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Most Scenic Drive from Albi to Sarlat

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We arrive at Blagnac at 10:15 on Friday, June 2 and don’t need to be in Sarlat until late Sunday afternoon for a two week stay. That gives us the best part of three days to enjoy a leisurely drive to the Dordogne, concentrating on visiting places that are too far from Sarlat for a day trip. I’ve been pouring over guidebooks and trip reports and itineraries and am quite overwhelmed by all the possibilities. I’d really appreciate advice and suggestions to help me narrow down the choices and plan a scenic but realistic route.

Albi seems like the perfect first stop. It’s not far from Toulouse and it’s an ancient city that can be explored on foot. We could maybe take a slight lunchtime detour to Castelnau-de-Montmiral and possibly even visit Cordes on our way to Albi that day as long as there would still be time in Albi to see the cathedral and the Toulouse Lautrec museum. I’ve emailed Hotel Restaurant le Vieil Alby** ( a highly rated restaurant with rooms ) and Hostellerie St. Antoine**** ( recommended on this forum but pricer ) and both have rooms available. I'm not sure which to choose.

The second day is the most difficult because there are so many options. I’ve narrowed it down to two main ones by eliminating possible excursions from Sarlat but I’m open to other suggestions. We could start off by buying pique-nique supplies at the Saturday morning market before setting out so we can eat lunch anywhere.

If we didn’t visit Cordes the first day, we could head straight there then to Najac and then explore the Gorges de l’Aveyron driving westward. We could eat that night at Les Gorges de l'Aveyron in Montricoux then possibly stay there or in Saint Antonin. Then which route should we follow the next day to Sarlat?

A second possibility would be to drive from Albi through Rodez then on to Conques via Espelion, Estiang and Entraygue. I’ll need to buy another map if we decide on this option as it’s just off MM #337 but I do have the correct green guide! If we go this way I thought we could explore some of the eastern section of the Dordogne en route to Sarlat Sunday morning. I’ve contacted the Moulin de Cambelong in Conques as this seems to be the place to stay in the area and it’s available.

Basically I guess I’d like to know whether the Gorges de l’Aveyron or the Lot around Conques and the upper Dordogne is more scenic.

Thanks to the many people on this forum who have already helped me, mostly quite unknowingly, especially Stu, Ira, St. Cirq, Sheila, Nikki and of course, Carlux!

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