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Trip Report Iwan2go went to the Dordogne

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First, a huge thank you to everyone for your help! This was a wonderful trip, very relaxing, and we’d like to go again! It seems like so long ago, but it’s only been two months…time to go somewhere again.

To tell you a little about ourselves, we’re in our mid-sixties, in good walking shape, love gardens, museums, good food, and getting to know our hosts and fellow travelers. We’ve been to Paris and France several times but this was our first time to the area around the Dordogne and Lot. Our trip was from April 21-May 3, and we went for three days to Paris, six nights in the Dordogne, and two nights in Toulouse.

There are a few things I wish we’d done differently - mainly booked tickets online for the Musee Marmottan Monet and the Gouffre Padriac - and one thing I thank God we did, which was to get an automatic transmission, which happened to come with GPS. I didn’t know we’d get the GPS but it was absolutely a Godsend to see that yes, this is still the D703 while going through what looked like some farmer’s field (I exaggerate for effect…but not much). We’ll get both from now on - it cut out SO much stress.

We left in the late afternoon from LAX, an Air France direct flight to Paris. We’d saved lots of coins from our last trip and plugged them into the machine at CDG for RER tickets, getting off at St. Michel. I’d hoped to avoid any stairs, but we must have taken the wrong exit and had to haul our bags up a flight or two. Someone put the exit number to look for on this board but I didn’t have it then, so oh well. Walked about a half mile to our hotel, Hotel Residence Henri IV in the Latin Quarter, near Maubert Mutalite. A lovely place to stay, and we had the top floor room with two balconies and an open view over the neighboring park. It was a very, very nice place, friendly staff, and a great value as we’d booked a while ahead. We had dinner locally at La Petit Pontoise, which was good but not worth 131E.

The next day we went online and got tickets to the Rodin Museum (not as necessary as the following day!), had lunch at Restaurant Pasco (very good, 67E with wine and coffee), and a lovely dinner at our favorite restaurant, Itineraires (only a few blocks away!). We were warmly greeted and had a wonderful meal, three courses, wine and coffee for 147E - great ambiance, service and food.

The following day we spent with Michael Osman, who’s always fun and a great source of information. We went by bus to the Marmottan to find looong lines for a special exhibit. Oh well, live and learn, it was worth waiting for. After lunch we took the Metro, then a bus to the Bois de Boulogne and the Bagatelle (couldn’t have found it so easily on our own, which was why we asked him to guide us). WOW, that was just magical. What a beautiful, tranquil place. We wandered around there til late afternoon admiring the flowers and trees; it’s just so refreshing. The guys, walking behind me on the road in, were propositioned by a woman in a van after we got off the bus - that was interesting - and on the way out, the door was closed. Ahem.

That night we tried a local restaurant, Le Buisson Ardent, which was fine but nothing great. Got a cab to Orly the next morning and flew to Toulouse, where we rented the car and set off for our B&B in Montfort, near Sarlat.

Our home for the next six nights - for that was what it became - was just wonderful. L’Ombriere, named after a castle of Eleanor of Aquitaine, is the home of Barbara and Andrea Polato. Barbara was a Professor of Biology and Andrea a photographer, and the most gentle, kind and hospitable couple you’ll ever meet. Our room was on the top floor of their stone house, with a view over the countryside. The second best thing was the location - it was right on the D703, on the way to Domme and La Roque Gageac, as well as a direct road (though a little confusing…) to Sarlat. The third best thing - maybe I shouldn’t rank them, they’re all the “best” - was the breakfasts and dinners. Absolutely made the trip!

We found L'Ombriere fairly easily, probably crashed, and went down for dinner with B&A and our fellow guests, a darling couple from Brazil (who spoke English, among about 6 other languages, and were kind enough to do so that night). Barbara made an amazing pasta - I wished for seconds and thirds but didn’t ask - duck breast, and panna cotta with strawberries. All the wines were local, as were the cheeses. What a great start!

The next day was market day in Sarlat, so we got over there and wandered around. I am glad we saw it, but even more glad we went back later, when it wasn’t crowded and we could see the buildings. We had a very nice lunch at Le Presidential, hidden away on a back street in a garden setting. The menu was salad, salmon, a strawberry tart for me, and ginger and raspberry ice cream for my husband. Cost was $75.00, and I would go back again if only for the ambiance.

Now it’s getting to be dinner time, so I’ll write more later!

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