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.
"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.
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.
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.
ALL ACTIVITIES, LOCATIONS, DAYS, AND TIMING ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
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.
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.
ABOUT THE TGV TRAIN TO AND FROM ANGOULÊME
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.