Lot and Dordogne Itinerary

Mar 23rd, 2010, 08:01 PM
  #1  
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Lot and Dordogne Itinerary

Please note that this portion of our itinerary follows a week in Paris, five days in Burgundy and almost a week in Provence. This last leg then starts with Albi and ends when we fly home out of Toulouse. There are many terrific Lot/Dordogne experts on this site whose input would be really appreciated. This part of the trip will tentatively occur during the last week in June and first week in July 2011. (Yes, you read that right. After I work out the details, I have to spend the next year learning French!) While it could be a little late in the summer to avoid all the crowds, I'm trying to balance that with the hope of catching at least the beginning of the lavender season in Provence the week before.

Please give me your thoughts and help me work out any kinks. The question marks especially are loose and open to opinion.

4th Wednesday:
Albi (some of which we will have seen the afternoon/evening before)
Cordes-sur-Ciel
Castelnau-de-Montimiral
Bruniquel
Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val (?)
Villefranche de Rouergue (?)
Cabrerets (spend the night at Un Jardin dans la Falaise?)

4th Thursday:
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie (dusk night before and/or dawn this a.m.)
Peche Merle (try to book morning tour)
Marcilhac sur Célé? and Espagnac Ste Eulalie? - or - St-Martin-de-Vers instead?
Rocamadour (base for 2 nights at Les Esclargies Hotel; visit late p.m. & early a.m.)

4th Friday:
Autoire
Loubressac
Chateau de Castlenau
Chateau de Montal?
Back to Rocamadour

4th Saturday:
La Gouffre de Padirac
Carennac
Martel (just a drive through?)
Sarlat-la-Caneda (4 nights at Les Cordeliers)

4th Sunday:
Saint-Cyprien morning market
Beynac and Beynac Chateau
Chateau Castlenaud
Marqueyssac
Back to Sarlat

4th Monday:
Chateau de Montfort?
Domme
Roque Gageac
Boat trip or canoe (if canoeing, do it in the morning instead)
Back to Sarlat

4th Tuesday:
Chateau de Commarque
Font de Gaume (try to book 11:00 a.m. reservation)
Le Roque St. Christopher
St. Leon sur Vezere?
Montignac?
Saint-Amand-de-Coly? or Salignac-Eyvigues?
Back to Sarlat

OR THIS ALTERNATIVE FOR 4TH TUES:
Chateau de Commarque
Font de Gaume
Le Bugue (skip Tues market or do first and then backtrack to other spots)
Limeuil
Back to Sarlat

5th Wednesday
Sarlat market?
Belves
Monpazier?
Chateau de Biron?
Chateau de Bonaguil
Toulouse (spend 1 -2 nights before flying out)

The short stays in Cabrerets (1 night) and Rocamadour (2 nights) are: 1) because it is a logical progression from Albi to Sarlat; and 2) to give us very close bases to otherwise insanely popular sites so we can visit them apart from the crowds.
sap is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 08:55 PM
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>>4th Thursday:
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie (dusk night before and/or dawn this a.m.)
Peche Merle (try to book morning tour)
Marcilhac sur Célé? and Espagnac Ste Eulalie? - or - St-Martin-de-Vers instead?
Rocamadour (base for 2 nights at Les Esclargies Hotel; visit late p.m. & early a.m.)<<

Spend at least 2 hrs in Figeac - get the walking itinerary from the tourist office. One of our favorite villages.

>>4th Friday:
Autoire
Loubressac
Chateau de Castlenau
Chateau de Montal?
Back to Rocamadour<<

That's a nice day. Perhaps add in St Cere if you have the time (see Michelin Green Guide)

>4th Saturday:
La Gouffre de Padirac
Carennac
Martel (just a drive through?)<<

Nope - you can't drive through. Park in one of the lots & wander on foot.


>>Sarlat-la-Caneda (4 nights at Les Cordeliers)<<

Increase this by 2 nights.

>>4th Sunday:
Saint-Cyprien morning market
Beynac and Beynac Chateau
Chateau Castlenaud
Marqueyssac
Back to Sarlat<<

Yep

>4th Monday:
Chateau de Montfort?<<
you'll drive by it on the way from Souillac to Satlat - that is enough.

>>Domme
Roque Gageac
Boat trip or canoe (if canoeing, do it in the morning instead)<<

Fine

>4th Tuesday:
Chateau de Commarque
Font de Gaume (try to book 11:00 a.m. reservation)
Le Roque St. Christopher
St. Leon sur Vezere?
Montignac?
Saint-Amand-de-Coly? or Salignac-Eyvigues?<<

Both - but you may need to do one of them on another day


>>OR THIS ALTERNATIVE FOR 4TH TUES:
Chateau de Commarque
Font de Gaume
Le Bugue (skip Tues market or do first and then backtrack to other spots)
Limeuil
Back to Sarlat<<

Don't miss Ch Milandes - and the birds or prey show. The area around there is very scenic.

>>5th Wednesday
Sarlat market?
Belves
Monpazier?
Chateau de Biron?
Chateau de Bonaguil
Toulouse (spend 1 -2 nights before flying out)<<

Yep

You are missing some ineresting caves in the region .... That's why I suggested adding 2 days. Ch Puymartin?? Take a drive through Daglan.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 25th, 2010, 09:14 AM
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First of all, as someone who lives in The Dordogne, at the edge of the Lot, I'm exhausted just reading the list of what you plan to do. I highly recommend leaving yourselves some 'down time' to just enjoy the area.

Also, remember the driving time which may be longer than you expect, and the fact that many of the places you want to see will only allow you to go around with a tour, which means waiting time+touring time, which will slow you down.

On individual things you want to see:
Chateau de Castelnau Bretenoux - I don't find it worth seeing the inside. The outside is attractive, worth a drive by.
Chateau MOntal is more interesting, but I'd probably concentrate on Autoire and Loubressac. You might also want to reconsider staying IN Rocamadour. Nor sure where your hotel is, but by early July it will be getting busy, and it's not an easy place to get in and out of. You'd have to make sure to leave early and get back late.

In 'my' part of the Dordogne, I think you shoudl add more time to the Sarlat portion. If you can't, you'll find Beynac, Castelnaud and Marqueyssac too much to see in one afternoon. Choose either Beynac or Castelnaud - both are interesting, with great views.

No need to see Montfort - it's not open inside, just drive by.

DO go to St Leon sur Vezere, and think about picnicking by the river. There are picnic tables right in front of the church, along the river. One of the most glorious places for a picnic you'll find.

Prefer St Amand de Coly, with its fabulous church to Salignac, an attractive town, but so are lots of others. You haven't mentioned St Genies, much more attractive, with a wonderful collection of stone roofed buildings. We usually do that with St Amand.

I don't particularly like Daglan, which I think is over-restored, but then I'm spoiled.

But again, I strongly suggest you try to do less and just enjoy yourselves some days - have you allowed time for lunch???
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Mar 25th, 2010, 09:57 AM
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As Carlux says, and I said on your other thread (why did you re-post this exact same thing), your trip plans are over the top. I just wanted to point out, though, that St-Léon-sur-Vézère is one of my favorite places on earth. A picnic by the river is delightful, but so is lunch in the garden at Le Petit Léon. Also, ask around and maybe someone will give you directions to the "secret" door up in the hills above it.
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Mar 25th, 2010, 11:53 AM
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Carlux, thanks very much for your input. This preliminary itinerary is essentially a list of nearby things from which to choose on any given day. I've based a lot of it on Stu's notes and recommendations. Until I know exactly how long each location might be expected to take, I will not know how much can be done in one day. I thought 2 chateaux & 2 small villages might make a good day if they're all relatively near to each other, but apparently I might be wrong. That's why the Fodorite comments are so useful and you have helped me figure out what to choose, cut or substitute (e.g., your welcome opinion about Castlenau-Bretenoux).

I was thinking of seeing Beynac in the morning and Castelnaud-la-Chapelle in the afternoon. Do you think I need to drop the idea of going to the Saint-Cyprien market that morning, then? I have no idea how long it takes to "do" a market. I was guessing 45 minutes to an hour to pick up some bread, cheese & olives.

I have to admit to being a bit confused about what people mean by "down time." Contrasted with my intense regular schedule & long city commutes, I thought strolling through villages, driving through countryside and exploring chateaux qualified as pretty good down time. I don't like to sit in one place on vacation since I am paying to go somewhere to see new things. (Sitting on a beach at a resort is the type of thing that drives me nuts.)

Now, what I do think may be a potential issue is the fact that my husband and son are going to start saying, "Not another castle!" (or cave, or village). I may have to start looking for more variety by the end of the trip. The problem is that it all looks great to me from a book or computer screen! I think I could visit those things all day long & not get tired of them.

The hotel I was looking at in Rocamadour is in a park toward the north off Route de Payrac. It's called Les Esclargies. Is that too near traffic congestion?

As to lunch, I mostly plan to eat bread, cheese & olives while we drive or picnic as we are really no longer into food at all. We definitely used to be "foodies," but my husband was recently diagnosed with diabetes and I've developed several frustrating food allergies, so those gourmand days are sadly over. That fabulous aspect of France is something we will have to largely miss. Coffee and wine are still priorities, though! Cutting back on cafes & restos will also save money that we can use for other trip necessities.

StCirq, I don't know what you mean when you ask why I've re-posted the exact same thing. I do not believe I have done so at any point. My very first posts re: France were a large, loose plan that I have since been trying to sculpt & shave with Fodorite assistance. (For instance, I completely cut off Normandy and the Loir). Any subsequent postings are related to new efforts in that regard as I revise and narrow the plans as you and Carlux wisely suggest. I have listed potential itineraries for Burgundy, Provence and Dordogne as separate posts. I'm moving gradually from the general to the specific. Thanks for your patience while I figure out what to slice.

Thanks, too, for the tip about St-Léon-sur-Vézère. I was just re-examining the merits of that pretty village this a.m. and your comment helps quite a bit.

And, finally, Stu: Your comments from a couple of days ago are invaluable and I hadn't responded yet as I have been in the process of examining/striking/adding accordingly.
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Mar 25th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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Also, Carlux, when I listed Salignac-Eyvigues, what I really meant was the Jardin de Manoir d’Eyrignac nearby. I love gardens and it sounds pretty nice. I am definitely considering adding another day to the Sarlat region to do that and maybe Saint-Amand-de-Coly and Saint-Genie would fit in that day. I hadn't heard of St. Genie. Thanks for drawing my attention to it.
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Mar 25th, 2010, 12:27 PM
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sap

In the Dordogne itinerary I sent you, I wrote that there were only guided tours of the Jardin de Manoir d'Eyrignac. Things have changed - there are now self-guided tours (according to a friend who was there). It is, indeed, a very nice garden. The boxwood hedge labrynth & gardens at Cormatin are quite nice also. My wife took lots of pics there.

Glad you are adding another day to the Sarlat area. Can you squeeze in 2 days extra - perhaps skip Perouges or just do a 2 hr visit there ??? Personally, we enjoyed the Dordogne a lot more than Burgundy/upper-mid Rhone. Or just take a flight home 2 days later.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 25th, 2010, 12:40 PM
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Stu: Funny you should mention substituting Burgundy for more time in the Dordogne. I have been toying with that idea for a couple of days, but I can't quite bring myself to cut off Auxerre, Beane and especially Dijon. I can't really add any more days as I've already gone over the original plan by more than a week; but I could take the five Burgundy days and redistibute them -- or maybe skip the two days in northern Burgundy and take the train from Paris straight to Dijon? That would mean missing Vezelay, Tanlay and Ancy-le-Franc. Are the chateaux in the Dordogne as nice or better? Ugh - I can't decide.

The main purpose of Perouges was to split the driving time from Burgundy to Provence into two days, but perhaps that may end up a moot point. If I skip Burgundy entirely, would I take the TGV straight to Avignon or Orange, then?
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Mar 25th, 2010, 01:30 PM
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The castles you'll be visiting in the Dordogne are quite different from Tanlay & Ancy le Franc. The Dordogne castles are medieval fortress type, and Castelnaud's interior is really a display & museum of medieval life & warfare. Lots of towers your 13YO can explore. In summer there are jousts outside with people in costume. The ones in Burgundy are newer & more lavishly decorated inside. I would not skip the ones in Burgundy.

If anything, I would reduce the wine adventures in Burgundy - given that you live near winegrowing regions in the Bay Area. You can see/visit plenty of vineyards & wineries at home - but few medieval castles, medieval villages, rivers as pretty as the Dordogne, cities as interesting as Sarlat, Beaune, Dijon, no Roman Ruins here and our churches are much newer and smaller. Personally, I don't seek out wine to buy or taste in Europe. Do your tasting when you have wine with dinner in France. I seeked out wine to taste & buy when we were much younger & traveling in Europe, but it was a pain to bring it back & I realized that I can get almost as good French wine here in the Bay Area (having a Vouvray tonight).

So - how does this sound:
- leave Beaune at 8:30 & arrive in Cormatin at 9:30 (opens at 10:00)

- leave Cormatin at 11:30 & arrive in Perouges at 1:00 - just in time for lunch (we had a nice lunch there).

- Leave Perouges at 3:00 & arrive in Vaison at 5:45.

This is kinda like you heading to San Francisco for a visit to the farmers market at the Ferry Bldg, then up to St Helena in the Napa Valley for lunch & visit, then back home - in 1 day-trip.

You'll be skipping some stuff in Burgundy/Beaujolais (Cluny, Tournus, Brancion), but there were some sites not on your list for the Dordogne that I think are more interesting (Collognes la Rouge, Lascaux II, Lacave, Proumeyssac, Grand Roc, canoe/boat trip on the Dordogne, more villages, more time to relax). We did not choose to visit Cluny while we were in Beaujolais for 2 weeks.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 25th, 2010, 01:31 PM
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As I recall, your son is a young teen, or a pre-teen? We spent 4 nights in Sarlat with our then-12yo DS several years ago.

One Wednesday, we first visited the Sarlat market for a great time looking at stuff, and buying more than we needed! I would guess that we spent about an 1 hour, but as our B&B was in Sarlat, we were already there. From there, we drove to Castelnaud. After that, we went down by the river's edge for a delightful picnic lunch. Next, we walked up to castle Beynac from the village. Lastly, we visited Chateau des Marqueyssac (including a stop for over-priced ice cream at their cafe). We realized that we are not garden people, even though many people love the gardens here. It was, though, a leisurely activity for a warm, sunny late afternoon. We drove back to Sarlat in time for leisurely drinks before dinner. That should give you an idea of our timing, at least, for those castles and that market. We very much enjoy castles, and probably spent a little more time at each than many people do.

Make sure that Chateau Commarque is open early enough for you to visit prior to your 11 am reservation at Font du Gaume. I believe you are supposed to be at Font du Gaume 1/2 hour prior to your tour.

In terms of deciding which castles to visit, I had DS look at all of them (their websites) before the trip, to prioritize them. We adults had been to most of them previously, so I had an idea of which were the "best." Chateau Commarque is great because it's older, and more ruinous, and also has a cave dwelling (a cluzeau) in the base of the castle.

Beynac has been well-restored, but not overly so. Castelnaud is great for those who like medieval weaponry. Biron, which I liked very much on our previous visit, has had little additional restoration work, and I was disappointed this last visit - the informational brochure seemed more disjointed and confusing, too.

I was surprised at how much we enjoyed Le Roque St. Christopher, as I hadn't read much about it in my guidebooks. But the displays and informational brochure were informative (without being too long) and interesting. And it portrays a different time period than the other places on your list.

And FYI, after our trip, which included portions of the Languedoc, this was DS' list of his favorites of the Dordogne and Languedoc, best first: Gouffre du Padirac; Font du Gaume; the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse; Chateau Commarque; the Cathar castle of Querebus; Chateau Castelnaud.

For me (I love history): Font du Gaume; the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse; Chateau Commarque; Chateau Beynac; the Cathar castle of Querebus; Chateau Castelnaud.
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Mar 25th, 2010, 01:50 PM
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I must be senile - I could swear this was a duplicate post. Forgive me.

Some random thoughts:

I would definitely subtract a day from Burgundy and add it to the Dordogne. I can't imagine being in Rocamadour for 2 nights and not visiting Collonges-la-Rouge, for example. Also, if you love gardens, Google Terrasson. Saint-Genies (note proper spelling) will take you 10-15 minutes. You might be interested in the walnut mill in Ste-Nathalène (big hit with my kids when they were younger). How about the Prehistory Museum in Les-Eyzies? I wouldn't bother with Belvès. Monpazier is essential. Do get out of the car in Martel (see if you can locate all 7 towers, and read up on the history). Do go to Les Milandes and schedule it if you can so you can see the falcon show. It's right down the road from Castelnaud. Your family isn't likely to get tired of castles, because each one is so different. The medieval warfare exhibits at Castelnaud are fabulous (they have trébuchet exhibitions there, too - maybe you can schedule that). The gabarre tour from Beynac is really interesting.

Get to the markets early (no later than 8 am). In St-Cyprien and Le Bugue even at that time of day it may take you 20-30 minutes just to park and walk into the crowd. Both are big markets that will take you at least a half-hour (and that would be a mad dash), assuming you walk all the way down one side and back. You'll find olives (from the Moroccan spice guy whose wife makes the paella) at both markets (and at supermarkets, of course), but so you know olives aren't something typically eaten in the Dordogne - you wouldn't get them at most restaurants.

"Downtime" to me means, in addition to strolling and sitting at a café for a cool drink, having enough room in your schedule to make on-the-spot decisions to "go down that road" or stop and take a walk down a pretty lane, or come across a local festival and join in for an hour...that sort of thing. That's the most enchanting aspect of the Dordogne - the unexpected, lovely suprises.
StCirq is online now  
Mar 25th, 2010, 02:21 PM
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sap
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Stu, Lexma & St. Cirq: Wow - this is exactly the kind of detailed feedback and individual experience I'm seeking. I so wish those darn guidebooks could be more opinionated. You are awesome! This sends me back to the cutting & pasting with less bewilderment. Stu, your analogy to our Bay Area locales really helped me grasp the perspective I was lacking on these areas that the map alone just isn't providing. I keep shaking my head, thinking, "How can a country that's smaller than Texas have so much to see!"

Thanks, too, StCirq for that description about what down-time means to you. It's a lovely idea and was really the best part of what ended up happening to us on our last trip to England. I planned to the hilt and then relaxed enough while we were there that some unexpected things ended up making pretty good memories. I have got to try to allow for that this time 'round & stop trying to worry about what I'm missing.

Truly, you should all know that my husband will take care of a lot of the truncating on the spot, too. He'll ignore the schedule (that I've spent months creating) until each morning during the trip when he'll take one look and tell me in no uncertain terms what he's willing to do or not. If something is very important to me that I refuse to cut out, I'll have to "sell" it and explain why we can't miss it. It ends up balancing out fairly well, though I could kick him sometimes.

In fact, I'm realizing now that I have to start selling the idea of canoeing down the Dordogne right away. I mentioned it to him and he got that wary look, so I've got to find some good pictures to show him! (He's probably remembering our experience on the rapids of the Russian River in Oregon.)
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Mar 25th, 2010, 02:33 PM
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Unless there's been a heavy rain the night before, canoeing on the Dordogne is like a long nap. Really, you can just sit in the canoe and float right under those castles; in fact, you almost always need to paddle hard to get up any speed. There are little whirlpools here and there, but nothing even remotely dramatic. And you can stop at the beaches along the way for a picnic and to swim. There are enormous sireuils (catfish) out there, but they'll leave you alone. Our favorite canoe outfit, BTW, is in St-Vincent de Cosse, halfway between St-Cyprien and Beynac. We usually do the 6-km run.
StCirq is online now  
Mar 25th, 2010, 02:52 PM
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I sat in the back of the canoe & paddled. My wife sat in the front & did nothing but take pictures. Every time she wanted a slightly different angle on a picture, I had to paddle a 360. Like StCirq stated - it was like conoeing in a swimming pool. When we did it, it was in Sept & we hit bottom a few times.

Also - for the 2nd time - don't miss Ch Milandes. Very picturesque chateaux from the outside, nice artifacts & story about Josephene Baker on the inside (have your 13 YO read up on her before you go & have him tell you & your husband about her story), and great birds-of-prey show outside next to the castle. We've seen a few other birds of prey shows in Europe & this one was the best.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 26th, 2010, 02:31 AM
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ira
 
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To paraphrase carlux,

"First of all, as someone who [doesn't live] in The Dordogne, at the edge of the Lot, I'm exhausted just reading the list of what you plan to do. I highly recommend leaving yourselves some 'down time' to just enjoy the area".

Enjoy your visit.

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Mar 26th, 2010, 03:39 AM
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Hi,
I also have appreciated all the information given for Sap's posting as we are heading to Dordogne in May for 7 days; I have been trying to prioritize the "Need to sees" and include my much loved "down time" when traveling abroad.

We are moving about...3 nights Sarlat, then moving over closer to Rocamadour (4 nights) so we can go early evening after the hords of tourists I read about leave, and hopefully see more of the area towards the west from Sarlat...any recommendations on "beautiful villages, pretty drives - yes, I have StudDudleys itinerary which I wish I could follow point to point but I guess I'd need a month!
So, if anyone wants to jump in and suggest the" must sees"s towards that area I would really appreciate it. We arrive and leave via train in Brive.

As youall can imagine a first timer in Dordogne gets pretty overstimulated by all there is so see and do. I am trying to entertain a 59yr old kid!

I guess this was a hijack of Sap's thread, but maybe relevant; in anycase, sorry Sap but you got some good details here and I have enjoyed reading it. Thanks for posting!

And thank you to those who offer such valuable detailed info to us firsttimers - your tips are much more fun than any book I've read.

Moneyburns
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Mar 26th, 2010, 04:30 AM
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Correction: I admit I am directionally challenged; I meant EAST of Rocamadour - the area towards Figeac, Gouffre de Padirac - any MUST sees for about 2 days would really help; there seems to be so very much I will have to miss, so I'd love to hear your absolute favs.

thanks again
MB
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Mar 26th, 2010, 08:20 AM
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I would reverse your allocation of days near Sarlat and days near Rocamadour.

If you are asking about "favorites" within driving distance of Rocamadour & east of the A20, here is my rough ranking. The time you allocate to spend visiting these sites will differentiate the "must sees" from the "like to sees". Best plan is to circle all these places in a colored magic marker so you can group them into daily excursions - ie Padirac, Autoire, & Loubressac are almost next to each other - so visit these on 1 trip. Same with Pech Merle/St Cirq Lapopie/scenic drive/Figeac.

Peche Merle
Gouffre de Padirac
Figeac
Collonges la Rouge
Carennac
Martel
St Cirq Lapopie
Stretch of road on the Cele river between Caberets & Figeac
Lacave
Turenne
Ch Castelnau
Autoire
Loubressac
Ch Montal
St Cere
Beaulieu sur Dordogne
Meyssac

Rocamadour - of course - but you will see it since you are staying there.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 26th, 2010, 09:07 AM
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Thanks Stu, There are so many places; you are right - separate out the musts from the likes; with only 6 whole days. I haven't done a daily plan as SAP and others have -
I am not quite that organized, but if I have some ideas, we can hopefully make the most of each day. I am more of a relax, enjoy and see the beauty.

Of course I will have 4 hours on the train to make a list!
The Bastide towns and Chateaus & gardens are more impt. to me but I know DH will want to see at least 2 caves.

I get claustrophobic, so I am not particularly interested in going into one. Maybe I will have my bottle of wine, my loaf of bread and some great cheese and have my own personal picnic while he is exploring!
Afterall I will let him do the driving. I've planned the trip; he has to do the driving!

I'm most interested in the drives - wish I could take my little vw bug with me!

Everyone is most helpul in sharing their knowledge. Even though we buy scads of guidebooks - for some reason it seems more interesting hearing form those who have been many times and can weed out some "dos" from don'ts". I've been to places listed in the books and wondered, "what were they thinking!"
So thank youall; I feel much more comfortable and have been studying my map that Stu and StCirq recommended.

MB
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Mar 26th, 2010, 09:34 AM
  #20  
sap
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moneyburns: Have you decided where to stay in Rocamadour yet?

I will definitely add Figeac to the Cele valley drive.

Interesting, Stu, that you liked Chateau Castlenau more than Chateau Montal as opposed to Carlux' viewpoint. I'll really have to learn more about both as I think I'm going to have to choose one over the other in order to spend more time in Autoire and Lubressac that day as Carlux suggested if I do that loop.

Alternatively, Stu's ranking makes me wonder if it might be a better daytrip loop from Rocamadour to Martel/Turenne/Collonges-la-Rouge/Carennac and back then to do the Autoire/Loubressac/Castlenau/St-Cere loop. The drive time is only about 20 minutes longer for the Turenne loop and he did rank those villages quite a bit higher.

Subjective or not, rough rankings from all of the above Fodorites are still very useful. It's like having a sommelier help you choose what wine to order at a restaurant with a bottomless cellar.
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