Dordogne or Rome with Teen Boys

Old May 11th, 2020, 10:08 AM
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I spent 2 weeks in Dordogne (I could have used more) and on a separate trip 1 week in Rome (which was about right). I loved them both but the Dordogne region is outstanding. I wouldn't say that 1 week is enough time to properly see Dordogne much less Languedoc so I'd drop Languedoc if you go that route. Another relevant point is you'll need a car if you visit Dordogne. When in Rome I walked everywhere with the exception of an early morning reservation I had to the Vatican that I didn't want to miss so I took a taxi. As already mentioned, you can get a direct flight to Rome where Dordogne will take a little more effort. I flew into Bordeaux and after a day or two there rented a car to drive to Dordogne. Beautiful drive as was driving through all of the area. I don't think you can go wrong with either choice but for only a week, I'd lean toward Rome.

Here are some favorite photos from my trip to the Dordogne region. If you go to my Albums you can see many more broken down by the different areas I visited.

https://flic.kr/s/aHskowTbnh

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Old May 11th, 2020, 11:01 AM
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Your photos are beautiful. Now I think I want to live there in the Dordogne. It looks so charming.
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Old May 11th, 2020, 11:13 AM
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Very much a major case of apples and oranges. I live in the Dordogne and consider it paradise, so would obviously promote it, especially for kids who like outdoor adventures. But I also adore Rome.

A week in either place would be barely enough time to learn to get around and appreciate it, but Rome would be easier to absorb in a week's time than the Dordogne, where you could easily spend a month and only see a few of its treasures.
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Old May 11th, 2020, 11:20 AM
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If we go to Rome, my initial idea is to spend two days in the city, then take day trips to places such as Capri, Pompeii, Assisi, Tivoli Gardens, etc. My concern with the Dordogne is getting there and wasting time traveling to and from the area.

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Old May 11th, 2020, 11:31 AM
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I don't consider daytrips to Capri, Pompeii, Assisi, Tivoli, etc., a reasonable allocation of time to a one-week trip to Rome. Besides the fact that it would be impossible to see much of Rome in 2 days, particularly if one or more of them is a jetlagged day or a day to travel home, you'd be heading in all different directions within a short period of time. But I don't think you could really do justice to the Dordogne in a week's time, either, in part as you say because of traveling to and from the area (though obviously flights to Toulouse or Bordeaux make that pretty easy - if airlines are flying - from either city you really wouldn't be "wasting time" in transit - there is much to see and do along the way).
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Old May 11th, 2020, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by RubyPenn View Post
If we go to Rome, my initial idea is to spend two days in the city, then take day trips to places such as Capri, Pompeii, Assisi, Tivoli Gardens, etc. My concern with the Dordogne is getting there and wasting time traveling to and from the area.

I 100% agree w/ StCirq on this -- two jet lagged days in Rome is nothing, and the lost time traveling to Naples/Capri/Pompeii/Assisi/etc would leave you next to no time seeing anything but merely traveling from place to place. If you end up with one week . . . as in 7 days . . . total you will actually have less than 5 full days 'on the ground' which is barely enough for Rome with maybe a day trip to Florence. To net 7 full days free to see and do things requires a 10 day trip home to home.

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Old May 11th, 2020, 12:10 PM
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I should have said 9 days total, so 7 for sightseeing. I understand what you are saying, though.
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Old May 11th, 2020, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by RubyPenn View Post
I should have said 9 days total, so 7 for sightseeing. I understand what you are saying, though.

Close but still not quite it. Your arrival day after an overnight flight, immigration formalities, logistics of getting to your hotel/apartment, maybe not being able to check in until mid to late afternoon, etc - well, it is pretty much a lost day spent just getting acclimated and at least some of you being in a semi-zombie state (unless you are flying Business class with lie-flat beds on the over night flight which does make things a little easier)

​​​​​​​So with 9 days total, count on having a full six days for seeing/doing.
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Old May 11th, 2020, 12:36 PM
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Hmmm. I might need to rethink all of this. Another idea I have is going to Normandy and Brittany and taking a ferry to Jersey one day. Or go to Burgundy?
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Old May 11th, 2020, 02:38 PM
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Again, trying to bite off too much. Have you looked at a map and seen how huge Normandy (both bas and haut) and Brittany are? Apart from Nouvelle Aquitaine, which is a recently manufactured département made up of three former ones, the biggest départements in France. Burgundy is probably more doable in the time you've allotted, which as janisj says amounts to 6 days on the ground, but I'm not sure it's the best choice for two boys.

If it's your first venture to Europe with 2 teenagers, why not keep it simple and visit Paris or London? Or a small country like Belgium or the Netherlands, where it's easy and cheap to travel around a lot in a week's time.
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Old May 12th, 2020, 03:11 AM
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Capri, Pompeii and Assisi are all too far from Rome to be visited as day trips in my opinion.

I would base your decision on whether you want to visit a big city or small towns, villages and the countryside. My kids at that age would definitely have preferred smaller towns and active activities like hiking, canoeing and cycling. My kids, who were a bit younger than yours, didin't really enjoy Rome at all, although I love it. You will know your kids best, and whether they would like to go off on their own for a short time without you.

If you decide on Rome but want to spend some time outside of Rome, then you could take the train on arrival in Italy to, say, Sorrento, from where you could visit Naples, Capri and Pompeii. Stay a few nights and then the rest of your time in Rome before flying home. If you have 8 nights, then 4 in each would be fine. Note that I have never actually stayed in Sorrento (we only travelled through it on our way further south) but have read much about it and it is well located to visit some of the places on your list.
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Old May 12th, 2020, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
Again, trying to bite off too much. Have you looked at a map and seen how huge Normandy (both bas and haut) and Brittany are? Apart from Nouvelle Aquitaine, which is a recently manufactured département made up of three former ones, the biggest départements in France. Burgundy is probably more doable in the time you've allotted, which as janisj says amounts to 6 days on the ground, but I'm not sure it's the best choice for two boys.

If it's your first venture to Europe with 2 teenagers, why not keep it simple and visit Paris or London? Or a small country like Belgium or the Netherlands, where it's easy and cheap to travel around a lot in a week's time.
Nouvelle-Aquitaine is a new region formed from three previous regions that contained 12 départements.
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Old May 12th, 2020, 11:17 AM
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It might not be a good idea to think in terms of regions since the size can vary greatly. Choose instead one or two cities that interest you, and then you can spread out a bit from there (after looking at a map).
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Old May 12th, 2020, 11:52 AM
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I think my husband is open to adding a couple more nights, so that should give us more leeway now.

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Old May 13th, 2020, 08:21 AM
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Where do you plan to fly in and out of? If Paris, I would spend four days (or so) there and then a week in the Dordogne. Definitely try to add on to your one week time frame.
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Old May 13th, 2020, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by KTtravel View Post
Where do you plan to fly in and out of? If Paris, I would spend four days (or so) there and then a week in the Dordogne. Definitely try to add on to your one week time frame.
I'm not sure. I am doing preliminary research to see what will work. My husband really wants to go to the Cathar region as well as the Dordogne, so maybe we fly into Paris and out of Barcelona, or vice versa. I realize it's a lot of driving, but I don't know how else to manage seeing both areas.
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Old May 13th, 2020, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by RubyPenn View Post
I'm not sure. I am doing preliminary research to see what will work. My husband really wants to go to the Cathar region as well as the Dordogne, so maybe we fly into Paris and out of Barcelona, or vice versa. I realize it's a lot of driving, but I don't know how else to manage seeing both areas.
If renting a car there is a stiff cross-border drop-off fee, whereas one-way rental usually incur no extra fee in France, at least if the car is rented from Europcar. To find out the particulars, check out rentals and fees at Autoeurope or Kemwel (sister companies). To avoid the drop-off fee, the Toulouse might be just as convenient for a departure as Barcelona.
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Old May 13th, 2020, 03:49 PM
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Thank you for the advice. I'll check into that.
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Old May 14th, 2020, 12:10 AM
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"My husband really wants to go to the Cathar region as well as the Dordogne, so maybe we fly into Paris and out of Barcelona, or vice versa. I realize it's a lot of driving, but I don't know how else to manage seeing both areas."

Go for 2 weeks and you can easily see both regions. If you're going only for 1 week, stick to one region.

I'd fly to Bordeaux instead of Paris. Aer Lingus has flights from NYC to Bordeaux via Dublin for reasonable airfares.(Whether the airline and the flights survive until next year is another thing). Bordeaux is only a couple of hours drive from the Dordogne. Spend the first night in the city to overcome the jet leg, than rent a car and drive to Dordogne next morning.
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Old May 14th, 2020, 05:31 AM
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>>so maybe we fly into Paris and out of Barcelona, or vice versa.<<
It is certainly possible to fly out from Barcelona if you return your car somewhere in France and take a train to Barcelona. You'll need to add more days in order to enjoy a bit of Barcelona before flying off.
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