas (which used to be the summer residence of the Prince Bishops of Cahors) for a drink on the river. Here the vehicles will pick us up for a drive to the village of Grezels and lunch at La Terrace where Monsieur Pignières insists that wine is much better for you than water. A visit after lunch to the Clos Triguedina, one of the oldest and most respected of the Cahors 'chateaux' to be shown around by the Baldès family. After a little dégustation we will return by car to Le Vert for tea. 9 miles

Day 7 We leave in the vehicles for Cahors. We follow the meandering river passing through the tiny bastide of Castelfranc, Chateau Lagrezette and stopping at the famous medieval Pont Valentré in Cahors and on to the hustle and bustle of the local market beneath the gothic façade of the cathedral. Lunch at the Rendez-Vous near the tympanum. After lunch we drive before walking through wooded valleys to arrive at the prestigious Chateau Mercuès; the old home of the Prince Bishops of Cahors. You spend the last night here in great style. 4 miles

Day 8 One and a quarter hour drive to Toulouse for departing flight.

Escorted departures:

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