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Itinerary to highlight cave art in France

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I am sightseeing in France next week, with a primary focus on prehistoric cave art. Creating an itinerary is challenging me because of the uncertainty of visiting one of the most outstanding caves, Font-de-Gaume (FDG), and I could use some advice from those with experience! (The number of visitors at FDG is limited daily, so I will need to queue around 6:30 am at the ticket office, which opens at 9:30 am. Even so, it is not certain I will obtain at ticket at all, or what time it would be.)

I arrive in Limoges early on Tuesday 16 Sep, will rent a car, and fly out of Brive late on Friday 19 September. From Limoges, I will first drive north to visit Orador-sur-Glanes, and then head head south towards the Vezere River valley where many of the notable caves are located. I had thought I first could stop in Montignac on Tuesday afternoon if time permits to see Lascaux II. But this is where I need help in planning.....or strategizing. Should I try for FDG on Wednesday morning and if that is unsuccessful, try again, or just move on? Should I put it off til Thursday or even Friday, and do other more certain things first? I would like to see Peche Merle, which can book advance tickets, but that means I need to commit to a time soon, and this uncertainty about FDG is handicapping me. Aside from exploring cave art, I would like to spend some morning time in a town on its market day and do a little paddling on the Dordogne (yes, I read about that in Rick Steve's book and it sounds lovely!). I have checked the driving times between many key locations, and they can be significant, so I want to be efficient and avoid driving back and forth if possible.

I had thought I a counter clockwise loop from Montignac to Les Eyzies de Tayac to Sarlat to Les Grotes de Cougnac to Brive would make sense, but that only works if FDG falls into place early on the trip. The FDG uncertainty also complicates accomodation choices -- should I stay in one place for all three nights, or split it... and which locations make the most sense? I don't want to start the trip without a reservation for at least the first night, so that forces some choices before FDG is resolved. (I should add that I am over 60, so am viewing this as a once in a lifetime experience, and I can understand & speak French passably so have flexibility in scheduling tours.)

Thanks for your patience with this story!

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