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Where to base in Languedoc and Dordogne

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Dear fellow travelers,

I started a previous thread about where to visit in the above named regions but since then my plans have changed considerably and the recommendation to take the train to Brive-la-Gaillard from Paris and return to Paris the same way but from the Languedoc is what we've decided to do. We will rent a car in Brive and keep it the entire trip.

After having read and absorbed all of the information from the generous posters in the former thread, our tentative plan is to base out of Sarlat for 8 days and 2 days out of St Cere. As stated earlier, our preference is to stay in one place for longer periods and do day trips but I'm not sure that strategy is going to work on this trip due to the size of the Languedoc. First, I think I could shave a day off of the Sarlat end of the trip but due to the boat and canoe trips I think would be interesting I think that's about the extent of alteration at that location. But, I would like to hear some pro's ad con's if anyone cares to weigh in. .After leaving St Cere in route to the Languedoc, the Lot Valley and in particular, St Geniez, St Eulalie and Estaing seem just too temping to pass up. Could we cover these with an over night stay in one of the named towns?

Now comes the real challenge! If you had nine days to spend in the Languedoc, starting in St Cere and wanting to spend a day or two in the Lot Valley where would you go? Is Collioure too far to range ( girl friend loves the water/coast)? Is Carcassone a "must see"? Narbonne? St Guilhem Le Desert? The Canal du Midi? Albi? Cathar castles (which one)? Whatever inout you could give would be helpful.

Finally, we need to take a train, hopefully the TGV, back to Paris at the end of the trip. Where can I find information as to which towns/cities have TGV service? I'm guessing we'll end the trip in a coastal town Collioure or another.

Thanks for the patience and the excellence advice. It is all greatly appreciated.

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