1st day in the Dordogne

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May 2nd, 2008, 04:11 AM
  #1
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1st day in the Dordogne

Hi

I'm travelling to the Dordogne for the first time in 25 years at the beginning of July. My memories of the area are still vivid, if a little rose-tinted. My first visit was by bike where we spent 3 weeks touring the Dordogne.

Now I am returning with my partner and her 2 daughters (17 & 19). We will be staying in a gite just outside Domme. To avoid the strain of a long drive down from Calais, we have decided to take the car by Motorail down to Brive.

So to my query. We will be arriving at 7am on the Saturday morning and won't be able to get into our gite until 5pm. Does anyone have any suggestions of what we can do the first day, bearing in mind that we won't have slept that well and the car will be full of luggage?

Sarlat market in the morning is an obvious choice, but we will probably want somewhere to chill out for lunch and the afternoon. I would like to leave the blockbuster sites for the rest of our stay.

So, any thoughts? Marqueyssac comes to mind, but is that likely to be busy?

Thanks in anticipation.

Bill
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May 2nd, 2008, 07:07 AM
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ira
 
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Hi BB,

> we will probably want somewhere to chill out for lunch and the afternoon.

How about a boat ride on the Dordogne?
www.cc-perigord-noir.fr/gb/sites.htm

You can also kayak.

You can have lunch at any of the towns between Sarlat and Le Bugue.

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May 2nd, 2008, 07:19 AM
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I don't think I'd kayak if I'd not slept well the night before, but a boat ride is a nice idea.

Actually, I'd go from Brive to Terrasson and have lunch there and enjoy the gardens and walk around the old town. Then I'd pick my way south on the D roads to Salignac. On the way from Salignac to Sarlat you could stop at Eyrignac and tour the gardens.

Those would be places you wouldn't typically be making an effort to see, but all are worthwhile.
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May 2nd, 2008, 09:37 AM
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You might use the opportunity to visit some of the sites that are somewhat close to Brive, but pretty far from Domme. This will save you some driving later. Visit Collonges La Rouge and Turenne.

Marqueyssac is better before noon when the great view towards Beynac isn't blurred by the sun in your face.

We had a very nice lunch at Jardins d'Eyrignac waiting for the first afternoon tour to start. If anyone in your group is not a garden fan, however, a guided tour might be a little tedious for someone with not much sleep. If you are British, it is NOT a British garden style - it's a highly structured Italian style - mostly hedges with few colored flowers.

On Sunday, head out to the morning street market in St Cyprien to get some food for the Gite. From the Domme area, take the D50 south a tad and then by Ch Castelnaud for a fabulous morning view of this Chateau. It's hidden in the shade in the afternoon.

There is a large grocery open Sunday morning in St Cyprien - just off the D703, and NOT in the town center. You probably know that it is unusual for a grocery to be open on Sundays in France - but since it's market day, the one in St Cyprien is open.

Stu Dudley
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May 3rd, 2008, 01:16 PM
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Bill_B: Collonges-la-Rouge would be good to visit in the morning as someone suggested; we were there in the afternoon and with all the stonework it was miserably hot. I'm always leery of leaving a car full of luggage, though. The parking lot we used was big and open- and without attendant (just put in your money to enter or exit-cant remember which) so I don't know how comfortable I'd feel.

Beynac has the chateau (private pay parking up at the top, at the chateau level) and the relaxing boat ride up and down the Dordogne, public parking along the river in town. Both Beynac and La Roque Gageac have very busy, public parking areas so it would be harder to have a break-in than in a secluded area. However, both of these are very close to Domme and I liked what others have suggested re: seeing sights more towards the Brive area.


Stu: Great info-as we will be in Beynac on a Sunday and traveling towards the Languedoc region Monday to take up residence in our gîte there.

Does anyone know of Monday markets in the Beynac-Domme-Cahors-Toulouse areas?
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May 3rd, 2008, 08:56 PM
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We stayed in Beynac last July as our Dordogne base. I vote for floating down the river, since you will have the teens with you! It was not strenuous at all, and we were in kayaks, since the current basically carries you along. If you do have the energy, you could pull out along the way.

Aside from how glorious a day it was (half a day, really- about 10 until 3ish)I got such a better understanding of the geology, geography and history of the region when seeing it from the river- the competing French and English castles across from each other, etc. It might make a nice introduction to the region. But if you are all really tired, the boat ride option would provide the same views and less need to schedule ahead of time!

There was a large parking lot next to the office/restaurant in Beynac where we made arrangements for the canoe rental. The boats left from there, too. I suppose the worries about the luggage are valid, but perhaps you could leave anything really valuable with the office?

On the other hand, I believe you do need to make reservations to be picked up there ahead of time for the kayaks- if you check online I think it was "Copreye" or something very close when you get your Googled results- unless you drove to the starting points closer to Sarlat.
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May 4th, 2008, 04:17 AM
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

Stu and Klondike: I should have added that we will be staying the 2nd week near Meyssac, so we will be covering Collonges, Turenne and east of the A20 then.

Stu. Your Sunday tour sounds great and I did have that in mind - I remember the stretch Domme-La Roque Gageac-Castlenaud-Beynac-St Cyprien being fabulous. (When we were there in '77, Castlenaud was still a ruin).

I had planned to do a canoe trip later in the week. As an aside, is it worth taking a full day's trip from Carsac to Enveaux (28km) or is a shorter (1/2 day, 14km) sufficient?

However, the idea of the river cruise is quite appealing, but I was hoping to save Beynac until Sunday.

St Cirq: I like your idea of Terasson and the back lanes. When we were on our cycle tour in '77, a local farmer (Jean Daly) kindly allowed us to camp for several days in one his fields while we had one of bikes repaired. I wonder if the family is still there? Of course that would preclude going to the market in Sarlat, but perhaps that would be better left until the Tuesday or 2nd Saturday.

Thanks
Bill
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May 4th, 2008, 07:13 AM
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Bill, there's no market in Sarlat on Tuesdays; it's Wednesdays and Saturdays. The big market on Tuesday is in Le Bugue.

I don't think there are any Monday markets anywhere in France, as it is typically a day of closure. The only exception I can think of is in high season in Les Eyzies, so there will probably be one there in July.
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May 4th, 2008, 07:31 AM
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>>I don't think there are any Monday markets anywhere in France<<

Bedoin in Provence - great Monday morning market.

Stu Dudley
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May 4th, 2008, 07:55 AM
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I've posted this many times.

Whenever we have luggage in the car & need to park somewhere, we'll back our car up against a tree, lightpost, wall, or other non-movable object so that the trunk of our car can not physically be opened. Others have suggested putting a bicycle chain lock through all the handles of the suitcases.

Stu Dudley
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May 8th, 2008, 08:56 AM
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You might check with the gite manager to see if it would be permissible for you to drop your bags off earlier in the day. This would alleviate the theft concerns and free you up to go where the wind carries you.
Sarlat market is a great choice, because you'll be arriving there early enough that you might actually be able to park, and you can pick up nearly everything you might need for your first night and morning at the gite.
As you come into the north side of Sarlat there's a large Champion supermarket which is open on Sunday mornings, and you could pick up a cheap cooler there to store groceries in until you can deliver them to the gite.
Leaving Champion, carry on for a few long blocks and park in one of the large parking lots near the cemetery. From there you can walk right down into the market. It will be a bit of a lug to carry your purchases back up to the car when you've finished, but it'll help you work up an appetite for a leisurely lunch afterwards while you "chill out."
Have a great trip!
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May 8th, 2008, 09:32 AM
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Won't you come home?
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