Dordogne trip - please more advice

Old Apr 29th, 2010, 11:15 AM
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Dordogne trip - please more advice

I am still trying to get this trip itinerary together. So I have a few more questions (I'm sure there will be even more later). Thanks to all of you who have replied to my other posts. It is sooooo very helpful to get first hand knowledge from you.

For now I have three main questions:
1. If I only go to one garden, should it be Eyrignac or Marqueyssac? I had planned on Eyrignac as it has *** , but then I wonder about Marqueyssac ** that has the beautiful views.
2. If I take StCirq's suggestion from a previous post and skip Rocamadour on the way to Sarlat (where we are staying) and decide to see that on a separate day - what would be a good plan for that day? I do not think I want to go to Gouffre de Padirac since I am already planning on three caves (even though I know this one is very different). Perhaps Jardin d'Eyrignac could be included in this day.
3. For one of our days I have considered from Sarlat: Jardin et manoir de Marqueyssac (if we choose this garden), Beynac castle and village, Castelnaud village (maybe castle though I am not too interested in medieval arms as I have seen some of that), La Roque Gageac, Domme and Montfort. Is this too much?

Other sites I really don't want to miss - Milandes and canoe or boat trip (which would you do if only one - boat or canoe?
One other thing - Wed morn we want to be in Sarlat for the market so that leaves the afternoon - I would probably try to fit in Rocamadour here except I am afraid it will be too crowded.

I am a little stressed at this point so I really need your suggestions. Leaving in about three weeks.
Thanks and Happy travels!
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 11:32 AM
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mimipam:

No real suggestions, alas, but I'll be interested in your trip report because we will be renting a gîte in Sarlat for a week at the beginning of July and plan to use it as a base. From all I've heard Rocamadour sounds like a necessary stop despite the crowds. My friend who has stayed in Sarlat tells me that the first hour or so of the market is the best time, arriving no later than 8:00 A.M. If you do that for the in-town market in Sarlat (and I gather Wednesday's market is a bit smaller than Saturday's), you should have time to get to Rocamadour before the afternoon. Good luck!
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 11:33 AM
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Maybe you can rethink all of this and reconsolidate the sites you want to visit. Forget Eyrignac and Marqueyssac and instead do this:

1. Sarlat to Jardins de l'Imaginaire in Terrasson, followed by Collonges-la-Rouge, followed by Martel, followed by Rocamadour, followed by Domme, then home.

2. Beynac, gabarre ride, La Roque-Gageac, Castelnaud, Les Milandes, Montfor. Note that if you're not going to see the castle at Castelnaud itself, I wouldn't bother going to town - there's nothing there but the castle, a coupleof snack bars, and shops selling medieval stuff. And Montfort is a drive-by.

That leaves you a full day. Make it Wednesday and spend the morning at the market in Sarlat. If the weather's nice, you could canoe/kayak. Note that a gabarre ride is an hour; a canoe ride is half a day at least.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 11:40 AM
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Hi Midnight - I will try to report back on our trip. StCirq thanks for the ideas. I will be looking at them.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 12:22 PM
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>>1. If I only go to one garden, should it be Eyrignac or Marqueyssac? I had planned on Eyrignac as it has *** , but then I wonder about Marqueyssac ** that has the beautiful views.>2. If I take StCirq's suggestion from a previous post and skip Rocamadour on the way to Sarlat (where we are staying) and decide to see that on a separate day - what would be a good plan for that day? I do not think I want to go to Gouffre de Padirac since I am already planning on three caves (even though I know this one is very different). Perhaps Jardin d'Eyrignac could be included in this day.>3. For one of our days I have considered from Sarlat: Jardin et manoir de Marqueyssac (if we choose this garden), Beynac castle and village, Castelnaud village (maybe castle though I am not too interested in medieval arms as I have seen some of that), La Roque Gageac, Domme and Montfort. Is this too much?>Other sites I really don't want to miss - Milandes and canoe or boat trip (which would you do if only one - boat or canoe?>One other thing - Wed morn we want to be in Sarlat for the market so that leaves the afternoon - I would probably try to fit in Rocamadour here except I am afraid it will be too crowded.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 01:55 PM
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Hi Stu,
What boat trip/company did you take? I have been on norbert.fr and gabarre-beyanc. The gabarre site is in French and since I don't know French I can only make out a little of it. It does however, seem to me to be the better of the two. Likewise, with canoes- Loisirs is in French but copeyre has English. I think maybe that those two are similar. Which company did you use?

WE leave in about three weeks (May) thanks to those of you who gave me advice when I was considering going in August!!!So how crowded is Rocamadour the latter part of May??

We have reservations at Pech Merle, Lascaux, and Font du Gaume.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 02:02 PM
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Also, in a previous post I was stressed about trying to fit in Figeac on the way to Rocamadour. That day we have reservations to Pech Merle. In my original plan I wanted to go to Figeac along the Cele from Pech Merle and then on to Rocamadour. I am afraid I planned too much for that day. Sooo at StCirq's suggestion I considered skipping Rocamadour that day. I am still in a quandry over this. That is why I love this site - some of you are repeat "visitors" and know sooo much more than I can tell by reading and looking at maps.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 02:07 PM
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This is the canoë/kayak place we prefer:

http://www.rivercanoekayak.net/
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 02:16 PM
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Frankly, I think you can skip Rocamadour (!) although if you visit Pech Merle (which I loved) in the AM, you could do Rocamadour that afternoon. But you can also drive past Rocamadour and oooh and ahhhhh at it's setting. We thoroughly enjoyed Castelnaud, even though I'm not a real "arms" afficianado. It still gives you a nice idea of what all those parts of a castle were used for(!) and the views down the river toward Beynac's castle are really cool. I agree with Stu, it is a superior experience to Beynac. There are also fun little shops and a couple cafes in Castlenaud. We've been to the area in May and in September, and both were fine, not particularly large crowds. People were lovely.

Some of the most fun we had was just purchasing wine, fruit, sausages and bread in a market in the AM and driving around looking for wonderful picnic opportunities in some of the lovely little villages (St Leon sur Vezere has a path along the river, and will forever hold a particularly wonderful piece of my heart). Beynac is a cool little village as is La Roque Gageac. I want to go back and do a canoe trip one of these days.

Have a lovely time. StCirc - as well as being a great helpful source here - is also a lovely village. I liked it much better than Rocamodour(!)

I think the Dordogne is one of the most romantic, fairytale like places I've ever been. This year we're just doing a quick 8-days in Paris and Amsterdam, but next time we plan a trip to France, we're likely to return again to the Dordogne and the Lot.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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Very interested in all of this since we will be going in September.

Does the canoe trip pick you up at the end and bring you back to the start?
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 02:24 PM
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We used Norbert when we departed from Roque Gageac, and I don't remember which one we used when we departed from Beynac. I think all the "outfits" are pretty much the same. Pick the one with the prettiest boat!!!

You could hit Rocamadour on the way to/from Pech Merle.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 02:32 PM
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Thanks everyone! I will keep at it.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 02:47 PM
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>>Does the canoe trip pick you up at the end and bring you back to the start?
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 02:50 PM
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We visited the Dordogne (for the second time) several years ago, in late May, for 4 nights. Nothing was crowded AT ALL, including Rocamadour. The most crowded thing were the roads leading into Sarlat, because (like at home) this time of year is the time for road construction.

One day, we visited Font du Gaume in the morning (one of the top-10 sights I have seen in my life), then had lunch in Sarlat. From there, we drove to Gouffre du Padirac (which my 11yo son loved, but I found only "fine"). After that, quite late in the day by this point, we drove to Rocamadour. We walked through the town, not spending much time (DH and I had visitied previously). IMO, it's a town that's much better viewed from a distance than actually spending time in. We then spent time at a cafe in nearby Hospitalet, which has fabulous views of Rocamadour, before driving back to Sarlat.

On the day of the Sarlat Wednesday market, as we were staying IN Sarlat, we were at the market right when it began. We picked up more food than we intended, because it all looked so good. We then visited Castelnaud (much more than just weaponry). After that, we had a picnic lunch on the river before going to Beynac (we walked up from town). I like Beynac better than Castelnaud, because I like the reconstruction work and their printed guide. After that, we still had time for a visit to Marqueyssac. Which we didn't enjoy hugely, but I think it's because we're not really garden-type people. Then back to Sarlat with lots of time for drinks before dinner.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 04:26 PM
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All the canoe outfitters will either take you to a place of embarkment, and then you paddle back, or will give you directions on where to land and then come pick you up. The former option is better, as it's not uncommon to have to wait quite awhile for them to come get you.

uhoh....that's not *my* St-Cirq. Mine's better
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 04:32 PM
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minipam:

I notice you say you have a reservation for Lascaux. How did you come by that? I'll be there in late May, and they told me absolutely no reservations until July and August. Thanks.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 05:30 PM
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Mimipam: I was wondering the same thing about the Lascaux reservations. You've had luck with that, then? Please tell.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 06:28 PM
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The canoe trip was one of the highlights of our trip to the dordogne. We were there in Sept. several years ago. The water was maybe 2-3 feet deep..(This is not white water rafting). You could just float down the river,or paddle your way. There were many people in inner tubes floating down the river. We left from Cenac, in a park-like area just to the west of the bridge going into cenac. We "paddled" down the river to an area west of Beynac. The trip took 2-3 hours I think. We were picked up by a van after 10-15 minutes and driven back to Cenac. I Think the van left every half hour, but I'm not sure. As you go down the river you see Castelnaud on you left and the Beynac castle on your right. Its easy to imagine what it was like in the 100yr war. Again one of the highlights of the trip.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 06:51 PM
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Thanks for all the canoe input. Does anybody except St Cirq seem to remember which outfitter they used. I hope we can get one like Stu mentions where they take you to a point and you end up back where they are located. Stu's notes say go from Cenac to Beynac for nice views. Norbert seems to have boats but no canoes - is this right?

Regarding Lascaux ll - I found the info on this site by searching. Email [email protected] You will need to send credit card payment to get the reservation.

We have Lascaux and Font de Gaume reservations on the same day. Lascaux is in the morning and FdG in mid afternoon. Does this seem like a full day? I thought there would probaly be only time for a picnic lunch between the two.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 08:26 PM
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>>Does anybody except St Cirq seem to remember which outfitter they used. I hope we can get one like Stu mentions where they take you to a point and you end up back where they are located. Stu's notes say go from Cenac to Beynac for nice views. Norbert seems to have boats but no canoes - is this right?
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