Dordogne in October

Apr 23rd, 2012, 01:31 PM
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Dordogne in October

Just beginning to think about an October trip to France. The Dordogne is one of the regions we have not yet visited, but I'm wondering if October is too late in the year to see it at its best, or to go there at all.

If we do decide to go to that area, I'm thinking of taking a TGV to Angoulême and picking up a car. Possibly overnighting in Brantôme and visiting Bourdeilles before moving on to Sarlat for a 5-7 day stay. Of course, we're interested in the caves, and our other interests are scenery, history, art and architecture. We would then drop the car in Bordeaux and, after having a look at that city, take a TGV back to Paris.

I'd love to have input from all you Fodorites who are so knowledgeable about this area. Please tell me whether we should plan to do this. I'm looking for help here.
MaineGG is online now  
Apr 23rd, 2012, 01:36 PM
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We were in Sarlat the first week of oct in 2006 and it was lovely. It was cool, but still nice. Things were starting to shut down...for example canoes weren't available anymore. But we fell in love with it!
jamikins is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2012, 01:49 PM
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No, it's generally lovely in October, though as mentioned after October 15 or so, some things do start to close down.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 23rd, 2012, 01:50 PM
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Thanks, Jamie. I don't mind cool at all. Not too concerned about canoes, but what else shuts down in October?
MaineGG is online now  
Apr 23rd, 2012, 01:55 PM
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St. Cirq - Thanks for responding. Any comments about my proposed plan to take the train to Angoulême and visiting Brantôme and Bourdeilles before settling in Sarlat (or near there)?
MaineGG is online now  
Apr 23rd, 2012, 02:05 PM
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The shops in Sarlat that sell tourist junk tend to shut down - most anything that's really just for tourists. Some restaurants close down.

I like the idea of taking the train to Angoulême - it's closer than Limoges to Brantôme and Bourdeilles (though if you took the train to Limoges you could also visit Oradour-sur-Glane on the way). Of course, Périgueux is closest of all, but that would involve backtracking to get to Sarlat.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 23rd, 2012, 02:23 PM
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Do you have my itinerary for the Dordogne??? If not, e-mail me at [email protected] and I'll attach one to the reply e-mail.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 23rd, 2012, 03:54 PM
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We were in the Dordogne and Sarlat for one week in 2009 arriving October 20th. It was cold especially in the morning.I remember wearing a sweater under my coat and a scarf and wishing I had brought my gloves. Many retaurants in the Dordogne that we had seen recommended on Fodors were closed. So if we went back we would go the beginning of October.
nsalerno is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2012, 05:50 PM
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A few years ago, I did exactly what you want to do, except spent 2 nights in Bourdeilles, visited Brantome and a couple of chateaux, etc. up that way. I did the TGV to Angouleme, rented a car, and it was quite easy and enjoyable driving to Bourdeilles (which I LOVED). Brantome was larger and crowded with French tourists, but this was a French holiday when I was there - I think May 1. It was quite pretty, though. I would highly recommend the place I stayed in Bourdeilles -Hostellerie Les Griffons - wonderful ambiance and great food, and a great price if I remember correctly. I would love to go back to that place someday.

I really loved that northern area of the Dordogne, which a lot of people seem to miss. It was very peaceful and lovely driving around. From there I drove over to Coly, to the Manoir d'Hautegente - another place I highly recommend. It's beautiful and I think a "destination" hotel for French people,with wonderful food. Altogether I spent 16 days in the Dordogne, staying in several places. I did a Trip Report you can probably get to by clicking on my name. This trip was in 2005, so some time ago. I'd love to do it again!
Sue4 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2012, 05:56 PM
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As per the comments of Sue4, you might want to overnight in Bourdeilles and see Brantôme on a day trip.
Michael is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2012, 10:55 PM
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Lovely pics Michael!
jamikins is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2012, 11:47 PM
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Not sure why people think that we shut down here in October - certainly not early/mid October. Maybe around the end of the month. Bur normally it's a beautiful time, and things are still open. Canoes will still be operating if the weather is good. If it's not, and there aren't many people around, it's obviously not worth their while.

These pictures were taken the last 2 days of September in 2009, but the weather stayed similar through most of October. Of course it can be cooler, but it usually is a really good month.

Carlux is offline  
Apr 24th, 2012, 12:14 AM
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We spent a week based in Sarlat in mid October. Weather was cool but beautiful.

We did not find places closed, but did find it was easy to travel around with not too many tourists. We did a boating trip on the Dordogne River which was lovely. I wrote a trip report of our travels. We had not trouble joining tours of the caves and would definitely go back again at that time of year.
The Autumn colours were stunning and we loved the Dordogne reion and got to visit many stunning villages.
aussie_10 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2012, 02:46 PM
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It sounds like early to mid-October would be a wonderful time, so I'll start working on this. Thanks, everyone, for such great information. I'll need to get back to your trip reports, sue4 and aussie10, to read them more carefully.

Yes, Stu, I did receive your itinerary and I'm sure it will be a great help in planning. And Michael, I always enjoy your wonderful photos that make me want to leave tomorrow to see everything for myself.

Carlux - Thanks for the link to your blog.

Now I need to get down to the details and get some FF tickets.
MaineGG is online now  
Aug 18th, 2012, 12:57 PM
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So, in the immortal words of John Lennon, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

The October trip is now off . We are now looking at March or April next year. Now I need to look ahead rather than wallowing in my disappointment about not going this fall.

If early spring isn't good for the Dordogne, we'll just have to rethink where, other than Paris, we will spend time, and save that region for another trip.

What about March-April in the Dordogne?
MaineGG is online now  
Aug 18th, 2012, 01:15 PM
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I think I spent at least 15 Marches in the Dordogne. Weather was all over the map, but mostly just fine. Chilly to downright cold at night (almost always had a big fire in the fireplace), suprisingly warm sometimes during the day. Moderate amounts of rain, but usually that soft rain you get in that part of the world. If you can possibly go in May, though, that's really beautiful - when all the orchards are typically in bloom.
StCirq is online now  
Aug 18th, 2012, 01:47 PM
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Thanks, StCirq. We could possibly plan for early May. Orchards in bloom sounds very appealing. Don't mind cool/cold weather - we're used to that around here. And it's always something like 58F underground, so the caves should be doable no matter what is happening above ground.

StCirq, hope you have a good trip despite your injury. You're such a great source of information for those of us who travel to France.
MaineGG is online now  

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