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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Help needed with planning Dordogne/Provence itinerary

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We are 2 couples, in our late 50’s, and would like help planning a part of our fall trip to France in early October.

After spending the first 5 nights in Paris, we will take the TGV train from Paris to Bordeaux, where we will rent a car. From there, we will drive to La Roque Gageac and stay for 5 nights. When we depart La Roque Gageac, we plan to drive to Arles in Provence, where we will stay for three nights before returning to Paris for a final 2 nights before flying home. We want to stay in Arles so that we can return the rental car and catch the TGV train in Avignon back to Paris.

We have several options for scheduling our travels during the Dordogne/Provence leg, and would appreciate opinions.
Option 1: After arriving by train from Paris, spend the night at a hotel in Bordeaux (recommendations appreciated!), pick up the rental car in the morning, and then drive to La Roque Gageac. This gives us time to explore Bordeaux, and spend a leisurely three hour drive traveling from Bordeaux to La Roque Gageac.

Option 2: Skip the night in Bordeaux, and drive directly to La Roque Gageac the same day we travel to Bordeaux by train. We realize this is a three hour train ride followed by a three hour car drive. But, this would give us an extra night. We would still stay 5 nights in La Roque Gageac, then use the extra night we gain to take two days to travel from La Roque Gageac to Arles. If we make that trip over two days, we would travel to Arles via Gardon, Figeac, Millau, Gignac, etc. and spend the night somewhere along the way (recommendations appreciated!).

If we choose Option 1, we won't have that "extra night" that we would gain by driving directly to La Roque Gageac on the front end. We would then need to make the drive to Arles in just 1 day, and would travel there on the auto route via Carcassonne.

So our decision is - do we choose a long travel day to get from Paris to La Roque Gageac by train/car, and then have two days to travel from La Roque Gageac to Arles, or do we spend a night in Bordeaux, and then have one long travel day by car to get from La Roque Gageac to Arles (and miss the "scenic route") through Figeac, etc.?

There are two other options to free up an extra night, which we would rather avoid if we can:
Option 3: Spend the night in Bordeaux, AND take the two days to drive from La Roque Gageac to Arles, but cut our stay in Arles down to two nights. But that seems a short time to spend in Provence.
Option 4: Spend the night in Bordeaux, AND take the two days to drive from La Roque Gageac to Arles, AND stay in Arles for three nights. Pick up the extra day at the very end of the trip, and spend just one night back in Paris instead of two when we return there by train from Provence.

Any input is most appreciated!

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