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Trip Report Dordogne and Paris - April/May 2013

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We've been home for months, now, and it's past time to share some details of another great visit to our favorite European country. My husband and wonderful travel partner and driver, P, and I, have made many trips to France over the past nearly thirty years. Lately our plans have been to spend half the time exploring a region new to us, and the other half in Paris. This time we chose the Dordogne for our new region and loved it.

After spending a first night in Paris, we took the train to Angoulême where we picked up a car. Then drove via Brantôme and Bourdeilles to our rental in St.-Crépin near Sarlat. At the end of our stay there, we drove to Toulouse where we returned the car and spent the night before returning to Paris by train. Our second week was spent in Paris.

Thank you all who took the time to post trip reports or beautiful photos, or answer a question about visiting the Dordogne/Périgord region. It was unknown territory for us and your generous contributions to this forum were very helpful.

DAYS 1 & 2

Our trip started mid-morning with the drive from our home in southern Maine to Portsmouth NH where we left our car and took the bus to Boston Logan Airport.

We used almost all our remaining frequent flyer miles and flew Delta to Paris with a connection in Amsterdam. In the past we had always been able to do this using the Air France non-stop to Paris, but this time, with the limited miles we had, only the connection through Amsterdam in both directions was offered. It was a terrible schedule, leaving Boston at around 5:30 p.m., arriving Amsterdam at 5:30 a.m., then a 4-hour layover before the Air France flight to Paris. But it was free, so I won't complain.

The Delta flight to Amsterdam was pleasant enough on a newer Airbus. At Schiphol we found a quiet corner where we waited for our gate to be posted for the AF flight to Paris. That flight was delayed for over an hour then cancelled. I was impressed that KLM agents walked the waiting passengers over to an area where at least a dozen agents were rapidly rebooking everyone and after about 30 minutes we were given boarding passes for a flight leaving very shortly. We arrived at CDG and our checked bag was already going around on the carousel when we got to the baggage claim area.

We walked to the RER station where we bought tickets to Paris and a Metro carnet for future use. I also went into the Relay store there and bought a €5 Lebara recharge ticket for our phone. Then we took the RER B to the Port Royal station, a few blocks from our hotel.

By the time we reached the Hôtel de la Paix Montparnasse, those few blocks had turned into a good 20-minute walk and we were pretty hot, tired and wondering why we hadn't had the good sense to take a taxi.

After a short rest in our very nice, air-conditioned room, we set out to find somewhere to get something to eat and walked into Chez Fernand on the Boulevard Montparnasse. The waiter was friendly and the food good, although I don't remember the details since by this time all I wanted was to get back to the hotel and a good night's sleep.

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