FRANCE by car - Itinerary help!

Mar 8th, 2016, 09:39 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 63
FRANCE by car - Itinerary help!

Hello: Husband and I are ending hike around Mt. Blanc on Sept. 17 in Chamonix and renting a car. We will visit Lausaunne area and then start our drive/tour into France. We have approximately 2 weeks of touring before
ending in Toulouse for flight home. We want to include Bordeaux, Perigord region, Carcassone, Toulouse. We enjoy history, museums, art, hiking, food and wine. I am a baker and always interested in baked goods - sweet and non-sweet. We are ok with basing ourselves somewhere and doing day trips. We have hiked in Alsace & Burgundy and visited the South of France. We do not know Central France. So far, our itinerary looks like this:

9/17 Rent car in Chamonix - drive to Lausanne area; Overnight Lausanne;
9/18 Drive to Annecy - Overnight Annecy;
9/19 Tour Annecy - Overnight Annecy or other town on way to Lyon;
9/20 Tour Lyon - Overnight Lyon;
9/21 Tour Lyon - Overnight Lyon;
9/22 to 10/3 - driving tour (12 days);
10/4 Return car - Overnight Toulouse;
10/5 Flight home from Toulouse.

Thank you for all of your always excellent suggestions!
travelnaia is offline  
Mar 8th, 2016, 10:32 AM
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>>We have ..... visited the South of France.<<<

Where in the "South of France" have you already visited?
Cote d'Azur
Pays Basque

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Mar 8th, 2016, 10:58 AM
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From Lyon head to the Avignon/Arles area where you can base in a smaller town like St-Remy-de-Provence and do so many neat day trips by car - Les Baux-de-Provence; the Pont du Bard; Avignon and Arles; the Camargue; Uzes and on and on.

Then putz over via Agiues-Mortes (historic port from which some Saint launched some Crusades); Carcassonne (mint-condition medieval citadel town rebuilt from rubble in the 1800s) - go south to some of the neat Pyrenees places perhaps and end up in Toulouse worth a full day in its own right.
PalenQ is online now  
Mar 8th, 2016, 11:00 AM
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Also - Twelve days is not much time.

If you draw a somewhat straight line (to minimize needless driving) from Lyon to le Puy en Velay, to Florac, through the Gorges du Tarn, to Millau.

And then take the A75/A61 to Carcassonne.

Or the smaller roads to Albi.

Then up to the western Perigord to the Rocamadour area, then to the Sarlat area.

Now back to Toulouse

You go nowhere near Bordeaux.

If you instead take the A89 west from Lyon to Clermont-Ferrand, spend some time in the Puy du Dome area, then swing down to the Perigord, then to Bordeaux, then the A62 to Toulouse - you go nowhere near Carcassonne and perhaps spent more time on the Autoroutes than you would have liked.

You need to give up either Carcassonne or Bordeaux, IMO, unless you like one-night stops and most of the cay on the road.

If this was my trip, I would skip Bordeaux and spend time in the Gorges du Tarn area, Carcassonne, Albi, Cordes, Gorges de l'Ardeche, Figeac, Rocamadour area, and Sarlat region.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Mar 8th, 2016, 11:04 AM
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Pal - they have probably already visited Provence, and they want to visit the Perigord. And after the Alps - they probably don't want to head into the Pyrenees.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 8th, 2016, 12:29 PM
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If this were my trip, I would skip Bordeaux and spend time in the Gorges du Tarn area, Carcassonne, Albi, Cordes, Gorges de l'Ardeche, Figeac, Rocamadour area, and Sarlat region.>

Yes indeed and take side roads - yellow roads on Michelin maps - well paved and little traffic outside big urban areas - I have driven and biked through that area - outstanding. and the Dordogne along with Perigord- right next door.
PalenQ is online now  
Mar 8th, 2016, 01:54 PM
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t'naia - Stu Dudley is an absolute treasure on Fodor's for anywhere in France - he has lots of itineraries he emails to folks upon request (or did last I knew) - many folks have said they are great so there is a great resource available - and get the Michelin Green Guides - my favorite take along on a road tour.
PalenQ is online now  
Mar 8th, 2016, 02:24 PM
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Use to plot out some driving itineraries. The site gives you driving times, road tolls (if any -- you can always ask the site to avoid all tolls) and the amount of gasoline that you will use.

Seeing the number of hours it takes to get from point A to point B has often led me to scale back some of my plans. And of course you have to keep in mind that the driving times given assume that you are not stopping to see anything along the way or eating a meal.
kerouac is offline  
Mar 8th, 2016, 03:43 PM
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Thank you, Fodorites! As usual, your recommendations are so very helpful! I have asked StuDudley for his itineraries and have them in hand to help my planning. I need to hibernate, read and digest.

Yes, we have been to Provence, French Riviera, etc., Camargue, Avignon, etc. and loved them all. But this trip is to see the Dordogne and surrounds.

Many thanks again.
travelnaia is offline  
Mar 8th, 2016, 08:56 PM
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If the Dordogne is your focus, I would spent 2-3 nights in Lyon, then drive straight down the A89, past Clermont-Ferrand, and get off at Perigueux exit. Then head to Brantome for a couple of nights to see the lovely villages and scenery of the Perigord Vert region. Then I would head towards the Perigord Noir area (the most famous and most-touristed part of the Dordogne) and spend the rest of my time in a village base, doing day trips to the key sights/villages/markets etc.

From mid Sept, the crowds are thinner so getting around and into things is much easier, and you will have more flexibility about accom options eg renting a gite for that period. If you choose a base in that southeast corner of the Dordogne, you will be within easy driving distance of all the major attractions. And from there, you'd have an easy drive to Toulouse on 4 Oct.

Like Stu said, unless you are into wine, I probably would skip Bordeaux for this trip, as it is further west of the Dordogne.
rosemaryoz is offline  
Mar 9th, 2016, 01:10 AM
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'historic port from which some Saint launched some Crusades'

Louis IX launched the 8th crusade that boarded ships in Aigues-Mortes. He then died upon reaching North Africa.

Louis IX has been called 'Saint-Louis' because he was very pious. He was one of the msot important kings of France.

Aigues-Mortes is a splendid city.
Whathello is offline  
Mar 9th, 2016, 02:32 AM
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Confusing. The Dordogne is what the modern-day Brits decided to call the ancient realm of the Périgord. They are essentially one and the same, not two separate places.

At any rate, you should spend a week here. That's barely enough to give the place justice. September is a wonderful month around here - usually lovely temperatures, great end-of-summer produce in the markets, and the campervans have started to clear out. It's not too early (at all) to be trying to get tickets to the major prehistoric caves, which sell our months and months in advance and have limited space for visitors. If you need help with that, let me know.

Agree that Aigues-Mortes is just beautiful (the main square is one of the prettiest in all of Europe, IMO), and the Camargue is just fascinating. Try to find time to have lunch or dinner at La Telline (google it; it's not far from Aigues-Mortes, off in the countryside on the way back to Arles), a fisherman's house where you eat the fresh catch of the day and whatever else the owners dream up.
StCirq is offline  

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