Drive from Sarlat to Nice or fly?

Feb 3rd, 2013, 05:23 PM
  #1  
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Drive from Sarlat to Nice or fly?

Hi all,

Hoping a Fodorite (St Cirq?!) can advise on whether we should fly from Toulouse (we are staying in St Vincent de Cosse near Sarlat) to Nice (easy jet) or drive. We need to be in Nice for the next leg of our trip 2 days later.

Sooooo..either we drive to TLS, spend the night and fly out the next day to Nice or we drive and break up the drive (maybe in Sete?). The advantage of driving is that we can make a few stops (as we have 2 days) and perhaps even see Arles.

Is the drive quite scenic? Or should we enjoy Toulouse and spend an extra day in Nice? I should add that we are North American and used to longish car rides but this will be early July so roads are likely to be more crowded I presume.

Merci!
jacolis is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2013, 06:06 PM
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No, it's not the slightest bit scenic if you're on the autoroute. It's a hellish 8-9 hours with the sun in your face the whole way on multilane roads with enormous trucks and fumes if you open the windows. Either fly from Toulouse or take the train. You could actually take the train to someplace like Montpellier or Avignon and spend a day before going on to Nice, depending on your schedule.
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 06:17 PM
  #3  
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Oh that does not sound good! What would be the best train connection? We have to return our rental car so not sure if we should drive back to brive or return the car and hop on somewhere further south?

I noticed another airline also flying to Nice from Toulouse -- Airliner? Have never heard of it (have heard of easy jet).

Merci encore!
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 06:31 PM
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What day of the week will you be traveling? And what month?
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 06:44 PM
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After a quick check, it looks like flying is the best option. I haven't checked train connections from Bordeaux, but Brive to Nice is about 10-12 hours and about 150 euros; Toulouse to Nice is about 8 hours and 80 euros; Toulouse to Montpellier is 10 hours (but only about 30 euros); Brive to Montpellier is 7-12 hours, about 60-80 euros. I haven't flown any routes like that, but I have to believe it's a better deal (also look at flights from Périgueux and Bergerac on www.whichbudget.com).

Good luck!
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 07:01 PM
  #6  
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Thank you! This would be on Saturday July 6th.

Are there more scenic routes (say stopping in Castelnaudry or Carcassonne)?
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 07:13 PM
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I could plot you a few scenic routes, yes, but you'd need to get off the autoroute and plan for another couple of days to get there. There are a gazillion wonderful places to visit in between Sarlat and Nice, but it's a matter of time...
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 09:54 PM
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I would like to offer an alternative suggestion.

It is a boring drive, as St Cirq stated. However, to get there as quickly as possible, it is about an 8 1/4 hr drive. Add 30 mins for pottie stops, gas, & "deviations". Stop about half-way at Carcassonne and spend 2 hrs exploring the largest fortress in Europe. Have lunch there at one of the many outdoor cafes. It is immediately off the autoroute - so you really don't add any driving time by stopping there.

It is about a 2 1/2 hr drive from Sarlat to the Toulouse airport. I like to get to airports in Europe about 2 hrs before departure time to return the car and check into the flight. At the Nice end, you'll need to retrieve your bags (perhaps 1 hr after arrival). There is an AF flight that leaves Toulouse at 11:05. That means you'll have to leave Sarlat at 6:30am. You arrive in Nice at 12:30, but after picking up the bags you won't get to the hotel until about 2PM. There may be other flights - but door-to-door it will consume 7 1/2 hrs and you really didn't see anything along the way.

Like St Cirq stated - there are a ca-zillion places to explore along the way - Toulouse, Albi, Cordes, Carcassonne, Gorges du Tarn, Pezenas, many caves with stalactites & mites, Montpellier, Aigues Mortes, Nimes, Arles, Aix, Cassis, etc, etc, etc.

Lots of options!!!

Stu Dudley
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Feb 4th, 2013, 06:17 PM
  #9  
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Thanks you two! I think we still want to fly and will adjust our schedule so that we overnight before catching a 9 am to Nice.

Easy jet flies from both Toulouse and Bordeaux to Nice and it seems equidistant (although I recognize BOD is in the wrong direction but flight is only marginally longer). Which city would you recommend in terms of spending the day and overnight? We will be with our 6 and 8 yr old.

I should note that my DH is not really into wine tasting so maybe TLS? Not sure if Albi is too far out of the way?
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Feb 4th, 2013, 07:04 PM
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Toulouse is on my "top 5 cities in France" list - Bordeaux is not. Albi would be OK - but there is a lot more stuff to do in Toulouse. If you stayed in Toulouse, you could return the car upon arrival & take a taxi to the airport in the AM. You'll need the car to get to the airport from Albi.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 4th, 2013, 07:05 PM
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Toulouse, for sure. Albi's not far - just over an hour's drive.
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Feb 5th, 2013, 12:29 AM
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Getting to an airport from where you are - Bordeaux is marginally closer, but Toulouse MUCH easier to get to, and nicer scenery around.

If you were still thinking of driving, one approach would be down past Figeauc, over the wonderful bridge at Millau. That is more scenic, and brings you out around Montpellier. http://www.leviaducdemillau.com/en_index.php#/accueil/

Unfortunately you are then on a very busy autoroute along the coast - every truck foing from Spain to Italy - and it does sometimes seem as if that is every truck every made - takes that route.
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Feb 5th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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Thanks all!

Toulouse it is!

We were thinking of staying at an airport hotel (Holiday Inn Express gets good reviews) since our flight is at 10 a.m. (presume we need to be there @ 2 hours before).

Or is that unecessary and we are better off staying in the centre of town and taking taxi the next morning?

Any specific reccies of what sights to hit with kids?

I am really excited to eat cassoulet (never had it before!).
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Feb 5th, 2013, 12:34 PM
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The area around the airport is grungy & there is nothing to do there - except if you want to visit an Inter Marche with 97 check-outs. We stayed near the airport once, had dinner at a fabulous Michelin 2 star restaurant, and caught our 8am flight the next morning.

Why would you stay near the airport when you could stay in one of the most interesting cities in France???? Get the Michelin Green Guide for the Languedoc and follow the walking itinerary in it. We visited Toulouse (3rd visit - not counting the airport stay) last year & the walking itinerary consumed most of an afternoon. Our legs wore out before we even finished it. Lots of stuff to see in Toulouse and we didn't go into a single museum.

We drove into the city, stayed at the Mermoz, returned our car at the train station, walked back to the Mermoz, then walked about 15 mins into the center of town. Had dinner at Christain Constant's new restaurant - Bibent with an eye-catching interior and also outside tables on the Pl du Capitole (main square in Toulouse - lots of people watching)

Stu Dudley
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Feb 5th, 2013, 12:38 PM
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If you want cassoulet, dine at Emile - but reserve ahead. They also have a nice outside dining area with good people watching. Cassoulet is their house specialty. I've had it there - twice.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 6th, 2013, 01:19 AM
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another vote for staying in town - Toulouse is a beautiful city, and great for walking. The airport is not far, and a taxi will not take long, or be very expensive. THere is also a shuttle bus from the train station to the airport which is very cheap, leaves every 20 minutes, and takes 20 minutes.

Flying to Nice from Toulouse - internal flights in France really only require being there about an hour ahead. We are usually there 2-3 hours ahead, (flying Toulouse to Frankfurt for onward flights) and often the checkin desk is not even open. You don't want to leave it too late, obviously, but for a 10 a.m. flight you have time to get to the airport with not much diffiuculy. And on a Saturday no business traffic, unlikely to be any rush hour.
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Feb 7th, 2013, 08:47 AM
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Thank you very much all!

We are thinking of staying at the
Novotel Toulouse Centre Wilson hotel. It seems very close to the Place du capitole.
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Jul 24th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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Hi all,

Just a quick report back -- we spent a wonderful afternoon/evening in Toulouse before catching our easyJet flight to Nice the next day. The hotel was great (right in a beautiful "place" with a fountain and double decker merry-go-round for the kids) and a 5 minute walk from the Place de la Capitole. We loved walking around and all enjoyed this very vibrant city. I would definitely recommmend this hotel for families wtih kids (there was even an Xbox and kapla blocks in the lobby for them).

The drive to the airport on the Saturday morning was very easy and I must say Toulouse airport is the most kid-friendly airport I have ever seen (bouncy castles, play structures, games and animation for the kids, etc.).

We actually ended up at Les Entrepotes (near the Garonne) for dinner as I felt like something light (it was quite hot - 40 degrees). I know it sounds funny but after a week in the Dordogne (and major foie gras overload) I felt my liver would collapse if I were to attempt cassoulet.

Merci a tous!
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