Jewels of Southwest France 2025

Jewels of Southwest France 2025

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Jewels of Southwest France 2025

11 Days Starting and ending in Bordeaux

Visiting: France

Tour operator:

Back-Roads Touring

Tour code:

BTBBB5

This tour is no longer available

Tour Overview

Delicious oysters. Exquisite wines. Rich Bayonne ham. Take time to savour the finer things in life on this journey of discovery through Southwest France. Starting in Bordeaux (just a two-hour train journey from Paris), we’ll seek out the region’s gastronomic gems and treasured vineyards – travelling over soaring mountains, along the Atlantic coast, and into enchanting castles and prehistoric caves as we go.

Highlights

  • Savour the tantalising flavours of fresh Arcachon Bay oysters, Bayonne ham, Blanquette de Limoux wine and world-famous Bordeaux reds

  • Admire the famous prehistoric paintings of the UNESCO-protected Lascaux Cave at Lascaux II

  • Visit the UNESCO-listed medieval citadel of Carcassonne

Itinerary

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Day 1: Bordeaux (France)

Accommodation: Hôtel de Sèze (or similar)

Meals Included: Dinner

Where better to begin our journey of Southwest France than beautiful Bordeaux? After meeting the group, we’ll clink glasses over a delicious welcome meal. Bon appétit!

Day 2: Bordeaux – Arcachon Bay – Biarritz

Accommodation: Hôtel Georges VI (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning we''ll move on to Atlantic Ocean-fringed Arcachon Bay, where we''ll get our first taste of coastal cuisine with fresh oysters and a glass of local wine from one of the port''s traditional cabins. We''ll then stop to see the Great Dune of Pilat – Europe''s highest sand dune, with panoramic views over the bay. This afternoon, we’ll round off our day in the glamorous seaside town of Biarritz – where we’ll have the evening free to wander the waterfront promenade and sample more local delicacies at our leisure.

Day 3: Biarritz – Bayonne – Biarritz

Accommodation: Hôtel Georges VI (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Today we’ve a full day taking in the beauty of the French Basque Country. First, we’ll indulge our cultural sides in Bayonne – an art and history hub just a short drive away from Biarritz. Here, we’ll discover a local family business going back three generations at the Bayonne Ham Museum – where we’ll indulge in a ham tasting before returning to the hotel for an afternoon of leisure time.

Day 4: Biarritz – Lourdes – Midi-Pyrénées

Accommodation: Hotel du Barry (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today we’ll turn to the east – and on to beautiful Pau. We’ll then travel through the Midi-Pyrénées region (along roads made famous by the Tour de France), pausing en route at the spiritual town of Lourdes. Whilst here, we’ll have the opportunity to see the Sanctuaire Notre-Dame de Lourdes and the Massabielle Grotto – a significantly holy site within the Christian faith. In keeping with the spirit of our surroundings, we’ll check into our atmospheric accommodation before enjoying this evening’s included dinner.

Day 5: Midi-Pyrénées – Carcassonne

Accommodation: Hôtel Le Donjon or Mercure Carcassonne Cité (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Following the trail of knights, we’ll continue our own crusade through the Midi-Pyrénées and past picture-perfect bastides. Along the way, we’ll visit a local winery and enjoy a glass of the region’s speciality – a sparkling Blanquette. Our final stop of the day will be medieval Carcassonne, where we’ll have the evening to spend at our leisure.

Day 6: Carcassonne

Accommodation: Hôtel Le Donjon or Mercure Carcassonne Cité (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today you’ll be free to discover Carcassonne’s chivalric secrets at your own pace. From the alleys, passageways and 52 towers of the UNESCO-listed medieval citadel (which dates back two millennia) to the Château Comtal and its ramparts, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Later this evening, we’ll come together for an included dinner at a local restaurant – swapping stories and photographs of the day’s discoveries.

Day 7: Carcassonne – Albi Region

Accommodation: Hôtel des Consuls (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today we’ll leave the stronghold of Carcassonne behind and make tracks to the ‘red city’ of Albi. Here, we’ll enjoy a leisurely walking tour around the town – taking in the magnificent Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile as we go. Enjoy some free time for lunch before we venture onwards to our hotel for the night that’s tucked away in a nearby medieval village typical to the Albi region. Tonight, we’ll savour a sumptuous meal together.

Day 8: Albi Region – Sarlat-La-Canéda

Accommodation: Hôtel Saint-Albert (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll have a little free time to wander the village’s charming streets. Then, it’s onwards to one of the most beautiful towns in the Dordogne: Sarlat-la-Canéda. En route, we''ll stop off in several idyllic French villages to stretch our legs and admire the scenery.

Day 9: Sarlat-La-Canéda – Beynac-Et-Cazenac – Sarlat-La-Canéda

Accommodation: Hôtel Saint-Albert (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

On the itinerary this morning: a stroll through stunning Sarlat-la-Canéda with our Tour Leader, including a visit to the town’s traditional market. We’ll follow this up with a delightful visit to the riverside town of Beynac-et-Cazenac. We’ll enjoy some free time to explore the town’s magnificently well-preserved medieval château – which has kept watch over the Dordogne from its hilltop position for nine centuries. Afterwards, we’ll return to Sarlat-la-Canéda for an evening spent at our leisure – perhaps exploring the picturesque alleyways or dining at one of the charming local restaurants in town.

Day 10: Sarlat-La-Canéda – Vézère Valley – Sarlat-La-Canéda

Accommodation: Hôtel Saint-Albert (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today our travels through the Dordogne will lead us to the prehistoric paintings of the UNESCO-protected Lascaux Cave – which was discovered when it was happened upon by a group of teenagers back in 1940. We’ll admire the replica Lascaux Cave II before making a stop at the pretty village of Les Eyzies. Then, we’ll follow the ‘Royal Road’, winding between craggy rocks and flowing rivers until we get to a local truffle farm. Local guides will give us an exclusive lesson in seeking out the rare delicacies and we’ll have a chance to savour some delicious truffle products during a tasting session. Tonight, we’ll come together in Sarlat-la-Canéda and savour a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 11: Sarlat-La-Canéda – Saint-Émilion – Bordeaux

Meals Included: Breakfast

We’ll spend the final day of our tour in historic Saint-Émilion, a village perched above beautiful rolling countryside and countless vineyards. Here, we’ll have the chance to sample some of the region’s ‘heavy reds’ and say a final santé. We’ll then return to Bordeaux, where we’ll say our goodbyes.

What's Included

  • Meals
    10 breakfasts, 5 dinner

  • Transport

    Premium mini-coach transportation

  • Guide

    Experienced Tour Leader and Driver

Check out our Q&As

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    We have solo capacity, however no single share.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Upon final payments, we will distribute E-Documentation to all of our guests. Dont forget we also have our App to download as an added feature.

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    Like-minded travellers awaiting the opportunity to explore the less explored regions. Interests in food, wine, history, art as well as wartimes there will be a great mix of people to connect with on tour.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    We have our COVID Assurance Policy, Book now and relax knowing you are covered under our new COVID-19 Assurance Policy. At no additional cost to you, new bookings are now 100% refundable in the unfortunate event you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or unable to travel due to government-enforced lock downs prior to your scheduled departure date.

  • What level of mobility do I need?

    You need to be fit enough to get on and off the vehicle on a regular basis, and to walk both to attractions and around towns and villages. You also need to be able to walk up and down stairs in the hotels and use a shower over the bath. We frequently use traditional style hotels and the majority will not have lifts or ground floor rooms.

  • Who goes on Back-Roads tours?

    The majority of our guests come from Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. All tour commentaries are in English. Our tours appeal to those looking for a more relaxing style of travel, and who enjoy culture, good food, meeting like-minded people and exploring destinations in depth.

  • What is the minimum age for any Back-Roads Touring trip?

    The minimum age on all of our trips is 18 years.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    All Hotels in line with protocols following the World Health Organisation meet and exceed requirements for all Touring with us.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Back-Roads Touring has been operating from the UK for over 30 years.

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    Inline with our booking flexibility policy, you are able to make as many changes as required up to 60 days from departue - with 1 last included up until 30 days out.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Generally no, but in extraordinary circumstances it can be looked at.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

Amanda O'  

Jewels of Southwest France 2025

22-Jun-2023

Cities visited, location and quality of the accommodation. Included meals and tours with local guides were excellent.

Anonymous  

Jewels of Southwest France 2025

13-Jul-2023

Tour was excellent - scenery was fantastic & our tour guide & driver were both fantastic

Neil Bl  

Jewels of Southwest France 2025

21-Jul-2023

Value for money Not Rolls Royce but very good

Patricia Be  

Jewels of Southwest France 2025

13-Jul-2023

The tour and places we visited was outstanding, everyday was exciting. We didn’t drive all day, we had many sightseeing stops to break the journey. One criticism is that the stop at Lourdes was too short if you wanted to see the Churches and buy the bottles then collect the Holy Water and then see the grotto.

Margaret Co  

Jewels of Southwest France 2025

15-Jun-2023

Great tour through some beautiful country .Terrific guide -Max and driver- Alex and everyone on the group got on well A couple of the hotels were disappointing-clean but very basic but as they are just for sleep it was fine.It was my first Backroads tour and Ill definitely go with them again

Anonymous  

Jewels of Southwest France 2025

27-May-2023

Overall the tour was good. The first day’s drive from Bordeaux to Biarritz was too long. It was good to see the “backroads”, but I think the tour should have returned to freeway sooner, giving the group more time to spend in Biarritz. Overall the accommodation was very good, location and standard. However, the accommodation for the last 2 nights of the tour, in Sarlat was below standard! Whilst the location was very good, the standard was poor. The rooms were very hot and when asked about air conditioning, we were advised that it was in need of repair. Opening the windows was not an option as many rooms faced a busy (noisy) street. When some of the group indicated that they would move to another hotel, the air conditioning was “miraculously” repaired. Personally, I would have liked more time in Lourdes. I was disappointed that the group were told as we’re leaving that the house where Bernadette lived was just up the street from the Lourdes site. Had I known this, I would have visited the house site. Otherwise a great tour!

Elizabeth Eu  

Jewels of Southwest France 2025

18-May-2023

A beautiful part of France. I was so glad I found Back Roads tour through this delightful region.

Anonymous  

Jewels of Southwest France 2025

05-Oct-2023

The timing of some stops was not the best. Stopping to sample oysters just after breakfast. The vehicle (both) had issues, broken door and replacement was very uncomfortable.

Anonymous  

Jewels of Southwest France 2025

18-May-2023

Guide lacked local knowledge of places to eat, where to locate bathrooms & was disorganised in regard to enough seats for some events. Group dinners were hit & miss.

Anonymous  

Jewels of Southwest France 2025

23-May-2023

As I said before I was disappointed and felt our guide was under prepared and thought it could have been better with local guides. Also the accommodation wasn’t brilliant, some of the places felt very shabby, especially in Salat. Finding out about the free electric bus from other tourists in Biarritz was disappointing.

Read all 21 reviews

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Back-Roads Touring allows you to make 10 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 60 days before the start of the tour.

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Back-Roads Touring allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform back-roads touring, 60 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Back-Roads Touring requires a minimum deposit of 150 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of back-roads touring charges.

    Up to 61 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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