Italy or France? Help us decide.

Sep 17th, 2010, 02:45 PM
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Italy or France? Help us decide.

My DW and I want to return to Europe next September, but are undecided about Italy or France. We enjoyed the agriturismo in Tuscany (near Pienza) two years ago, and also an apt in a converted private home in Provence. In Provence, we could see and walk to the village of Loumarin. We want a similar relaxing holiday, to take day trips, but return to our own apt to relax and then cook dinner - after shopping at a local market - or walk into town for dinner. We're trying to choose between the Dordogne region of France, and another area of Tuscany. Help us choose by telling us about your wonderful holiday in either of these areas! We'd also appreciate your suggestions for lodging.
Wilhelm is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 03:30 PM
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If it comes down to economics i think France is the bargain of western Europe.
How about Paris for a few days--no?
I'm beginning to plan for our trip to Provence in the spring with finishing in Paris. We've been several times to Provence, many to Paris and other parts, but ALWAYS have to have a bit of a Paris fix.
Gretchen is online now  
Sep 17th, 2010, 05:28 PM
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The Dordogne, for sure. You've already been to Tuscany - try something new.

Can't tell you about a single wonderful holiday there, as I've owned a home there for almost 19 years and have spent months and months in the region, all of which was wonderful.

Look at renting a house or apartment in centrally located villages not far from the market hub of the Périgord Noir - Sarlat. Towns to look for include Sarlat itself, Beynac, La Roque-Gageac, Domme, St-Cyprien, Le Bugue, Montignac.....and there's a poster here named Carlux who has places to rent in, I believe, Carlux, south of the river.
StCirq is online now  
Sep 17th, 2010, 06:08 PM
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Carlux is north of the river and east of Sarlat.
Michael is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 06:20 PM
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We love France and Italy, and seem to have ended up alternating our trips between the two countries (different regions, plus other countries too). After a wonderful visit to Italy, and its food and culture, then I start to crave France and its food and culture.

Which did you visit more recently? Go to the other country.

Rather than another part of Tuscany, you could consider Umbria.

And I'll add another vote for the Dordogne - it's wonderful. Gorgeous, with a good variety of kinds of scenery, great history of ruined medieval castles and prehistoric art, and fabulous food.
Lexma90 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 01:55 AM
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We have travelled extensively in France and Italy and the Dordogne is our favourite place to visit. Food is amazing, scenary is stunning and the weather has been good to us.
jamikins is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 02:58 AM
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We went to France last Sept/Oct for 4 weeks and had a most wonderful time. Spending time in Paris, Provence (loved Lourmarin) and a week in the Dordogne staying in Sarlat

We loved the lushness of the Dordogne, the Medieval buildings, bastide villages and so much history. It is very easy to drive around. Sarlat lit at night is a sight to see and the market is amazing!

I wrote a trip report of our experiences if your are interested.

We too are looking at going to Italy next September our first for over 25 years. But we feel we will have to stop off in France first.
aussie_10 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 03:35 AM
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One thing the Dordogne has that Tuscany and Provence do not is the prehistoric cave art. This captured my imagination as a young child when I read about the discovery of one of the major caves when some boys followed their dog down a hole and found the paintings on the walls. You can still visit some of the caves, although they might not be open to visitors forever due to the deterioration of the paintings.

When I visited with my husband in 2005, we went to Font de Gaume, which is a small, intimate cave that only allows small groups on a limited number of tours (reservations essential). There is art on the walls of the narrow passage where we stood while the guide pointed out the outlines of the animals painted on the walls surrounding us. It was a unique, moving experience.

Also in the Dordogne is the Roque St. Christophe, a site of cliff dwellings that were occuped for thousands of years.

We also visited Pech Merle in the Lot, a large cave with paintings and handprints dating back thousands of years, as well as interesting stalagmites and stalactites and other cave formations.
Nikki is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 07:12 AM
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You have experienced two of my all-time favorite ways to vacation- based in an apartment near Pienza and based in an apartment in Lourmarin. Although I continue to return, I understand your wanting to try something else.

In Italy, I too suggest Umbria next. There is so much to explore and enjoy. It's easy, relaxed and has a good balance of cities, countryside and lots of small towns. This is a central agroturismo where I always stay-

I also think the Dordogne would be lovely. The Dordogne seems so different (in a good way) from your previous trips, so I would lean toward it.

I will look forward to reading your trip report!
zoecat is online now  
Sep 18th, 2010, 11:28 AM
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Thank you all! DW has an interest in the cave paintings. We had thought about visiting them when we were in Provence last year - but that would have been too much for one 2-week trip (we went to the Riviera after Provence). We have also been to various towns in Umbria, but only passing through or for one night. We'll also take a look at that region for an extended stay. Last year was Provencwe (the year before Tuscany) - so back to Italy? We'll keep researching - which is part of the fun my DW has!
Wilhelm is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 11:44 AM
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If you DW is a fan of the cave paintings make sure to see the new 3D film by Werner Herzog just being reviewed at the Toronto Film Festival this week called The Cave of Forgotten Dreams. It is supposed to be amazing. It was shot is in the Chauvet Caves in France (which are in the Ardeche not the Dordogne area and not open to the public).

Here is a link to an article about it in Vanity Fair:

It isn't out yet in theaters but it is definitely on my list when it shows up
jpie is offline  

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