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Dordogne - Brive - A good base without a car?

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Dordogne - Brive - A good base without a car?

Old Jun 30th, 2004, 04:32 AM
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Dordogne - Brive - A good base without a car?

Hello.

I will be spending six days in the Dordogne region in mid-September. I will be taking the train from Paris to Brive, which from what I understand is a fairly direct and fast route. I will not be renting a car as so many others opt to do. I will be relying on train and bus service to see the area. I know that this is not the ideal way to visit the area, but I do not want to rent a car. Please offer any input and or tips you might have as to make this as easy and memorable of a trip as possible. Would Brive make for a good base for touring under these circumstances?

Thanks in advance.

Have a good day.

Ross
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Old Jun 30th, 2004, 04:51 AM
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Hi Ross,

I expect that StCirq will be able to give you better information than I, but I don't see how you can tour the Dordogne without a car.

You could try http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en
for bus or train routes between cities.

For example. It's about an hour from Brive to Sarlat by bus, and about the same time to Figeac by train.

Why did you choose Brive?
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Old Jun 30th, 2004, 04:55 AM
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Hi Ira.

I chose Brive because I will be travelling by myself and would like to be based in a fairly large-sized town where I will not feel isolated. I intend on visiting Sarlat as well. An hour's train ride is fine with me. Would Sarlat make for a better base in your opinion?

Thanks.

Ross
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Old Jun 30th, 2004, 05:04 AM
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Hi Ross,

I'm no expert, just planning my first trip, but I was thinking Sarlat.

However, I suggest that you plan where you would like to visit and then check the German Rail website for how to get there from both Brive and Sarlat.

You might have made the better choice for you.

PS - you can also get to the Font de Gaume from Brive.
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Old Jun 30th, 2004, 05:16 AM
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I did the Dordogne a couple of years ago. I based in Sarlat; terrific market town, nice restaurants, good hotel selection of all price ranges and you might do as I did and rent a bike. From here you can easily bike to Beynac, Domme, Castelnaud and La Roque-Gageac. You could also check at the tourist office for possible bus outings to farther out places of interest. I think you would find Salat a much better base than Brive. I've been through Brive and can't think of a single memorable thing about it.

St Cirq can give you more information as she is for sure the best authority on this area.

Larry J
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Old Jun 30th, 2004, 05:25 AM
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newyorkais: Don't go to Brive. It's not representative of the Dordogne and it's not close to much of anything. Sarlat is a much better choice.

And I'm sorry to tell you this, but don't bother going to the Dordogne unless you have a car. There is zilch in the way of public transportation, and the things that are special about the Dordogne cannot be accessed without a car. Unless you just want to hang out in Sarlat, it's not worth the trip.
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Old Jun 30th, 2004, 05:41 AM
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Dear StCirq,

With all due respect, I timidly rise to mention that although using public transportation is not, in general, recommended it is not nonexistent and with careful planning Ross could have an interesting and enjoyable experience.
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Old Jun 30th, 2004, 06:03 AM
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Hi, ira:

OK, I'll defer to you. Other than the train (the local ones that stop at Les Eyzies and Sarlat, and the other one that stops at Le Bugue and Le Buisson and so forth) and Les Cars Rey, which make weekly forays between Le Bugue and Périgueux, what local transportation is there? I'd honestly like to know.
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Old Jul 7th, 2004, 07:31 AM
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Hello.

Although a bit time consuming, I have found that I can visit the following places by either train and or bus by basing myself in Sarlat la Caneda: Perigueux, Bergerac, Belves, Souillac, Rocamadour, and Les Eyzies-de-Tayac. Any thoughts or additional comments would be most welcome.

Thanks in advance.

Have a good day.

Ross.
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Old Jul 7th, 2004, 08:17 AM
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Ross:

Les Eyzies has the Musée National de
Préhistoire - interesting if you are a prehistory buff. There's also the site where Crô-Magnon was discovered and a couple of other prehistoric sites. Otherwise, it's not an inspiring place, just a single-street town lined with postcard and trinket shops. The Font-de-Gaume chromatic cave there, though, does make it well worth the effort.

Périgueux has a nicely restored old quarter, the odd cathédrale de St-Front, with its onion domes, and a couple of good museums.

I wouldn't bother with Bergerac.

Belvès is a nice bastide town, but you'll be hard pressed to spend more than an hour there.

Souillac has a well-known abbey of Sainte-Marie; otherwise it's a typical, not very attractive, busy town.

Rocamadour is well worth a day trip.

Problem is, you'll miss the good stuff - Beynac, La Roque-Gageac, Castelnaud, Montignac, St-Léon-sur-Vézère, Domme, St-Cyprien, Trémolat, Limeuil.....

You'll love Sarlat!
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Old Jul 8th, 2004, 04:46 AM
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Hello.

The following towns and villages were suggested by St.Cirq as must sees in the Dordogne region:

Beynac, La Roque-Gageac, Castelnaud, Montignac, St-Léon-sur-Vézère, Domme, St-Cyprien, Trémolat and Limeuil.

I will not be renting a car. I cannot drive a manual, only an automatic. I was wondering if any of these places can be reached either by bus, walking, jogging, or tour bus.

Thanks in advance.

Have a good day.
Ross.
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Old Jul 8th, 2004, 04:48 AM
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I forgot to add to my previous posting that I will be based in Sarlat la Caneda during my stay in the Dordogne region.

Thanks again.

Ross.
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Old Jul 8th, 2004, 05:02 AM
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Hi Ross,

Sarlat is, I believe, a much better base.

Note that the places you list are those that StCirq says are not amenable to buses and trains.

How about a motorbike or scooter?
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Old Jul 8th, 2004, 05:53 AM
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Ross: There may be special tours you can arrange through the Tourist Office in Sarlat, but the plain fact is, you cannot see the best of the Dordogne using public transportation. There are buses, but they are few and far between and they are geared toward the needs of locals needing to get not from one beautiful village to another but needing to get from one practical venue to another.
Can you not rent an automatic for a few days? It's my honest and I think informed opinion that you really cannot see the best of the Dordogne without a car. That does not mean that you won't have a great vacation.
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Old Jul 11th, 2004, 07:14 AM
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I'd like to make another suggestion. I don't know how interested in walking or biking you are, but there is a small guide company in Beynac that offers a 13km walking tour out in the Valley of the Five Chateaux (Beynac, Castelnaud, Marqueyssac, Fayrac and Milandes). I know it takes at least several hours, and I have no idea what it costs, but my understanding is that it takes you near (but not into) all five chateaus, and includes a walk through the grounds of Chateau Fayrac, which is privately owned and usually off-limits. It's intended as an overview of the valley and its chateaus, and includes a commentary. I'm told that one young woman with the company is able to give the tour in English. They also offer guided bike tours of the area. If you're physically up for it, this might be a good alternative to check out. You'd just have to get from Sarlat to Beynac...maybe taxi? (Allo Allo Taxi)
Their website is compagnie-guide-dordogne.com. I think they have several walking tours to choose from, with different themes.
Good luck!
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Old Jul 11th, 2004, 05:17 PM
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I agree with previouys posts : Brive wouldn't be a good base.

Local transportations are quite limited in this area. Buses leaving from Brive will only go to places very close to Brive, and that wouldn't include any of the places you might have heard about in the Dordogne (by the way Brive isn't technically in the Dordogne). As for trains, it's even more limited. You would only be able to go to the major (well..."major" is a very relative word in these areas) of Dordogne and Correze.

So, you really need to take Sarlat as a base. And even then, public transportations are rather limited, and there are plenty of places you won't be able to go to.

I agree too with another poster : without a car, the best mean of transportation would be a bike. Much better than relying on public transportations. A lot of places are situated within a reasonnable distance from each other, and given the local geography, buking is quite easy. Now, not everybody could or would enjoy biking.


I would note also that Brive isn't anywhere as charming a town as Sarlat. If nevertheless you stay in Brive I would mention two interesting places very close to this town : the castle of Turenne (though it isn't as beautiful a castle as many Dordogne's castles) and the village of Collonges-la-Rouge, that I personnally like a lot (but I know some posters here are unconvinced)
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Old Jul 11th, 2004, 06:09 PM
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I would like to plan a trip to the Dorgogne also - possibly for next May. I will definitely rent a car, however, but would want to take a train from Paris to a convenient location to pick up car. I had considered Brive for that, as it seems to have an easy train ride from Paris. Then, I would drive to whereever I decided to base. My question is: would Brive be an OK place for car pick-up, and easy enough to negotiate my way out of town? I hate driving in big cities which I am unfamiliar with, so where to pick up the car is a big thing with me. Thanks in advance - St. Cirq?
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Old Jul 11th, 2004, 07:07 PM
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I'm sure St. Cirq will give you an expert opinion based on her many train trips to the Dordogne.

For what it's worth however, on our recent visit we met friends coming from Paris, who after considering the options chose to take the TGV to Bordeaux and a local train to Perigueux. Perigueux is not a very big place, and it's easy getting on your way by car from the train station. If you rent through Auto Europe (which I always do), I think there's a Europcar office right at the station.
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Old Jul 11th, 2004, 10:36 PM
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Agree with what others have said, with the exception of StCirq's thumbs-down on Bergerac. While we prefer the charm of the smaller and more repressentative towns of the Dordogne, we found Bergerac delightful for a larger city (27,000). We will be staying in the area mid-September too. Maybe a Fodorite rendez-vous for an aperatif of the local peach or walnut wines! Who knows...
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Old Jul 12th, 2004, 03:30 AM
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We were in the Dordogne in May. We used FF miles with Delta to fly to Bordeaux on Air France with a stopover in Paris. We connected in CDG, picked up our car in Bordeaux and after 10 wonderful days, flew back to Orly from Bordeaux. We spent 5 days in Paris before coming home.
We also used AutoEurope for the car.
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