France’s Magical Dordogne
France’s Magical Dordogne
in a Private Castle
May 23 – 30, 2020
Join Alla Campagna Experiences Founder and professional tour organizer Ralph Velasco for a truly unforgettable stay in a private castle from the 11th-century. This trip will concentrate on the truly magical Périgord Vert region of the Dordogne department of southwestern France.
Guests will be picked up by private vehicle for a group transfer from Angoulême’s train station to the privately-owned Château Marouatte.
Scroll down for a complete day-to-day itinerary and more details about this experience.
INFO ABOUT CHÂTEAU MAROUATTE
Situated on 270 acres of gorgeously manicured grounds, but also wild forest, the castle is complete with comfortable and well-appointed single and double rooms, each with private bath. There’s also a large heated swimming pool, centuries old winery, games room, dining room, chapel (now used as a second dining room) and the second largest pigeon house in all the Périgord Vert.
Needless to say, the castle is a destination in and of itself and has to be visited to be appreciated.
Château Marouatte, as the French call it, is a genuine Medieval castle complete with battlements, moat, and guard towers set in natural woodlands and fields in one on the most beautiful and unspoiled parts of France. Richly decorated in antiques, art, tapestries and stained glass (and of course suits of armor) the castle interior is a feast for the eyes. Facilities also include a tennis court and Wi-Fi throughout most of the property.
The site dates back to Roman times when it was a guard post on the Roman road that runs below. The castle was probably a wooden fort during the dark ages converted to stone in the late 1100s. The current castle dates from the early 1200s with the outer bailey added in 1569. We know it was fought over between the English and French for the next 300 years and also played a part in the French wars of religion.
ABOUT THE PÉRIGORD VERT OF THE DORDOGNE
Located in what is called the Périgord Vert in the northwest Dordogne, Château Marouatte (a.k.a. “the castle”) is about an hour’s drive south of Angoulême train station with high-speed trains to and from Paris in about two hours. Bordeaux Airport (BOD) is approximately 2 hours by car and Bergerac is about 1:20.
Getting to the castle from the US or UK we advise taking the TGV fast train from Paris Montparnasse station (~2 hours) or Charles De Gaulle (CDG) Airport in just under 3 hours to Angoulême.
Participants will be picked up as a group on the afternoon of May 23rdfrom Angoulême station, or you may choose to rent your own car for maximum flexibility during the trip.
May 23 – 30, 2020
The cost for this trip is:
$4,800 per person in Double Occupancy.
Please add and additional $400 for Single Supplement if you’d like your own room throughout.
Register for This Experience in 4 Simple Steps:
- Submit a Reservation Form.
- Read and agree to our Terms & Conditions Form.
- Provide a scan or smartphone photo of your passport’s signature page.
- Send in your $1,000 deposit or full payment.
To request the Reservation Form and Terms & Conditions for this experience please contact us at.
To make payment, you can use a credit card via PayPal (to request invoice) or deposit a check directly into our bank account at any Bank of America branch. Depositing a check affords a $50 per person discount.
We’ll send you all the payment details if you’ll CONTACT US HERE.
Ralph Velasco is a professional travel photographer, author and international guide and he’s the Founder/CEO (Chief Experience Officer) of PhotoEnrichment Adventures and Alla Campagna Experiences.
For more than 10 years, he’s organized and led more than 100 international tours in a variety of locations around the world, just some of which include Romania, Portugal, Iceland, Egypt, Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Bhutan, Nepal, Central Europe, Morocco, Turkey, the Adriatic, Cambodia, Tuscany, Spain, Vietnam, India, and other destinations. Additionally, as of this writing he’s organized and led 18 fully-licensed People-to-People exchange programs to Cuba.
Although originally from Chicago, for more than 6 years now Ralph has been what’s come to be called “location-independent,” which simply means he has no permanent home and lives on the road and at 30,000 feet scouting, administering and leading his highly-rated and very popular tours which boast a more than 42 percent rate of repeat clients.
He’s been a member of several championship big boat sailing teams in Chicago, San Diego and Newport Beach, California; has his private pilot’s license (SEL); and speaks Spanish.
For the past 10 years Ralph has been a regular speaker about travel and photography at the prestigious Travel & Adventure Shows throughout the United States, as well as the New York Times Travel Show. He’s also been a featured speaker at the Travel Bloggers Exchange in Sweden, Ireland, Spain and Israel; the IOETI Conference in Cairo, Egypt; and has taught travel photography at U.C. Irvine Extension Program, Saddleback College, Santa Ana College, the Irvine Fine Arts Center, REI Outdoor School and others.
Ralph is Creator of Tour Organizer Training and an online course called Get Paid to Travel where he teaches everyday people, step by step, how to organize and lead their own tours.
He’s got a B.S. in Small Business & Entrepreneurship from the Indiana University School of Business and an M.I.B.A. (Masters in International Business Administration) from United States International University in Mexico City, Mexico and San Diego, California.
Daily Trip Itinerary
Most meals are included and B = Breakfast, L = Lunch and D = Dinner
Items mentioned below in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS are included in your fee for this experience.
Today you’ll want to take the TGV high-speed train from Gare Montparnasse or Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) or elsewhere to the station in Angoulême. You can also arrive via other methods but please know we have a single pickup time and meeting point at the station in Angoulême.
5:00 pm (subject to change) – Please arrange your train or other transportation to Angoulême to arrive in plenty of time to make your GROUP TRANSFER to castle.
These are approximate times as exact train schedules are not released until about 60 days out from the date of travel. Additional instructions for purchasing your tickets will be provided as the trip approaches.
Note: Guests arriving outside of this time frame will need to make their own arrangements to get to the castle, less than an hour away by car, but this is not easy to do, that is unless you rent a car (be sure to get a GPS), which is perfectly acceptable.
6:00 pm – Check in, relax and then GUIDED VISIT of Château du Marouatte by the castle’s owner, Miles Copeland, who plans to be with us throughout the trip.
7:30 pm –WELCOME DINNER at castle where you can enjoy a wonderful meal made by the castle’s chef and get to know your fellow travelers in person.
9:00 am – BREAKFAST at castle
10:00 am – Morning visit with time to walk around and discover the postcard town of Bourdeilles, situated right on the banks of River Dronne with ENTRY TO CHÂTEAU DE BOURDEILLES. Be sure to look for the large redwood tree by the bridge.
12:00 pm – After we’ll TRANSFER and enjoy LUNCH at a riverside restaurant called Cabanon, located in the nearby village of Creyssac.
2:00 pm – Afternoon free to relax, swim or sit by the pool, play in the large game room, take a nearby hike (be sure to know your way back) or simply enjoy the castle grounds and interior.
7:30 pm – Tonight we’ll have DINNER at the castle.
8:00 am – BREAKFAST on your own at the castle.
9:00 am – TRANSFER and ENTRY TO VISIT Grotte du Villars, a truly incredible underground system of caves with a variety of stalactites and stalagmites that will surely impress. There are also several paintings estimated to be upwards of 20,000 years old that we’ll be able to see. According to the manager and owner of this site, the cave system is thought to cover an area of 26 km in total, but the part we’ll visit makes up just 500 meters, or roughly .02% of the entire area.
Note: It can be cold in the cave so be sure to wear at least a sweater or jacket. And, sorry, but no photos are allowed inside the cave during our approximately 45-minute visit.
10:30 am – Next, we’ll visit Abbaye de Boschaud, an abandoned and derelict structure that is certainly worth a stop.
11:00 am – After our visit to the Abbaye you’ll have some free time to walk around another beautiful village called St. Jean de Côle.
1:00 pm – Next, we’ll have a truly unforgettable LUNCH at a restaurant to be announced later.
3:00 pm – TRANSFER back to hotel and afternoon free to relax, swim or sit by the pool, play in the large game room, take a nearby hike or simply enjoy the castle grounds.
8:00 pm – As a group back at the castle we’ll have a LIGHT DINNER of aperitifs, or light but substantial snacks, often with drinks.
8:00 am – BREAKFAST on your own at the castle.
9:00 am – Early TRANSFER to the city of Périgeuex with time to walk around, shop and have lunch on your own at any of the many restaurants you’ll find. Périgeuex also has an impressive church and other sites you can choose to see and visit.
2:00 pm – TRANSFER back to the castle for afternoon free to relax, swim or sit by the pool, play in the large game room, take a nearby hike or simply enjoy the castle grounds.
7:30 pm – DINNER as a group at castle.
8:00 am – BREAKFAST at the castle.
9:00 am – TRANSFER to the nearby town of Brantôme with its impressive Benedictine Abbey de Brantôme, which was founded in 769 AD by Charlemagne. Here you’ll have plenty of free time to walk its side streets, riverfront and along the sheer cliff walls where cave homes, shops and even the church and abbaye have been carved out of the solid rock.
Plan to have lunch on your own at any of a number of restaurants.
- Le Moulin de l’Abbaye, located at 1 avenue Pierre de Bourdeilles 24310
is a gorgeous 1-star Michelin restaurant located right on the river in Brantôme (reservations required – 05 53 05 80 22)
- La Guinguette, located at 25 bis rue Victor Hugo 24310 in Brantôme
is a gorgeous restaurant in a beautiful setting on the river and opens at noon each day.
2:00 pm – TRANSFER back to the castle for a free afternoon to relax, swim or sit by the pool, play in the large game room, take a nearby hike or simply enjoy the castle grounds.
7:30 pm – DINNER at the castle as a group.
9:00 am – BREAKFAST on your own at the castle.
10:00 am – TRANSFER to a town called Neuvic for VISIT to Caviar du Neuvic where we can learn about the process of raising sturgeon and how their eggs are collected and processed for caviar. We’ll also have a caviar tasting at the end of our visit.
11:30 am – Next, we’ll drive just down the way to VISIT Moulin de la Veyssiere, a walnut mill where we can see the age-old process of processing walnuts and hazelnuts into very tasty oils (interestingly enough, this region is known for walnut and hazelnut production, not for olives). Those who wish can also purchase these products to bring home as gifts or for personal use.
12:30 – LUNCH as a group at a very nice restaurant while in Neuvic.
3:00 pm – TRANSFER back and afternoon free to relax, swim or sit by the pool, play in the large game room, take a nearby hike or simply enjoy the castle grounds.
8:00 pm – DINNER as a group at the castle.
9:00 am – Casual BREAKFAST on your own at the castle (please keep in mind that lunch will be a little later today).
10:00 am – TRANSFER to Market Day and then meet for a COFFEE at a predetermined spot in the nearby town of Ribérac.
12:00 pm – TRANSFER back to castle for some free time.
2:00 pm – Late afternoon COOKING DEMONSTRATION & MEAL where we can all participate in the preparation of the meal. As we’ll be eating lunch a bit later today, this meal should be enough to get you through until our wine tasting this evening with light aperitifs, so eat up!
4:00 pm – Afternoon and evening free to relax, swim or sit by the pool, play in the large game room, take a nearby hike or simply enjoy the castle grounds.
8:00 pm – FAREWELL WINE TASTING WITH APERITIFS
Unfortunately, your trip comes to an end today so it’ll be time to say goodbye to new and old friends. Be sure to pack all your belongings, check out, leave your key and have everything with you for your GROUP TRANSFER to Angoulême.
8 am – BREAKFAST at the castle.
10 am – TRANSFER to train in Angoulême.
11:46 am > 2:41 pm – estimated timing of train from Angoulême to Paris CDG Terminal 2. Timing subject to change and this is the only train that we can provide a transfer for.
Regarding Your Flight Home
In order to give yourself time to arrive at the airport and check in, if flying from Paris’ CDG please arrange your onward flight no earlier than 7:00 pm local time (subject to change, and please don’t make any non-refundable travel arrangements until given the go ahead by PEA administrators).
You can certainly choose to stay over in Paris to enjoy its many sites and things to do, or transfer on your own to Bordeaux or other parts of France or Europe to continue your experience, but please arrange these additional services on your own.
We wish you safe travels and happy memories of what will surely be an unforgettable trip!
SUBJECT TO CHANGE: Again, we’re estimating that you’ll want to schedule your flight to leave the evening of Saturday, May 30, after 7:00 pm local time, to allow plenty of time to comfortably make your onward flight.
For more information and to register for this trip,
please contact us at admin@AllaCampagna.com
REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS MARCH 23, 2020
PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS A PRELIMINARY ITINERARY
AND THAT ALL ASPECTS OF IT ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
- All accommodations at Château de Marouatte in a single or double occupancy room during trip dates (all rooms on this trip have private bath). A single supplement applies for those wishing to have their own room throughout the trip. Please specify Twin (2 beds) or Double (one large bed) if you’re sharing (certain room configurations may be limited).
- Group transfers from and back to Angoulême train station to and from the castle.
- Transportation for day trips organized as group activities.
- Meals: All Breakfasts (B), 4 Lunches (L) and 6 Dinners (D), including table water, soft drinks, beer, house wine and/or coffee/tea.
- Bottled water is provided in each room at the castle.
- All entry fees for group activities as outlined in the itinerary below.
- Flights or other transportation to and from France.
- Transfers from and to CDG or other airport(s) from and to your hotel (if applicable).
- Pre- or post-trip accommodations outside of our May 23 – 30, 2020 tour dates.
- Transportation to and from Angoulême via TGV or other method (your transfers each way are only included on above tour dates).
- Meals not specifically outlined in the itinerary as included.
- Drinks or other alcoholic beverages beyond table water, soft drinks, beer, house wine and coffee/tea provided during included meals at the castle (may vary for group meals outside the castle).
- Items of a personal nature.
Services begin as of your included group pick up in private vehicle at the train station in Angoulême, which is located just 50 minutes from the castle. You can take the TGV high-speed train from Paris, Bordeaux or other parts of France directly to Angoulême for a reasonable fee.
As the trip approaches more details about getting to and from Angoulême will be provided but guests will be required to arrange their own arrival airport transfers, accommodations outside of the castle and any other transportation not mentioned as included below. Guests can also choose to rent a car, or share with others, in order to have their own transportation throughout the trip, which may come in handy, especially during free time, but know that group transportation is provided for our scheduled activities and your free time can always be spent at the castle.
About the TGV Train to and from Angoulême
For more information on the trains in France, please start your search at OUI.sncf which, according to their website “is the official European distribution channel of the French railways (SNCF) for online sales of high-speed and conventional rail travel throughout France and Europe.” You might also compare prices using RailEurope.com.
All aspects of this itinerary are subject to change. We ask that you remain flexible as there are often circumstances beyond our control and changes may be necessary.
The trip leader, tour operator and/or tour coordinator reserve the right to make adjustments to the published itinerary whenever, in their sole discretion, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort and/or safety of the group.