More help with Dordogne Caves

Dec 26th, 2006, 02:14 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 281
More help with Dordogne Caves

I am mapping (literally) the caves portion of my July, 2007 trip to France. I have hopes the experts here will supply some advice/editing- thank you in advance! Staying in Beynac, will have arrived, with rental car, late afternoon or early evening the 5th, from Anmboise. I think I have these arranged the best way for times/reservations on the 6th?:
1) leave early, to be at Grotte de Rouffignac by 8, since reservations aren't taken and it opens at 9. I understand the tour itself is about an hour long? 2) If we successfully get a spot, I THINK we will still have time to see Abri du Cap Blanc before it closes for two hours at noon. 3)Make reservation for last tour of the day at Grotte de Font-de-Gaume, which means being there by 3:15. Plan B: If we can't make it for Abri du Cap Blanc, there is another opportunity to see it the following late afternoon, after spending time at the Sarlat Saturday market and a couple hour canoe float back to Beynac. Oui? Have any of you been to Abri du Cap Blanc at the busy July and August tourist times? Thank you!
sglass is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 11:40 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 13
You will find that the Rouffignac caves are not that busy anyway, so you don't need to get up too early to see them.
If you go back to Rouffignac town by about 12:30, try "Cafe de France" for lunch. You will get a 5 course with wine for less than 12 euros, and it is home cooked food (cooked by Sylvie).
Rouffignac is not an old town as the German army destroyed it on the 31st March 1944, but has a great community spirit, I should know as I moved here just over 2 years ago.
I have posted some pictures on my blog at Let me know if you want more information or if I can help out in any way.
Bobt is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 11:50 AM
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You'll probably be first in line at Rouffignac, so don't worry about that.

Why aren't you making reservations ahead of time for Font-de-Gaume? Or are you? I sure wouldn't count on showing up at 3:15 that day and getting on the tour at that time of year.

Abri du Cap Blanc isn't a particularly busy site. You should be able to fit it in between Rouffignac and Font-de-Gaume.

I'd highly recommend seeing Les Combarelles while you're right there at Font-de-Gaume.

Do you know about Castel-Merle?

Finally, WHAT? You're not visiting the Grotte de St-Cirq??
StCirq is online now  
Feb 17th, 2007, 02:12 PM
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Hi SG,

I suggest Plan B.

Spend some time just seeing the region instead of dashing from cave to cave.

ira is online now  
Feb 17th, 2007, 05:01 PM
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Thank you for the additional suggestions! I was excited to see them here. I read Moolan (spelling?)'s wonderfully descriptive trip report for the region and have been a little reassured about driving times after that- although since my travel is always at the height of the summer tourist season factoring in crowds and lines and traffic plays a part. The caves are something I've longed to see all my life, so I planned for two cave-busy days, with one day in between for floating on the river (hopefully not dodging too many others, and with cooperative weather!)and left pretty open before the third cave- packed day. I was able to get reservations to Font-de-Gaume, for the last tour (in English, too) of the day...I am intrigued by the suggestion for Grotte de St-Cirq. Instead of trying to drive all the way to Puycelci the third day of cave-hopping (having printed Stu's fabulous suggestion for the scenic drive there), I found a place to stay right near Peche Merle. The area looks so gorgeous I hated the idea of just heading to a busy highway after touring la grotte(also last tour of the day, reserved). StCirq, I thank you, and can you give me some more information? I also thank Bobt! I enviously read some of your blog- ah, to retire early and live in France! Any useful suggestions for off-the-beaten track or navigational ideas would be much appreciated. Thank you all!
sglass is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 06:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi, sglass:

I was actually kind of kidding about the Grotte de St-Cirq, though it most definitely is a valid chromatic cave that also has engravings (and happens to be next door to my house). What I don't know is whether it is open or not (the owner, my neighbor, died last April, and he had a sort of informal deal with friends to keep it open and running for visitors, but I can't vouch for whether it's got regular hours or anything - I can find out if you're really interested by calling my other neighbors). Let me know.\

But do look into Castel-Merle. I'd owned my house in the Dordogne for a good 10 years before I even found out about it, and it was one of the most amazing cave visits I've ever had (though the owner speaks only French and Languedoc and is hard to understand even for a fluent speaker). Not many people get to this place, so if you're really looking for a unique cave experience, I'd follow up on this. I'm happy to help you do that.
StCirq is online now  
Feb 17th, 2007, 06:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,710
Oh, and if you want to make a bit of a trek and "discover" your own prehistoric site that isn't in any of the guidebooks, email me and I'll give yuou directions. I'm definitely not posting this info on the internet. But it looks like your time is fairly well allocated already, so maybe best to stick to the main sites.
StCirq is online now  
Feb 17th, 2007, 07:24 PM
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Thank you, StCirq! So your neighbor must've been the man I read about in my oh-so-slow French. I would absolutely love your secret cave information. Every big trip we take I try to find out about something like that! I am beginning to think about skipping Gouffre de Padirac in favor of a one-day car rental later in the trip to go to one of the other (more spectacular?)stalactite/stalagmite caves when based in Arles, and instead making the most of the much- anticipated drive past Rocamadour via Stu Dudley's scenic route to Peche Merle. That I believe would give us time to look for your top-secret cool cave, or else the next morning, since we are staying overnight by Peche Merle before heading onwards to Puycelci. How do I contact you? So many thanks!
sglass is offline  
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