Dordogne/Lot or Provence

Old Oct 4th, 2005, 03:33 PM
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Dordogne/Lot or Provence

We are planning a trip to France the last week of March and can't decide which to go to. We like to rent a house for a week somewhere and are trying to decide between the two areas. We are a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 teens ages 13 & 16). We have travelled several times with the kids and enjoy history, castles, battlefields. Not so much into museums except on a limited basis. Historical sites are probably our favorite. Quaint villages with history and architecture are interesting, too. Any suggestions? And if so, what sites to visit?
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Old Oct 4th, 2005, 05:40 PM
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I did all of these areas in Gites this past summer. The Lot is the most rural and Provence is probably the most touristed of the three. The Dordogne is greener and more touristy than the Lot area but we rented a Gite in between the two valleys (near Montgesty). I rented a 3 bedroom Gite for around $700 a week that included a pool and all the amenities. Look on Frenchconnections.com or one of those sites. In Provence I rented an apartment type Gite (near Carpentras) as rentals tend to be more expensive in the Provence area. All three areas have plenty of castles and fortified towns - more Roman ruins in the Provence area and the Lot/Dordogne has the 100 Years War for history - plus the prehistoric caves. My teenagers loved it all.

I went in the summer so can't speak about weather in March - I would be leery of the Mistral in Provence if it is a spring problem but I don't know - do some research on that. Perhaps the Dordogne/Lot option would be nicer in the spring(??). Whatever you choose, you will all love it.

There are many postings about these areas on Fodor's - look for St. Cirq and Stu Dudley - they have great tales on both areas and lots of good advice on when and where to go.
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Old Oct 4th, 2005, 05:43 PM
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 10:25 AM
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You've picked my two favorite spots in France.

Recently, we've vacationed in various areas in Provence for 16 weeks, and in the Dordogne for 9 plus another 4 weeks in two different locations on/close to the Lot.

Comparing Provence with the Dordogne, I think the variety of things to do is greater in the Dordogne. There are caves with pre-historic drawings, caves with stalactites & mites, caves with both, caves with rivers flowing underground which you can take a boat ride on, caves with crystal-like formations, and caves where pre-historic people lived. There are medieval warfare castles, Renaissance castles - there are actually almost a countless number of them - many privatly owned but great to look at. If the weather is nice, you can canoe down the Dordogne river past breathtaking views of Roque Gageac and Beynac with the old chateau perched high above the village on a cliff. There ae dozens of very cute medieval villages, plus larger ones like Sarlat, Perigueux, and Figeac I always like the falconry exhibition at Chateau Milandes, and the medieval seige warfare museum in Ch. Castelnau. Allow at least 1 week to just scratch the surface of things to do in the Dordogne and nearby Lot river regions.

If you would be traveling in the summer (June early July), then I think the long days and warmth of Provence with the lavender & sunflowers, would move it up the scale a bit - but with 2 teenagers, and in March, I think the Dordogne would be the better choice.

A nice drive getting there via the Gorge du Tarn, the Lot river by Espalion, Estang, Conques, St Cirq Lapopie, & Pech Merle would be perfect.

I have a 20 page itinerary that describes my favorite things to do and restaurants in the Dordogne, and another for Provence, plus a 35 page one on the Languedoc region (lot area). E-mail me at [email protected] if you want a copy of any.

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 01:10 PM
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Thanks for your responses. Do you have the names of the Gites you stayed at? I have been on French Connections and found a few, but would love any recommendations. Have pretty much decided that the Lot/Dordogne would best suit our family.
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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If you're interested in a gîte in the Dordogne, you might also contact Simply Perigord (http://www.simply-perigord.com/)
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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The place we stayed in Montgesty is [email protected]. I found them on Frenchconnections and have styed there twice. The owners are actually Dutch and the nicest of people. In this spot you are within 15-30 minutes drive time of a lot of the attractions in the Dordogne and the Lot river valleys.
Montgetsy is a tiny place and definately in the country but close to so much. Just over the hill is Les Arcs and a great restaurant - Corine will gladly make a reservation for you. Wherever you end up I know you will have a great time.



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