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Bordeaux to Valloire-Provence?

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Despite attempts by StuDudley to re-plan our itenerary on another post, we will be driving from near Bordeaux to Valloire, in the Alps, in late July. Our destinations on both ends are fixed, so please don't try to change our plans or recommend that we take the train. I know this would be preferable, but we are renting a car for 2 weeks for other reasons.

This looks to be a 6 to 8 hour drive, and we know that there will be summer holiday traffic. We plan to do it in two days and are looking for suggestions as to where to spend the night. We have not been to southern France before and know that we can not do it justice on this trip, but it would be nice to spend a half day and evening in a nice village, get a good meal, etc. It appears that we could take a northern route through Brive-la-Gaillards, Clermont-Ferrand, Lyon and Chambery OR a southern route through Toulouse, Montpellier and Valence. The southern route is longer. Is it worth it? Suggestions much appreciated.

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