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southern france

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“Walking Through History Guided Tour”

This unique "Walking Through History" trip in southern France explores literally thousands of years of history, some of it still cloaked in mysteries that have inspired a whole industry of speculation.. We visit famous towns, cities and sites, but also venture down some little-known byways of this varied and beautiful country, as we encounter the rich, many-layered culture and distinctive character of the Languedoc, some of it still relatively unknown even to most of the French themselves. Our "Walking Through History" format involves mainly gentle walking on country roads and trails, with visits to sites easily reached “off the beaten track.” Our 8-day trip includes the medieval towns and villages of the Lot valley and the Rouergue, the ancient pilgrim ways of the region, the imposing Cathar fortresses in the foothills of the Pyrenees, prehistoric paintings in the extraordinary cave of Peche Merle and the great walled city of Carcassonne. Your guides will narrate the deep history of the area “on the hoof”, and also in pre-dinner talks to illuminate the background, prepare for the next day's adventure and offer their own theories to explain the abiding mysteries !

From Toulouse we drive south to the 16th Century chateau in Couiza, an ideal base from which to explore the rugged landscape of limestone gorges, isolated villages and breathtaking fortresses of the French side of the Pyrenees. We then head north, staying at the incomparable Hotel de la Cite within the ancient walls of Carcassonne.

From here the country changes to the lush forest and farmland at the base of the Massif Centrale, and we arrive in Conques, a pilgrim center recognized as a jewel of medieval France. For three nights we shall be “looking out on the year 1,000” from the elegant Sainte Foy Hotel. We shall explore some of this fascinating area, sometimes walking in the very footsteps of the pilgrims, as well as seeing the great art and treasures of one of the glories of Romanesque architecture, the abbey church described so movingly by Hannah Greene in her book “Little Saint.” From Conques we travel along the Lot valley to the famous wine district of Cahors, visiting the caves of Peche Merle. Our last night is spent in the magnificent Chateau de Mercues, set high above the river.

On our last morning we drive back to Toulouse after breakfast.

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southern france food   Sainte Foy Hotel
dates
May 23rd - May 31st

• Medieval City of Carcassonne
• Grand Chateaux
• Pilgrims’ trail
• Cathar fortresses
• Prehistoric caves

meals included
8 dinners
8 breakfasts
7 lunches

price $4095
8 days, 8 nights

lodging
Hotel de la Cite
Sainte Foy Hotel
The Chateau de Mercues
CHATEAU DES DUCS DE JOYEUSE

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