FRANCE’s Magical Dordogne in a Private Castle

The Continental DRIFTER®
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2 reviews
Sep 20 - 26, 2024
Group size: 6 - 10
FRANCE’s Magical Dordogne in a Private Castle

The Continental DRIFTER®
  • Email address verified
  • Facebook verified
  • LinkedIn verified
  • Twitter verified
2 reviews

Sep 20 - 26, 2024
Group size: 6 - 10

About this trip


Join the Continental Drifter Founder and professional tour organizer Ralph Velasco for a truly unforgettable stay in a private 11th-century castle.  This trip will concentrate on the truly magical Périgord Vert region of the Dordogne department of southwestern France.

Guests will be picked up by private vehicle for a group transfer from Angoulême’s train station to the privately-owned Château de Marouatte.

Scroll down for a complete day-to-day itinerary and more details about this experience.

Overview of this Experience

Watch this video to get more insights about this exceptional experience.


"Staying in an ancient castle was a once-in-a-lifetime experience." ~ Ken & Sue G.

"Ralph's trip gave us a chance to explore a part of France we would never have seen on our own. Each stop on the trip is like stepping into a picture postcard. Castle Marouatte as your home base is the perfect backdrop for your countryside adventure. And of course, you never go hungry on one of Ralph's trips. Fun times!  ~ Neil & Jennine K. 

"For me it was a trip of a lifetime because the pace was one I could handle." ~ Victoria H.

“I loved it. Staying in a castle wasn’t too shabby either! The food was well prepared and tasty. The chef and his wife were very friendly and helpful. I would go again.” ~ Marty R. 

“What a beautiful area to visit! Off the beaten path, we visited great local places. We most definitely saw a side that not many tourists venture out to. And staying in a castle? How much more magical can that be?” ~ Laurie K. 

"When you have Ralph Velasco as the tour organizer, a private castle in the Dordogne region of France, an owner who is your guide, chauffeur, and historian, what else can you ask for?  Great food, great wine, beautiful castles built centuries ago, caves where prehistoric men left their drawings on the walls, charming towns with narrow streets and lots of plants and flowers, outdoor markets and so much more.  To top it all, unique accommodations and a very small group of participants allows you to know everyone. I recommend Ralph's Alla Campagna Experiences trips highly." ~ Anne-Marie M.

About Château de Marouatte*

Situated on 270 acres of gorgeously manicured grounds, but also wild forest, the castle is complete with comfortable and well-appointed single and double rooms, each with private bath.

There’s also a large swimming pool, games room, dining room, chapel (now used as a second dining room) and what is said to be the second largest pigeon house in all the Périgord Vert.

Needless to say, the castle is a destination in and of itself and has to be visited to be appreciated.

Château de Marouatte, as the French call it, is a genuine Medieval castle complete with battlements, moat, and guard towers set in natural woodlands and fields in one on the most beautiful and unspoiled parts of France.  Richly decorated in antiques, art, tapestries, and stained glass (and of course suits of armor) the castle interior is a feast for the eyes.  Facilities also include a tennis court and Wi-Fi throughout most of the property.

The site dates back to Roman times when it was a guard post on the Roman road that used to run below.  The castle was probably a wooden fort during the dark ages converted to stone in the late 1100s.  The current castle dates from the early 1200s with the outer bailey added in 1569.  We know it was fought over between the English and French for the next 300 years and also played a part in the French wars of religion.

* SPECIAL NOTE: Although the rooms are very nice, each with its own bathroom, guests are asked to please keep in mind that Château de Marouatte is made up of several different buildings with guest quarters and each is quite different from the others. All efforts will be made to pair individual guests and couples with an appropriate room taking into account the number of stairs, location on the property, amount of walking, etc.  And because this is truly a medieval castle, not everything in each room is absolutely perfect and so guests are asked to visit with an open mind as this is a part of the experience.

About the Périgord Vert of the Dordogne

Located in what is called the Périgord Vert in the northwest Dordogne, Château de Marouatte (a.k.a. “the castle”) is about an hour’s drive south of Angoulême train station with high-speed trains to and from Paris arriving in about two to three hours.  Bordeaux Airport (BOD) is approximately 2 hours by car and Bergerac is about 1:20.

Getting to the castle from the US or UK we advise taking the TGV fast train from Paris Montparnasse station (~2 hours) or Charles De Gaulle (CDG) Airport in just under 3 hours to Angoulême.

Participants will be picked up as a group on the first afternoon of the trip from Angoulême station, or you may choose to rent your own car for maximum flexibility during the trip.

About this Itinerary


Most meals are included and B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, and D = Dinner

Items mentioned below in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS are included in your fee for this experience.

What’s included

  • Accommodations
    All accommodations at Château de Marouatte in a single or double occupancy room during trip dates. A single supplement applies for those wishing to have their own room throughout the trip.
  • Meals and Beverages
    All Breakfasts (B), 3 Lunches (L) and 7 Dinners (D), including table water, soft drinks, beer, house wine and/or coffee/tea.
  • Entry Fees
    All entry fees for group activities as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Transportation
    Group transfers from and back to Angoulême train station to and from the castle. Transportation for day trips organized as group activities (or rent your own car for maximum flexibility).

What’s not included

  • International Airfare
    Flights or other transportation to and from France.
  • Airport transfers
    Transfers from and to CDG or other airport(s) from and to your hotel (if applicable).
  • Pre- or Post-Trip Nights
    Pre- or post-trip accommodations outside of published tour dates.
  • Other Transportation
    Transportation to and from Angoulême via TGV or other method (your transfers each way are only included on above tour dates).
  • Other Meals
    Meals not specifically outlined in the itinerary as included.
  • Drinks/Alcohol
    Drinks or other alcoholic beverages beyond table water, soft drinks, beer, house wine and coffee/tea provided during included meals at the castle (may vary for group meals outside the castle).
  • Personal Items
    Items of a personal nature are not included.

Available Packages

Double Occupancy (per person)
Available until July 20, 2024
Deposit: $750
Single Occupancy
Available until July 20, 20246 left

A single supplement is required for those who'd like their own private room throughout this experience.

Deposit: $750


Day 1
Train to Angoulême and Arrival at Castle

Meals: D

Today, unless renting a car or arriving to the castle any other way on your own, you’ll want to take the TGV high-speed train from Gare Montparnasse or Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) or elsewhere to the station in Angoulême.  As mentioned, you can also arrive via other methods but please know that we have a single pickup time and meeting point at the station in Angoulême.

5:00 pm – Please arrange your train or other transportation to Angoulême to arrive in plenty of time to make your GROUP TRANSFER to the castle.

N.B. These may be approximate times as exact train schedules are not released 

until about 60 days out from the date of travel.  Additional instructions for purchasing your tickets will be provided as the trip approaches.


For more information on the trains in France, if you haven’t already, please start your search at SNCF Connect or OuiGo, which, according to their website “is the official European distribution channel of the French railways (SNCF) for online sales of high-speed and conventional rail travel throughout France and Europe.”

Note: Guests arriving outside of this time frame will need to make their own arrangements to get to the castle, which is less than an hour away from Angoulême by car, but this may not be easy to do, that is unless you rent a car (be sure to get a GPS), which is perfectly acceptable and highly recommended as this will provide you complete freedom throughout the trip.

6:00 pm – Check in, relax and then GUIDED VISIT of Château de Marouatte by the castle’s owner, Miles Copeland, who if available, plans to be with us throughout the trip.

8:00 pm – WELCOME DINNER at the castle where you can enjoy a wonderful meal made by the castle’s chef, Chris, and his partner, Sam, and get to know your fellow travelers more in person.

Your Organizer

The Continental DRIFTER®
2 reviews
Since 2008, Continental DRIFTER® founder Ralph Velasco has been organizing and leading once-in-a-lifetime small group cultural tours around the world (all of which have been 5-star rated on Google and Facebook). Our guides, drivers, accommodations, restaurants, experiences, and activities are all thoroughly vetted in advance so that your trip goes without a hitch. Come learn about the people, food, drink, and many other cultural aspects of the incredible destinations we visit. Remember, DRIFTER...Life's too short not to travel!


Continental DRIFTER’s Northern Spain trip was the trip of a lifetime, but I will definitely travel with Ralph again, so there’s going to be competition for that “trip of a lifetime” title! With a small group of delightful companions, we saw spectacular views and architecture, ate amazing local food, drank delicious local wine, visited interesting locations with fun and knowledgeable local guides, and had so many laughs. Highlights included the sheer cliff faces overlooking Zumaia Beach, the lush terraced vineyards over the impossibly blue Bay of Biscay, the charming beachfront of San Sebastian, the ridiculously delicious tapas crawl on Calle Laurel in Logroño, and spending part of the trip in a little 13th century walled town in Rioja. Ralph takes care of every detail, so all that’s left to do is to marvel, learn, and enjoy. And eat. And eat. I loved spending enough time in each location to really get a feel for it instead of rushing from place to place checking items off a list, and Ralph curates the coolest experiences, like olive oil farm tours and cooking classes. 47 thumbs up from me!
By Karen Gareis G for Northern SPAIN’s Basque Country & La Rioja on Sep 20, 2023
Karen, thank you SO much for the wonderful review. I'm so happy you enjoyed our trip to Spain, it was a pleasure having you along and I can't wait until the next one!
By The Continental DRIFTER® on Nov 02, 2023
I have recently returned from this trip to Northern Spain and I highly recommend it! We toured wineries, had an olive oil tasting in an olive grove, attended a cooking class, took tours of churches and architecture, and so much else! At each stop Ralph had hired guides with extensive knowledge of their area, who were interesting, helpful, and punctual. (In Ramon's case, hilarious as well!) After daily excursions, we had the late afternoon and evening free to wander on our own and explore the three different cities we stayed in. The food was fantastic and fresh. We never had a bad meal. The hotels were beautiful. My favorite memory will always be sitting on the outdoor patio of a beautiful winery in the sun, eating pintxos (Basque tapas), drinking incredible wine, chatting with the really nice group of people on the trip; all with a beautiful view of the Bay of Biscay. It was definitely one of the highlights for me! I would recommend Ralph and Continental Drifter to anyone looking for an amazing travel experience!
By Diana S for Northern SPAIN’s Basque Country & La Rioja on Sep 18, 2023
Thank you, Robin, for the amazing 5-star review. I can't tell you how happy I am to know that this trip exceeded all your expectations and I look forward to seeing you on the road again real soon!
By The Continental DRIFTER® on Nov 02, 2023