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bordeaux or toulouse as a departure city for Florence?

bordeaux or toulouse as a departure city for Florence?

Feb 13th, 2007, 07:28 AM
  #1  
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bordeaux or toulouse as a departure city for Florence?

I am in the intial planning stages of a trip this June. We plan on returning to Normandy and then drive towards the Dordogne and Bordeaux areas which we have not visited in the past. We plan on spending three days in Bayeaux area and then another 3 or 4 days exploring the Dordogne and Bordeaux area. For the second week of our trip we want to return to the Chianti area and spend a week. It appears Air France offers flights from Bordeaux or Toulouse to Florence. Does anyone have any thoughts on departing from Bordeaux vs. Toulouse? I would anticipate spending at least one night near our departure city and would apprciate any input from that standpoint as well.
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Feb 13th, 2007, 08:48 AM
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Toulouse might be a little easier to get to because it's almost all freeway to drive there. We've used both airports several times. I also think Toulouse is a more interesting city than Bordeaux.

You didn't ask, but 3-4 days in the Dordogne will barely scratch the surface. I certainly think it's more interesting than Chianti. I don't even think Chianti is the prettiest area in Tuscany (I prefer the Val d'Orcia). We've spent 9 weeks in the Dordogne & 7 weeks in Tuscany.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 13th, 2007, 11:03 AM
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Stu, thanks for the info. After speaking with some friends who have visited the Bordeaux region a couple of times (we share the same interest in wines) I think we may choose to stay at Chateau Cordellian-Bages in Pauillac. From there it is an hour drive to the Bordeaux airport. I know the Dordogne area deserves more attention and I know we will return on another visit. Our primary goal on this trip to revisit Normandy and make our way to Italy. We really enjoyed Tuscany and the Chianti area on our last trip several years ago and so want to return. We used San Giminano as a base last time but would prefer to find a villa in a smaller area this time. I will go the Italy area to do more research.
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Feb 13th, 2007, 11:59 AM
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Did your friend actually prefer the Bordeaux winegrowing region over the Dordogne?? Bordeaux is an area I have not visited because one of my favorite guidebook authors stated that the Bordeaux region was kinda dusty, not that scenic, and the villages have not prospered from the money brought in by the winemaking business. On my very first visit to Europe 30 years ago, I wanted to tour the Bordeaux region because I'm a wine enthusiast just like you. I visited the French tourist office in my city (San Francisco), and he persuaded me to visit Burgundy instead of Bordeaux.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 13th, 2007, 12:02 PM
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Once you've been to the Dordogne, the Bordeaux wine region does kinda look like a dump. Of course, everything's relative...
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Feb 13th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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We know two couples who have toured Bordeaux and they both enjoyed it. They have also been to Burgundy and I don't think they preferred one to the other. Once I have the opportunity to visit Bordeaux I can do a comparison having been to Burgundy in 2005. I will ask them though to be sure I am correct on their assessment.
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Feb 13th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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Sorry, StCirq I meant to comment on your observation. You said everything is relative, so how do you compare Burgundy and Bordeaux?
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Feb 13th, 2007, 12:34 PM
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Burgundy is more scenic than the region around Bordeaux. It is more than a wine area, particularly in the Morvan area. But it is not a logical place to see if you are going to the Dordogne. I would spend most of the time in the Dordogne area, rather than splitting your time between the Dordogne and the area around Bordeaux. You might want to just spend an afternoon and evening in Bordeaux, and could try out Bordeaux wines by going to a tasting room in Bordeaux itself (there are a couple close to the Opera house), which would give you a greater range of wines than visiting a winery.
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Feb 13th, 2007, 12:36 PM
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ira
 
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Hi all,

On our last visit we spent 4 nights in the Bordeaux region and 6 nights in the Dordogne.

I would not trade any time in the Dordogne for the region around Bordeaux.

This is not to say that Bordeaux isn't worth a visit, but that it is nowhere near as interesting.

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Feb 13th, 2007, 12:51 PM
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ira, what is it that makes the Dordogne more interesting than Bordeaux?
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Feb 13th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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I am a guide book junkie. I have about 5 books just on the Dordogne - none on the Bordeaux region - this may yield a clue as to which area travel authors think is more interesting for the tourist. If you pick up a Rick Steves, Frommers, Fodors guidebook on France, you'll easily be able to tell which region is the most interesting, based on the amount of text that describes what to do in each area. My most useful guide book is the Michelin Green Guide series. It rates the Bordeaux winegrowing region as 1 star - "interesting if you are already in the area". The Dordogne is 3 stars - "worth a journey". Within the Bordeaux winegrowing region, there is only 1 one-star attraction - Ch Margaux, which you can only see from the outside. I don't have nearly enough time to count the number of "starred" attractions in the Dordogne region - perhaps 50, with several 3 star, and many 2 star ratings.

My wife & I spend 2 months in France most years - visiting different regions & returning to old favorites. We just returned from 2 weeks in Beaujolais & 2 weeks in Burgundy. We have visited the Riveria, Provence, Languedoc, Roussillon, Pays Basque, Auvergne, Ardeche, Loire, Brittany, & Alsace for anywhere from 2 weeks to 12 weeks in each. We've also spent a week in the Alps & a week in Normandy. I think the Dordogne has more interesting things to do & see than any region we've visited so far. It's even small enough so you can stay in just one place and visit most of the attractions from one "base".

Stu Dudley
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Feb 13th, 2007, 01:33 PM
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I have been following along and certainly agree with Stu. I have made several trips to both of these regions and the Dordogne wins hand down unless you are on a Bordeaux buying trip.

Stu, I also love reading guidebooks and wonder if you would be willing to share the name of that favorite author who made those comments about Bordeaux. It is refreshing to read guidebooks that do not enthuse over every last piece of terrain...it wouldn't happen to be the Cadogan team, would it? Thanks!
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Feb 13th, 2007, 01:59 PM
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flbplf: I own a house in the Dordogne and have spent months and months of time there over the past 15 years. I have also spent a great deal of time in and around Bordeaux. There is simply no comparison in my mind. I do like the city of Bordeaux, and Arachon and Cap Ferret and the Dune du Pylat and that area is of some interest to me. But the "wine country" area around Bordeaux is simply drab by comparison to any nook and cranny of the Dordogne.

As for Burgundy, I would say it, too, is much prettier than the Bordeaux wine area, though not quite as lovely as the Dordogne.

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Feb 13th, 2007, 02:49 PM
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ekscrunchy.

I have over 7 feet of shelf space just for my France guide books, and another 6 feet for maps. I briefly went through many of the France books and found references to the Bordeaux wine country. A '91 Fodors said "Medoc is strange, dusty territory. Even the vines look dusty, and so does the ugly town of Margaux". A '90 Stephen Birnbaum guide said it was "flat, and not interesting". Birnbaum is one of my favorite authors because he will let you know if something is over-rated. Unfortunatly, he died several years ago.

I, just like you, thought that the Cadogan guide may have made the statement about the villages not benefiting from the wealth of the wine trade. However, I could not find that statement. I must have read it somewhere else. The Cadogan series of guid books are my second favorite, after the Michelin Green Guides. They will offer their opinion if they think something is over-rated.

rlbplf.

We spent 2 weeks in Burgundy this past Sept, and 4 week in the Dordogne in Sept '05. The Dordogne is much more interesting than Burgundy, IMO.

The Dordogne offers a more diverse set of attractions - pretty villages, caves with stalactites & mites, caves with pre-historic drawings, beautiful rivers, a castle at every bend in the road, beautiful countryside, excellent farmers markets, perched Medieval villages, excellent food and affordable wines, canoe trips down the Dordogne, etc. All it needs to make it perfect is a coastline.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 14th, 2007, 12:01 AM
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One more vote for the Dordogne, from someone who's lived there for almost 13 years. Still just about the most beautiful place on earth (although the Cape Town area, where we are now, is pretty nice too!)

I like Bordeaux as a city, though nowhere near as much as Toulouse. Found it interesting to see some of the wine area around Bordeaux just for the thrill of seeing all those famous names. But the villages certainly are boring and dusty, makes you think you would hate to grow up there.

But for someone who has only 3 or 4 days, it may be enough to see the city, a day around the vineyards, then maybe Cap Ferret, or St. Emilion.

Then come back and spend several weeks at least in the Dordogne.
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Feb 14th, 2007, 05:00 AM
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Thanks, Stu! It sounds like your shelves are even more crammed than mine. I remember the Birnbaum guides very well and am sorry they are not still around. I seem to remember that his wife or daughter ran the guides for a while and then the whole series was killed. Thanks for checking for me.
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Feb 14th, 2007, 06:42 AM
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OK, all of you have convinced me to concentrate on Dordogne instead of Bordeaux. I too have used the Green Guides and am off to buy mine for the Dordogne. How about some suggestions on hotels? I need to get started on making reservations asap.
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Feb 14th, 2007, 07:50 AM
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Good decision! I am sure you will get lots of help here on the hotels from Stu, St. Cirq and the other "experts." Make sure you do a search for the reports of both Moolyn and Gracejoan who were in the region recently.

Budget is high, correct...just going by your initial mention of Cordeillan Bages??
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Feb 14th, 2007, 08:42 AM
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I am willing to pay up a bit to stay in a nicer hotel but the budget is not unlimited. Will search the two reports you suggested, thanks. Still waiting for some input from Stu and St. Cirq.
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Feb 14th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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We stay in Gites (houses) while in the area - so I'm not familiar with hotels. I believe that both St Cirq & Carlux have recommendations. I would try to stay as close to Roque Gageac or Beynac as ppossible if you want to stay in a cute village on the Dordogne river (good restaurants in Roque Gageac). If you want to stay in a town, then Sarlat would be the best choice. Do you have my 20+ page itinerary for the Dordogne? I've e-mailed it to over 500 people on this forum & aol. E-mail me at [email protected] if you want a copy.

Stu Dudley
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