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Domme (Dordogne) rental house?

Old Nov 4th, 2005, 12:38 PM
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Domme (Dordogne) rental house?

As some of you know, six of us are planning to rent a house in the Dordogne in October 2006. I have sent away for the Gites book recomended by StuD but in the meantime, I have learned of a house in Domme that would seem to fit our requirements (walking distance to town or village; close to Sarlat; four bedrooms; at least 2.5/3 bathrooms; comfy furnishings) I wonder if any on this board have ever rented in this town; I read the review of this house on slow trav and saw the photos which look absolutely breathtaking. I hope Stu or StCirq, or anyone else, will comment on Domme in general as a house location for a week and on anything else that might be helpful. The owners' website says that there are good eating places and shops nearby and I thik there is a market at least once a week.
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Old Nov 4th, 2005, 01:35 PM
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ekscrunchy:

What time of year are you going (sorry if I've forgotten)?

Domme's a beautiful, but VERY touristy, hilltown not far from Sarlat, with breathtaking views of the Dordogne valley. In July and August I refuse to go anywhere near it (you enter and depart from it through the original stone doors in the old walls - one car at a time and it can take forever), but apart from those two months it makes an ideal location.

The wonderful Esplanade restaurant (and hotel) is there. Don't know what its Michelin star status is right now, but whatever it is you have to eat there! And there's a host of typical tourist shops selling foie gras and local wines and other local products, along with the awful shops selling wooden toys made in China, Indian garments, and such, that are so prevalent in tourist towns in France.

There's also a cave which you access right on the main square - no prehistoric paintings or engravings but some interesting formations and a small underground pool. There's a good ice cream shop, a couple of decent restaurants and cafés, and a lovely esplanade where you can gaze over the valley. It has a very small market - I think it's Thursdays - not comparable to the main ones in the area. It's about a 10-minute drive to Sarlat.
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Old Nov 4th, 2005, 01:47 PM
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We are planning to go in mid- to late October. I wonder since the place is so tourist-oriented, if things will be closed then. Do you think there are ANY year-round residents? I am thinking that Le Bugue is more of a "real" town but this house looks nicer than the one we found in Le Bugue. The consesnsus is that we would like to be able to walk to at least a few shops and places to eat, although we will have rental car(s). Such problems, right!? Thanks again for your quick response!
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Old Nov 4th, 2005, 02:03 PM
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St Cirq described Domme pretty accurately. It's probably the most touristy small town in the Dordogne, but the views from up on top are breathtaking. Is your house in Domme actually within the walled city - or outside in the countryside?

We dined at L'Esplanade this Sept - and it was one of our top meals - as good as ever (4th time there).

As for location, the place we've stayed in 4 times is just 5 mins away. The town below Domme is Cenac, where there is a nice grocery, a very good Tuesday farmers market that's small, non-touristy, but also has a seafood vendor with the largest selection & variety of seafood that I've ever seen from a mobile vendor. There is also a vendor selling English language books.

Cenac has several bakeries, butchers, ATM machines, and two roast chicken vendors - one that sells roasted potatoes also. There is a wine shop in town too - but if you are a wine lover, visit Julien de Savignac in le Bugue (on the road to Buisson) for the best selection you are likely to see in the Dordogne. There is also a newstand where you can get the International Herald Tribune. Cenac is a starting point for many canoe trips down the Dordogne. There is a bathing beach in Cenac.

Roque Gageac is 5 mins away, Beynac 10, and Sarlat 15-20.

Like St Cirq said, I would not go there in July & Aug, but as I recall, that's not when you will be there. Other times it is quite nice, because the day trippers leave by 6 and you will have the village to yourself. We've walked around there many times in the early evening. The farther away from the tourist office (main center of town), the better.

Stu Dudley

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Old Nov 4th, 2005, 02:12 PM
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I just read your second post. Lots of people actually live in Domme (population about 1,000). L'Esplanade does not close till the second week in November. There are many other restaurants in Domme, but I would dine elsewhere (except for l'Esplanade). Things will not be closed in October. It would be very enjoyable then. We were there till Sept 25th this year and Sept 30th in '03.

Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 4th, 2005, 02:56 PM
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About closings - many small merchants, including restaurants and hotels, close "for the season," but that can mean anywhere from mid-October to mid-November, and not all of them close. Fortunately for you, it will most likely be the tourist shops selling junky stuff that will close in October.

There are plenty of permanent residents, so the established non-tourist businesses for the most part will be open (the ice cream shop, alas, will be closed). I was there the first week of October 2004 and it was still pretty lively.

Domme is not at ALL like Le Bugue, though, which just doesn't cater to tourists much at all, though there are plenty of them there in summer. Its focus is on its own full-time inhabitants (many of whom are expats, however).
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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 03:44 AM
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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 05:00 AM
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The house in Domme is within the walls, Stu. Actually, Cenac and Le Bugue sound more appealing in terms of where to rent for a week. I am bound here by the houses themselves; it is not easy to find a nice one with four bedrooms suitable for six adults. Although I have found a number of houses that size, most of them are rural and to get to any shops or restaurants one needs a car. While we are planning to rent two cars between us, the dirty secret that I will confide to you is that I cannot drive a stick shift, so will be dependent on others to drive unless I can convince my friends to rent one automatic. I plan on taking some kind of driving class before then but who knows if I will grasp it. And it would be nice to be able to walk out of the house to eat and do some food shopping and browse around. You have both been so helpful. As I said, I will discuss this with my friends tonight and report back with any questions they may have.
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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 06:55 AM
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Hi ek,

>I cannot drive a stick shift...<

Nothing better than learning on a rental car. If you burn out the clutch, it's their problem.

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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 07:00 AM
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>>I will confide to you is that I cannot drive a stick shift,<<

You probably couldn't drive any type of car before you took lessons & tried to drive the first time. Of course you can drive a manual transmission. Probably 95% of the Europeans do so - and I don't think they are especially ahead of people in the US in their abilities to use both feet and two hands while driving. Manuals are much better than they were 25 years ago. If you rent a diesel & drive a manual car, you'll probably save $50 a week in fuel costs.

Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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Ira and Stu: I am a bit embarassed by this. I did drive a stick many years ago in Europe for a day or two. The problem with renting a car to practice on is that I live in Manhattan and the city would be a bad place to practice. So I came up with the idea of taking a lesson for one day with a driving school here. Over the years, we have wasted so much money renting large automatics (not to mention fuel costs) which, as you know, are not the best vehicle for driving in small, older European towns. In fact we will rent an automatic again in Italy in January since my partner (who is not going to Dordogne with us) cannot drive the stick either and is in no mood to learn. So that leaves me in the Dordogne, with my friends. So before October, I WILL learn on a stick; as you say, it is really only a matter of trying it out on non-frenetic streets for a few hours. The silly thing is that I know few people with stick shift cars and those who own upscale European cars would not likely lend me theirs to practice on. Hence, my plan. Sorry for the convuluted way of saying all this; I love this site for all the helpful responses and am very excited about the Dordogne trip..and all the roads I will conquer with my new skills!!
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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 10:23 AM
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ekscrunchy: With practice, I don't think that you will find driving a manual transmission car too difficult. However, you might want to reconsider your plan to stay in Domme, as the roads in and out are somewhat steep and narrow. It may be more of a challenge than you want, particularly returning home after dark. (Needless to say, you will want to be or have a designated driver if you are ot for dinner).

You do have a year to learn and practice, so by that time you may well be an accomplished driver with a stick shift.
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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 12:08 PM
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We stayed in the Dordogne Valley last summer and had a great time. Domme is a small town and easily accessibleto highways and Sarlat. We rented a house in La Coux, very close by called Cahteau Cazenac. Pool, tennis courts and beautiful views. The kitchen was great and they can supply a chef if you need one. You must visit Sarlat on the Saturday market - one of the largest in the valley. Have fun!
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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 12:29 PM
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Hi ek,

>The problem with renting a car to practice on is that I live in Manhattan and the city would be a bad place to practice.<

I didn't make myself clear.
Practice driving a stick shift in France after you have rented the car.

>I did drive a stick many years ago..

It's like riding a bicycle. Having learned how, it will come back to you.

We got a Peugeot 307 Diesel on our recent visit. 5 speeds forward all clearly marked. Reverse is all the way to the right and down. No buttons to push or rings to pull. Very easy to drive. Got 40 mi/gal.

Oddly enough, about 10 days into the motor trip I got into the car, looked at the floorboards and said to my wife, "why are there 3 pedals?".

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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 12:35 PM
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if you are not used to driving a standard transmission car, i would not recommend learning in france. there will be enough stress for you without this added problem. yes, burning out the clutch will not be your problem but any accidents you cause will be. if you are not comfortable with it (and you clearly are not) then don't do it.

as for dordogne gites, never before have the standards been so high and it is definately a holidaymakers market. so many brits have bought up places to renovate and let that the competition is stiff.
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Old Nov 6th, 2005, 10:48 AM
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Abby, did you use an agency to find your house in Le Coux?

Most of the larger houses, which would entitle us to have four bathrooms, seem to be in the countryside and not within walking distance of a town or village. At this point we are not sure which is more important, village location or better bed/bath configuation. Would love any input on this from experienced renters! House rental in Europe will be a new experience for all six of us; it certainly is fun to look at all the possibilities but we want to be sure and choose a house with a good fit.
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Old Nov 6th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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If you found the house on slowtrav, it was probably through my review. I'd be happy to provide more info if you'll let me know your e-mail address.
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Old Nov 6th, 2005, 12:17 PM
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ekscrunchy: Have you tried Dordogne rental? http://www.dordognerental.com/

I believe that they handle the Chateau Cazenac which abby1 rented. The actual names of properties are not given, but I think that it is C2. We had considered it for our group of 12 in 2004, but found it too expensive for our budget.

We did rent through Dordogne Rental. Our choice was Chateau Malartrie (C3) right in LaRoque-Gageac where we stayed for 2 weeks. It's a lovely place, and all 12 of us fitted comfortably there. For 12, we found the rental cost quite reasonable. I don't know what your budget is, but it would certainly meet your needs for a large house in town, with 4 bathrooms. (It has 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms).

As you are probably aware, La Roque Gageac is a lovely town, with several good restaurants and is centrally located to the major sights of Périgord.
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