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Carcassonne to Sarlat: Itinerary thoughts?

Carcassonne to Sarlat: Itinerary thoughts?

Feb 23rd, 2004, 10:31 AM
  #1  
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Carcassonne to Sarlat: Itinerary thoughts?

I'll be driving from Carcassonne to Albi via Castres. I'm thinking of stopping in Caunes-Minervois on the way, but not sure if it's worth doing. I'd spend that afternoon and evening in Albi. I'd like to see Castelnau de Montmiral based upon favorable comments that I've read here and elsewhere. Perhaps I could do that on the way to (or when leaving) Albi, too.

I would leave Albi the next day for Sarlat. This is where I'm really not sure what to see on the way. I'm considering Cordes-sur-Ciel, the bridge at Cahors and St. Cirq-Lapopie. I may be trying to do too much and should leave something so I'll have an excuse to go back. I'd appreciate any ideas.
JEFF_ is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2004, 10:59 AM
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Not knowing how you are originating in Carcassone I'll give a blind suggestion. The Aude area is fantastic for scenic drives especially the area around Lagrasse, Fabrezon and some of the other small towns. The local wines are very inexpensive and excellent.
buongiorno is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2004, 11:05 AM
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I don't know, or don't recall, Caunes-Minervois, but I can tell you from two trips meandering in that region, there are grapes, grapes, and more grapes everywhere you turn, and not a lot of truly inspiring towns. If you know something about Caunes-Minervois that would make it appealing, go for it, but I wouldn't go out of my way to stop there otherwise.

I personally don't like Cordes-sur-Ciel, and I've given it a few tries. It's just a big hill town with a lovely old covered market and a gazillion stores selling trinkets made in China. There are a couple of good restaurants there. If you must see it, drive into town, park at the lower village and take the little shuttle bus for 5€ up the hill, wander a bit, and then be on your way.

Castelnaud-de-Montmiral, on the other hand, is a gem. It's probably what Cordes was like before it was "discovered." It's quite small and won't take you more than 15 minutes to absorb, but it's worth the stop.

From Albi, I'd head to Gaillac and then to Castelnaud-de-Montmiral, then up through Bruniquel and Montricoux, then to Caussade where you pick up the A20 to Cahors. Definitely stop for at least a view of the Pont Valentré, but Cahors really deserves a closer look - wonderful town!

From Cahors you want to drive to Sarlat via Gourdon, also a nice place.

You'll be fascinated at how the territory and scenery change so dramatically and so often along this whole route.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2004, 11:44 AM
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StCirq, thanks for what sounds like a great itinerary. Would it be an easy day's drive? I'll plan on spending more time in Cahors. I'd probably have the same reaction to Cordes-sur-Ciel since I often prefer the less visited towns. I noticed that you didn't mention St. Cirq Lapopie. Is it in the same category and not worth a detour?
JEFF_ is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2004, 11:55 AM
  #5  
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buongiorno, in another thread I talked about picking up a car in Perpignan and driving to Carcassonne via Chateau Peyrepertuse and Gorge de Galamus. Going via Lagrasse as you instead gives me an alternative route. Thanks for the idea.
JEFF_ is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2004, 11:56 AM
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Hi, JEFF:

Yes, for me St-Cirq-Lapopie is in the same category with Cordes; however, if you're in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by the Pech-Merle cave in Cabrerets.

Yes, it will be an easy day's drive. If you get an early start, you should be in Cahors easily by lunchtime and have a couple of hours at least to wander the old quarter of town. If you have time, have lunch at La Balandre, the restaurant of the Hôtel Terminus (http://www.balandre.com/), or at least at their brasserie, La Grignote. La Balandre is one of my favorite restaurants in all France. OR, you could take the long route from Cahors to Gourdon on the D911 and stop in Les Arques and eat at La Récréation (it's the restaurant that Michael Sanders wrote the book "From Here You Can't See Paris) about. That route would also take you through the very pretty town of Cazals.
StCirq is offline  

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