GARDENS OF THE DORDOGNE
COUNTRY LIFE in association with Boxwood Tours, Quality Garden Holidays
The Dordogne and Vézère rivers run through the southern and eastern region of Périgueux in south western France. This area is exceptional for numerous prehistoric sites, range of produce, outstanding natural beauty, and for many contrasting high-calibre gardens. Most of the area is a limestone plateau with forests of oak and chestnut trees supporting a rich variety of local produce including the famous black Périgord truffles, duck, foie-gras, walnuts, chestnuts and strawberries. A high concentration of châteaux accounts for some exceptional formal gardens, including Losse, Hautefort and Eyrignac. In contrast, Sardy and Marqueyssac are very informal and romantic. We will be accommodated at Le Vieux Logis Hotel, a member of Relais & Châteaux, in the village of Trémolat in the lower Dordogne, a former manor house with ornamental gardens and a gastronomic restaurant that has received one Michelin star, as well as three Gault Millau "toques" ("Grande Table").
Read a Country Life article by writer & tour leader, Kirsty Fergusson: 'It's box but not as we know it...'
Day 1: Tuesday 19th September
Depart London Gatwick Airport at 06:40 on BA2786, arriving in Bordeaux Airport at 09:15. Please note, as the outbound flight is unavoidably very early, to ease your travel we are offering free accommodation on Monday 18th September at The Hilton Hotel, London Gatwick.We can also help with alternative travel, flight upgrades and accommodation in Bordeaux should you wish to extend your stay. From the airport, we journey to the Dordogne and a private château for a tour of an exuberant potager and a lovely lunch together. In the afternoon, we visit a private garden on a domestic scale but of exceptional merit surrounding a beautifully restored country residence. We then travel the short distance to Le Vieux Logis with time to settle before dining together in the Michelin starred restaurant.
Day 2: Wednesday 20th September
At the Château de Hautefort we are invited to view some of the interior as well as the immaculate formal gardens. Following lunch together we visit the medieval Château de Losse overlooking the river Vézère in the heart of the Vallee de l’Homme. Jaqueline van der Schueren and her late husband have beautifully restored and embellished the château and gardens with great sensitivity to the location: formal espaliers and hedging of hornbeam, yew and box direct your eye and feet, protecting & enclosing the castle; beds of lavender, rosemary and old roses perfume the air of the inner Courtyard. Return to the hotel to dine together.
Day 3: Thursday 21st September
Les Jardins du Manoir d’Eyrignac are considered one of France’s very best formal topiary gardens. Laid out as Italianate gardens in the 18th century, they were transformed in the 19th century into informal English parkland, remaining as such until the mid-20th century when they were restored to the original Italianate design. Lunch follows at Le Petit Manoir a 15th century town house with smoky blue wooden shutters in the heart of the small town of Sarlat with time to walk around the town. We are then invited to view the gardens of Château Veyrignac with stunning views of the river Dordogne at its most beautiful.
Day 4: Friday 22nd September
In contrast to Eyrignac, known for its magnificent formal topiary, Les Jardins de Marqueyssac are considered one of France’s very best informal topiary gardens: located high on a rocky spur above the river Dordogne with stunning views on three sides, informal terraces of billowing topiary float high in the clouds. Lunch is included in the beautiful village of La Roque-Gageac before we return to the hotel to rest and change. In the late afternoon, we venture to see a charming country garden. A Chartreuse is a traditional 17th or 18th century hunting lodge and country estate. The gardens of Chartreuse du Colombier include a walled garden, potager, baroque pavilion, avenues, and borders full of old roses and traditional flowers. Following the garden visit we are invited to dine with owner M. Bernard Hautefort in the Chartreuse.
Day 5: Saturday 23rd September
Another special invitation, this time by owner, M. Imbs to visit Sardy, a romantic garden of Florentine and English influences that steps down from the 18th century farm house to the water basin and lower gardens surrounded by its own vineyards. Lunch will be included before return to Bordeaux airport for flight BA2789. Check in at 18:45 for the 20:45 flight to London Gatwick arriving at 21:20.
How much & what's included:
The price per person: £3325. Single supplement: £300 (levied by the hotel).
The price includes: four nights’ accommodation at Le Vieux Logis; three evening meals at Le Vieux Logis; one evening meal at a private garden; and five lunches, all with local wines; with return flights from London Gatwick. Those wishing to make their own flight arrangements should state this on the booking form and we will deduct £75 per person from the tour price. **Please note that, as the outbound flight is unavoidably very early, to ease your travel we are offering free accommodation on Monday 18th September at The Hilton Hotel, London Gatwick. We are also happy to help make alternative travel arrangements on request. One suggestion would be to travel from London City Airport at 11:15 on Monday 18th September and to then transfer to Le Vieux Logis, dependent on availability. Please do ring the Boxwood office on 01341 241717 if you wish to discuss these options.**
This tour is financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate