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Trip Report Wonderful Dordogne (Languedoc & Lot)

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We recently returned from France after spending 20 days in the Languedoc, Lot and Dordogne areas (June 11 – July 1). We had a great trip and many thanks to all (particularly Stu Dudley and St. Cirq) who gave advice and all who wrote trip reports that were most helpful in the planning stages.

Overall Impression of Dordogne:

There is so much to see and do here. We spent 20 days in the area and could have easily spent another week (or forever) here! We were captivated with all this area offered from the beautiful towns and villages to the fascinating pre-historic caves, the weekly markets, gorgeous castles and scenic rivers. We were fascinated with the history and architecture of the area.

We spent 3 weeks in Provence last spring and loved the area but must admit we preferred this region for the variety of things to do and the spectacular scenery and history. Maybe it’s just that this is our most recent trip and those fond memories are so fresh in our minds. I really don’t think you can go wrong with any region of France but this area we will definitely return to soon.

Weather

Traveling during the spring & fall seasons can be wonderful. We prefer these times of year as there are fewer tourists and better chance of temperate weather. We had mostly beautiful warm weather, mixture of clouds and sun most days. We had a few days of on/off rain but it never poured and it seemed like the rain stopped whenever we reached our destination to explore the town. We had 2 days that hit 100 degrees but most days were pleasant in the 70’s & 80’s with a few days in the upper 60’s.

GPS

We purchased a Garmin last year for our trip to Provence and planned to use it again this year. It was wonderful! It made our trip so much more pleasant getting around the larger cities. I wish we had had one on all those other trips! Of course, we still made a few wrong turns, but the GPS would recalculate and get us right back on course. We still had our Michelin maps and consulted them often. We had a GPS in the car rental this year and mostly used it instead of the Garmin. We called her Bridgette and much preferred the English accent to the monotone of the Garmin. Additionally, she always says “turn here now”. The Garmin will tell you to turn in x kilometers and if you miss the turn, it will say “recalculating”. We soon tired of hearing that word. We found that once we got out of the larger cities and towns, we relied mostly on the signage which is very good in the Dordogne.

The cities, towns, villages and caves we visited:
* ** Enjoyed Immensely/ Highly Recommend
* *Liked / Recommend
* Worth a Visit

Abli***
Abri du Cap Blanc*
Autoire**
Beaulieu-s-Dordogne*
Belves**
Beynac***
Canoeing the Dordogne***
Carcassonne**
Carennac**
Castlenaud***
Castelnau de Montmiral*
Chateau Biron***
Chateau de Hautefort***
Chateau Des Milandes***
Castlenau Bretenoux**
Chateau de Fenelon**
Collonges-La-Rouge**
Cordes sur Ciel**
Domme**
Figeac**
Font de Gaume***
Forte de Reignac***
Grotte Rouffignac***
Jardin de Marqueyssac**
Jardins d’Eyringnac**
La Bugue*
La Madeleine*
La Roque Gageac**
La Roque St Christophe***
Lascaux II***
Les Eyzies de Tayac*
Loubressac**
Martel**
Monpazier**
Montignac*
Pech Merle***
Rocamadour***
Sarlat***
St-Amand-de-Coly
St Antonin Val Noble*
St. Cere**
St Cirq Lapopie***
St. Cyprien**
St. Genies*
St Leon sur Vezere**
Toulouse***
Turenne*
Where we stayed:

We liked all of the hotels we stayed at and loved the apartment we rented in Sarlat. We would recommend them all. We always like to stay in the center of town so we can easily walk to restaurants and sites. The only exception for us this visit was in Rocamadour where we stayed at a beautiful country estate just 10 minutes from town.

Toulouse - Albert 1: http://www.hotel-albert1.fr/en/home-page.php?no_cache=1

This hotel was conveniently located to everything in the city centre. Room was basic but clean and comfortable. Get a bath with tub. Our first night here was in a room with shower only and the shower door leaked at the bottom so water flooded the floor. On the night before we left the area, we also stayed here and had a nicer room with shower/tub combo. Good breakfast offerings.

Albi - Hotel Les Pasteliers: http://www.hotellespasteliers.com/

This hotel was also conveniently located to everything. It was a little quirky but we liked it. The room was again basic, but clean and comfortable.

St. Cirq Lapopie - Auberge du Sombral: http://www.lesombral.com/sombral_gb.html

I believe this is the only hotel in town. It was a lovely converted home and was very nice but no A/C. We could have used it that night. The room and bath were spacious and lovely with beautiful views out the windows. It had a charming dining area but the breakfast was a basic continental.

Figeac: Best Western Hotel Le Pont d’O: http://www.bestwestern.fr/en/hotel-Figeac,Best-Western-Hotel-Le-Pont-D-Or,93511

We had a river view and it was a nice room with large bath. The front desk personnel were wonderful and we had a great dinner at this hotel.

Rocamadour: Domaine de La Rhue: http://www.domainedelarhue.com/

This hotel is a converted stable on the property of the owners Christine & Eric, who were wonderful hosts. We had a large room with large bath and beautiful views of the property.

Sarlat: Apartment Josephine rented through in-sarlat agency: www.in-sarlat.fr/holiday-rentals/holidays-rentals.html

We loved staying in Sarlat and would recommend staying at this property. The only downside is that it has no A/C. Although the apartment stayed relatively cool, we had a few 100 degree days and could have used a fan. The apartment is large, clean, beautifully decorated and in a quiet courtyard (Cour des Fontaines) near the TI office. Both Phillipe and Beatrice were a pleasure to deal with. As with some apartment rentals, it does not come with basic starter items. We had only 1 roll of TP, no soap, coffee or tea, no paper products or salt/pepper, etc. We would not hesitate to rent this apartment again. There is satellite TV but you can only get a few French stations. No CNN or BBC. We really didn’t mind as most days we were too busy to think about watching TV. The apartment has a washer/dryer combo which we had to figure out how to use by reading the manual.

Paris: Novotel Convention & Wellness: http://www.novotel.com/gb/hotel-5418-novotel-convention-wellness-roissy-cdg/index.shtml

This is a better than average airport hotel. It is also convenient to the town of Roissy if you want to walk around this pleasant town. We have stayed here several times before leaving for an early morning flight out of Paris. The biggest complaint I have about these airport hotels is the airport shuttle service. We had to wait almost over 45 minutes at the airport for the shuttle and then upon leaving the hotel for the airport, the shuttle was very full and it makes a lot of stops. They need more shuttles. I’m not sure if the other hotel shuttles are quicker.

Our Blog and Photo Album:
This is the link to our blog if you are interested in reading what we did day to day
http://winnick-france2011.blogspot.com/

This is the link to our photo album:
http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/1903193/a9ca33a7089655ac43d1efdf879b33b7d1760a3f

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