Dordogne or Rome with Teen Boys

Old May 9th, 2020, 03:33 PM
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Dordogne or Rome with Teen Boys

Hello! I am planning a week long trip for my family of four for next May or June 2021 to either the Dordogne and Languedoc regions of France or Rome and its vicinity. We have two boys who will be 13 and 16 at the time of our trip and I am wondering which would be the better of the two regions for them since this will be their first trip to Europe and my husband's and my first trip to either place. They know their Roman and medieval history, so either place should be interesting. They don't care for museums too much, but a couple of them are fine, and we don't want to stay in more than two places since we don't have a ton of time. Suggestions? Thoughts?

Last edited by RubyPenn; May 9th, 2020 at 03:36 PM.
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Old May 9th, 2020, 03:55 PM
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Castles are museums but more palatable than traditional ones for boys. The same goes for caves, particularly Lascaux IV, or so I am told; to which I would add Rouffignac. I would opt for the Dordogne and the Languedoc. In addition there are other outdoor activities, such as canoeing on the Dordogne and other rivers:


They may want to browse through this album to see if they might be interested in the area:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsjpmUgbR
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Old May 9th, 2020, 05:30 PM
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Wow! Thanks for the gorgeous pictures.
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Old May 10th, 2020, 12:19 AM
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Rome and Dordogne are two extremely different, but wonderful places, the latter much more outdoorsy with loads of fun activities for the teenagers.

Since you have just a week you might want to see how easily and quickly you can get to these places so as to maximize your time there. Rome is an international hub and you can fly to directly, whereas Dordogne will require a train journey after getting Paris. Just my two cents worth...
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Old May 10th, 2020, 02:51 AM
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Which foreign language(s) are they learning?

If they're learning French, I'd take them to France, if they're learning Spanish to Spain. In case they're learning Italian or Latin take them to Rome.
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Old May 10th, 2020, 03:49 AM
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I'd also say France and I'm a lover of Rome. France has more outdoor adventures offer whereas Rome can feel rather confining after a week.
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Old May 10th, 2020, 04:26 AM
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City or country? I love both but it really depends upon what you're looking for. As others have said, the Dordogne, with its castles, prehistoric caves, and natural beauty, will have plenty to fill a week. A downside, as geetika suggests, would be the time spent getting there.

Personally (and only personally), I would prefer Rome for a first trip, simply because it's such an important and historic center. Plenty of ancient ruins to see -- seeing the Colosseum for the first time was one of my more thrilling travel memories. Rome is a fantastic walking city and you'll find lots of ancient ruins scattered throughout the city, and is filled with plenty of great food, art and architecture. And history. If your kids are at all interested in history, well, this is the place to be. A downside would be the crowds -- as it is a popular city and a lot of the sites do get crowded. We've been to Rome for several trips, the last 2 for a week or more each, and we still have lots we haven't explored.

But you can't lose either way. Both are great places to visit - the challenge will be keeping your planning to only a week!
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Old May 10th, 2020, 09:41 AM
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"A downside would be the crowds -- as it is a popular city and a lot of the sites do get crowded."

I think most destinations all over the world(including Rome) will be much less crowded than usual, thanks to the impact of the pandemic. I hope the second half of this year and also the next year will be a great time to visit famous destinations which are normally way too crowded to enjoy them. I tend to avoid these locations(Can you imagine I skipped the Sistine Chapel on my first and so far only time in Rome?), but this time I'll try to see as many of them as I can until the crowds return.
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Old May 10th, 2020, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by geetika View Post
Rome and Dordogne are two extremely different, but wonderful places, the latter much more outdoorsy with loads of fun activities for the teenagers.
What are all the activities? I'm aware of canoieng, caves, and castles.
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Old May 10th, 2020, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by BDKR View Post
Which foreign language(s) are they learning?

If they're learning French, I'd take them to France, if they're learning Spanish to Spain. In case they're learning Italian or Latin take them to Rome.
The oldest is learning French, but has had two years of Latin. The youngest has had some Latin and might start French.
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Old May 10th, 2020, 10:38 AM
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I read the original post with a bit of incredulity since I can't imagine comparing the two places (both of which are great by the way) May I ask why the trip is so incredibly short? If you were spending at least two weeks in Europe, you could visit both places.
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Old May 10th, 2020, 10:42 AM
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Because my husband only gets two weeks vacation time, but I might be able to convince him one week isn't long enough.
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Old May 10th, 2020, 11:04 AM
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I'd take them to France in this case. Perhaps not to the Dordogne, which in summer seems to have more English and Dutch speakers, than locals.
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Old May 10th, 2020, 11:10 AM
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>> What are all the activities? I'm aware of canoieng, caves, and castles. <<

More info on the Dordogne:

https://www.sarlat-tourisme.com/app/...at-gt-2019.pdf

https://en.sarlat-tourisme.com/i-pre...oad-brochures/

https://en.sarlat-tourisme.com/

https://www.perigorddecouverte.com/index-en.php
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Old May 10th, 2020, 12:32 PM
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What about renting a houseboat?

https://www.leboat.com/boating-vacations/france/lot
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Old May 10th, 2020, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by BDKR View Post
I wouldn't, unless its family get-together time. We did it on the canal de Bourgogne, 12 persons including 3 teenagers on two boats, and most of the time is spent on the boat. We had bicycles that were rarely used, so most of the activities on shore were done as part of the group. However, the boat has to be driven every day, so time on shore is limited. Its different with a commercial cruise where someone other than the guest will be driving the boat and guests can take bicycles and rejoin the boat farther down the canal. In one week we covered about 75 km. with 50 locks (each lock takes time). It might be different on the river, but on a canal the speed limit is 5 km./hr max.

Going through a lock is very quickly tiresome; waiting for the lock to open:



Last edited by Michael; May 10th, 2020 at 04:36 PM.
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Old May 11th, 2020, 12:04 AM
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My vote would be for the Dordogne as well. I have 3 teenage boys who were 10, 13 & 15 at the time we took a 1 month long trip through France. The Dordogne was the favorite of all the boys, we spent 1 week there. We have also been to Rome twice and our last visit in 2018, it was shockingly crowded. Still exciting, but difficult to get around & long wait times.

If you are planning to fly into Paris, not sure if you would consider driving to the Dordogne. This is what we did as we used the vehicle for majority of our trip outside of Paris. We visited a castle in the Loire Valley, stayed overnight one night and the next day went to see Oradour-sur-Glane.

In the Dordogne, we stayed in a wonderful complex which has since been sold otherwise I would recommend it for you. One of the owner's dogs slept in our home a couple nights & the boys thought that was great. We went to the caves, canoed down the river, explored various villages, toured the Troglodyte Village, got essentials & picnic supplies at the markets, went to castles & went up to Domme to watch the balloons go by. We also drove to Rocamadour for a day trip and visited the Padirac underground cave.

My kids really like the French markets & bakeries. Our complex also had a pool for downtime. I think you will be able to find enough to fill a week. We try to balance museums, castles, villages with outdoor activities & fine dining to find something for everyone. Each trip usually includes canoeing/kayaking, hiking, swimming/beach or bike riding. It seems like when we reminisce about past vacations, it is the outdoor activities & food they remember fondly.

I hope you enjoy your trip!
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Old May 11th, 2020, 05:01 AM
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This sounds like a wonderful trip, and something we would all really enjoy.
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Old May 11th, 2020, 08:16 AM
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We enjoyed our stay in the Dordogne in 2006, https://www.fodors.com/community/eur...hlights-647935. I loved our rental, Chantepierre, which made me feel like a country squiress. It was owned by an older couple; the link in the trip report no longer works and it has apparently changed hands. I found a listing on Airbnb among other sites, https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/18202...sts=1&adults=1. Lacypierre, a Sleeping Beauty castle in miniature, https://www.chateau-lacypierre-perigord.fr/en/home, was just up the little road and is now open for visits.
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Old May 11th, 2020, 08:31 AM
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we all adored the Dordogne region. we were in france for 3 weeks with our teens a few years ago. paris, then Dordogne and then provence. check out maison gris, it is on Vrbo. it is a petit chateau with a turret. we rented it for a week. about 10 minutes from sarlat. tennis and a bocce court across the street. the caves were fantastic too. canoeing and small villages. great food. we were there for a week and ran out of time. such a beautiful part of france.
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