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TRA 144 From Cave Paintings to Cathedrals: An Historical and Cultural Exploration of France's Dordogne

Course Description

Join us on this 16-day journey through the west of France, beginning with the splendid 18th-century commercial buildings of Bordeaux, then winding through the vineyards of Aquitaine, exploring the chateaux towering over the Dordogne River, marvelling at the Old-Stone-Age cave paintings of Lascaux, staying in the charming medieval town of Sarlat, and ending at the 12th-century fortified town of Carcassonne.

Our leisurely itinerary will take us to six Unesco World Heritage Sites: Bordeaux, the 11th-century Abbey of La Sauve-Majeure, Périgueux's Cathedral of Saint-Front, the prehistoric caves, the narrow medieval streets of Conque, and the walls of Carcassonne. We'll explore the vineyards of Saint-Émilion and Corbières, the Gallo-Roman city of Vessuna, the pilgrimage city of Rocamadour, the cave village of Roc Saint-Christophe, and the prosperous 16th-century buildings of Albi.

At the charming village of Roque Gageac we'll take a short trip down the Dordogne in a wooden boat modelled on the traditional river craft of the region, and near Carcassonne we'll cruise the Canal du Midi. We'll visit some small but fascinating museums: a Gallo-Roman house decorated with painted plaster; the house of Champollion, the scholar who deciphered the Egyptian hieroglyphs of the Rosetta Stone; and a bishop's palace holding the world's largest collection of works by Toulouse Lautrec.

En route we'll enjoy wine tastings at chateaux, and you will have lots of time for exploring, shopping, and dining on your own.

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