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BritishCaicos Oct 14th, 2019 04:06 AM

Ps

once the pound makes 1:25 euros, we are in.

Currently looking at tourist businesses on the river near Lalinde.......to accommodate travellers taking overnights between Bordeaux and Sarlat (joke).

NOT A VINEYARD, DONT LET ME BUY A VINEYARD.

Seriously, after 4 years now of visited France, 3 times a year, we canít find a better area. The Charente came really close and we could have a huge mansion for peanuts, itís also very sunny. However, the locals are a little serious, something to do with farming?

Lalinde seems a very happy place. (Could be VERY wrong).

We are in Nice next week, just looking forward to exiting Brexitland.

Canít believe I spent 45 years and 200 trips wasting time in Spain, Italy, Greece and the rest. When we grew up in Northern England we were taught that the French were all ignorant and didnít wash much!



StCirq Oct 14th, 2019 04:23 AM

HAHAHA! Well, I guess there's some truth to that. We don't always shower every day ;)

Lalinde, huh? I find that a bit curious. Nice enough town, and I have a couple of funny stories from my past that involve it, but honestly, it's a bit of a bore. Weekly market is lackluster. Not many local artisans. Just a bit too far from the area's attractions. Not at all a pretty town. And no, I don't think of it as a happy place. At all. It's more of a nothing place. And yes, it's a joke to think travelers stop in Lalinde between Sarlat and Bordeaux. Nobody stops in Lalinde. I really, really wouldn't buy anything in Lalinde:unsure:

I'm not familiar with real estate in the Charente, but around here you can buy a whole lot of house and land for very little. Really beautiful houses. And I wouldn't call the locals serious. Daft, maybe, and unpredictable, but definitely not serious. And for the most part it's sunny here. Sort of.

And God, NO, don't buy a vineyard!

JulieVikmanis Oct 14th, 2019 05:40 AM

TravelerKaren,
Thanks for your kind words. You asked about where we are headed next--long story but to condense: Our motto is sort of Live modestly but travel well. Decided travel is our passion and that we should see as much as we can, as long as we can--and we're getting older so the heat's on.
We're passionate European travelers though we've detoured to South America and Asia a couple of times and every now and again we do see some of the US, especially fond of San Francisco--probably because it seems sort of more European.. We try to sketch out a year at a time. Right now we are definite for Budapest to Nuremberg on Viking cruise in November, Munich with day trips to surrounding Christmas markets in December, ski trip probably to Chamonix with son in Jan/Feb, April in Paris--almost an annual thing since my birthday and our anniversary is in April, May in Barcelona with our daughter and family with 11 year old twins, July--another cruise, this time to Scandinavian ports, September--debating between Czech Republic and Normandy for a driving trip with son at the wheel, November--Lisbon and Transatlantic cruise back to Florida. The one trip we can never seem to fit in is a trip to DH homeland of Latvia but maybe it will make the 2021 schedule.

Sure hope you enjoy Bordeaux as much as we did. Envy your getting Dordogne into the bargain. Should be terrific.

cafegoddess Oct 14th, 2019 03:01 PM

Julie, I am green with envy. I wish we could travel as many as you! Please continue writing your report report. Thank you for mentioning aligot, I have never had it, sounds absolutely delicious!

JulieVikmanis Oct 15th, 2019 03:41 AM

cafegoddess, I'm afraid that's all for the trip report. We returned to Florida after two nights in Nantes.
I do hope you can arrange to have some aligot on your next trip. In Paris, the most authentic place to have it is, I think, Ambassade d'Auvergne,in the 3rd arrondissement not far from the Pompideau, where they whip it at your table in beautiful copper kettles and then plop it in a puddle on your plate--quite a ceremony. But if you are staying on the left bank, I recommend the Petit Perrigourdine. It's more casual better lit and does a servicable job of performing the stringing and plopping of the wonderful stuff on your plate as well. When we were in the Dordogne some years ago, we went to what I had understood to be sort of the mothership of aligot-serving places--Chez Germaine in Aubrac. It comes with sausage, duck confit or beef. The server brings the aligot in a pail, stirs it, strings it to impressive lengths, and cuts the strings with a big scissors and finished it off by stringing an aligot halo on the top of DH's head. (came off without a mess)
Amusing and very good. I recommend the experience completely but the drive to and from (with lovely Aubrac cows along the way) can take some time--we did it from Rodez, a town we enjoyed as well.

StCirq Oct 15th, 2019 03:51 AM

Oh yes, Chez Germaine. Now that is an experience!

Near the Gare de l'Est is a tiny auvergnat restaurant that does a nice, authentic aligot - https://www.lafourchette.com/restaur...-laurent/17408

Wonderful report, Julie. Thanks so much.

TravelerKaren Oct 15th, 2019 07:52 AM


Originally Posted by StCirq (Post 17000340)
I totally agree with you, BC, but the OP seemed determined (why???) to find someplace to perch between the two.

As an aside I'm still mystified why anyone would mention aligot and the Dordogne in the same breath.


Originally Posted by BritishCaicos (Post 17000326)
Iím not sure itís worth a stop in Bergerac.

Thereís a huge amount to do Bordeaux and thereís a huge amount to do in The Dordogne. I wouldnít lose a night in Bergerac when you could spend it in either of the other two.

Itís around 100 miles between the two, the two roads north and south of the river arenít the fastest routes in the world but it shouldnít take more than 3 hours without a stop.

In May, I cycled the route in a lot less than a day.

We are in the process of trying to determine the best route and stops from Bordeaux (flying into Bordeaux) to Brittany and then to the Dordogne. We want to stop in La Rochelle and trying to determine the best routing (stop there from Bordeaux or on way back from Brittany). We want to limit our driving to less than 4 hrs so thought a stop in Perigueux or Bergerac would be a good place to stop before getting to the Dordogne (still trying to decide where to stay there-we stayed in Sarlat last time, maybe some other town this time). We were in the Dordogne region several years ago and did not get to Perigeux or Bergerac then. We may decide to drive on after further research but heard that Periguex is worth a visit.

TravelerKaren Oct 15th, 2019 08:02 AM


Originally Posted by JulieVikmanis (Post 17000372)
TravelerKaren,
Thanks for your kind words. You asked about where we are headed next--long story but to condense: Our motto is sort of Live modestly but travel well. Decided travel is our passion and that we should see as much as we can, as long as we can--and we're getting older so the heat's on.
We're passionate European travelers though we've detoured to South America and Asia a couple of times and every now and again we do see some of the US, especially fond of San Francisco--probably because it seems sort of more European.. We try to sketch out a year at a time. Right now we are definite for Budapest to Nuremberg on Viking cruise in November, Munich with day trips to surrounding Christmas markets in December, ski trip probably to Chamonix with son in Jan/Feb, April in Paris--almost an annual thing since my birthday and our anniversary is in April, May in Barcelona with our daughter and family with 11 year old twins, July--another cruise, this time to Scandinavian ports, September--debating between Czech Republic and Normandy for a driving trip with son at the wheel, November--Lisbon and Transatlantic cruise back to Florida. The one trip we can never seem to fit in is a trip to DH homeland of Latvia but maybe it will make the 2021 schedule.

Sure hope you enjoy Bordeaux as much as we did. Envy your getting Dordogne into the bargain. Should be terrific.

Julie: I so envy your yearly trips. Our motto is the same as yours and we make travel a priority as well, although not as often as you :)

We also love Europe and make several trips a year there. We love France and Italy and always include one of those countries in our travels. We also try to do one trip a year to a place we've never been before and are starting to include more US travels. We always said we'd save the US when we got too old to go to Europe :):)
We just returned from a trip to Tanzania and loved it! If a safari interests you, I can highly recommend this part of Africa.
We have not been to S.America but this may be on our horizon in 2021.
Please post your review and opinion of your Viking river cruise in November. We are not normally cruisers but would be interested to hear what you think.
Look forward to more trip reports!
Thanks again,
Karen

jpie Oct 15th, 2019 09:04 AM

@TravelerKaren, we have a family home in St Palais sur Mer and we have made the trip many times from Bordeaux to Brittany and then down to the Dordogne. Just a couple comments on the routes:

The most direct route to La Rochelle from Bordeaux is the freeway through Saintes. If you go that way you might consider a side trip to Cognac and doing one of the distillery tours-it is a fun thing to do. Alternatively the drive up to La Rochelle via the coast at Royan is a really nice drive and the beaches between Royan and La Palmyre are really nice and in September if the weather is nice there are some spectacular walks along the ocean there.

If you are foodies there is a really nice restaurant/ hotel in Breuillet called L’Aquarelle which is very good. Here is a link to Michelin starred restaurants in Charente and Charente Maritime restaurants that might interest you.

https://www.atlantic-cognac.com/char...d-restaurants/

You don't say how much of Brittany you are going to explore but I just wanted to mention that we love basing in Dinard as opposed to St Malo or Dinan. Dinard has an exceptional market and amazing views walks shopping (especially at the market-there is a wonderful leather shop that sells at the market for beautiful bags gloves etc.)

Finally in the Dordogne off season we really love basing in Sarlat. We were there last year and stayed at 2 places on 2 separate trips. The first was up above the town with a lovely pool free parking A/C and about 5 minutes drive down to the village (there is also a walking path but steep on the way back). It is called the Hotel Le Mas del Pechs ( i used booking.com but they also book direct)

The other place we stayed was right in town-no parking but pretty easy parking (some free some metered) right in town. It is only about 1/10th of a mile from the tourist office so very central to shops restaurants shopping etc. It is called Sarlat CŰtť Jardin and it is a few independent rooms in the garden of a house-super nice breakfast optional and the hosts are really nice folks. Again I booked on booking.com

We have also stayed in years past at the Best Western Renoir in Sarlat-it is also very nice although no parking and just a bit further away from the center-but a very nice property.

Also one of our favorite meals in the Dordogne was at a family run restaurant just outside of the village itself (which is helpful since they have parking) called La Roque-Gageac. It is called O Plaisir Des Sens and run by a lovely family. The wife of the chef helped create a cookbook of recipes from the chefs around the region-it is a lovely souvenir. We love the restaurant also because it has a more casual bistro dining space inside for lunch as well as a more "gastronomic" lunch/dinner space with a lovely garden setting in good weather.

Anyway maybe this will be helpful in your planning. We know those areas very well-so if you have thoughts or questions about places or routes I would be happy to chime in if I can help.

https://www.sarlat-hotel.com/en/home/

https://www.sarlatcotejardin.com/en-us

O Plaisir Des Sens

kerouac Oct 15th, 2019 10:07 AM

If you want to take a taste of your travels back with you, you can buy frozen aligot at Picard and it will certainly last in good condition until you get home.

BritishCaicos Oct 15th, 2019 10:49 AM

If you can, try to avoid the N road via Saintes as Jpie posts. The area between it and the coast is magical. Just mile after mile of salt marshes, wildlife and the best seafood.

Towards the entrance to Il de Oleron is La Tremblade which is a collection of old fishermanís huts, fishing operations and seafood restaurants. Itís the sort of place that would explode Instagram and the food is some of the most unpretentious but best IĎve ever had.

If you are heading for Bordeaux go through this area, head to Royan and then take the ferry over to the Medoc. Your first stop will be Saint Estephe which has some of the most under-rated wine around. You next stops will be some of the worldís most famous wines.

The route will take much longer but will be a lifetime experience rather than sitting on a boring N road.

Love the area, I cycled from Bordeaux to La Rochelle in a day this May which was an experience Iíll never forget.


BritishCaicos Oct 15th, 2019 10:51 AM

And I agree the lighthouse at La Palmyre is a heck of a drive but the beach is windsweep and absolutely stunning.

We have only just discovered this part of France but the landscapes I remind me of all the positive aspects of NC/SC with the world’s best wine thrown in for good measure and no alligators in the marshes.

TravelerKaren Oct 15th, 2019 01:13 PM

jpie: Thank you for your recommendations. When we stayed in Sarlat several years ago we stayed in an apartment in the center of town and loved it. We found free parking in a lot nearby. We are trying to decide if we will stay in Sarlat again or try one of the smaller towns in the area; i.e. Domme.

Also, we've read so many diverging opinions on whether to stay in Dinan, Dinard or St-Malo. I think we have ruled out St.-Malo but now wavering between Dinan and Dinard. Once I see the best accommodations available that may be the deciding factor.

Julie, sorry to hijack your trip report posting.

BritishCaicos: Thanks for chiming in too. Appreciate all comments as we map out our routing.

jpie Oct 15th, 2019 05:20 PM

We always think we are going to stay somewhere other than Sarlat but ultimately we land there-we love being able to walk to a number of restaurants and shops. I think for me I would get bored based in Domme or some of the other very scenic villages. But we are always in that area off season-April, May June Sept. etc. I don't know if I would stay in Sarlat in high season because it can be hard to get in and out of because of traffic.

We much prefer Dinard over Dinan-we just like the sea vibe and we love the market. We have friends who have a home in a little "suburb" almost of Dinard called St Enogat-it the area near the HŰtel Novotel Thalassa Dinard if you want look at it on a map. That also probably tips the favor for us toward Dinard because they have showed us all the nice walks along the digues. You can still get to the heart of Dinard and the market from St Enogat by foot of bike but it is less crowded than staying in the middle of town. There are also some nice smaller hotels and airbnb type places around there.

Anyway my 2 cents :)

StCirq Oct 16th, 2019 03:02 AM

There are compromises between staying in Sarlat and staying in a small place like Domme (which, BTW, is every bit as shoulder-to-shoulder madness as Sarlat in high season, with much less space for people to spread out - and parking is a nightmare). You could stay in someplace like St-Cyprien or Le Bugue or Rouffignac, which have plenty of dining options, great markets, and nice shops.

Another one here who prefers Dinard over Dinan.

TravelerKaren Oct 16th, 2019 07:39 AM

jpie & StCirq: Thanks for your suggestions. We also like to stay in a town where there are enough dining options that we can walk to in the evenings. We will be there in September. Are there crowds during September? Last time we were there in May/June.

StCirq: We will check out St-Cyprien, Le Bugue & Rouffignac for rental options as well. When we were there several years ago, I remember the market at St-Cyprien was very good. I need to look back at my photos and journal to remember Le Bugue and Rouffignac.

We also will check out Dinard too. Just starting to lay out the areas and will delve into the specifics in the next couple of months.
Thanks again for all your feedback.

StCirq Oct 16th, 2019 10:01 AM

The crowds dwindle markedly when the kids go back to school at the end of August/beginning of September. But there are plenty of bussed-in groups of people without kids at that time of year, because the weather is usually splendid. The campgrounds are still open in September, too, so that accounts for a lot of visitors. So no, the crowds aren't terrible, but there are plenty of people around (still are right now).

jpie Oct 17th, 2019 08:32 AM

Yes my experience in those areas is similar to StCirq's. In the "old days" say in the late 70s and 80s, the population change was much more dramatic. In the village where we are in St Palais the population is around 3500 off-season and more like 30,000 during July August. Now with all the baby boomers who are retired-so they don't need to be constrained by school schedules anymore, I would say our village during May, June and September is more like 10,000 people as opposed to immediately emptying back down to 3500. I don't think that you will find a problem with crowds and parking during the September period. In fact, it is kind of an advantage to still have some tourists since more restaurants are open. And I suspect that in the Perigord similar to our region in Charente Maritime-the villages are finally getting smart and creating little events like 5KM runs or vineyard visits in the off season months to attract some of those baby boomers :)

I also agree with StCirq about taking a look at St-Cyprien, Le Bugue & Rouffignac as good choices. Better IMO than Domme. I like Domme but don't know that I would consider it the best base. Also I just wanted to mention that while you are in that area if you haven't visited the castle where Josephine Baker lived-it is well worth a visit-it is called Les Milandes. Here is a link to the site and also a very good article from the NYTimes that gives much more context. They also have a really entertaining birds of prey show included in the ticket. Visitors we have taken there always love the experience.

Chateau des Milandes - Home of Josephine Baker - Les Milandes


https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/17/t...is-france.html

TravelerKaren Oct 17th, 2019 09:12 AM


Originally Posted by StCirq (Post 17001415)
The crowds dwindle markedly when the kids go back to school at the end of August/beginning of September. But there are plenty of bussed-in groups of people without kids at that time of year, because the weather is usually splendid. The campgrounds are still open in September, too, so that accounts for a lot of visitors. So no, the crowds aren't terrible, but there are plenty of people around (still are right now).

StCirq: Thanks for your feedback on this. I guess like everywhere that used to crowded in just the summer months, baby boomers are making every place more crowded in the normal 'off season' months.

TravelerKaren Oct 17th, 2019 09:18 AM


Originally Posted by jpie (Post 17001901)
. Now with all the baby boomers who are retired-so they don't need to be constrained by school schedules anymore, I would say our village during May, June and September is more like 10,000 people as opposed to immediately emptying back down to 3500. I don't think that you will find a problem with crowds and parking during the September period. In fact, it is kind of an advantage to still have some tourists since more restaurants are open. And I suspect that in the Perigord similar to our region in Charente Maritime-the villages are finally getting smart and creating little events like 5KM runs or vineyard visits in the off season months to attract some of those baby boomers :)

I also agree with StCirq about taking a look at St-Cyprien, Le Bugue & Rouffignac as good choices. Better IMO than Domme. I like Domme but don't know that I would consider it the best base. Also I just wanted to mention that while you are in that area if you haven't visited the castle where Josephine Baker lived-it is well worth a visit-it is called Les Milandes. Here is a link to the site and also a very good article from the NYTimes that gives much more context. They also have a really entertaining birds of prey show included in the ticket. Visitors we have taken there always love the experience.

jpie: Thanks again for more feedback. I will definitely look at StCirq recommendations for stays as well as look again at Sarlat. We did love it there and I suspect we may be drawn back there again. It's good to hear that the crowds aren't too bad in September. We don't like going to a town that is 'empty' but do not want shoulder to shoulder crowds either. Sounds like it might be the right amount of tourists in September. I agree that us baby boomers are making the normal off season more crowded since we aren't constrained with school holidays.
We did visit Les Milandes last time and enjoyed it very much.


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