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Trip Report Dordogne 10 days, Paris 4 days, June 2012 - trip report - Part 1

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Let's see. First air transportation. As always, I follow fares for MONTHS and then finally bite the bullet and never look back, I don't want to know. And we're willing to pay more for direct flights when we can get them. AND I refuse to deal with 6 a.m. flights. We flew from Dulles to Toulouse via Amsterdam, then direct from Paris to Dulles. All uneventful, we and our luggage emerged unscathed.

Car - this was the first time the rental car had a GPS in it. We had bought a chip for France for our Garmin, could probably have managed without (although our Garmin seemed more updated than the one in the car PLUS it was easier to program). Manual of course, automatic is much more expensive. Took diesel, which is cheaper.

Lodging - We stayed 6 nights in Sarlat at LesCordeliers, a lovely B&B right outside the old city. I'd seen lots of recommendations and everyone was RIGHT. The owners were so helpful, even did some laundry for us (gratis). Help with information, nice room, good breakfast.

We then spent two nights in Figeac, stayed at Hotel des Bains. It was fine, our room was huge, it was right across from the old city. We didn't take the breakfast but walked into town for coffee and croissants.

We had a one nighter at a nice B&B in Bourges because my husband insisted on DRIVING to Paris, but, believe me, you don't want to do that. Really.

Since the hotels in the Dordogne were so inexpensive (really, I was surprised), I decided we could spend more than we might normally in Paris, the average per night of the trip would still be about what I like to stick to. So in Paris, we stayed at Le Citizen Hotel, along Canal Saint Martin in the 10th. It also gets rave reviews and it's fabulous. Completely different from the homey places in the Dordogne, this is ultra modern, very design conscious, design books artfully placed everywhere, including in your room. Staff were so helpful and pleasant. They had a little cocktail hour at 6, with nibbles and wine - it was nice to mix and mingle with other guests. The bed was heaven. But pricey.

Money - just want to remind folks to check what percent their charge cards charge you for money exchange, it can vary a LOT, and it will cost you a LOT if you don't find a card with a good rate. Also be sure to tell them before you leave where you're going, or that smart credit card computer might decide that that charge in France must be the result of a stolen card.

Clothes - we had lots of layers and were able to deal with the widely varying weather. Things are much more casual these days, when we first started traveling to Europe, jeans and sneakers were frowned upon, but no more. That being said, you don't want to look like a schlump, so ditch the "I'm with Stupid" t-shirt. Oh, and you really don't see very many people wearing shorts.

Part 2 will focus on what we DID, now that I have the structural stuff all noted.


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