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Our Trip to Paris and the Périgord is On Again

Our Trip to Paris and the Périgord is On Again

Old Jan 20th, 2013, 05:01 PM
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Our Trip to Paris and the Périgord is On Again

Finally, we are able to reschedule our postponed trip from last fall. We'll have a week in a rental near Sarlat, a quick look at Albi and Toulouse, then a week in Paris. I've been reading all the Fodorites' trip reports again and getting very excited.

We used most of our remaining Delta miles for FF tickets but had to settle for connections through Amsterdam in both directions to get them. This puts us into Paris too late to travel on, so we will overnight before taking the TGV to Angoulême where we pick up a car. Then we will drive to our rental via Brantôme, Bourdeilles and Périgueux.

We will have five full days in and around Sarlat (St.-Crépin) and I'll need some guidance as I try to work out an itinerary for this area that enables us to make the most of our limited time. The first hiccup occurred today when I got an answer to my reservation request for Font de Gaume saying that they will not take reservations in 2013. I have posted about this separately.

Another challenge could be our plan to travel to Toulouse via Albi on May 1. We'll overnight there and take the train back to Paris the next morning. I suppose we will find most things closed for the holiday, so we'll have to take a scenic route and enjoy the sights along the way. Hope to find a restaurant open in Toulouse for some good cassoulet.

Then we have six days in Paris to chip away at my "Paris Next Time" list that never seems to get shorter as I'm always adding to it.

I'll be back soon to benefit from the collected wisdom and experience here as I work on plans.
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Old Jan 20th, 2013, 07:24 PM
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You're right about Font-de-Gaume. They weren't taking any reservations last year, either. You have to go early and wait in line and hope not too many people show up. And if you want an English-language tour, don't hold your breath.
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Old Jan 20th, 2013, 07:50 PM
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Is this because they are still trying to decide if they need to close Font-de-Gaume? I'm glad we saw it when we did.
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Old Jan 20th, 2013, 09:33 PM
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Yes, they are serious (maybe) after a decade or so, about limiting the number of visitors each day, and eventually plan to close it. They've been talking about this for the two decades I've owned a house down the road. They never get it together, though - someone always wants to make a profit off it, so it stays open but with dodgy ownership and oversight.

The whole tour scheduling thing has become insanely chaotic in the past year. When SO and I were there in September, we tried on at least 5 separate days to get him into a tour there. Not going to happen. We tried at 9 am, we tried at 9:30, we tried for what they advertised as an English-language tour at 11:30 on a Thursday. No go. He never got to see it. Too bad - it's a beautiful cave.
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 12:44 AM
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In fact in 2012 they WERE allowing reservations, but so few that it was almost impossible to get them. They used to allow 200 people per day. Last year it was down to 90, with only 45 available by reservation. That meant you had to reserve at least 6 months in advance.

The difficulty with so much on the Internet is that it is old - there are still official looking sites that tell you they are allowing 200 people. Small print shows that was 2007.

They are certainly now saying that in 2013you just have to be there at 9.30 (or well in advance)to get a ticket for that day.

'Nous avons bien pris en compte votre demande de réservation pour nos sites et nous vous en remercions.
Nous sommes au regret de ne pas pouvoir répondre favorablement à celle-ci.
Pour 2013,les billets des grottes de Font de Gaume et Combarelles sont délivrés au guichet
de la grotte de Font de Gaume, dès l’ouverture à 9h30, pour une visite dans la journée,
dans la limite des places disponibles. Nous vous suggérons donc de vous présenter bien avant l’ouverture de la billetterie'
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 03:10 AM
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They have also reduced the number of tickets per day from 120 to 80. we will just show up really early our first morning and hope to get a ticket.

By the way, Comberelles is another site with the new no reservation policy.
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 04:49 AM
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yes, i feel lucky that we saw this when we did. [about 10 years ago]

i don't think we booked, just turned up, and did a tour in French of which we understood about 1/3.

Lascaux II was better - you could book english tours and therefore it was easier for us, and especially our kids, to understand.

i'm still pleased we did both though.
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 05:24 AM
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"You're right about Font-de-Gaume. They weren't taking any reservations last year, either."

When did this happen, because in June or July of 2012 I made reservations for our October visit to Font-de-Gaume?

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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 07:46 AM
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Rouffignac does not take reservations, but we've never had problems getting in in the morning. Tours only in French.
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 08:45 AM
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Maitaitom - see my clarification that there were reservations at Font de Gaume last year. Dont believe everything you read
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 09:02 AM
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I see the Toulouse Lautrec museum in Albi is open May 1... allow time for a visit:

http://www.museetoulouselautrec.net/...admission.html
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 09:39 AM
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Thanks ParisAmsterdam, but I think the website information is a little confusing. In one spot it indicates that the museum is open every day in April-May, then when you scroll down, it lists dates the museum is closed, including May 1st.
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 09:40 AM
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Thanks ParisAmsterdam, but I think the website information is a little confusing. In one spot it indicates that the museum is open every day in April-May, then when you scroll down, it lists dates the museum is closed, including May 1st.
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 09:43 AM
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At the very end of August and beginning of September when we were there, they were very clear they were no longer taking reservations, and every person we spoke to (at the site, in person) gave us different and conflicting information.
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 11:32 AM
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Did you get yourself a Paris Pass, or a Paris Museum Pass? There are a few different ones out there, but I'm unfamiliar with most of them. I used the paris museum pass last year, and I think it saved me a lot of money. It was also really convenient, and made the transaction process a lot smoother, when visiting museums.
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 12:10 PM
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jessie, a Paris Museum Pass can indeed be a good deal, and the OP may benefit from one when she's in Paris, but Font-de-Gaume is 7 hours south.
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 12:18 PM
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I think lots of French museum websites say they are open daily, but that excludes specific holidays when they might be closed. Most every place is closed May 1st. It's just a general statement referring to the usual routine, not holidays. Sometimes they will say "except holidays", but not always.
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