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Driving route between Perigueux and Montpellier

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I’ve spent the past few weeks reading posts but now need some advice. We will be visiting our daughter in Perigueux in May and the 3 of us have 14 days to travel southern France. We fly into Bordeaux, get rental car and drive to Perigueux where we will tour the area (Sarlat, Bergeron, canoe, bike, hike and visit caves) for 3 days before setting out for Provence and the coast of the Mediterranean. Plan to drop car and take train to Paris for our last 4 days before flying out of CDG.

Places I want to see in the south are Montpellier, Marseilles, Aix, Arles, and Avignon. Thought we’d drop car in Lyon and catch train there to Paris. We are fairly active people and hope to do some of the activities mentioned above in addition to touring cities and small towns. We love historical sites and maybe a few art museums because we’ll get our fill of museums in Paris. I could see visiting a vineyard or two but am not interested in daily vineyard tours. We like eating out in the evening and I do research to find the least expensive restaurants that serve great local food.

My first question is what is the most scenic route between Perigueux and Montpellier? I was thinking of driving from Brive to La Malene to visit the Gorges du Tarn and then down to Montpellier. Drive along the coast to Marseilles and then up thru the Provence area. My other thought was taking the more western route thru Albi and stopping at some of the towns on the way. Any thoughts?

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