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How to spend 2 days in the Dordogne in March

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How to spend 2 days in the Dordogne in March

Old Jan 20th, 2011, 09:53 AM
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How to spend 2 days in the Dordogne in March

Two of us, good at doing a lot in a day. Just two days in late March. Too early to canoe. Is this too much?
First day: Caves -- Museum of Prehistory; Grotte de Font-de-Gaume; and Lescaux II. Later same day, visit Beynac and Castelnaud.
Second day: On way south from hotel in Souillac to onite at Carcassonne, stop at Gouffre de Padirac, Rocamadour and Grotte du Pech-Merle.
Too much either day or both days? Your tips on what are must-sees. Thanks.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 10:03 AM
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That's only ONE day in the Dordogne - your day 2 places are not in the Dordogne except for Souillac.

Days are short in March. There will be about a 2-hour hiatus in the middle of the day when things will be closed. I don't think you'll manage to fit all of this in either day.

Why are you staying in Souillac?

The must-sees in the Dordogne (in the Dordogne alone, never mind the other areas you're mentioning) require a bare minimum of a week, IMHO.

Honestly, unless this is just part of a longer trip that happens to take you down this route, I wouldn't bother, especially in March.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 10:07 AM
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Thanks. Like most people who have to go through the area, we do wish we had more time. But we don't. So curious about setting priorities.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 10:11 AM
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I was there for five or six days late March once. I think your day one is too heavy even for people who. I'd choose either Grotte de Font-de-Gaume or Lescaux II. I don't think I'm as cave-crazy as you, though.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 10:13 AM
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Thanks. Yes, caves of great interest.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 10:18 AM
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Oops, sorry took a call in the middle of my post. I meant to say day one is too heavy even for people who move fast.

For diversity I would choose one cave convenient to your route if this is a road trip, one or two castles, a charming village with a church/nice place to have lunch, Rocamadour (which really doesn't take that long, and I spend hours seeing everything).

I'm sure StCirq, Carlux and others will have good ideas.

Do you have the Michelin Green Guide?
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 10:26 AM
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No, but will get it. Have DK.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 10:52 AM
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Can you give a little more info about when you arrive, where you will be, when you leave, etc. March can be very nice, or can be raining. We have friends who have come to us in March for 12 years, and most often they have had great weather. Who knows.

Don't underestimate how long it will take you to get from one place to another. Plus lunch closures of 2 hours. I dont think you can physically do all you plan on day 1, and you havent been to Sarlat.

I'd probably skip the Museum unless it's a real interest, and one of the castles - Beynac and Castelnaud are not that different if you are so short on time.

But it would really help to have a little more info on your schedule.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 10:58 AM
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Thank you for all your questions. We are staying near Souillac at Chateau de la Treyne, arriving around 6 p.m. on Saturday night, after driving from Cluny. We have a reservation Sunday morning at Grotte de Font-de-Gaume, for which you do need a ticket. Otherwise, nothing set. Very interested in cave sites. Want to be sure to visit Beynac and Castelnaud, even briefly. Want to reach Carcassonne by late afternoon Monday.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 11:17 AM
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Want to reach Carcassonne by late afternoon Monday.

Then you don't actually have two days at all. You have Sunday and half of Monday. You're definitely not going to be able to do the Gouffre de Padirac, Rocamadour, and Pech-Merle and get to Carcassonne by late afternoon. I'd skip the GdP.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 11:34 AM
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>>I'd skip the GdP.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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Thank you for taking the time to react. But we are bound by the days/schedule I outlined. Thanks.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 11:46 AM
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the gouffre de padirac will take at least 2 hours - you have to walk down 150+ steps, take an underground boat trip, walk back up through the cave system, and then get the left back up.

the other caves are about an hour each, but you have to get between them. Lascaux II can be booked [in Montignac] too.

i do think that you are being quite ambitious - and in March, the days will not be over-long.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 11:50 AM
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Thanks! question: What's most rewarding, if you can rate them that way, among these three -- Goffre de padirac, Rocamadour, and Grotte de Pech Merle?
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 12:11 PM
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Also, Peche Merle closes for lunch too. At Carcassonne the last tour of the chateau probably leaves around 4 PM (Chateau closes at 5). So you'll most likely need to get to Pech Merle at 10:30 at the latest to catch the last tour of the morning, which probably finishes at noon. Lunch????. Then off to Carcassonne, arriving at 2:30 (if lunch takes 0 time). By the time you park, purchase your chateau tour tickets (only way you can see the best parts of Carcassonne), and get to the castle - it will be 3:00 at the earliest. Not much "slack" time if you want to visit Carcassonne on Monday. Most tours are in French also. No time for Gouffre de Padirac, & perhaps no time for Rocamadour either.

So, your Monday will consist of Pech Merle & Carcassonne (if you don't miss the last tour of the day). The first tour of the Carcassonne chateau on Tues is around 9:45 to 10 & takes 1 hr. Expect to depart Carcassonne around 11:30 if you tour the Chateau on Tues.

Also, in March, planned tours of some sites may get cancelled if there is not a lot of attendence. The 11AM English tour of the Carcassonne chateau was cancelled when we tried to visit in early June of about '04.

This is why StCirq & others advise spending at least a week in the Dordogne region.

I have older copies of the Michelin Green Guides - so check my opening/closing days & times for March.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 12:23 PM
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>>>What's most rewarding, if you can rate them that way, among these three -- Goffre de padirac, Rocamadour, and Grotte de Pech Merle?
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Old Jan 21st, 2011, 03:11 AM
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Thanks for the reality check from all. So here's my latest plan: Stay in Sarlat, rather than Souillac. See caves only on Sunday, our first full day. On Monday, see Beynac and/or Castelnaud, then head south, stopping at Pech Merle. Arriving in Carcassonne at end of the day, with visit to chateau there the next morning.
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Old Feb 5th, 2011, 01:08 AM
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Have a great trip, M'aggie!! IF you get a chance after your March triop, try to write here and let us know how it went, which caves were at top of your list, etc.
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