Help with 10 day France Itinerary

Old Mar 10th, 2009, 02:06 PM
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Help with 10 day France Itinerary

All trying to plan a vacation to France in September. We have been to Paris a couple of times but would like to spend the first few days there to just see some of our favorite sites. We would then like to travel via train to Dordogne area and spend a few days (rent a car) then take a train to Provence(rent a car) and finish up there and fly back to the US from Marseille. Does that sound doable. Which cities would you recommend as a base in Dordogne and Provence. Also which cities would it it be best to take trains to/from, etc. Thanks.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 03:23 PM
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- Train from Paris to Brive la Gaillard
- Stay in/near Sarlat. Sarlat if you want to be in a town where you can walk to dinner/cafes etc, or Roque Gageac or Beynac if you would like a small village on the Dordogne river. Both have a some restaurants - better ones in Roque Gageac. Domme would also be an option.
- Drive to Provence (train connections are not good).
- Stay in St Remy, or in the Luberon near Gordes/Roussillon/Bonnieux.

10 days is not enough time. Consider skipping Paris & flying into Bordeaux or Tulouse, and out of Marseille. Five days in each area is perfect. I might start in Provence so you can catch some summer there - but flight schedules might dictate your itinerary.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 07:29 PM
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I agree with driving to Provence from the Dordogne - it won't save time or aggravation to take the train and you need (and want) a car in each place.

Sarlat is the place to base yourself, I think. Big enough to base in for 3-4 days without feeling like you have already walked the town three times already. by the second night.
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Old Mar 11th, 2009, 12:43 AM
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Another reason to drive instead of training it from the Dordogne to Provence is that you will no doubt get a better weekly rate for a rental car than you will for two short rentals. And in France 99% of the time you can rent in one place and drop off in another with no additional charge.

-Kevin
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Old Mar 11th, 2009, 07:53 AM
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Hi tp,

You have 9 nights, 2-3 in Paris. That leaves you 6 to 7 nights.

I suggest either the Dordogne or Provence, not both.

Alsace and Burgundy are also nice places to visit for a week.

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Old Mar 11th, 2009, 10:21 AM
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Thanks for all the great advice. I am thinking we might want to skip one of the areas. If you had to pick Dordogne or Provence which would you choose? We really like history, good food and wine.
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Old Mar 11th, 2009, 10:31 AM
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Depending on how far back you want your history, you might be interested in the Dordogne for its cave paintings and cliff dwellings. For me, that is what makes this area unique. Good food and wine in both regions. Roman ruins in Provence, though.
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Old Mar 11th, 2009, 12:07 PM
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Tough choice.

Provence is easier to get to by train from Paris than the Dordogne - 2 3/4 hrs vs 4 hrs. Then a 30 min drive from Avignon to St Remy or the Luberon, vs 1 hr+ to Sarlat.

Food - I much perfer the Dordogne (Foie Gras/Duck breast), but if you like Italian, then you might prefer Provence cooking. Better red wine in the Dordogne (Cahors, Bergerac) but better Rose in Provence (Tavel).

History - no Roman ruins in the Dordogne - but lots of castles (very few in Provence). Of course, pre-historic stuff is everywhere in the Dordogne.

Cute village - about equal - probably more in Provence

Shopping - better in Provence

Outdoor markets - more in Provence, but they are quite touristy. Except for Sarlat, the markets in the Dordogne are less touristy. Don't know whether touristy is a plus or minus for you. I would give the edge to Provence for most visitors.

Natural beauty - In Lavender season & sunflower season (late June/July) I would say they are equal because of the Lavender in Provence. In fall (when you're going) I would give the edge to the Dordogne. In early Spring, I would prefer Provence because of better weather.

You won't have near enough time in either area, so the number of different things to see won't make a difference.

Since you're going in Sept, I would vote for the Dordogne, and save Provence for lavender season.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 11th, 2009, 12:10 PM
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PS

It takes less time to get to the Marseille airport from Provence, than to either Toulouse or Bordeaux from Sarlat. If you need to stay the last night near the departing city - I much prefer Toulouse.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 12th, 2009, 10:41 AM
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Based upon recommendations we have decided to do Dordogne and save Provence for another trip. Question for you, we will probably take the train from Paris in/out of Bordeaux and rent a car there to do our exploring. Does that make sense? We want to do some wine tasting so perhaps hire a driver or take a small tour. Any recommendations?
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Old Mar 12th, 2009, 11:29 AM
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You can take the TGV to Bordeaux in 3 hours. Starting 3 months from your dy of travel, you can usually find great PREM fares online for that route.

The Maison du Vin and the Tourist Office in Bordeaux arrange wine tours from Bordeaux. I'd email the Tourist Office for information - it's a very well-run outfit. Once you're done with the wine, head straight to the Dordogne, stopping in St-Emilion on the way if you want another wine fix.
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Old Mar 12th, 2009, 12:09 PM
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Thanks for the great advice. I have heard St-Emilion is adorable. Can never have enough wine.
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