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From caves to castles – France’s GR 64

LB Photo. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From caves to castles – France’s GR 64

Hiking Collection by Vincent Reboul



5-7 h

/ day

57.0 mi

5,550 ft

5,775 ft

I’ve always been drawn to the Dordogne and the Lot River. Since childhood, I've been passionate about prehistoric art and this part of south-west France is known to be particularly rich in wonders from the Upper Palaeolithic period.

As I hiked and visited caves, I discovered many treasures in these endearing regions: The orange-coloured limestone houses and castles; the peaceful Dordogne and Vézère rivers; the incredible medieval villages of Domme and Rocamadour; empty roads; dense forests; beautiful limestone cliffs; and many opportunities to swim in lakes and rivers.

This south-western region also boasts fantastic regional dishes and specialities – make sure you try the duck breast. Walnuts, tobacco and strawberries also grow abundantly here.

Our ancestors would be amazed at the change if they came back to life today. 20,000 years ago, their environment was more like the Mongolian steppes or the Scandinavian tundras.

This four-day, 91-kilometre Collection follows the GR through this extraordinary area. The route starts from the pretty village of Rocamadour, a place of pilgrimage that sets the tone for your adventure. You hike from medieval villages to natural sites and from castles to rivers, finishing in the village of Les Eyzies, a prehistoric capital.

I advise adding an extra day so you have time to explore the prehistoric sites.

These regions explode with life in spring, but summer and autumn are just as charming and ideal for hiking. Avoid winter, unless you enjoy fog, which can be quite dense here at times. The terrain is fairly easy and, as it’s not too mountainous, it’s kind to hikers of all levels.

I've made sure that you can stay at a quality campsite at the end of each stage. Thanks to the forests, you can also easily wild camp. If you prefer to sleep indoors, you’ll find plenty of gîtes and hotels.

You can get there by car, bus or train. The Rocamadour-Padirac SNCF train station is 5 kilometres (3 mi) from the village. The best way to avoid long waiting times is to leave one car at the start and one at the end of the route.

If you'd like to delve deeper into the prehistoric past, visit the Rouffignac cave, which has a mammoth painting, or the Cap-Blanc shelter with its sculpted horses.

You can also follow in the footsteps of pre-historic humans in this Collection:


Enjoy your visit!

On The Map


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Rocamadour to Cro-Magnon shelter – GR 64 (complete route)

56.3 mi

5,475 ft

5,700 ft

Last updated: September 7, 2023

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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  1. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Rocamadour to Le Vigan – GR 64

    14.3 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The official route of this GR 64 starts from Pont sur L'Ouysse (that is to say a little in the middle of nowhere). It is therefore logical and for practical reasons that this first stage begins at the foot of the cliffs of Rocamadour.


    This city is undoubtedly one of the most incredible medieval villages

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  2. 05:28
    12.5 mi
    2.3 mph
    750 ft
    1,200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    For this second stage, you move between the Lot department and the Dordogne department. Subtle changes in the landscapes crossed appear. You gradually pass from the aridity of the Quercy plateaus to the dark green of the woods and the luxuriance of the Dordogne.


    From the sixth kilometer, you arrive in

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  4. 07:20
    16.0 mi
    2.2 mph
    2,050 ft
    1,800 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This third stage is lived like a fairy tale. But you are not dreaming! You will discover some of the most sublime and emblematic landscapes and places in the Dordogne. It is when arriving at Domme that the river that gave its name to the department appears. The least we can say is that it takes on all

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  5. 06:22
    14.2 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,275 ft
    1,575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    During this final stage, you leave the banks of the Dordogne to reach its tributary, the Vézère, at the end of the day. It is during this walk which takes place mainly through a forest landscape that you realize all the singularity of this GR which takes you on a journey from history to prehistory.



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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    57.0 mi
  • Duration
    25:35 h
  • Elevation
    5,550 ft5,775 ft

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