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Dordogne itinerary

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Feb 2nd, 2016, 12:39 PM
  #1
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Dordogne itinerary

First time family vacation in the Dordogne. Kids 12 and 14. Renting a house in St Andre d' Allas from 6/25-7/2. Coming from a week in Paris and then we head to the Luberon for a week.

Trying to prepare itineray

Sat-we arrive in TLS and drive to chateau. grocery shop
Sunday-we meet St Cirq at St Cyprien market. Afternoon open
Monday-lunch w St Cirq and then 1:45 tour at Font De Gaume. Would we be able to canoe in morning and be at noon lunch or is that too rushed?

This is all we have so far for certain. Trying to figure if kids will like gardens and if so, which one?
Want to kayak also. Sarlat market Wed. Also want to see Lascaux and Castlenaud and all the lovely villages.

I don't have a sense of direction so need some help planning my days. Thanks all.
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 01:04 PM
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The itinerary I sent you months ago has plenty of suggestions.

We usually have trouble grocery shopping on the Saturday that we arrive. Everyone else (including new gite arrivals) seems to be at the grocery at that same time. It ain't fun. I'm sure St Cirq advised you to get to the St Cyprien market around 8:30 and outa there by 10:30 - unless you like huge crowds and wandering around shoulder-to-shoulder with these crowds. We always do our initial grocery shopping on Sunday morning after the market at the grocery store just outside of St Cyprien to the south - access off the D703. My itinerary also has the wine shop we like in Le Bugue - but I'm not sure it is open on Sundays.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 01:17 PM
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Stu, I have your info but trying to figure out which places are close by each other. Also want to kayak, and that is done in the morning.

I am dreading the Sat afternoon grocery shopping. We will get to the market early (thought your info said they open at 9)and then grocery shop after it. I think the supermarket is open until noon. I believe the markets are closed Monday too.

Can we get prepared foods etc at the market? I am so excited to meet St Cirq-you are both so helpful.
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 02:05 PM
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We always get to crowded markets like St Cyprien and l'Isle sur la Sorgue before they open. This allows us time to find parking, and then wander through the market & watch them "set up" the market stalls. Watching them get ready is just as interesting as the market itself. They will certainly have stuff ready to sell around 8:30 (except roast chickens, quail, etc). Last time we were at the St Cyprien market, we traveled with our closest friends, and friends of theirs who were staying at a B&B. We told our friends to tell their friends to meet us at their B&B at 8:15 so we could get to the market before it became a zoo. Their fiends just HAD to have the breakfast offered by their B&B first (started at 8:00), so we hung out in the B&B's parking lot until they finished. They finally did, and we departed at 9:30 and got to the market at 10:00 - and could not find a place to park. By the time we arrived in the actual market - we were doing the "St Cyprien shuffle" - we could barely move. Our friend's friends remarked "I guess this is what you meant by a zoo". We only spent 30 mins at the market (after purchasing magrets for dinner). Our friends wanted to depart earlier than that. This was mid June.

For the sites - do what I do. Get a magic marker and your 329 map and highlight every site you want to visit - Castelnaud, Milandes & birds of prey show, Lascaux, villages, etc. Use a different-colored magic marker to highlight any scenic drives you want to take that are described by me in the itinerary I sent you and also described in the Michelin Green Guide. Do the same for Provence. This way you'll know which sites are close to each other so you can visit them efficiently. Watch out for lunch closings and Sunday/Monday closings also. We actually prefer to visit Sarlat on Sundays & Mondays when some of the shops are closed and therefore won't distract us from admiring the wonderful architecture in Sarlat.

Also - don't "over market". I would not visit the market on Wed in Sarlat. There are wonderful markets in the Luberon, as you know. IMO, 3-4 markets in two weeks is "too many". You won't even scratch the surface of the Dordogne in your 1 week there - use your "too short" time efficiently. Many of the markets have the exact same vendors selling stuff. I also think the market in Sarlat distracts from the enjoyment of Sarlat itself.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 02:07 PM
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You don't need to get to the St-Cyprien market at 8:30 at that time of year. It's fine if you do, but not necessary. Getting there by 9:30 or 10:00 will be fine.

We don't like the grocery store in St-Cyprien. It's not well stocked and it's not well kept up. You could easily stop at either the small or enormous Carrefour or LeClerc in Sarlat on Saturday and avoid having to do anything other than go to market in St-Cyprien on Sunday for treats and extras. There's also a big Lidl in Sarlat. Any one of those will have an enormous selection of foodstuffs. Supermarkets are opne Monday mornings from 9-12:00 or 12:30.

Are you asking about getting prepared foods at the supermarkets or at the fresh markets? The supermarkets have tons, and a lot of them are quite good. The fresh markets have quiches and tartes and nems and dumplings and paella and poulet basquaise tartiflette and rotisserie chickens and all manner of things you can pick up to take away. This justn't an issue - don't fret!

Get ahold of the yellow #379 Michelin map for the area so you can figure out what's near what. Nothing is very far away, but there are myriad intricate small routes to take to anywhere, so it's best to study up ahead of time. The Tourist Offices also give out a perfectly adequate green Tourist Map to the area that will no doubt show you everything you need. Most tabacs and campgrounds and maisons de la presse also give them out.

I would not canoe the morning before Font de Gaume. It's usually a 6-hour or more endeavor for us, and that doesn't include getting there and back, or traffic, plus we rarely do more than 6 kms, which is a short trip. Go the day before you want to go and make a reservation, then make sure you're there on time. I wouldn't both canoe and kayak - kayaking is far easier and more relaxing, so I'd just do one kayak trip. Plan it around a trip (you get off the kayaks and have a picnic) to Beynac or La Roque-Gageac or Castelnaud. You can moor the kayak and walk up to Beynac or walk through LaRoque-Gageac. Castelnaud has a nice beach and lower town with a small grocery and a café, but it's a long haul on foot up to the château.

If you can help it, don't miss La Maison Forte de la Reignet or La Roque-St-Christophe (or le Manoir de Grisson in Sarlat).

I like all the gardens around here, but maybe the kids would especially enjoy the ones at the top of the hill in Limeuil (les jardins panoramiques) or the ones in Terrasson (Les Jardins d' Illuminaire).

Looking forward to seeing you!
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 03:18 PM
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Wow - you got two REAL experts, from many past posts on this area, to guide you! They both know of what they post - take it to the bank and thank Fodors!
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 04:00 PM
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>>You don't need to get to the St-Cyprien market at 8:30 at that time of year.....Getting there by 9:30 or 10:00 will be fine.<<

There must be fewer people visiting the Dordogne these days, than there were on June 21 2009 when we were shoulder-to-shoulder within a huge mob. All 6 of us felt that it was not enjoyable at all. My wife & I were there on June 14 also. At 8:30 were in & out in a flash with roast chicken, foie gras, vegetables, and potatoes for Sunday night dinner. Actually, St Cirq warned me on Fodors about the increasing crowds at the St Cyprien market, during our pre-trip planning for the 2009 vacation. I was grateful for the warning from her - however I could not get the others in our group to start out that early. We'll be there on Sept 18 this year. I'll wait around until 10am, take pictures, and report back on Fodors.

>>Get ahold of the yellow #379 Michelin map <<

no such map exists. It's 329.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 3rd, 2016, 05:49 AM
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Yes, there are many fewer visitors in June these days, at least the last two Junes. On the other hand, visitors in September have increased radically.

Oops, sorry...typo. It's #329 for sure.
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Feb 3rd, 2016, 07:06 AM
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That is great news-I have been concerned with the crowds. Our next week in Gordes will be more crowded for sure. We are also not super early risers so glad we can meet you later than 8:30!

Besides the 329 map, which others do I need?
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Feb 3rd, 2016, 07:15 AM
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I will be in the Dordogne in May. Amazon shows that the Michelin map #329 is being reissued on April 7 this year. The previous one was issued in 2011. Do you think there will be much of a change? Would like to get it now to start planning.
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Feb 3rd, 2016, 07:25 AM
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The area covered by the 329 map shrunk about 5 years ago. So I don't think you need to purchase a new 329 map.

Plambers - the stuff you've mentioned that you want to see is on the 329 map. If you plan to visit Figeac, however, you'll need another map. I thought you were staying in Goult - not Gordes.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 3rd, 2016, 07:55 AM
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https://www.vrbo.com/381978

This is our rental near Sarlat and I am sure we will want to enjoy the turret and pool.

Stu, thought you mentioned other maps for the Dordogne. Is this the only one I will need? We are staying in Goult-sorry too much multi-tasking!

I have read great things about Figeac-am not sure we will be able to fit it in. I can see how easy it would be to stay in this area for 2 weeks or more.

PalenQ, yes I am very fortunate indeed.
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Feb 3rd, 2016, 08:12 AM
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There is a green tourist map that every tabac, tourist office, maison de la presse, restaurant, supermarkets campground, etc., given out for free that is just perfect for anyone coming here to visit the main sites. I always have a bunch of them in our car for visitors, in case you don't find one. And we don't rise very early, either, these days, so we'll email you about where and when to meet in St-Cyprien.

The 329 Michelin map shrank a couple of years ago, but is still the gold standard for getting around here. Well, there's another detailed IGN orange map that I use, too, that you can get in lots of places around here, but I doubt you'll need it. You will need something other than the 329 for Figeac and surrounds, but everything is well signed, so maybe you don't even need that.
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Feb 3rd, 2016, 08:25 AM
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>>Dordogne. Is this the only one I will need?<<

Yep - as long as you don't plan to visit Figeac. The "old" map includes Cahors, St Cirq Lapopie, and Pech Merle. The "shrunken" map excludes Figeac, St Cirq Lapopie, Pech Merle and barely has Cahors & Rocamadour.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 3rd, 2016, 08:41 AM
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so i should buy the old map now?
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Feb 3rd, 2016, 08:49 AM
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Sure.

Stu Dudley
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