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Travel in May - Canal du Midi barge and Dordogne

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We are planning a trip this May that will involve a canal barge trip on the Canal du Midi, with a van from the barge picking us up and at the end taking us back to the train station in Montpellier. After that week, we will want to spend a week in the Dordogne, around the Sarlat area, and realize we will need to rent a car for that.

We can fly from Washington, DC, through Paris to Montpellier, or take a train from Paris, but flying seems much simpler. Of course, in that case, we'd have to get from the Montpellier airport to the train station. We are thinking that we would fly out of Toulousse back to D.C.

The big question is getting from Montpellier to the Dordogne (train to Toulousse? then rent a car there?) I suppose renting it and returning to Toulousse would be the best bet.

We'd love input on our plans and any advice, including places to stay. We've never traveled in France before, but drove (awful driving on the left!) and stayed in B&Bs in England and Scotland.

Thanks for any advice. All the forum posters seem to be so helpful!

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