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Our Driving route France - comments please

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Sep 8th, 2005, 09:22 PM
  #1
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Our Driving route France - comments please

Ive had a lot of help with locating cheap sleeps on route and am now starting a new thread with my proposed route as my message has been buried down at 136 and falling following a busy day at Fodors.
Hoping for some feedback on our draft route. thanking you all once again

Hello again, well the basic plan is..(subject to change as we drive)and of course many of them a very close to each other or we will have only a couple of hours stop or even drive thru - we'll have to decide which ones we cant resist as we arrive (and hope they arnt all irresistable or we are in big trouble) - this really just shows the direction:
Bayeux to StMalo and Dinard to Mont St Michel down to Saintes (we have friends in nearby Thenac) to St Emilion to Monpazier via Monbazillac to La Roque-Gagaec and onto Beynac-et-cazenac to Les Eyzies-de-Tayac to Sarlat-la-Caneda to Rocamadour to St-Cirq-Lapopie to Cordes-sur-cel and onto Albi to Carcassonne to Pont-du Gard to St Remy-de-Provence and onto Les-Baux-de-Provence to (back to) Montpellier(where we fly out)

and if by some feat of magic we have spare time(!?) - instead of going to Montpellier from Les-Baux-de-Provence we will go from Les-Baux-de-Provence to St-Remeze and then to Montpellier (I really want to go to the Ardeche but it is really up and away from our general left to right direction we are travelling - so hope we can fit a quick day or 2 at the end but I doubt it)
This is 17 days worth - impossible to do without rushing or looking possible?


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Sep 8th, 2005, 10:37 PM
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Cosmo, you can bring your thread back up to the top by just typing in TTT, To The Top etc to keep your thread visual. You also can get more response by posting at a "normal hour" instead of posting with us night-owls!

Sounds do-able, but a lot of driving; you won't see any one place in any depth obviously, and if you're planning on doing the expressways to gain time you will miss a lot of provincial charm and interaction with the locals. Also, It seems at times as though you're back tracking.

We actually enjoy moving along every day, a new hotel each night (which seems to bother a lot of people) but you itinerary seems a little on the optomistic side if you really expect to enjoy the experience. Is this your first trip to France?
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Sep 8th, 2005, 10:55 PM
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Thanks Klondike Ill ttt tonight (my time!) if it gets buried again. Im from Australia so Im at work posting 3pm!
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Sep 8th, 2005, 11:17 PM
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This should be do-able in 17 days but you will spend a relatively large amount of time in transit. You may find the trip more relaxing if you went from Carcassonne to Montpellier and left the Provence end of your trip to (hopefully) another trip. From Monpazier to Sarlat on your list I strongly suggest you establish a single base, for example Sarlat. You would want 4-5 days there and there are lots of interesting places to see in that immediate area that are not on your list. I also suggest that you spend 2-3 nights around StMalo-Dinard-Mont St Michel. The stretches from Mont St Michel to Saintes, and from Saintes to St Emilion will be quite long. While in the vicinity of StCirq I strongly recommend a visit to the caves at Peche Merle. You could visit Rocamadour on the way to St Cirq if you plan to stay the night there and then I would allow 2-3 days for the transit to Carcassonne. Assuming you have a night at Bayeux and you spend 2 nights at Saintes, that works out at around 16 days by my quick calculation.
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Sep 8th, 2005, 11:27 PM
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Thanks Greg, Ill check your suggestions on a map when I get home. When drafting it I actually thought many of them were only a couple of hours apart resulting in it being not as bad as first appears. I had planned one night at Bayeux and one at StMalo/Dinard or Mont St Michel so hope 2 is enough. You suggest Sarlat as a base and mention interesting spots nearby not on my list. Do you mind posting back with them on for me to consider if you have time please? Thanks again
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Sep 9th, 2005, 12:16 AM
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Happy to help. I am in the same timezone as you and am about to knock off for the day - I'll respond from home tonight.
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Sep 9th, 2005, 04:12 AM
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We have used Sarlat as a base for the Perigord several times and find it very convenient. It is very popular and is geared around tourisme but we still find it a charming town. There is some beautiful scenery all around this area, and you will see plenty of it with the places you have nominated. A couple of others that you could add would be Domme, and Castelnaud, for views of the Dordagne Valley. The other great feature of this area is pre-history and cave art and there are many caves that are well worth a visit if you have an interest. Personally I found Rouffignac fascinating - there is an electric 'train' which takes visitors several kilometres into the cave where magnificent engravings of animals can be seen. The Grotte de Font de Gaume has original drawings and paintings, and of course Lascaux II is an almost exact replica and has magificent paintings (but not original sadly). With all caves you generally need to book in advance as visitor numbers are often limited. They are not always busy though - for our visit to Combarelles a couple of years ago we were the only visitors! Hope you find this helpful.
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Sep 9th, 2005, 04:55 AM
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Thanks Greg, all the info is a great help. Ive never heard of the Rouffignac and so off to do "another google" .. problem always is the need for 17 weeks not 17 days for all the places that sound like must sees. cheers
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Sep 9th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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Your route through the Dordogne has me puzzled, as it's not a logical progression. It's great that you've got Monpazier on there, as it's an absolute gem of a bastide town, but from there, your route gets kind of scattered and goes north and east, then west, then east again.
I agree you should base yourself somewhere near Sarlat for a few days and see Beynac and Domme and La Roque-Gageac and St-Cyprien and Les Eyzies (if prehistory interests you - I assume you've put that on the itinerary because of the museum there or because of Font-de-Gaume; otherwise there is no reason to go there)and St-Léon-sur-Vézère and Le Bugue and all the other beautiful towns in the area.

If you have time to stay off the autoroute and make your way south from St-Cirq-Lapopie to Toulouse on the back roads, I highly recommend doing that.

I would also recommend skipping Provence on this trip, since your focus seems to be on back roads and small towns and you're already trying to see so much and would have to backtrack to Montpellier.
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Sep 9th, 2005, 09:41 AM
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You might want to map out your route on viamichelin.com or mappy.com to get a sense for driving time.
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Sep 9th, 2005, 09:15 PM
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Thanks StCirq and Underhill... our route... It actually eventuated that way because I used the michelin routeplanner on the web. I had it in a different order but changed it after using the route planner.. maybe I corrected it wrongly?? - which bit do you think is in the wrong order? - I just found the places that sounded good and then tried to link them in the most logical way.. maybe I lost the plot half way? hee hee.
As to our interests, to be honest we arnt huge history buffs or mueseum buffs but love scenery, atmosphere, people plus villages.. so if you can see any obvious corrections or more appropriate places to add for us Id be grateful.
When checking places out on the net the photos all look wonderful so it's hard to get a sense of the actual areas around the specific photos which highlight a village (the rest of the place maybe be ordinary except for the building in the photo....)
So really areas and environment with fascinating villages or cutsey (sorry) towns we find a joy to travel and stop in.
thanks everyone once again for your knowledge.
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Sep 9th, 2005, 09:28 PM
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Sorry StCirq, should have added that although we dont appreciate the history behind places as much as we should (ie. History is the not the reason why we choose which places to visit) .. of course many of the places we love are because of their history.. is that double dutch??
what Im trying to explain is for eg. Monpazier is on the top or our must see list because it looks absolutely fascinating but our ignorance on its history is almost absolute. Despite this we usually learn quite a lot of history of places we visit... even when not trying hee hee.
Your knowledge of the area is so valuable that I wanted to explain that it is places like Monpazier that we will undoubtedly love but maybe not the old roman ruins dotted around the countryside....
thanks
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