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Help on my itinerary for the Perigord, Auvergne and Languedoc

Help on my itinerary for the Perigord, Auvergne and Languedoc

Mar 10th, 2007, 06:45 AM
  #21  
 
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The cathedral in Bourges is nice, but so are the ones in Albi, three in Toulouse, Moissac (never visited - take Michelin's & Michaels word for it), and if you go to Burgundy instead there are nice ones in Dijon, Autun, and Vezelay.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 11th, 2007, 10:14 AM
  #22  
 
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Travelbug
I'm still working on the Puy du Dome suggestions - had to get out my notes, photos, maps, wife, Michelin Green Guide, etc.

In going over your original itinerary, if my day-count is correct, you will be staying overnight in Bourges on Sunday & Monday. Sunday day, Bourges will be as dead as can be - except for museums & churches. Monday morning also. If it's like almost all other cities in France of this size, all shops & many restaurants will be closed. Some may open up Monday afternoon - around 2:30 or so. Museums & Churches close for lunch everyday for about 2
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Mar 11th, 2007, 10:30 AM
  #23  
 
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Previous post by me had a mind of it's own

Start again

Travelbug
I'm still working on the Puy du Dome suggestions - had to get out my notes, photos, maps, wife, Michelin Green Guide, etc.

In going over your original itinerary, if my day-count is correct, you will be staying overnight in Bourges on Sunday & Monday. Sunday day, Bourges will be as dead as can be - except for museums & churches. Monday morning also. If Bourges is like almost all other cities in France of this size, all shops & many restaurants will be closed. Some may open up Monday afternoon - around 2:30 or so. Museums & Churches close for lunch everyday for about 2 hours.

There are 5 restaurants and 2 hotel restaurants listed in my Michelin guide. All but 2 are closed on Sunday - the Michelin 1 star where we dined (expensive), and the Ibis hotel, which would be my last choice for dinner (it's a charmless chain hotel - like a Motel 6). Two are closed on Monday - including the Michelin 1 star.

I think you would be quite bored in Bourges for 2 nights.

Stu Dudley


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Mar 11th, 2007, 05:28 PM
  #24  
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Stu, we've spent time in the Chateau area and also along the Rhone, Burgundy, Dijon, Beaune etc on previous trips.

What about a quick stop in Bourges to see the cathedral and continue on towards Troyes or perhaps loop around Paris on the Eastern side? I'd like to find a nice route from the Bourges area to a hotel in the area near CDG. My flight is fairly early, so I'd need to stay pretty close to CDG. I must admit I haven't thought much about these last 2-3 days so all suggestions are welcome. Or what about spending an extra day in the Puy-de Dome area?
travelbug is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 09:07 PM
  #25  
 
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>>What about a quick stop in Bourges to see the cathedral and continue on towards Troyes <<

Great idea, Troyes really impreseed us - I'll give you some suggestions tomorrow. We're having a major heat-wave here in the San Francisco area - so I'm spending less time in the PC room.

Stu Margarita Dudddddley
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Mar 11th, 2007, 09:12 PM
  #26  
 
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Margarita? Mrs Stu? The drink?
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Mar 12th, 2007, 07:04 AM
  #27  
 
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The drink !!!!

Stu Dudley
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Mar 12th, 2007, 08:00 AM
  #28  
 
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travelbug - we are considering the same sort of ending for our France trip next fall, leaving Sarlat on a Saturday morning and getting to Ermenonville for Tuesday night for an early Wednesday flight. I would be interested in:
Is east around Paris to CDG easier than west if you are commited to driving?
Where would you recommend staying in Puy de Dome area?
What is the best one night stop between Puy de Dome and CDG?
robjame is offline  
Mar 12th, 2007, 09:03 AM
  #29  
 
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Hi, travelbug,

we stayed in troyes a few years ago - sorry can't remember the name of the hotel, but it was a posh one in the middle!

Most impressive were the city walls which we walked around- would be intersting any day of the week and not reliant upon shops being open.

regards, ann

ps just looked it up in my red michelin guide. It may have been the royal hotel - doubles are about 77E and the restaurant is open on sundays and mondays! the green guide lists as attractions:
the old town,
the "rue des chats" [missed that]
teh cathedral,
a number of churches,
a modern art museum,

and gives an e-mail address for the tourist office as "[email protected]" -they would probably send you info about what is open when.
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Mar 12th, 2007, 10:23 AM
  #30  
 
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annhig,

Are you sure about city walls around Troyes? I do not recall them, but recommend the town nonetheless.
Michael is offline  
Mar 12th, 2007, 12:15 PM
  #31  
 
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Here are some thoughts on the Puy de Dome.

Last July we rented a Gite near Olby & spent two weeks exploring the area. In this region, the natural beauty is the main attraction. Compared to the villages & cities you’ve already visited in the Dordogne & Languedoc, the ones in the Puy de Dome are really not that interesting. Like I mentioned earlier, I would skip Cleremont-Ferrand entirely. Only old Montferrand was mildly worthwhile – but still nothing like Bordeaux, Perigueux, Sarlat, Toulouse, Albi, Pezanes, Bourges, or Troyes. When we were there, we visited about 15 chateaux, but unfortunately very few are open in May. I glanced at my “Route Historique des Chateaux d’Auvergene” brochure, and I found very few – if any - open in May. Here is their web site if you want to search for the few open
http://www.route-chateaux-auvergne.o...te_anglais.htm


The Michelin Green Guide has many driving itineraries. Here are the sections we enjoyed the most
1. The D216/D27/D983 from the N89/E70/D941 intersection, past Orcival, all the way to le Mont Dore
2. The D983 from the above mentioned D216 to the N89.
3. The D922 from Tauves to Lagueuille
4. The small D640 from the D996, to the D150 to St Nectaire. This affords wonderful views of both St Nectaire & the distant ruins of Murol chateau.
5. The D36 from Besse en Chandesse to le Mont Dore.

Here are some of our favorite villages
1 Lavaudieu
2 Besse en Chandesse – probably the most interesting of the villages
3 Montpeyroux – this is an interesting village to explore. It’s right next to the freeway with a great view of it from the freeway
4 Brioude – interesting church also.
5 Blessle
6 Champeix
7 Billom – take the Michelin walk. Excellent Monday morning market. Nice store called Maison de Campagne on Rue Carnot

Some of our favorite sites
1 the Church at Orcival
2 Murol – it’s in ruins, but quite interesting.

The views from the top of the Puy de Dome are fantastic. We had dinner at the restaurant on top one evening, and watched a thunderstorm pass. If you get a chance, have dinner up at the top of the Puy. I’m a big foodie, and I expected the restaurant to be a little touristy – but it wasn’t. In fact, it was one of our 4 best meals in the region.

The other 3 best meals were l’Ours des Roches in Courteix near Pontgibaud, Radio in Chamaliers, & La Belle Meuniere in Royat.

Here are some drives/sites/villages we did not find as interesting as the Michelin Green Guide suggests
1. Gorges d’Aveze – especially if you visit the Gorges du Tarn.
2. The countryside east of the A75 freeway
3. Col de Ceyssat (too many tree trunks)
4. The Funiculaire du Capucin ride from Mt Dore. It was OK, but a little too time consuming


If I were to stay in one town, I would choose Besse en Chandesse. There are several Michelin listed hotels in town. Another option would be Mont Dore, but it’s a thermal/spa town and geared to that crowd. It’s somewhat interesting to visit, but I would not want to stay there. It seemed a little too “fake” to me. La Bourboule would be another choice, but it looked a little tattered & worn. Perhaps it was a more elegant town 100 years ago.

Here’s a nice itinerary to get to the Puy de Dome from le Puy en Velay.

Head northwest on the N102. Just past a large loop in the road, turn right on the D513 to Chavaniac Lafayette. The chateau there is the birthplace of the Marquis de La Fayette – who helped us in our war of independence. If you have time and the inclination, visit the chateau and the exhibits about the Marquis. It’s a self guided tour, and one of the few that’s open in May. It closes for lunch. I’m pretty sure they have a handout in English. After the chateau, head northwest on the small D21, through Paulhaguet, then on the D56 to Lavaudieu. Get out and explore this village – there’s a picture of it in the Michelin Guide. Continue on the D203/D20 to Brioude. This is kind of a perched town. You will first encounter a large parking lot. Park there & take the elevator up into town. We found the church there to be very interesting and a walk through town worthwhile also. See the Michelin Guide for suggested sites to visit in town.

After Brioude, gage the time, and perhaps visit Blesle if you have time & are not “villaged-out”. I would perhaps skip Blesle, and from Brioude, take the D5888 west and get on the freeway towards Cleremont Ferrand. Almost immediately, get off at exit # 17 and drive through St Germain-Lembron, head north a bit and turn left (west) on the small D125 to Chalus (note the chateau to your right), Villeneuve-Lembron (chateau not open in May), and then to Mareugheol, which is an interesting village. After Mareughol, head southwest on the D717, and then catch the D48 west and then the D32 northeast towards Vodable, then the D124/D23 north. At the larger D26 road at Chidrac, head west Besse en Chandesse – noting the interesting St Floret along the way. Most of the route I just described from St Germain to the D26 can be found in the Michelin Green Guide under “Issoire” It’s probably easier to follow the Green Guide’s description than mine.

For the next day explore the Puy de Dome, following the roads I mentioned above and visiting any sites that interest you. Just driving aimlessly in this region is rewarding.

When it’s time to leave the Puy de Dome for Bourges, get on the A75 freeway, but get off at exit #7 to visit Montpeyroux. My guess is that this charming village is inhabited by wealthy people working in Cleremont Ferrand, since freeway access is so easy. Wander around, and climb up the tower for some great views over the village & down into the back yards & gardens of the houses.

You will need map # 326 to explore the Puy de Dome. If you get an older map, it might not show that the A89 freeway has been extended all the way to the A71 freeway north of Cleremont Ferrand.

Make sure you visit Chateau Meillant on the way to Bourges. It will probably be the most interesting chateau you will have visited on this vacation. It closes for lunch. Opening times are in the Dordogne Green Guide.


Thus past Sept we visited Sens, Provins, and Troyes on the same day - staying overnight in Troyes & exploring Troyes again the next morning. This itinerary would be my suggestion for your last night prior to Paris, and on the way to Paris the next day. However, I would not visit Sens – it wasn’t nearly as interesting as the other stops. Like annhig mentioned, Troyes would be a worthwhile place to visit even if shops are closed. I don’t remember going into any shops, and we also toured the city in the early morning before the shops opened – and we enjoyed it thoroughly. Provins is kinda touristy, so shops may even be open on Sunday & Monday morning.

My wife & I were very impressed with Troyes. The old half-timbered buildings there were extremely interesting. We also enjoyed the Hotel de Vauluisant's textile museum (we passed quickly through their religious art museum). If you have the Alsace Green Guide, follow the walking itinerary for Troyes. I would budget at least 4 hours for Troyes. We stayed at the le Royal Hotel (be aware, however, that my only 2 criteria for choosing a hotel are low price, and conveniently located). We dined at the le Valentino – which is on a square off one of the 4 foot wide streets. We had an excellent meal there at very reasonable prices. It’s closed Sun evening & Mon.

The interesting part of Provins is quite small. The folklore museum is worthwhile, but the caves visit was quite tedious & long. It's guided (in French), and you can't 'bug out" early because there is no way you can find your way back to the entrance. I would budget no more than 2 hours if you only visit the folklore museum & not the caves. Also walk around the Ramparts, and climb the Tour Cesar. There is a walking tour inI the Green Guide for Alsace.

Stu Dudley

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Mar 12th, 2007, 12:18 PM
  #32  
 
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annhig & Michael. I didn't see any walls in Troyes either. I bet annhig was referring to Provins, which does have impressive walls.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 12th, 2007, 02:26 PM
  #33  
 
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Stu

<<The views from the top of the Puy de Dome are fantastic. We had dinner at the restaurant on top one evening, and watched a thunderstorm pass. If you get a chance, have dinner up at the top of the Puy.>>

I gather that Puy de Dome is the name of the area but also the name of a particular mountain?
Do you recall the name of the restaurant?

Thanks
Bob
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Mar 12th, 2007, 03:37 PM
  #34  
 
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It's both the name of the extinct volcano (puy), and the name of the department.

Mont Fraternite It's a Michelin "red man", which means good food at reasonable prices. In the 06 guide, fixed price menus were 24 to 45E. 04 73 62 23 00. In season, there is a "gatehouse" at the bottom that restricts access to the Puy, but If you're having dinner, they let you in. They may even have a list of the reservations. Book several days in advance for this one.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 12th, 2007, 03:43 PM
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I should not have used the word restrict. They restrict the cars, by making you park down below & take a shuttle to the top.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 12th, 2007, 04:20 PM
  #36  
 
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I believe that restriction on automobiles varies by time of year. We were there in May 2005 and drove our car to the top of Puy de Dome. We paid an entry fee of 5€, I think it was. It's an easy drive up to the top. I found the descent a bit unnerving; they haven't yet discovered guardrails in that area.

Anselm
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Mar 12th, 2007, 10:39 PM
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If you select Troyes, I can highly recommend Hotel de la Poste (either 3 or 4 star- can't remember). Excellent rooms and service. Nice restaurant. Marvelous patisserie across the street that has baguette sandwiches and salad ready when they open in the morning -a life saver on the plane. And if you book a front street-side hotel you can watch them baking in the middle of the night-they actually use a blow torch to heat the fondant in the huge industrial-sized mixer!) Hotel is located Just across the street from the main square where all the "happening" places are for an afternoon/evening aperatif and the old town starts.

klondike is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 06:36 AM
  #38  
 
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Hi

you need to do a bit of work on parking for your overnight in Montpellier. The centre is mostly pedestrianised - and there are many one way streets. It may be worth staying somewhere with parking near a tram stop and use the tram to visit. I often eat at L'Entrecote which is visible from La Comedie tram stop.

Allow plenty of time around Vis, Ganges, etc. Many of the roads are narrow and twisty. Photos around there :
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/ph...gallery-45.htm

Best views of the Millau bridge:
1)From below driving North out of Millau
2)Next to it from the observation parking on the N-S approach.
3)On the bridge travelling S-N

The tolls have increased :
http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2...pic.php?t=1032

More Languedoc photos :
More Languedoc photos :
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/ph...hoto-index.htm

There is an outer Eastern Paris ring road called La Francilienne. It is shown on michelin maps. It starts near Orleans and ends just short of CDG. It is a long drive, but usually better than the peripherique.



Peter


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Mar 13th, 2007, 06:46 AM
  #39  
 
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Thanks Peter for the information on the "Paris bypass". Do you know if La Francilienne is numbered - can't seem to find it on my Michelin France map.
BTW we really liked Millau - doesn't seem to get much play here but it seems to be a great town.
robjame is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 11:48 AM
  #40  
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Peter, I add my thanks to your information. Do you have any suggestions for hotels in Montpellier that would be near public transportation?
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