Hotel Choice in Sarlat? Or elsewhere?

Old Dec 15th, 2006, 02:27 PM
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Hotel Choice in Sarlat? Or elsewhere?

DH, 11-year-old son and I will be visiting the Dordogne in late Spring for 4 days. Us adults have visited before, and are excited to return. We stayed in Domme last time, and while we had a nice stay, it was a little too quiet and the drive up to the town got old pretty quick. We would like something nice but not necessarily luxurious, 3 stars is what we usually stay in, but with lots of character. I would kind of like to stay in town, preferably Sarlat, so we can wander around town late in the evening and early morning. Walking distance from town would work too. We'd prefer a place where we could go to a cafe for breakfast - we eat French-style breakfasts. After way too much searching, I haven't come up with much (Clos la Boetie is too expensive). Hostellerie du Meysset might be too far away; I can't tell. Hotel du Chateau, in Beynac, is a top contender, but the website doesn't show many pictures of the rooms. Domain de la Barde looks fabulous, but a little too out of the way for us. Is there anything in Sarlat that I should be considering?
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Old Dec 16th, 2006, 03:58 AM
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I agree that it would be a good idea to be in the center of Sarlat, especially with an 11 year old. Have you looked at the Sarlat Tourist Office web site?

There are several possibilities, depending on what you want. The Hotel de Selves, which is right next to the Clos la Boetie - I assume it's the same management, as the hotels just about touch, is modern and comfortable. Doesn't have a lot of character, but has comfort and good location. It has air conditioning, which many people want, although it's not usually necessary in late spring. Also has a pool, which your son might appreciate. About a 5 minute walk from the center of town, very close to the Bistro de L'Octroi, a very good restaurant. It has its own site, or if you look at the site for Clos la Boetie, it's the modern building behind the Clos.

The other possibility, cheaper and less comfortable perhaps , but very charming, is the Hotel des Recollets, right in the mediaeval center. A lovely old building, on a narrow pedestrian street. It's on the west side of the main street, one street back, so has great access to everything you want to see, but is a little quieter than being right on the main square.They say they have parking, but I've never really figured out where it is.

Most of the other hotels in town are about the same level, with small rooms, and reasonably old-fashioned decor - although I have to admit that we haven't stayed in any. Living here, we don't usually need to!
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Old Dec 16th, 2006, 04:49 AM
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We've stayed at the Madeleine in Sarlat. I can't remember many details but it was more "modern" than we expected. That's not to say it wasn't nice. The room was reasonably sized, clean and the hotel is close to the medieval center. We were able to park on the street nearby. The restaurant is good, though it might be a tad "stuffy" for an 11-yr-old.
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Old Dec 16th, 2006, 10:16 AM
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Thanks for the input - I have used the Sarlat website. I had checked out the Hotel de Selves and la Madeiline, and they both look more modern than I had in mind. But we may have to make a tradeoff between location and charm. Bistro d'Octroi is on our list of restaurants to go to, thanks to many good comments here on Fodors.

I'll check out Hotel des Recollets too - I don't think I've looked at that one.

Carlux, as you live in the area, do you have any idea how far Hostellerie du Meysset really is from the "center" of Sarlat? says it 22 walking minutes to Bistro d'Octroi and 15 minutes to the more center part, but I'd love to hear some personal knowledge on the matter!
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Old Dec 16th, 2006, 11:41 AM
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The Hostellerie du Meyssat is set high on a hill just outside Sarlat on the road coming into town from Les Eyzies. It's a pretty spot, with nice gardens and rooms that have big French doors opening up to them, but the big sign just about at the entrance to the hotel warning "gens de voyage" to keep moving is a bit off-putting, and it's a hike into (and especially home from) town.

The Hôtel de Selvès is just about everyhthing I'm not looking for when staying ina medieval town like Sarlat, though I suppose it's clean and comfortable. At least the Madeleine is a nice, graceful piece of architecture, even if the room sinside are modenized. I've heard good things about Les Récollets from a friend who takes tour groups there, but bein ga semi-local I've never stayed there.

How about a B&B? I've been meaning to check this place out in person for qhile:
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 02:50 AM
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Well, I agree that the Hotel de Selves has no charm, but it does have 3 star amenities, which the poster was looking for. I agree La Lanterne, the Chambre d'hotes is much more charming - great location, right next to the Cathedral and the Lanterne des Morts - not one I would choose in July and August, when it can be noisy late at night, but in late June should be all right. Parking will be an issue - there are public lots nearby, but they are busy, and virtually all are payant. We saw the house some years ago, just before the previous owners bought it, and did some nice renovation. It had some great features then, and certainly looks attractive now.
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 07:52 AM
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Thank you both - I had seen mentions of La Lanterne in others posts, and it does look darling. My son's in year-round school, so we'll actually be in Sarlat in late May. So La Lanterne may not be too noisy or busy. My only hesitation is that if we stay there, we wouldn't be likely to have breakfasts at cafes; it's so cute, we'd eat there (which is ok too).

Any particular suggestions that you have for an 11-year-old? He also will be having a birthday (turning 12) while we're in the Dordogne, so information or advice on special birthday activities, or how French boys might celebrate a birthday, would be great. Already on our to-do list are Beynac, Castelnaud, Biron (I think he'd like the displays there), canoeing if weather permits, Lascaux II and Font de Gaume. He likes castles! He does like fine dining (as do we), but we won't do that every night.
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 08:03 AM
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Not specificly in response, but you might look for books about the French/English wars and the lives of Eleanor of Aquitane and Simon de Montfort. Search under Hundred Years War.

Along the river there are points where one can see English castles on one side, French chateaus on the other---reflecting the "battle lines" of the war and how long they held.
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 08:13 AM
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We stayed at La Couleuvrine some time back and had a very comfortable if small room, and several absolutely wonderful meals. Would go back in a minute.
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 08:43 AM
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Another vote for Hotel des Recollets. While I haven't stayed there, friends have done so and were quite pleased. It's nicely situated, although I don't know about the parking arrangements.
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 10:36 AM
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Regarding things for your son to do, the exhibition at the Moulin de l'Huile in Ste-Nathalène is actually pretty fascinating - my kids always loved it. The machinery is awesome and the guy who does the exhibition is a real character. Not to mention the nut oils are delicious.

And the falconry exhibits at Josephine Baker's chateau Les Milandes are great for kids. And the acquarium in Le Bugue is neat - really interesting how they totally cleaned up the Dordogne river and restocked it over a decade.

There's some big auto museum in Sarlat, too, if he's into cars, but I've never been to it (not a car freak).

And there's a wild boar farm on the road between Le Bugue and Périgueux that's pretty amazing, especially if you go at "feeding time."
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 05:09 PM
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We stayed in the very nice Villa des Consuls in Sarlat in June. We had the two bedroom Montaigne apartment, which had a large private patio overlooking the Rue de Republique, the main pedestrian shopping street in town. The hotel has reserved parking in an indoor garage about three blocks away. As for things your son may like, we visited the Gouffre de Padirac, caverns with an underground river where you travel on boats poled by the guides. It's about an hour drive from Sarlat. We also visited the cave at Rouffignac, where a small electric train takes visitors a kilometer or so into the cave to see the prehistoric drawings of mastadons and other animals. It's also about an hour from Sarlat.
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Old Dec 17th, 2006, 05:27 PM
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I will 2nd Villa des Consuls, though I must say we haven't stayed there. We were to stay there on our last trip, but the tiny hill up to the rooms was too much for my elderly father so we had to change locations. I did walk through the apartments we were to stay in, and though far less luxurious than where we ended (Clos la Boetie), it looked quite satisfactory. And, right in the thick of things. A few of the apartments have great balconies that overlook town. We looked at a room at Hotel Selves and at the Madeline, and I found the apartments at Villa des Consuls nicer. It was just a quick look at all the sites, but that's my take on it. annieladd
Old Dec 18th, 2006, 02:09 AM
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I hope you aren't too interested in cars, as the car museum is no longer in Sarlat. apparently the town wanted to tax the association for the number of metres the museum was taking up - quite a few - which they couldn't afford, and so it has closed down. I think there's a large toy store there now.

On the other hand, if the 11 year old is into 'adventure parks' there are two at the south entrance to Sarlat. Not historical,but if he has had his share of chateaux, they might be interesting.
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Old Dec 18th, 2006, 08:09 AM
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Old Dec 18th, 2006, 08:34 AM
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Your son would likely enjoy a visit to Chateau de Commarque. It's in ruins in the Beaune Valley NW of Sarlat. The setting lends itself to his exploring lots of old buildings as well as some 'troglodyte' lodgings in caves near the postern gate. The view (and the climb) at the top of the keep is great too. Take the D47 toward Les Eyzies and follow the signs to the chateau. There's a small, shady picnic area by the ticket booth (down a LONG hill from the car park).

I second the suggestion for the falconry show at Les Milandes!
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Old Dec 18th, 2006, 10:37 AM
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Thanks for all the additional information. Luckily, my son is not into cars. But he thought the wild boar farm sounded great - that should tell you something about his interests! And the Moulin de l'Huile is appealing too. When we visited the Loire Valley, one of his favorite things was the exhibition of da Vinci's (life-size) machines at Clos Luce. Commarque looks good, too. We'll definitely have more interesting possibilities on our list than we'll have time for (guess we'll have to return again).
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Old Dec 19th, 2006, 06:31 AM
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Dear Lexma:

I stayed at the Hostellerie de Meysset a few years ago. It is only a 5 minute drive from Sarlat. A lovely manor house/inn. with great views of the Vezere valley. There is a restaurant on the premises as well. Mr and Mrs. Brottier were very nice hosts.. (wondering if they still have the Mini-Pinschers running about..hmm..)

Good luck..

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Old Dec 19th, 2006, 06:20 PM
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A third vote for the Villa des Consuls. Great room, not crowded and large enough for 3 of us, little dinette set, little kitchen. We even made popcorn one night.
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