Angoulême to Dordogne Itinerary

Mar 12th, 2013, 03:47 PM
  #1  
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Angoulême to Dordogne Itinerary

We will take a morning train from Paris to Angoulême where we will pick up a car from Europcar and head for our rental near Sarlat (Les Granges-Hautes in St.-Crépin-Carlucet). We will pick up the car around noon. Check-in time at the rental is 5-7 p.m. According to viamichelin.com, the drive time is 2h45, so I'm trying to decide what to do on the way. Should we:

1) Have lunch and look around Angoulême a little, drive to Brantôme, then Bourdeilles, then on to our destination, or...

2) Forget Angoulême, head to Brantôme for lunch, then Bourdeilles, or...

3) Forget Angoulême, have a quick lunch in Brantôme, then a quick look at Bourdeilles, and plan to spend a little time in Périgueux on the way, or...

4) Something else

For those of you who are familiar with this area, what would you do?
MaineGG is offline  
Mar 12th, 2013, 04:32 PM
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Lunch in Brantôme and visit the castle in Bourdeilles is the most you'll get out of the afternoon. You might even spend all your time walking around Brantôme. The troglodytique remains behind the abbey are definitely worth a visit.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...57623282383670

and the next two.
Michael is online now  
Mar 12th, 2013, 04:50 PM
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Of your four "destinations", I would give them the following grades:

- Angouleme C+
- Brantome B- (looks better from the outside than from the inside - we've visited it 3-4 times)
- Bourdeilles C+ (compared to the hundreds of other chateaux we've visited in France, it isn't that great)
- Perigueux B+ (pick up a walking itinerary at the TI).

I have found it is best to "stop" at the site which is closest to your final destination - but not close enough to visit the site as a day-trip from your rental. This way, if you get behind schedule - you will be closer to your final destination for the day.

Therefore, I would stop in Perigueux, have lunch, visit, then on to your rental.

If you finish Perigueux and have time to spare, visit Ch Hautefort (more interesting than Bourdeilles, IMO)

Stu Dudley
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Mar 12th, 2013, 06:53 PM
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Forget Angoulème. Take the train to Brive and just drive from there to the Dordogne. If you want to see anything really of note north of Périgueux, take the train to Limoges, stop at Oradour-sur-Glane, and move right on to the Dordogne.
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Mar 12th, 2013, 09:37 PM
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- Bourdeilles C+ (compared to the hundreds of other chateaux we've visited in France, it isn't that great)

Because of its combination of Renaissance chateau on the grounds of a medieval one (dungeon and main hall remaining) with period furniture in the newer one, it is one of my favorite chateaux.

If going to Limoges--but Europcar closes the office at 1 p.m. on weekdays--Hautefort will be on the way to Sarlat as the obvious route id D704 which passes right by Hautefort. I prefer the 17th cent. hospice, now a museum of medicine, to the chateau itself.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...57623164797649
Michael is online now  
Mar 13th, 2013, 12:05 AM
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Is there a particular reason for training to Angouleme? I personally don't think it's especially exciting, compared to other places you will visit in the Dordogne. But if that's locked in, I agree with Michael - lunch in Brantome and a visit to Bourdeilles is probably the most you'd want to aim for. Brantome is actually a very picturesque little town, and the Abbey is an interesting visit.
rosemaryoz is offline  
Mar 13th, 2013, 12:35 AM
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Another negative vote for Angouleme - I've never heard anything interesting about it, and the only time we drove through on the way to somewhere else, we got caught up in traffic. Not enjoyable.

Again, is there a reason to take the train to Angouleme rather than to Brive la Gaillarde from Paris? Four hours, pick up the car, easy to get out of town, and easy to get to Saint Crepin - one of the prettiest villages in the area.

If you 'need' to stop on the way, there are lots of villages around St Crepin that you could enjoy - St Genies, St Amand de Coly.
Carlux is offline  
Mar 13th, 2013, 09:25 AM
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Be careful about visiting any chateau when you have limited time and also have to be at a certain destination by a specific time. Bourdeilles closes for lunch (not in July or Aug) and according to my Michelin Green Guide, it has a 1 hour guided tour. I don't think we took a guided tour there and we definitely did not at Hautefort - which the Michelin Guide also says has a 1 hr guided tour.

So if you have lunch in Brantome and get to Bourdeilles at 1:30 - you'll have a 30 min wait until the chateau opens. The first tour (if any) may not depart until 2:30 and may finish at 3:30 (these are all educated guesses by me - except for the afternoon opening time). Worse yet, if you get there about 2:40, you could have a 1 hr wait until the next tour departs. If it departs at 3:40 it won't finish until 4:40. Then it is a 2 hr drive to your gite - which gets you there at 6:40. If you have any "delays" getting to the gite - you're in trouble. You certainly won't have time to shop for supplies/groceries for the gite - and if you arrive on a Saturday (like most Gite arrival days) most grocery stores will not be open on Sunday. If we have an itinerary like yours, we telephone the chateau and determine what the guided tour departure schedule is in the afternoon - and make a decision on that.

Again - I if this was my trip, I would stop in Perigueux and forget about visiting any chateau in the afternoon. Perigueux is about 40 mins closer to St Crepin than Bourdeilles.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 13th, 2013, 09:37 AM
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Bourdeilles closes for lunch (not in July or Aug) and according to my Michelin Green Guide, it has a 1 hour guided tour. I don't think we took a guided tour there and we definitely did not at Hautefort - which the Michelin Guide also says has a 1 hr guided tour.

In all the years I've gone to Bourdeilles, we have never had a tour except the first time back in 1973. I think that the Green Guide is wrong on this one. On the other hand, we've always had to take a tour to visit the Hautefort château, but not the hospice.

But I still think that it is better to eat in Brantôme and then visit the town and abbey, cutting the visit short if one must meet a schedule. As for Périgueux, unless one is familiar with the city's layout, a great deal of time will be lost orienting oneself; and as far as I'm concerned, St. Front is better seen from across the river than up close and the cathedral is what will attract the first time visitor.
Michael is online now  
Mar 13th, 2013, 10:20 AM
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I agree that the Michelin Green Guide is probably wrong for Bourdelles. But it is best to always call ahead to check & "make sure" if time is scarce.

However, we definitely did not have a guided tour of Hautefort in late June '09. We did have a guided tour in about '97 when the "matron" of the chateau was still living there.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 13th, 2013, 10:36 AM
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Bourdeilles is curiously closed on Saturday, at least in June.
Michael is online now  
Mar 13th, 2013, 01:53 PM
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Great information everybody - thanks so much!

It sounds like the best use of our time would be to skip Angoulême, so, we'll pick up the car at noon and head directly to Brantôme for lunch. Any restaurant suggestions? We're not "foodies," but would enjoy good, moderately-priced regional food.

After lunch and a look around Brantôme (which looks lovely, thank you Michael for the great photos), we will drive to Bourdeilles (again, more beautiful photos from Michael), but will not visit the castle. I'm sure the interior is worth seeing, but over the years we have seen many chateaux and think we can pass on this one. I am grateful to StuDudley for his wonderfully detailed Dordogne information, and we will plan to follow his scenic drive between Brantôme and Bourdeilles.

After looking around Bourdeilles, I think it will be time to head for St.-Crépin. There will probably not be enough time to visit Périgueux on the way, but if we find we have time in hand when we are close to our destination, we can do some shopping for groceries, etc. Anyone know of a Carrefour, Intermarché or something similar nearby?

StCirq, Carlux and rosemaryoz - I thought long and hard about which train to use. I settled on Angoulême for several reasons. It's only a little over two and a half hours from Paris by TGV, the AutoEurope car rental rate was less than from Brive (we're dropping off in Toulouse), and the route from there to St.-Crépin goes through Brantôme and near Bourdeilles which I want to see, so it's not a day totally wasted on traveling. The train fares were better also.

I'm so excited to be finally getting to the Périgord. Now to try to figure out what to do day by day for the five more days we have there.

Thanks again for your help.
MaineGG is offline  
Mar 13th, 2013, 02:44 PM
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MaineGG,
We rented a house, www.chantepierre-sarlat.com, very close to Les Granges Hautes a few years ago. In fact, my memory is that there was a path that connected the two. At that time, there was a supermarket just outside Salignac where we purchased most of our groceries. Just up the road from Chantepierre is Lacypierre, a little jewel of a chateau. You'll feel as though you've stepped into a fairy tale when you come upon it, http://www.panoramio.com/photo/50910459.
bon_voyage is online now  
Mar 13th, 2013, 02:52 PM
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There's a Leclerc, Carrefour, etc. in Trellissac, just east of Périgueux; the Leclerc, which I recommend, is on N21. It might be best to come from Sorges and go towards toward Périgueux. From the Leclerc roundabout go south toward Boulazac which will then by-pass Périgueux.
Michael is online now  
Mar 15th, 2013, 12:18 AM
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Makes sense to me, MaineGG - I think you'll enjoy a visit to Brantome. For lunch, try to avoid the bistros close to the river - very touristy. There are some good small family-run places tucked into the side streets of the Old Town, which offer good value prix fixe lunch menus. You may like to have a read of the Michelin Guide online for their recommendations. Have a great trip!
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Mar 15th, 2013, 06:59 PM
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bon_voyage, the house you rented looks wonderful. We'll certainly try to see the little Lacypierre chateau. Thanks for the picture.

Michael, thanks for the store recommendations and driving directions.

rosemaryoz, I'll certainly check Michelin for their restaurant recommendations.

Now we have to keep our fingers crossed for a lovely day.
MaineGG is offline  

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