2-3 days in dordogne - bad feet

Oct 4th, 2010, 07:22 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4,388
Carlux, thank you so much , mercki beaucoup, for the information. The folks at In-Sarlat's office sent a PDF attachment map showing the pkg, but it is a bit blurry.
Darn Marilee, we'll be there just two weeks after you! We could've all commiserated about our tootsies, over a glass of wine!
CaliNurse is offline  
Oct 5th, 2010, 09:19 AM
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I think with 13 nights, you can visit a good portion of what you want to see in France - provided that you don’t mind a few long & boring drives.

I’ve put together an itinerary that considers:
-Your husband has bad feet. If he is like my wife, about 1 hour of walking is all that he can comfortably do at a time. Cobblestones & uneven pavement will add even more to the torture. Therefore, I won’t suggest any “big city” visits, like Nice.

- You like scenic drives & stops in small cute villages. We do too – so this will be easy.

Suggested itinerary
2 nights in Normandy
2 nights in the Loire
4 nights in the Dordogne
1 night in Carcassonne
4 nights on the Cote d’Azur.


Normandy – You did not specify what your main interests in Normandy are – the D-Day stuff, the pretty interior, or both. I’ll assume you just want to visit the D-Day things. Get the Michelin Green Guide for Normandy

Day 1. Leave Lille and drive 3 ½ hrs on the freeway to the Caen in Normandy

Le Memorial in Caen. The Memorial is north of Caen (the museum is well marked on the north ring road around Caen – it is in an industrial park). This museum explains the war and the conditions & events leading up to the war. In addition to the exhibits, there are 3 (maybe 4) films to see. Only the first two (I believe) are of any interest. The best one shows the D-Day events from both the Allied & German perspective (they are shown simultaneously on a split screen). Plan on 3 hours at this Museum (have lunch there in the cafeteria). If you leave Lille at 8:30, you should get to the Memorial around 12:00.

Short drive to the Pegasus Bridge. Visit the museum and try to attend an explanation of the British glider landings on June 5 and the capture of this important bridge across the Orne river. If you get there at 3:30 – you should leave around 4:30

British/Canadian Landing Beaches (Sword, Juno, Gold) The British/Canadian beaches are in an (over) developed area & not as haunting as the US landing beaches. You might just want to drive quickly through this area.

Arromanches. You should get to Arromanches around 5:30. You may not have enough time to see any or all of this today.
Musee du Debarquement – watch the film
360 Degree theatre
Walk along the beach & see the Mulberries up closely

Stay overnight in Bayeux 2 nights..

Day 2
Bayeux- A quick walk through town before viewing the tapestry.
Bayeux Tapestry open 9-6:30. 1 hr visit
Battle of Normandy museum (open 10-12:30, 2-6) – this museum was closed in ’05, but may have re-opened

Return to Arromanches if you did not see everything yesterday.

German Batteries at Longues-sur-Mer

US landing beaches.
Pointe du Hoc More German batteries

Ste Mere Eglise . I found this a little tacky & the museum wasn’t that great. My wife spent the summer of ’66 living with a French family while studying at a High School in St Brieuc, Brittany. While on a field trip to Ste Mere Eglise, the mayor of the town gave each American student a small piece of cloth that was clipped from the parachutes of the 82nd Airborne Division, who landed & liberated their village on June 6 – at great cost

Sleep in Bayeux.

If you want to visit the Normandy interior – then perhaps stay 2 nights in Honfleur & 1 night in Bayeux. Here are some things to see around Honfleur:

Beautiful port town. Very touristy, but there is a reason it’s full of tourists. See the Cote de Grace, described in the excursions section about Honfleur in the GG.
Check into the Hotel, but don’t visit the town now – it’s quite crowded mid-day, so it’s best to explore the town in the late afternoon or in the morning

Pays d’Auge see AUGE in GG
This is the Normandy countryside that makes this region famous. Follow the route in the Michelin guide. From Honfleur, head towards Pont l’Eveque (famous for cheese), and then get on the D48 heading south towards Lisieux. Skip Lisieux and get on the D64 heading south from Lisieux. Follow the route described in the GG, circling back to Lisieux.

St Germain de Livet open 10-noon, 2-5 Mich says there is a guided tour, but we walked through on our own. This is a very pretty chateau

Beuvron en Auge Very pretty village. If you only want to spend 1 night in Honfleur, this might be a cute village to stay in. No hotels are listed in the Michelin guide, but I remember that there are a few there.

Carrouges Chateau. See CARROUGES in GG open 10-noon, 2-4:15. Guided tour (in French). This is an extremely picturesque and interesting Chateau – don’t miss.

My wife & I have explored France for over 2 ½ years total. We’ve visited most regions, except north of Paris. We love scenic countryside, but the Loire countryside is our least favorite. However, the Chateaux are fabulous. I suggest that you only try to visit the Chateaux in the Loire – and save your “scenic driving” for the Dordogne and the Cote d’Azur.

Days 3 & 4. Get an early start & drive 3 ¼ hrs on the freeway to Chenonceaux. Stay in Chenonceaux for 2 nights – perhaps at the Bon Labureur. We’ve stayed there twice in the late 70s & early 80s, and dined there twice (Michelin 1 star) when we stayed in a Gite close by for 1 week about 6 years ago.

Visit Ch Chenonceau (early on day 4 before the crowds arrive, or late day 3 after they leave), Amboise, Blois, Cheverny, gardens at Villandry, Chambord – or until you get “chateaued-out”.

Day 5-8
Head out early & drive on the freeway for 4 ¾ hrs to Brive la Gaillard.
Now start the scenic/pretty drives & cute villages.
Visit Collognes la Rouge, Turenne, Martel, and then drive along the Dordogne river through Souillac (don’t visit), and then the pretty stretch from Rouffilac to Vitrac. Stay for 4 nights in Domme at l’Esplanade ( we’ve dined there 5-6 times) and ask for a room with a view of the Dordogne River.

I have a 20 page itinerary for the Dordogne that I’ve sent to around 1,000 people on Fodors. E-mail me at [email protected] & I’ll attach a copy of it and my Cote’d’Azur/Provence itinerary to the reply e-mail. I won’t describe things to do here – it is all in my itinerary.

Day 9
Here is a problem. It is a 7 ¼ hr drive from the Dordogne to Nice – longer with rest stops. It is almost all freeway & quite boring (except for the first ½ hr & about ½ hr around the St Tropez exit). So I would leave the Dordogne late in the afternoon & stay overnight in Carcassonne. The best parts of Carcassonne can only be visited on a 1 hour guided tour. If you stay overnight in Carcassonne, your husband will be able to control his feet problems. You really only need to do this 1 hr guided tour – you’ll see enough of the streets & trinket shops in Carcassonne if you stay overnight & just wander around in the early evening or early morning. Try to get a guided tour in English.

Cote d’Azur
Day 10-13
Take the freeway towards Nice. With your husband’s feet problems, I would not stay in Nice, Cannes, or any of the other coastal cities, & then rely on trains & buses to see the sites. Believe me – you will be on your feet quite a bit. Instead I would stay back of Nice near St Paul de Vence at le Hameau. This region inland from Nice/Cannes is in the Nice Hinterland/Alps. There are many very scenic drives and cute remote villages in this region. We’ve vacationed on the Cote for 16 weeks total, and have spent many days exploring everything around there. I have a 27 page itinerary that describes my favorite scenic drives, sites, villages, etc. E-mail me if you want a copy.

Day 14 – head to Italy???

Too much zig-zagging through France & long drives????

If this was my trip, I would take the 3 hr TGV train from Lille to Lyon, rent a car in Lyon, drive up north a little to Burgundy, visit Burgundy & Beaujolais, then drive down to Provence, visit Provence, then off to the Cote d’Azur. However, many people don’t mind 4-5 hr drives – we gave them up several years ago.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Oct 5th, 2010, 09:53 AM
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Ackislander is offline  
Oct 5th, 2010, 08:27 PM
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I must also say ......Brilliant! I love it! Would you visit burgundy and beaujolais over the loire valley? Provence over dordogne? (your last paragraph) We don't mind driving and actually enjoy it, but i like the 3 hour train from lille - actually we are staying with our french exchange student's family and her father works for the train company So, he can take care of us regarding trains THanks Stu....I do love it My husband is about the same.....an hour of walking.....then we need to change what we are doing. Thanks again. I would love a copy of your itinerary's......I will email you. Thanks again!
marilee12 is offline  
Oct 5th, 2010, 08:28 PM
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I meant to comment.....I am surprised that you liked the Loire the least? I would have thought it was one of the prettiest. Do you think one night is enough there?
marilee12 is offline  
Oct 5th, 2010, 11:36 PM
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The Loire is less known for its countryside than for its chateaux. It can be pretty, but it is less spectacular than other regions of France. Plan on a variety of chateaux, and you will need more than one day there (two nights).
Michael is online now  
Oct 6th, 2010, 06:14 AM
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I just want to say how fabulous you are to have not just helped the OP with an opionion or paragraph, but put together such a wondefully well-thought out itinerary!
amamax2 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2010, 06:19 AM
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Wow, Stu!

As for the Loire, it's much less scenic than all the places you've chosen to go. The Dordogne and Provence are pretty much dazzling. The Loire is drab by comparison, except of course for the châteaux. The typical Loire scenery - meh.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 6th, 2010, 07:21 AM
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>>Would you visit burgundy and beaujolais over the loire Valley<<

Burgundy & Beaujolais have lots of Chateaux too - more than you can visit in your short time. We visited about 15 of them when we were there for 4 weeks in '06. They are a different type of chateaux, however, - more medieval than "palaces for kings". I think the Loire Chateaux might "wow" you more. I think the countryside in Burgundy is more scenic, however. My second favorite city in France is Dijon, and Auxerre is quite charming also - but those are large cities that will require lots of walking around. Beaune is in my "top 3" medium sized cities in France. Vezelay is interesting - especially of you like seeking out religious spots - but it is a little touristy. However, there are not nearly the number of "cute little villages" in Burgundy as there are in the Dordogne, Provence, or the Cote d'Azur.

>>>Provence over dordogne? <<

the Dordogne & Provence are my two favorite regions in France - by far. Next is the Cote d'Azur & Brittany.

If you were NOT going to Italy after France, another itinerary could be:

Lille to Avignon on a 4 hr TGV, visit Provence, drive to the Dordogne (2 fewer hours than the Nice/Sarlat drive, so you could do it in 1 day & see Carcassonne half way), visit Dordogne, then Brive la Gaillard train back to Paris, stay in Paris 1 night, then home. Or you could fly home from Bordeaux or Toulouse (Toulouse is my third favorite city in France).

If you want to "stuff" a little more into the itinerary, you could do Burgundy, Provence, then the Dordogne in 12 1/2 days.(half day to get back to Paris) 3 nights/2 1/2 days Burgundy, 5 nights/4 1/2 days Provence, 4 nights/3 3/4 days Dordogne - leaving late in the day the 13th day to get to Paris.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Oct 6th, 2010, 07:25 AM
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>>Do you think one night is enough there? (Loire)<<

No - especially if you have to drive there from Normandy, and then leave there for the Dordogne.

Stu Dudley
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Oct 6th, 2010, 07:27 PM
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I second the comments of "fabulous" "wow" "brilliant"

Stu Dudley, comme les teenagers disent...Vous BERCEZ!
CaliNurse is offline  
Oct 6th, 2010, 09:02 PM
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Thanks again......THe more I look into Provence, it does appear to be charming and beautiful Thanks for all your information - I am not going to have to get the map out and make some decisions. THanks again!
marilee12 is offline  

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