2-3 days in dordogne - bad feet

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Oct 2nd, 2010, 02:25 PM
  #1
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2-3 days in dordogne - bad feet

We will be driving from the Loire valley to Dordorgne - I have some flexibility in my schedule. My biggest concern is making this trip manageable for my husband who although is only 57 doesn't have great feet. I thought about staying in sarlat - secondary to coffee shops, restaurants close by and driving out to other locations during the day. I also want to see Rocamadour but unsure if best to do a day trip or actually spend one night there. When we leave i want to go to Carcasonne - but unsure how to get there - as still in planning stage. I would like to see a cave and canoe - but are there caves that have fairly good walkways or is it mostly on uneven terrain. We tend to like to drive and see beautiful villages - stop and have coffee, then head on. Not museum lovers....really love taking pictures of landscape, etc. Any suggestions on how to spend our days?
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Oct 2nd, 2010, 02:39 PM
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Lascaux II is artificial, and has a smooth floor. Rouffignac can only be seen by taking a little electric train and staying on the train until the final stop with maybe 50 feet of walking (take a flashlight for greater safety). You have to climb up some to see Font de Gaume, but the cave itself is quite smooth and level.

This collection is geo-mapped, so it might give you some idea of what to see and its geographical location:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...7624827253292/
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Oct 2nd, 2010, 03:55 PM
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First off, I wouldn't drive from the Loire to the Dordogne; I'd hop on a train at Tours and take the TGV to Libourne and drive in from there.

Second, I can't quite imagine anyone with "bad feet" making it up to the entrance to Font-de-Gaume. It's a steep walk. And the cave, while smooth, isn't that level - it's not hard, though, as you'll be moving very slowly. I would go to Combarelles instead, though - no climb to the entrance to the cave. You might actually want to visit "my" cave, the Grotte de St-Cirq, which while small, has a collection of both engravings and chromatic paintings and is very level (not anywhere near as impressive as FdG, though. It does have one of the very few pictures of a human form anywhere in the Vézère Valley, though.

Third, of course Sarlat will have coffee shops and restaurants nearby, but so will plenty of other smaller towns, without the parking hassles that often come with a stay in Sarlat.

With only 2-3 days, I wouldn't spend a day getting to Rocamadour and back from Sarlat. I'd do it, as well as Figeac, Albi, Cordes, and Castres, on the way to Carcassonne, even though that means passing through Mazamet, one of the few horrors of France.

You can only canoe when the weather's cooperative. When are you going?

You're going to find out really quickly that 2-3 days isn't even close to enough time to spend in the area.
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Oct 2nd, 2010, 04:33 PM
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>>With only 2-3 days, I wouldn't spend a day getting to Rocamadour and back from Sarlat. I'd do it, as well as Figeac, Albi, Cordes, and Castres, on the way to Carcassonne, <<

I'll go a step further. I would not visit Rocamadour OR Carcassonne if you only have 2-3 days in the Dordogne (I'll assume you have a good 2 1/2 days at most). Carcassonne is a 3 hr visit at best, and driving there will eat up a lot of time - which you don't have. My wife has bad feet too - and I think both Carcassonne and Rocamadour might be a challenge. Use the time to add an extra day to the Dordogne.

Stu Dudley
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Oct 2nd, 2010, 05:10 PM
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We would actually be heading from rocamadour to the french riveria, so stopping at carcassonne as it appears to be on the way. I do have a couple of extra days I can add somewhere on my trip (total of 3 weeks) and how I am using my time is flying into paris - visiting our french student's home in Lille - driving to Normandy - staying in this area for two days, then to mt. st.michel to see the mount, but most likely will not be touring it secondary to my husband's feet. Then 3 days in provence/loire area, driving to dordogne - spending 2-3 days, then to the french riveria for 2-3 days, and from there will be taking a train to our friends house in italy. Because of my husband's feet, being able to drive around, stop when we want, often seems easier. If we took a train to dordogne from then how do you get around in this area? We will be doing in May. Any recommendations for accomodations in this area. I am looking for a room that perhaps we don't have to go up stairs....challenging to find. THANKS!
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Oct 2nd, 2010, 05:50 PM
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>>Then 3 days in provence/loire area,<<

Huh??

I've driven between the Loire & the Dordogne twice, and between the Dordogne & Cote d'Azur/Provence many times. BORING and time consuming. Don't count on those legs to be scenic or interesting - except for a stop in Carcassonne and about 5 miles of pretty mountains as you near the St Tropez exit. I think your 2-3 days in the Dordogne & 2-3 days on the Cote will really be closer to 1 1/4 days to 2 1/4 days each (if you you have not "hidden" a travel day or two in your above itinerary). Not nearly enough time IN either area, and too much travel in 5-6 days between Normandy & the Cote.

I would not go to Mt St Michel just to view it from the parking lot. IMO, that is too much driving & time consuming travel for just a "short" reward. Look at your map of France & use www.viamichelin.com to find out how much time you add just for an outside view of MSM. It is probably the most photographed site in France that is not in Paris - and it probably won't look that much better in person than in photographs (we've been there twice).

Stu Dudley
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Oct 2nd, 2010, 06:46 PM
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If you were going to do this trip - I do want to see the south of france as well as the dordogne - carcassone isn't a necessity - what would you include. I have 11 days (not counting my days in the south of france) and would like to see the dordogne, loire valley, normandy. I would relish any suggestions you have ...keeping in mind, my husband's bad feet.
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Oct 2nd, 2010, 09:51 PM
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>> I have 11 days (not counting my days in the south of france) and would like to see the dordogne, loire valley, normandy.<<

I don't quite understand your date requirements. I think you have committments in Lille, then again in Italy. If that is the case, what specific date are you leaving Lille, and what date do you need to leave the Cote d'Azur to go to Italy???

Stu Dudley
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Oct 3rd, 2010, 05:23 AM
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Some random comments.

You are trying to do too much. Decide where you have to be, plot the routes out on Google Maps, then move the lines around to eliminate bulges and see what's left!

I don't think the route from the Loire to the Dordogne (or Perigord, as the French themselves call it) is boring ONCE. You will be amazed at how many corn fields there are. But I wouldn't want to do it more than once.

If you are going to Rocamadour for religious reasons, don't hesitate. I am not Roman Catholic, but I found the religious part moving. The tourist part of it, the vast majority, is pretty horrible, so I would not stay there.

Parking is indeed an issue in Sarlat. Be sure your hotel or guest house has parking on site or you will have to walk from a public parking lot. There is no on-street parking in the historic district.

Font-de-Gaume is a great experience, but the hill from the ticket office is a bit steep. Les Combarelles is a wonderful cave, easy to get to, great art, but no one spoke English when I was there. The charming guide acted out what we were seeing, and we had enough French to ask a few questions.

Many people with bad feet (myself included in the old days) try to baby them with soft, comfy shoes like Rockports. Firm shoes with stiffish soles are actually a lot less tiring. The more like hiking boots, the better. You will be delightd to take them off at the end of the day, but your feet will hurt less the next morning than with lighter shoes. My feet are just as bad as they have ever been, but I suffer less since I learned this.
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Oct 3rd, 2010, 08:19 AM
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I would stick to the Dordogne and the Loire, and there are things to see in between.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...7623276890499/
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Oct 3rd, 2010, 09:09 AM
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I have bad feet and bad knees, and I walked up to Font de Gaume. The main problem I had was not realizing what a long climb it was and not leaving enough time to get up to the entrance from the ticket office, so I had to rush. Even so, I made it, and there was a bench along the way up, if I recall. The path was wide and not uneven. If I had left plenty of time, it would not have been a problem at all. And the inside of the cave is small, at least the area where the tours go, and you are standing rather than walking much of the time.
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Oct 3rd, 2010, 09:23 AM
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<>

ALL the parking is right next to the "historic district."

To the OP, though, you are cramming way too much into this trip. I would eliminate the Côte d'Azure.

And if you take the train to, say, Libourne, that's where you pick up your rental car. Or Bordeaux. Or Toulouse. Or wherever.
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Oct 3rd, 2010, 10:05 AM
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Just came back from 12 days in Lot and Dordogne. Could have spent more time. Font du Gaume is tough getting up to (walking wise). Lascaux II is not and it has fabulous reproductions (both the cave paintings and the cave itself.)

Lots of the little villages in these areas are difficult walking. Up and down, up and down. Cobble stones streets. Lots of steps. My thighs hurt after about the 3rd day and I walk up and down the subway steps in NYC all the time. However, I must say that in Roque Gageac I saw a heavy woman (and obviously a tourist) with a cane traipsing up and down the streets that were very steep. Determination!

Sarlat is good for "bad feet" as it's mostly flat.

The two regions we went to have beautiful countrysides - the driving is lovely.
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Oct 3rd, 2010, 10:19 AM
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Is there parking closer than D704 above the impasse de l'Hopital or place des Cordeliers in Sarlat? My wife, who just had her cast for a broken ankle removed, had difficulties getting to the place des Cordeliers. In my mind, the parking on D704 is farther away from the historic center and is higher up than the place des Cordeliers.
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Oct 3rd, 2010, 11:10 AM
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Not sure what you mean by "bad feet". Does that mean that he is limited in how far he can walk - a block? a mile?? Or does it mean that he has trouble with his gait/is unsteady - and will have problems with any walking on uneven surfaces? The latter will be an issue many places in europe - where uneven cobblestone streets, rather than flat cement pavements, are often the standard.

And I too don;t really understand your plans and how much time you have where. It does sound like you're trying to cover too much = but it's hard to tell.

And - going to Mt St Michel without climbing to the top (a fairly steep walk) and visiting the abbey (multiple sets of stairs up and down) doesn;t really make sense.
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Oct 3rd, 2010, 12:22 PM
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St Cirq and other who may know--how long is the walk from the "outside the center" lots into the "historic center"? We are staying on Rue Presidial.
Thank you.
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Oct 3rd, 2010, 12:59 PM
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Had no problem parking in Sarlat on the street itself rather than a parking area. Short walk to "historic area". (The whole place is rather historic in my opinion.) But we were there this past week. When are you going? Might make a difference if it's during the height of the season.
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Oct 3rd, 2010, 01:18 PM
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Regarding parking distances in Sarlat, the central 'historic area' is quite small, inside the original town walls, with virtually no parking allowed.

Just outside, however, and sometimes only about 50 metres from the 'historic' area there are several parking areas, the Grande Regaudie (paying) at the south end, and one a little further on, in front of the Sous-Prefecture, Place Salvador Allende (free). Calinurse, if you are staying near le Presidial, that's probably the easiest. There is on street parking close by to, if you are lucky, but it's metered.

More free parking on the west end, but with fairly steep steps.

And then at the north end, also free (I think) is Cordeliers, and above it, but quite a hike, Desmouret (free) Other than on market days in the summer, you can almost always get a spot there.
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Oct 4th, 2010, 07:41 PM
  #19
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Thanks for your suggestions - I have 13 days once i leave Lille france before I head for Italy. My husbands feet are unpredictable - He has had gout in his feet and limited range of motion, so walking on uneven surfaces for long periods is difficult. We enjoy driving, getting out and walking the town, driving, touring a winery, etc. but walking long periods on uneven surfaces will leave him with painful feet the next day. When he golfed in Scotland, he could barely walk the next day - but said it was worth it I am trying to plan a driving, sightseeing trip and since we enjoy seeing scenery, villages, etc. we should have a great time.
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Oct 4th, 2010, 07:55 PM
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Going to france, first two weeks of May......
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