Known worldwide for its wealth of prehistoric sites, the Périgord Noir is one of the first known sites for the evolution of mankind. Four hundred thousand years ago, prehistory begins in the Dordogne, with the arrival of homo erectus, the Neanderthal, and our direct ancestor Homo Sapiens Sapiens or Cro-Magnon arriving 35,000 years ago. There is a remarkable abundance of prehistoric artistic and symbolic expression to be found here, particularly in the ornamental caves that are classed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. In the only valley in Vézère, there are more than 200 Palaeolithic sites that have been particularly well preserved for over 150 years, allowing archaeology digs and studies to establish a prehistoric chronology that is today considered to be the reference worldwide. This trek will bring you to the heart of Périgord Noir, to the region of the French fictional hero, Jacquou le Croquant, for a trip through the history books.
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Day 1. Arrival at the Equestrian Farm in Périgord
Riders arrive at the equestrian farm or at Buisson-Cadouin station, around 15 minutes from the farm. Transfers arranged from the station. Dinner and night at the farm.
Day 2. Equestrian Farm - Rouffignac – 5-6 hours horse riding
The day begins with your horse being attributed to you, followed by preparation of your horse who will be your loyal companion for the next six days. Once you are ready, you will set off from the equestrian farm to one of the most beautiful villages in France, at the confluence of the Vézère and Dordogne rivers. The trek continues along wooded and sometimes steep paths to the equestrian centre at Rouffignac, where we will be staying.
Day 3. Montignac - Château de l’Herm – 5-6 hours of horse riding
Today you will ride to the Château de l’Herm. Built at the end of the 15th century, on the site of a fortress of which the moat still remains, the castle was abandoned following several crimes. In 1899, Eugène le Roy set his novel “Jacquou le Croquant” here, which was then adapted for television in 1969 and for cinema in 2007 by Laurent Bouttonnat. Dinner and night at the Montignanc hotel.
Day 4. Les Eyzies – 5-6 hours of horse riding
Today’s ride takes you to the heart of the prehistoric village of Eyzies, which has existed since the Palaeolithic era and where several shelters, known as cluzeaux, are hidden in the rocks of the cliff. At the time of the second Ice Age in Europe, prehistoric man left the cold of the plains in the north, following the wild animals they hunted to warmer climes. The low lands of the Vézère, which at the time flowed 30 metres higher than its level today, kept the settlers in the region with the resources of its forests, its natural caves and its overhangs which could serve as shelters. For several thousand years, men continued to settle here in these shelters, leaving traces of their passage and their activities with remains, ashes, weapons, utensils, pottery, decorative motifs. The area contains numerous prehistoric archaeological sites and the museum of prehistory. Dinner and night at the hotel.
Day 5. Sarlat – 5-6 hours of horse riding
You can’t come to Périgord Noir without visiting the beautiful town of Sarlat. Over a thousand years of architecture threads through the streets with flagstone roofs and white stone walls. Exceptionally well preserved, the town of Sarlat has been awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide, as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Dinner and night at the hotel.
Day 6. Alles sur Dordogne - 5-6 hours of horse riding
Day 6. La Roque Gageac – 5-6 hours of horse riding
You will ride alongside the Dordogne river and discover the beautiful and historic village of Roque Gageac, perched atop the cliff. Inhabited since prehistory, as shown by the troglodyte forts, it was embellished and developed during the Renaissance due to the traffic of traditional barges coming through the area. The village’s charm and historical monuments make it one of the most beautiful places in France. Dinner and night at hotel, beneath the Chateau de Beynac, perched on top of the rocks that dominate the valley’s skyline.
The trek will bring you back to the farm via the beaten tracks that make up the charm of the Perigord countryside. After some good canters and gallops, the horses will be ready for a well-deserved rest in their meadows. Transfers to the station for those who came by train.
Option of spending the last night of the trek at the Equestrian Farm (supplement applies)
Barb, Arabian and Portuguese breed horses, that live outdoors all year round.
Trained for trekking and endurance races, they are calm, comfortable and energetic. These horses with healthy minds will be perfect for long days of riding and amazing canters and gallops.
For confirmed and intermediate riders, confident riding outdoors at all paces.
High quality, comfortable saddle and tack adapted to trekking.
Your guide is not only a professional horse rider but also an expert of the region.
He knows all possible trails for the trek and will be able to modify the itinerary according to weather conditions and group level, in order to meet the requirements of each rider.
The stables are located right next to the meeting point, not far from Limeuil.
Horses stay in fields around the farm and spend the winter in the larger surrounding fields. Stalls are only used to feed the horses and prepare them. Some stalls are also available to participants who would like to join the trek with their own horse.
COUNTRY / REGION
France, Dordogne (24) in Périgord Noir
7 days, 6 nights, 6 days horse riding
Horse riding insurance or French FFE license (register your French FFE license with Caval&go)
4 to 10 riders
SNCF TRAIN STATION
Périgueux or Le Buisson Cadouin
French (English possible upon request)
MEALS & ACCOMMODATION
Upon arrival, you will be welcomed to the equestrian farm and you will stay in the adjacent gîte, surrounded by meadows and horses. During the trek, you swill stay in comfortable gîtes or charming hotels. You will sample all the flavours of the local gastronomy for which Périgord is famous. Dinner at the farm for the first night and then at restaurants throughout the trek. Hot meals, seated around the table, at lunch for an enjoyable moment of relaxation.
Midway between the North Pole and the Equator, the Perigord Noir climate reflects this balance.
The Dordogne region benefits from a temperate climate, pleasant in all seasons.
Average summer temperatures range from 25°C to 35°C. Sun shine on most days even if some storms might break and freshen the atmosphere.
Because of the oceanic influence, autumns and winters are generally mild and humid, with rare periods of very cold weather.
Non riders can join in on this trek by following national hiking trails on mountain bike. Some of the legs of the trip are also great places for canoeing for all the family.
If you would like to discover more of this magnificent region, you also have the option of extending your stay at the equestrian farm or by continuing to explore prehistory by visiting the caves and prehistoric sites in the surrounding areas.
We can advise you on different itineraries and journeys. Contact us !
We also offer a Horse Ride Through History and Gastronomy in Relais & Chateaux in Périgord Noir.