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From Sarlat to St Remy - town to stop in for a few hours

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Jan 26th, 2013, 12:56 PM
  #1
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From Sarlat to St Remy - town to stop in for a few hours

I'll be leaving Sarlat on a Monday in July (after 4 nights/3 full days) and driving to St Remy-de-Provence where I'll be based for 5 nights (almost five full days, not leaving till early evening the fifth day). According to google maps it is 5 1/2 hours drive, mostly via autoroute. I'm thinking of stopping in one of the following towns for a few hours en route: Albi, Beziers, Montpellier.

Beziers and Montpellier are right on the route so no additional driving if I choose one of them. Albi adds about a half hour, but the route I'd take would be "D" roads mostly, so less autoroute driving.

Any suggestions which one would be best for a few hours - taking into consideration ease of getting in and out and parking (luggage will be in trunk of car/out of sight). Not really interested in museums, just wandering around taking photos and breaking up the drive and seeing one more place.

Thanks.
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Jan 26th, 2013, 01:36 PM
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Give yourself the time and drive up the Gorge du Tarn and down the Gorge de l'Ardèche on your way to the Provence. It will take two full days of driving, perhaps with an overnight in Ste. Enemie (sp?)
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Jan 26th, 2013, 02:07 PM
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I would stop in Carcassonne - about half way between the two & directly on the Autoroute.

Montpellier is difficult to get in & out of - and would perhaps add more than just a couple of hours. Plus, if you visit Avignon, Aix, Nimes, or Arles - then Montpellier won't be that different. We've never visited Beziers, but we've visited Albi twice. Albi would add about 1 3/4 hrs to your driving time. Also, you may arrive there just in time for their 2 1/2 hr lunch closing. We were there once during this period & almost everything closes, except restaurants and perhaps the church.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 26th, 2013, 02:09 PM
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I hate that drive, but I'd actually stop for cassoulet in Castelnaudary, which is an easy exit off the highway and a nice town.
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Jan 26th, 2013, 05:29 PM
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Thanks for the replies

Michael - I don't have an extra night, I'm pretty content with my itinerary as it is and don't want to short change either area by a day in order to add anyplace else.

Stu - I've been to Carcassone, only a couple years ago, so don't really need to stop again. That's what I was thinking about Monpellier, thank you for confirming it. Interestingly google maps and via michelin have almost the exact same milage but quite different times for the drives. Google maps says 5hr, 6 min to drive straight from Sarlat to St Remy (via autoroute) versus 6 1/4 hour to go via Albi (mostly on D roads). ViaMichelin says 5 3/4 hours versus 8 hr. I take it you are thinking Albi would not be worth the extra drive time. Actually the photos of Beziers look quite similar to Albi (nice old bridge, big cathedral on a hill). Just Albi seems a lot more 'famous' and I guess I was thinking there might be a reason for it. But perhaps not a good enough one to warrant the extra time.

StCirq - I will definitely put Castelnaudary on the list.
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Jan 26th, 2013, 05:53 PM
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I have found ViaMichelin to be pretty accurate. I've never tried Google. Of course, you will need to add in time for gas, pottie, lunch, and the inevitable road "deviation".

>> Google maps says 5hr, 6 min to drive straight from Sarlat to St Remy (via autoroute) versus 6 1/4 hour to go via Albi (mostly on D roads). ViaMichelin says 5 3/4 hours versus 8 hr. I take it you are thinking Albi would not be worth the extra drive time.<<

Click "fastest" on viamichelin & it says 7 hr 18 min via Albi. I would add about 30-40 mins to that for "buffer" (pottie, gas, deviations, assuming lunch in Albi). That gives you about 7 3/4 to 8 hrs "on the road" - which is waaaaay too long for me.

Try Pezenas. We've been there twice. It is somewhat similar to St Remy. Also consider Aigues Mortes - but you are almost in Provence by then.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 26th, 2013, 06:25 PM
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Try www.mappy.com. It gives me the most accurate driving times for my proclivities.

I wouldn't miss Albi, either. Doesn't strike me as very similar to Albi at all, but I haven't spent much time there compared to Albi.
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Jan 26th, 2013, 09:18 PM
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I would definitely include Albi; the cathedral is one of the greats. If you're interested in art, the Toulouse-Lautrec museum is nearly next door to the cathedral, and the bishop's garden is beautiful.
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Jan 26th, 2013, 10:48 PM
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Mappy says it is 7 hrs driving time from Sarlat to St Remy via Albi. If you add in at least 45 mins for gas, pottie, "deviations", parking/retrieving the car - that's still 7 3/4 - 8 hrs hrs "on the road". I prefer Albi to Pezenas or Aigues Mortes. But if isabel leaves Sarlat at 9am, that will get her to Albi around noon - just when all the shops close. She said that she didn't want to visit museums, so the Toulouse Lautrec is out. The cathedral is open during lunch (I think) - and it is one of the best. But if she spends 2 hrs exploring Albi with 1 hr for lunch - that will get her to St Remy around 7:15 pm.

I would want to do my "visit" closer to the final destination (St Remy here), so if I'm behind schedule, I can make the stop "brief" and get to St Remy at a reasonable hour.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 27th, 2013, 08:08 AM
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Yeah I think Albi will be a stretch - I don't mind so much if we are there when things are closed - as long as something is open for lunch, doesn't need to be great. I sometimes actually like towns during siesta - less people on the streets = better photos generally. But not getting to St Remy till that late would not be my first choice. Stu, I agree with you about wanting my stop to be later in the drive.

I will keep all these points in mind, we really don't need to make a decision on this till the day we are doing it, I just wanted to have the research done so I'd have choices.

I guess I should check all three of the major driving sites to get a better idea of what the time will actually be (and of course you can never really know, given accidents, road work, etc.)
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Mar 1st, 2013, 01:05 PM
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Montpellier is very different from Aix, Arles or Avignon.

We were there for an afternoon daytrip from Avignon and were immediately taken by it.

I had printed out a walking tour and it was great.

We're thinking of using Montpellier as a base for a future trip.

Really neat trollies, walls murals and much more. Very lively.
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Mar 1st, 2013, 09:46 PM
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If I were you, I would def stop in Albi. The city is just so gorgeous... Pop in the church, really unsual setting for France. The museum about Toulouse Lautrec could be fun. And there is a good selection of rest.
To my taste, there is not much to see in Beziers so I would skip it.
Montpellier is a nice "medieval city" and worth visiting.
Nearby Aiguesmorte, a small walled village is also to be seen.
As for the inland road driving... That's a treat but hard to give a time in summer time as it will also be pending on the traffic. Count an average of 50km/h on those small road.
Hope this will help.
If looking for what's up in St remy,
http://saintremydeprovencetourism.blogspot.fr/
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