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29 day Itinerary for southern and eastern France

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Well that's a rather broad topic so I'll try to be more specific without being confusing.

My girl friend and I will be traveling to France for a month this summer and because her daughter lives in Paris we will be beginning and ending our trip there. We both love Paris and France and have been there many times but on this trip we want to explore some areas we have not been to before. Other than spending time in Paris the other firm destination is Dordgone where we have penciled in ten days at Sarlat. I would like to have comments about the wisdom of spending ten days there but we usually like to spend more than a few days in one place to sort of settle in.

The general plan is to rent a car on the outskirts of Paris and drive directly to Dordgone for the ten days mentioned above and then to return to Paris via a circuitous route using about fifteen to nineteen additional days to do so. After musing over my maps, my initial thoughts are, after Dodgone, to spend a week in the Languedoc (where I do not know) and then return to Paris via a swing through Provence and Burgundy. We have visited Avignon and Arles before so I'm thinking we go more eastward and then turn north. If anyone has towns or villages where they would recommend for us to headquarter as we proceed to Paris I would be very appreciative. I would think we would want to stay at each stop for three or four days and that we would need perhaps three stops for the return trip from Languedoc to Paris. I've heard wonderful things about Lyon but my last two experiences of driving in Paris may necessitate that I not drive in Lyon which means a bypass of that great city.

The itinerary would then look something like this:

Dordgone 10 days
Languedoc 7 days
Provence/Burgundy stop #1 3/4 days
Provence/Burgundy stop #2 3/4 days
Provence/Burgundy stop #3 3/4 days
Total 26/29 days

I should add that both my girl friend and I are rather adventuresome and getting lost in rural France is pretty much bliss for me (not so much for her). We like sightseeing, back roads, village markets, museums and visiting vineyards (but maybe just one or two). Relaxing and avoiding rush is imperative meaning the fewer "must be there" time tables the better.

Someone is sure to ask why not travel via train to Dordgone, rent the car there and drop it in Paris? My reckoning is that the drop charges would be substantial but the main reason is avoidance at all cost of having to handle girl friend's suit case(s) any more times than totally necessary. Also, we've always used Hertz before but if anyone has a more economical suggestion I would love to hear it.

Thanks to all for any suggestions.

prmbrown

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