The key to a successful holiday is the choice of the perfect destination, so that all your wishes are fulfilled when you arrive there: delicious food, a comfortable hotel, and a large choice of attractions!
If you are thinking of travelling to France and are wondering which region to visit, here is our holiday idea: the Dordogne Valley road trip. We have put together a four-day trip guide filled with sightseeing attractions, historic sites, beautiful countryside and culinary highlights. Thanks to Auto Europe's travel guide, you will be able to make the most of your holiday. In our trip planner, we recommend the best places to dine and stay.
Hidden in the heart of France, the Dordogne Valley enchants with is natural beauty. It flows through wine regions and the countryside that is home to countless castles and picturesque vistas. Our trip guide includes detailed daily travel routes with sightseeing attractions, hotels, and restaurants. Explore the Dordogne Valley region, and take in the local culture and discover regional gems such as Bergerac.
Things to do in Clermont-Ferrand
The first day of the Dordogne Valley road trip begins in Clermont-Ferrand, one of the oldest cities in France and a cultural bastion. Described as a geographical anomaly, the city is surrounded by extinct volcanoes. This setting provides many hiking opportunities, including climbing prehistoric summits. The volcanoes had an impact on the local settlements and thus influenced the city's architectural heritage. Many historic buildings were built with black volcanic rocks, such as Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption, located in the city centre. Its construction began in 1248 and was finished only in 1902. Clermont-Ferrand is home to numerous historic sites, museums, and art galleries. A car hire in Clermont-Ferrand will enable you to travel comfortably and see all the attractions at your own pace!
Restaurants, bars, and night life in Clermont-Ferrand
Worldwide considered as a country of culinary delicacies, France is leading in providing cooking talents. Cermond-Ferrand is no different. The city takes pride in its exquisite culinary scene. If you are looking for a lavish dinner, head to Le Patio Nata for exquisite dishes and chocolate fondue. For more casual dinner, try out Planet Pizza or Pizzeria Grill La Mama.
With wine culture thriving in Clermond-Ferrand, there are many wine-testing venues and vineyards in the surrounding region. Although small in size, the city is home to a university and has vibrant night life. If you walk the streets of the old town in the evening, you will come across many pubs and clubs with a positive party atmosphere. For a cosy evening out, we recommend paying a visit to Le Cafe, which serves a variety of drinks. Local culinary highlights will make your road trip to Clermont-Ferrand a true treat!
Clermont-Ferrand hotels and accommodation
Finding a suitable hotel is vital for your holiday. After a long day filled with sightseeing, it's gorgeous to seat on a balcony and relax. Oceania Clermont Hotel receives highest notes from its guests and Internet portals. The four star hotel is situated in the heart of the city and offers enjoyable stay, bar lounge, free Wi-Fi and is close to local attractions. There is an ample choice of accommodation options in Clermont-Ferrand and you are sure to find a suitable one for your travel requirements.
Road Trip Clermont-Ferrand to Tulle
The old proverb says "All roads lead to Rome", we would rephrase it to: "there are many roads to reach your destination". Our one is Tulle; to arrive at there from Clermont-Ferrand, you can choose to drive via the faster E70 road or see the picturesque Dordogne Valley and charming chateaus. The road D922 will also give you the possibility to see Chastreix Sancy Nature and Reserve Park as well as incredibly beautiful Castle Val, built in 1660.
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Things to do in Tulle
The second day of the road trip to Dordogne Valley takes you to the city of Tulle. Steeped in history, this city was founded in the Middle Ages, what can be seen in the magnificent medieval architecture to this day. The old town of Tulle is home to numerous museums and historic sites. The network of cobbled streets of the historic part of Tulle shows various architecture styles. The most prominent medieval buildings are Maison de Loyac and Maison Lauthonie, both recently renovated. Tulle Cathedral and Bell-Tower sit it nearby on the River Correze's bank. Built in the 12th century, they are great representations of Roman and Gothic architecture.
It doesn't matter what time of year you are travelling to Dordogne River Valley. There is an ample selection of cultural events all year round, be it music concerts, performances, or photography exhibitions. Take a look at the cultural events calendar while planning your holidays. A car hire in Tulle will make it possible to see all the exhibitions you wish to go to. Alternatively, you can hop with your rental car for a one-day trip to Genf. The road trip to Tulle allows you to discover some wonderful sites!
Restaurants, bars and night life in Tulle
The culinary scene in Tulle is quite conservative and focuses on typical French dishes. The quality of food products is a high priority there, and you will definitely be satisfied with the local cuisine.
La Taverne du Summlier serves traditional French meals, which you can enjoy while sipping on some excellent wine. Auberge le Tacot, on the other hand, offers local specialities and vegan dishes. Although there are limited options for party-goers, Tulle has some great bars and pubs, and you are sure to find something interesting.
Hotels and accommodation in Tulle
You will be amazed with the various hotels on offer in Tulle and most of them guarantee their visitors a comfortable stay. This magical city is surrounded by a beautiful countryside, so be sure to book a room with a balcony. We can definitely recommend you to stay at Le Domaine Des Mondieres. It consists of six guest chalets and has a bar and a restaurant. Here, you will be able to enjoy the picturesque view of the Dordogne.
Road Trip Tulle Overview
After visiting Tulle, on your way to Bergerac, you are best not to take the E70 road. Leave Tulle and continue your trip via the D60, which will take you directly to the heart of Bergerac. You will drive through the scenic country side, home to some splendid chateaus. In the middle of your route, follow the signs to Mandor Manor d'Eyrignac that was builtin the 17th century. Its gardens are considered to be the most beautiful manor gardens in the country.
Things to do in Bergerac
Nestled in the Dordogne Valley, Bergerac is surrounded by a myriad of vineyards, known for their special wine blends and varieties. This place is heaven for wine lovers. Thanks to a car hire in Bergerac, you can make wine testing trips to the local vineyards. A popular outdoor activity in the region is canoeing on the Dordogne and having a picnic on the rivers' banks.
The road trip to Bergerac also includes visiting the city's castles, chateaus and other historic sites. One of the most famous historic mansions is Chateau de Monbazillac. This Renaissance estate overlooks Bergerac and offers wine testing.
Restaurants, bars and night life in Bergerac
The region is famous for excellent wine and local delicacies, such as pâtés. It is reflected in the culinary scene of Bergerac. Local specialities include Tourin Blanchi - garlic soup with egg whites and Pommes Sarlaises - potato chips roasted in duck fat. If you are staying in Bergerac for a limited time, and need to choose one restaurant to dine at, head to Cabanoix et Châtaigne, serving outstanding French specialities and some fine wine.
Great clubs and cosy pubs is what you can expect from a night life in Bergerac. With many options available, you will enjoy your evening out in Bergerac. Check out the famous Rocksane where live concerts take places, it's known for rock, reggae, jazz, metal and electronic music.
Hotels and accommodation in Bergerac
Finding a good hotel in Bergerac is no problem. Almost all of the accommodation options provide rooms with the view of the Dordogne. Without a doubt, one of the best hotels in the city is Chateau les Merles with a large swimming pool, fitness facilities, daily breakfast buffet, and most of all, great views. A bit more quaint option is La Flambee, a rustic hotel with a French ambience. It offers modern amenities, traditional cuisine and is set in a pleasant location on the outskirts of Bergerac.
Road Trip Bergerac overview
The fastest route from Bergerac to Bordeaux leads via the D709 road and the A89 motorway. However, it misses all the regional highlights. To make the most of your Dordogne Valley road trip, take the D936 road to discover the little town of Liborune and picturesque villages. Have a rest at Lac Bleu, where you can have picnic at azur-blue lake waters.
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Things to do in Bordeaux
It is the last day of our Dordogne River road trip. The itinerary for this day is Bordeaux and its surroundings - a wonderful culmination of your journey! Known as little Paris, Bordeaux is luring tourists with its countless attractions. The history of the city is reflected in the rich architecture styles. One of the primary buildings is the Roman Saint Andre Cathedral, built in 1096 and consecrated by Pope Urban II. World Heritage Sites such as Gothic Saint Michel Basilica from the 14th century and Saint Seurin Basilica are a must-see on your list!
Aside from the traditional sightseeing attractions, Bordeaux has something more on offer. Football fans will find their way to the F.C. Girondins matches. Tickets are affordable and if you are going to see Girondins play against Marseille, book your tickets in advance. You will be able to see all attractions of the region with a car hire from Bordeaux.
Restaurants, bars and night life in Bordeaux
While in Bordeaux, do not miss the opportunity to go for wine testing! There are many wine regions in France. However Bordeaux is difficult to compete with. The variety of wine and its quality make Bordeaux outstand other wine regions and it comes second in the world in producing wine with over 800 million bottles a year. The most famous vintage Bordeaux wine include: Haut Brion, Lafite Rothschild, Latour, and Cheval Blanc. Touring the region and sampling wine is something you cannot miss, just remember to book your wine testing tour in advance.
Gastronomy plays a great role in Bordeaux. Restaurants take pride in making their culinary specialities level the quality of the regional wine. There is an unofficial restaurants' street in Bordeaux, where visitors can choose between various culinary styles, such as Turkish or Morrocan delicacies. La Victorie district, on the other hand, is known for diverse clubs, pubs and bars. Enjoy your evening out in the historic city of Bordeaux!
Hotels and accommodation in Bordeaux
Finish off your road trip to Bordeaux with a stay at a fancy hotel. We recommend Grand Hotel de Bordeaux with a spa, a restaurant, a bar, and rooms with wonderful views. Anther option is the modern Seeko'o featuring elegant interiors, a cocktail bar and an excellent restaurant. The hotel overlooks the intersection of the Garrone and Dordogne rivers. There are also more affordable accommodation options, if you opt for a less expensive stay.
Bordeaux Road Trip
If you really do not wish to leave France now, try out holiday resorts along the Atlantic coast. This way you can prolong your road trip. Pay a visit to Nice, Paris or other grandiose destinations in France or Europe! We are here to help you arrange your car hire and make your travels hassle-free. The choice is yours - where you are heading next?