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Dordogne: Oradour -Sur-Glane to Sarlat to Figeac

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Jun 12th, 2013, 12:09 PM
  #1
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Dordogne: Oradour -Sur-Glane to Sarlat to Figeac

This is the Dordogne leg of our driving trip.

Dordogne:

We will drive from Oradour-Sur-Glane on a Thursday (departing around noon?), destination Sarlat. Michelin’s route takes us through Limoges and Brive, to Sarlat.

DAY 1: THURSDAY
**Thursday is market day Terrrasson la Villedieu, we could come through there. I know it will be crowded late in the day.
**Visit Grotte de Font-de-Gaume (This will also not be an early arrival, but later in the day. It is also July!)

I realize that there will not be a lot of time on this driving day (Thursday). But I was hoping there would be a logical route and stop/stops that made sense.

I have Stu Dudley’s Dordogne itinerary. I’ve read Rick Steve’s suggested itinerary. And I have read Fodor’s forum on this area. I think that drive times are not exactly right through Michelin, as I’ve read in July it is crowded and traffic slow. There is a lot of information and I need a kick start to know how to organize.

DAY 2 & 3: FRIDAY-SATURDAY
**Friday and Saturday - We will then have 2 full days in Sarlat. We want to do a canoe ride and explore the area. Sarlat’s market day is Saturday. We can make it there with the early start recommended, maybe the canoe ride for the afternoon? Maybe caves on Friday? How would you plan this time?

DAY 4 & 5: SUNDAY-MONDAY
Sunday and Monday, will be in Figeac for 2 nights. Sunday we will depart from Sarlat for the drive to Figeac, I thought on Sunday we could possibly go through Rocamadour.
We will have Sunday and most of the day Monday for this area.

We will depart on the 2 hour drive to Albi Monday afternoon - maybe a stop in Cahors along the way.

I realize that I am asking a great deal of you. I’ve tried to outline it clearly. Pick and choose, I appreciate any nugget of information and advice that you can offer.
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Jun 12th, 2013, 12:22 PM
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You will not make it to the market in Terrasson in all likelihood. They start closing up at noon. And you definitely won't get into Font-de-Gaume unless you arrive before 9 in the morning.

I would spend an extra day in Sarlat and only one night in Figeac, much as I love the place. There is simply too much to do around Sarlat, and you're already skimping on time and won't have time to see much of anything.

Our favorite canoeing place is in St-Vincent-de-Cosse,just west of Beynac. If you show up in the afternoon on a Saturday in July, they may not have any canoes or kayaks left - this has happened to us more than once (and the canoe place in St-Vincent-de-Cosse is hardly one of the most obvious or noticeable). If you want to visit caves, you'd better get reservations ahead of time, in some cases like NOW. Or at the very least, the absolute minute you get there. Frankly, I don't think you've planned this part of the trip very well at all - there are going to be a gazillion people there, you don't have reservations for anything, and I'm afraid you're just going to drive around aimlessly for a couple of days and not be able to do much of anything you'd like to.
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Jun 12th, 2013, 01:12 PM
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You are right I haven't planned it out, but I'm trying. I hope to not drive aimlessly. For all the want to and hope we've put into this trip, this is disheartening. How can I make reservations if I don't know the day we will be there? How can I even begin to figure out drive time, destinations that make sense without asking for help?

I started on this in January, not as a full time job, but when I could. It is really overwhelming. But we can do this and we will. The forum has been so valuable. It could be embarrassing to ask these questions and we could just stay home. But that would be silly. I know there will be a gazillion people there, I guess we will make it a gazillion and two!

How nice that we could have been there at the best time, but the opportunity was not available. So we will take those lemons and make lemonade. Hopefully, some Fodorites like you will offer up some tidbits of hope and help that will get me over this hump. If I can figure out these logistics, I will work on reservations, tonight and tomorrow.

Thanks for the canoe trip heads up.

And I do have more questions, but one step at a time.

Thanks again!
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Jun 12th, 2013, 01:28 PM
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Here's the contact info for the canoë place in St-Vincent-de-Cosse. You can reserve ahead of time. http://www.rivercanoekayak.net/contact.html

Reservations are not accepted at all any more at Font-de-Gaume. Just show up around 8:30 am and if you're lucky, you'll get in.

For Lascaux, go by on your way to Sarlat and reserve for the next day. Ask for an English tour if you need one. Theere are two lines at the tourist office in town: one for same-day tours and one for later ones.

The official website for tourism in the Vallée de la Vézère: http://www.tourisme-vezere.com/fr/ru...6f4d75e71df17/

You can use it to make reservations where they are accepted.

I would recommend booking a walking tour of Sarlat from the Sarlat tourist office. It makes a big difference in walking around the town if you know what you are seeing: http://www.sarlat-tourisme.com/
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Jun 12th, 2013, 01:55 PM
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Advance reservations are no longer available for Font-de-Gaume. You might be interested in my experience in late April (not high season) getting tickets:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-dordogne.cfm

We also drove from near Sarlat to Figeac then Toulouse. Here's another thread where I got some very helpful information from StCirq about the route:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ouse-may-1.cfm

We chose to take the autoroute from Souillac to the exit near Figeac to save a little time. From Figeac we followed the D922 to Gaillac where we got on the autoroute to Toulouse. Along that route, we stopped and walked around Villefranche-de-Rouergue, a typical bastide town, and Laguépie. After that, we drove around in Cordes-sur-Ciel, but it was very crowded (probably because it was a holiday), and we decided to be content with the picturesque views and continue on to our destination.

In the next few days I hope to get a trip report started. I came home from this trip with a broken wrist and haven't been able to type until today when my cast came off. We found this part of France beautiful and interesting.
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Jun 12th, 2013, 06:35 PM
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I too have discovered that you cannot book reservations for Lascaux II or Grotte de Font de Gaume.

Maine GG thank you for sharing St. Cirq"s route. Either of those will work beautifully for us! I look forward to your trip report.

St. Cirq, thanks for the heads up on the walking tour. We had discussed this for sure, now we have direction!

I'm not sure how to do the drive from Oradour sur Glane to Sarlat, on Thursday. I will continue to look at that route.

Right now I'm thinking we will just head to Font de Gaume on Friday morning(and hope that we are early enough). I'm not knowledgeable enough to wrap that around the afternoon route (I'm working on it!).

Saturday morning, market in Sarlat (as this seems to be the only market we are hitting), the canoe that afternoon into evening and then Lascaux II on Sunday morning.

Monday, hopefully we can see Lascaux II, and maybe on to Rocamadour and end in Figeac. Just thoughts as I need to look at ViaMichelin miles, and consider July!, etc.

Thank you all for your expertise, you grace in sharing your knowledge, and for taking time to help all of who want to see the world.

This trip is on the cusp of coming together and I appreciate you help!
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Jun 12th, 2013, 09:53 PM
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Re. a visit to Font-de-Gaume it might be helpful to inquire either here or on the other major travel forum a week or two before your trip to learn what others are experiencing in terms of successful arrival times. This past October it took us three attempts with the final being an 8:15 arrival and that was mid-week. I suspect in July you may need to arrive considerably earlier. Good luck with your planning!
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Jun 13th, 2013, 03:42 AM
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If you are not planning to leave Oradour-sur-Glane until around noon, just head straight to Sarlat. You could stop in Hautefort and visit the chateau, or stop for a walk around Montignac. Look at the Michelin map and the green scenic roads and detour off for a short drive. We spent a week in a gite near Hautefort in 2008 and really enjoyed just driving around.
You do not have a lot of time in the region. I will be honest and say that with such a short time, a paddle in a canoe would be low on my list of things to do. But that is what makes independent travel so great. You can choose to do what interests you.
We visited Figeac in 2010 from our base in the Aveyron and it is lovely. I agree with St Cirq on the suggestion to stay only one night in Figeac. Unless, of course you want to take the opportunity to visit Conques for the day. Easily done from Figeac. Sorry!!! I should not be suggesting more for you to do .
In 2006, we spent a week near Gourdon and really enjoyed the drive along the Lot river from Cahors to St Cirq Lapopie. It continues to Figeac. But you could easily drive from Sarlat to Figeac via Rocamadour. Once again, look at the scenic drives on Michelin.
Good luck with your planning.
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Jun 13th, 2013, 05:07 AM
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Consider a stop in Najac or Cordes sur Ciel between Figeac and Albi. Cordes is more "touristy" but either worth a stop.
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Jun 14th, 2013, 11:30 AM
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Sarlat area itinerary: Thursday - Saturday

Thursday:
I have made adjustments since first post. We will depart Oradour Sur Glane on a Thursday
morning, with possible stop in Hauteforte. I know we could make this a better drive, but I'm not sure how to do it.

Michelin says this is a 1 1/2 hour drive to Sarlat. This would give us ample time to take things in along the way.

On arrival in Sarlat, pick up the audio guide for the walking tour of Sarlat. That might be a good start.

Then we have the evening. I have read that in July there is a lot of music and street entertainment. But I am not finding specifics.

Friday:

I think that we can stop Thursday on the drive from Oradour-Sur-Glane and reserve tickets for Friday at Lascaux II. Hopefully that is right. If not we will simply be there early to try and get tickets for the day.


Then we could start a drive along the Vezere River, stopping along the way:

St. Leon to walk around and have lunch.

La Rogue St. Christopher ( it may be too late in the day to get to see this....).

Les Eyzies de Tayac and hopefully at least see the prehistoric museum.

A possible stop could be Chateau de Commarque, and back to Sarlat.

I realize we tend to try and do too much and don't stop to just enjoy. I think that the St. Leon stop could be a nice slow down???

If we start the day at Lascaux, do you have a better itinerary suggestion for the day?

Saturday:

Market day - I would guess you would need at least a couple of hours there?? Maybe more?

Saturday afternoon we are still looking at the canoe ride. We would probably opt for the 4 - 5 hour as you can stop along the way, allowing some walk around time at points of interest. St. Cirq, I have looked at the website you gave me. Thank you. I will contact them for more information.

Saturday evening in Sarlat.

One step at a time!
Thank you for your advice and input! I could not do this without Fodor's forum!
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Jun 14th, 2013, 11:54 AM
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If we drive through Montignac on Thursday we can try to get tickets for Lascaux 2 for Friday. I think that is the only place you can reserve ahead of time.
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Jun 14th, 2013, 12:10 PM
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You'll find the street music in Sarlat easily enough. As for concerts and festivals and other local events, the Sarlat Tourist Office site will list them all. Right now it's listing June events; it updates all the time: http://www.sarlat-tourisme.com/fr/ (it's events throughout the region, not just Sarlat).

So, if I'm understanding this right, you're going to stop at Lascaux to pick up tickets on the way from Oradour to Sarlat on Thursday? I'm guessing if you can a reasonably early start from Oradour you may get into a Lascaux II tour Thursday afternoon and could even make a stop in St-Léon on the way to Sarlat.

Then on Friday you won't have to completely retrace your steps back to Lascaux (and that road between les Eyzies and Montignac is slow and hilly and tortuous). You could then do La Roque-St-Christophe and Les Eyzies on Friday. I would not miss La Roque-St-Christophe!

St-Léon, unless you have lunch there (the garden of Le Petit Léon is very nice, but also the sandwiches and snacks down by the river from Déjeuner sur l'Herbe are great)is a tiny place that won't take more than a half-hour for a good look around.

A couple of hours at the market on Saturday will probably be all you can bear unless the weather's lousy. It will be shoulder-to-shoulder in all likelihood. Even if you end up canoeing down the stretch of river that goes by Beynac, you should go visit that town and La Roque-Gageac as well. Take a picnic with you for the canoe ride (rent one of the big waterproof container) and stop at the beach at Castelnaud. You can swim there and have your picnic. If you don't bring a picnic with you, walk from the beach up to the little cluster of stores and buy a sandwich or sit in the café and order something.
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Jun 14th, 2013, 05:26 PM
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Oh my goodness, I am getting so excited. This all sounds wonderful.

From what I had read I thought if you did not get there(Lascaux 2) early in the morning, you would not get to tour. So I thought that we might be able to stop at Montignac and get tickets for Friday. But if we could actually see Lascaux on Thursday that would be wonderful, and not back tracking the next day. And yes, we hope to be away from Oradour by 9:00 to 10:00, earlier if we thought that would help at Lascaux.

The extra information on St. Leon gives us some flexibility and ideas. I'm thrilled to hear your reiteration on La Roque-St. Christopher.

I will continue to get the details on the canoe ride. We actually love that kind of activity. I think that one of the canoe rides goes all the way to La Roque- Gageac. I will read further to see what makes the most sense.

I will monitor websites on Sarlat, a I have also found that July information is sparse.

Many thanks to you St. Cirq! You are very gracious to share with us!
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Jun 14th, 2013, 05:29 PM
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One question: Can you actually get same day tickets at Lascaux 2 or do have have to go to Montignac to get tickets.?
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Jun 14th, 2013, 05:42 PM
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You have to get tickets in Montignac. We stopped there and got tickets for a tour 45 minutes later when we were there in April, but it could be different in high season.
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Jun 14th, 2013, 08:38 PM
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Sarlat to Figeac

We will leave Sarlat on Sunday morning. I have read several itineraries for this area. i know we want to see Rocamadour, maybe Conques. perhaps including Gouffre de Padirac, Carennac, Autoire and Loubressac, In those 2 days I would like to include Cahors, Pech Merle, maybe Najac?? Puycelci?

I know our timing isn't great as this is Sunday and Monday. I have been trying to see if there were any Sunday or Monday markets in the area. It could be on the drive out of Sarlat on Sunday or from Figeac on Monday morning. I found a list of towns and market days. But I don't know any of them so I have to plug them into the Michelin site for directions so I can see the location. Not getting far fast with that. Does anyone know of any Sunday or Monday market days in this area?

Please advise on a route that will work on these particular days.

I think there may be a vineyard with wine takings, I'm following up on that link.

At this point we have been going hard and fast. Perhaps a little down time or at least slow down, would be good. It sounds like this is a nice area to slow dow a bit and smell the roses. Although, i don't want to miss anything.

Thank you. With your help we are making great progress!
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Jun 15th, 2013, 01:56 AM
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The drive from Figeac to Cahors along the Tarn is beautiful but takes you away from Albi if that is your destination.

Re markets, this might help:

http://www.frenchentree.com/france-l...le.asp?id=3966
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Jun 15th, 2013, 07:43 AM
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Cathinjoetown

I went to viamichelin and plotted this course.
Sarlat through La Roque Gageac through Domme, Cahors and to Figeac

They quote that as a three hour drive (of course there would be many stop along the way). Perhaps this would be the perfect Sunday drive. ???????

Open to ideas for improvement or different route totally!

Thanks for the jump start this morning!
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Jun 15th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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Itinerary planning: Sarlat to Figeac (Sunday)

viamichelin course:

Sarlat through La Roque Gageac ---- Domme----- Cahors---- and to Figeac
They quote that as a three hour drive (of course there would be many stops along the way). Perhaps this would be the perfect Sunday drive. ???????

I checked the market site you sent. St. Cyprien has a Sunday market. If it is worth it, we could start there: Sarlat, St. Cyprien, La Roque Gageac, Domme, Cahors and end in Figeac.

We could schedule a 4:00 tour at Pech Merle, just an option that might be a better plan.



************************************************** *****************************************
Itinerary planning Figeac and back: Monday

On Monday morning (the next day) we would base out of Figeac. Considering:

Figeac to Gouffre Padirac---------to Rocamadour-------We could see Pech Merle here if missed on Monday--------back to Figeac.

Thinking ahead:
Tuesday we will drive from Figeac to Albi. I haven't looked and reread enough but maybe Conques, St. Cirq Lapopioe, Najac, Puycelci on the way to Albi. I will read more on this route.
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Jun 15th, 2013, 10:17 AM
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Your routes sound fine.

I haven't been to any of the markets on the list except Cahors. Cahors has an enclosed market building that may be open on days other than market days.
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