SHORTLIST

Jewels of Southwest France 2025

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.
Tour details
Tour Provider Back-Roads Touring Co
Price From
$6,399
Number of Days
11
Start Location
Bordeaux, France
End Location
Bordeaux, France
Age Range
Avg. 60+
Group Size
4 to 18
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
No specific theme
Physical Rating
Easy
Itinerary Open all
Bordeaux (France)

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!
Accommodation: Hôtel de Normandie (or similar)

Bordeaux – Arcachon Bay – Biarritz

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.
Accommodation: Alfred Hotels Port-Vieux (or similar)

Biarritz – Bayonne – Biarritz

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.
Accommodation: Alfred Hotels Port-Vieux (or similar)

Biarritz – Lourdes – Midi-Pyrénées

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.
Accommodation: Hotel du Barry (or similar)

Midi-Pyrénées – Carcassonne

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

Carcassonne

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

Carcassonne – Albi Region

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.
Accommodation: Hôtel des Consuls (or similar)

Albi Region – Sarlat-la-Canéda

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.
Accommodation: Hôtel Saint-Albert (or similar)

Sarlat-la-Canéda – Beynac-et-Cazenac – Sarlat-la-Canéda

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.
Accommodation: Hôtel Saint-Albert (or similar)

Sarlat-la-Canéda – Vézère Valley – Sarlat-la-Canéda

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.
Accommodation: Hôtel Saint-Albert (or similar)

Sarlat-la-Canéda – Saint-Émilion – Bordeaux

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.

Inclusions
  • - 10 nights in hand-picked accommodation

  • Premium mini-coach transportation
  • 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
  • Breakfasts: 10
  • Dinners: 5
Departure dates
Start End Availability Price NZD
15 Apr 2025 25 Apr 2025 18 $6,399
06 May 2025 16 May 2025 16 $7,189
13 May 2025 23 May 2025 18 $7,189
27 May 2025 06 Jun 2025 18 $7,189
03 Jun 2025 13 Jun 2025 18 $7,079
10 Jun 2025 20 Jun 2025 18 $7,079
24 Jun 2025 04 Jul 2025 15 $7,079
15 Jul 2025 25 Jul 2025 18 $7,079
19 Aug 2025 29 Aug 2025 17 $7,079
02 Sep 2025 12 Sep 2025 18 $7,079
09 Sep 2025 19 Sep 2025 18 $7,189
16 Sep 2025 26 Sep 2025 16 $7,189
23 Sep 2025 03 Oct 2025 18 $7,079
07 Oct 2025 17 Oct 2025 16 $6,399