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Best way to get to The Dordogne area of France and other questions

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Hi

Introduction:
Two 60 year olds...love hiking...being outdoors...photography...possibly doing a self guided hike for several days...love driving around finding out of the way places...will be renting a house for most of the time...enjoy being in smaller villages...shopping in markets and cooking our own food.

Planning a last minute trip to France. Last week of September first week of October 2013. First question is which is the best airport to fly in to. We will be coming from Philadelphia (USA) International Airport. I have seen flight from PHL to Paris to Toulouse. These are the same price if we were to just get off in Paris.

Is there another main airport people use to get there or is Paris the best route?

Is there a better town to fly into once we have arrived in Paris (USA Airways takes us to Toulouse through Paris with just the one stop in Paris)? Is Bordeaux a better option?

Is it better to train down from Paris to a specific village?

We might be doing a self-guided hike but not sure yet. Working out a twisted ankle currently. That is why everything is up in the air. We will still go even if the hiking is out but will plan accordingly. That is why I am concentrating on the flight first.

I guess at this point I should say we haven't even decided which village to stay in yet. I will be checking out some rentals but I wanted to figure out which way to get there. First things first.

Ideas on Best town to rent a car from and return. Suggestions on Favorite Car Rental companies or brokers?

Suggestions on Favorite Villages to plant ourselves in for 2 weeks or maybe 1 week one place and a few days somewhere else.

I have read many posts and I am getting confused as I usually do from all the great suggestions.

Anyone done any self-guided hikes I have seen a few companies on other forums and have used a few in the past for Italy and Spain. Any suggestions of ones used appreciated.

I have seen many suggestions on gites but please chime in on your favorite rentals and companies used to book.

WOW I am out of breath so I will stop for now.


Thanks for any advice.

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