Dordogne to Provence

Jan 28th, 2008, 08:23 AM
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Dordogne to Provence

This May/June we travel from Paris to Munich via Dordogne, Provence and Switzerland. For those who know me from the Italy forum, you probably find this going against my normal "slow down" recommendations.
Between the difficulty of getting 4 BE award seats and the desire of our travel friends to include Switzerland for this trip, we are moving a bit more than I usually like.Fortuantely we have 3 weeks.
We begin from CDG (after a night at the Hilton) for 4 nights in Dordogne at Les Granges Hautes near Sarlat.
It looks like we will drive from CDG. Although I'd prefer the train, the car selections are very limited from Brive and Bordeaux looks like the only logical option. Add 4 train fares and that we would most likely not be able to pick up our car at the train station (we will most likely "lease" or go with Sixt,where as a platinum member I get a 35% discount)and it looks like driving from CDG is our best option.
I am thinking (based on some recommendations here) that we should add 2 nights in the LOT and then head to Provence.
I'm looking for some suggestions and observations as well as answers to specific questions.

If LOT is a logical stay, any suggestions for where?

What's the best route to Provence?
We have friends that have traveled this a few times and recommend the autobahn towards Arles, but I'm wondering if taking the more scenic route (via the Gorges de Tarn" might be better.

We will have 8-9 nights in Provence. Should I split this into a couple stays?
We prefer B&B style stays and this is our first trip south of Paris.
As always, thanks so much for the help.

jabez is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 10:04 AM
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Sounds like you only have 3 1/4 days in the Dordogne. Personally, I would not try to include the Lot - stay in the Dordogne for 5 1/4 days. Even 5 1/4 isn't enough, IMO.

However, if you feel the need to spend time on the road & leave the Dordogne early, I would head south on the A20 & visit Peche Merle (reserve ahead), St Cirq Lapopie, and then head east along the lovely Cele river & visit Figeac (if you're not doing this on a Sunday). After Figeac head to Conques & stay there for the night. Conques is one of the "top" small villages in France. Next day head east along the Lot river through Entraygues, Estaing (visit), Espalion, St Eulalie (visit) & St Geniez. At St Geniez, take the D95 south to the D45 west & head to Canourge - possibly my favorite village that has not made it into any tour book. Then take the scenic D998 down to Ste Enimie and the fantastic Gorges du Tarn. Stay in this region the second night & explore the Gorges thoroughly. Next day head to Florac then take the scenic D9 east, which is the Corniche des Cevannes. When you get to St Jean du Gard yooou have some options.

If you want to visit a cave with stalactites & mights that are much more dramatic than anything you've seen in the Dordogne, head south on the D57 to Ste Hippolyte du Fort (don't take any of the smaller roads around there - they're scary). At Ste Hippolyte head west to Ganges then south to Les Demoselles caves - *** in Michelin & probably the best caves we've seen in France. From there head into Provence via Montpellier & Nimes.

If you don't want to visit the caves, head into Provence after St Jean via Ales (don't stop) & visit Uzes (one of my favorites), and then the Pont du Gard. If you visit Uzes & the Pont, you won't have to visit them as a day trip from your location in Provence.

For 8-9 nights I would definately stay in 2-3 locations. St Remy, Luberon, and near Vaison would be my choices. Kevin, a frequent poster here, has a very nice B&B in the Luberon

I'm going to restate this again - I would skip the 2 night Lot trip & just stay in the Dordogne. Except for Conques, Demoiselles, & the Gorges du Tarn, you'll probably leave behind some stuff in the Dordogne that's more interesting than what you'll find in the Lot. If you were staying 5-6 days in the Dordogne instead of 3 1/4 then I would recommend a 2 night Lot exploration.

If you skip the Lot, just take the freeway all the way to Provence, stopping at Carcasonne along the way.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 10:21 AM
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Hi stu,

sorrry to hijack your thread, jabez, but I'd appreciate stu's help with a possible trip from Nice to Avignon, in June.

We'd have 5 nights, arriving in Nice at lunchtime and departing from Avignon at about the same time.

what route would you take that time of year, and where would you base yourself? -[max 2 places, I think].

we could the other way, but this way maximises the time we'd get due to flight timetables. also, we could do just Nice or just Avignon, but i fancy touring between the two. I've looked at michelin and it's less than 300km so very doable in 5 days.

we went to avignon 25+ years ago, and have no particular desire to go back there, but I do fancy arles. what do you think?

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 10:30 AM
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Wow - 5 nights isn't much time. I would just stay in the Nice area. There are plenty of cute little isolated villages you can explore in the Nice Hinterland. And, of course, with St Paul, Vence, Eze, etc there's plenty of cute "tourist" villages also. If you have only 5 nights, there's no need to head to Provence if you want to experience coast, mountains, villages, etc - it's all close to Nice also.

I just updated my Provence/Cote itinerary with some more Nice stuff. E-mail me if you want a fresh copy.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 28th, 2008, 10:41 AM
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The Gorges du Tarn and then the Gorges de l'Ardèche is a very nice way of getting to the Provence, but count on two days to do the trip, or one very long day.
Michael is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 10:53 AM
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I can't pass up this opportunity to recommend the fantastic Millau viaduct if you can find the time...
TuckH is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 10:58 AM
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annhig & jabez

I mentioned that you can find coast, villages, and mountains close to Nice. If you want to experience rolling countryside, vineyards, poppies (late May/early June), and an Abbey like you find in Provence - head west from Nice & do the Chateaudouble, Ampus, Tourtour, Villecroze, Aups, Cotignac, Carces, Entrecasteaux, and Lorgues loop. Aups, Tourtour, Cotignac, and Lourges are very interesting villages to visit also. The Abbey is le Thoronet near Carces. There is nmore detail about this loop in my itinerary.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 28th, 2008, 02:58 PM
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Hi stu

you're right of course, 5 nights isn't much. but it's a quick flight from exeter and an extra "adult only" trip on top of two hols planned for 2008 already [venice and iceland, both with the kids].

However, I realised that I can't count 'cos it's only 4 nights - sat -wed.

I'd love your provence/cote itinerary but don't have your e-mail address.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 03:01 PM
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My e-mail is [email protected]

Stu Dudley
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Jan 29th, 2008, 06:22 AM
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Thanks all!
Stu, we are less coastal people and " rolling countryside, vineyards, poppies (late May/early June), and an Abbey like you find in Provence -" are exactly what we love. I will email you for your itinerary.
Your Tuscany itinerary was a great help many years ago. I'd like to thank you on the behalf of many that you have helped over the years.
jabez is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 09:24 AM
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Hi J,

Have you looked for car pickups at Libourne or Bergerac.

You can train from CDG to Libourne for 25E pp and to Bergerac for 32E pp.

I would take 2 nights from Provence and add it to the Dordogne.

Excellent advice from Stu.

We stayed at Auberge De La Cascade in St Chely du Tarn,
and at just outside Conques.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
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