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Paging St. Cirq, Stu Dudley & other Dordogne-philes...Seeking your wise counsel on rental accommodations

Paging St. Cirq, Stu Dudley & other Dordogne-philes...Seeking your wise counsel on rental accommodations

Old Oct 20th, 2005, 05:51 AM
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Paging St. Cirq, Stu Dudley & other Dordogne-philes...Seeking your wise counsel on rental accommodations

Ms. Go and I have purchased our tickets for our next family adventure, in the south of France in June '06. The three of us (early-40s with well-traveled 13 y.o. daughter) plan to visit Provence at the beginning of the trip and the Languedoc toward the end...but in the middle we will spend a full week in the Dordogne Valley.

We would like to rent a place to base ourselves for the week with the following criteria:

1. A charming home with ample room/facilities for 3, including 2 BR, BA, kitchen, etc.

2. Either in or within 2 km of a town with restaurant(s), food market and sundries shop. Preferably a town with some nice scenery in the area.

3. Fairly accessible to a major road, as we will probably be doing daytrips each day.

4. A pool is not really necessary, but would certainly be a nice bonus for our daughter.

Our budget is around 1000E for the week, but that's not etched in stone.

Our initial search has been promising, and we found this place in Limeuil just last night:
http://www.simply-perigord.com/house224.html

This place in Alles also looks interesting (with pool, too):
http://www.simply-perigord.com/house215.html
...but the town looks like a speck on our map, and I wonder about accessibility, availability of shops, etc.

After all of that, my question:
Can you recommend any properties in the area that would better suit our criteria and give us a good base for exploring the region, within our general budget range?

Thanks in advance for your replies.
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 06:31 AM
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I should add that we plan to be there the second full week in June, 10-16.
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 08:08 AM
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We always rent from the Gites de France organization. We've rented about 30 Gites, several of them multiple times. However, I don't divulge which specific Gites we stay in - especially the one in the Dordogne. This region is perhaps our favorite, and we plan to stay in our Dordogne Gite about every other year. Don't need any more competition for the Gite - it gets harder & harder to rent every year as more Americans find out about Gites.

The place we rent in the Dordogne would suit your requirements, and it's less than half of your budget. No pool, however. There are plenty more that you can choose from.

The Gites de France web site is
http://www.gites-de-france.fr/eng/index.htm

The above site is the general site for Gites de France. When you want to rent a gite in a specific department, you "click" on the department you want (from a map of France) & off you go. Each Department in France runs their own reservation service. There are about 90 departments, and the Dordogne is one of them. The departments are free to use any software service they want to accommodate rentals - but of the 20 or so departments we've rented from, they either use the RESINFRANCE service or the ITEA software. The RESINFRANCE software does not work at all. Over the years, I've never been able to get it to function properly to select a Gite. I tried it just before answering this post, and it "crashed" my browser. Unfortunatly for you and for the Dordogne, RESINFRANCE is used by the Dordogne department. Therefore I recommend that you use the "general" web site to send away for a book of all the Gites you can rent in the Dordogne. This is actually much easier than selecting on-line - even if the software worked. Each listing indicates the distance to commerce, horseback riding, shops, doctors, etc.

Better get busy - we already have all three of our gites reserved for our trips next June and Sept.

It helps a lot if you can understand some Frence when reserving a Gite. The specific office for the Dordogne is in Perigueux, and I've found them a little "difficult" to deal with, compared to other departments. In most cases, you can pay deposits using your Visa/MC.

Stu Dudley

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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 08:56 AM
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Thanks, Stu. Can you tell me this - would you even make a pool a priority if you were going in early/mid June? I've looked at some historical averages for that area but I know it is hard to get a good picture. We'd probably be out for the most part during the day and would use a pool early or late. Too cool or unpredictable?
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 09:03 AM
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Stu, how do you get to the Dordogne option in the Gites de France site? Every time I tried doing it (out of sheer curiosity), I get the general Conseil de Dordogne site and can't get to the Gites de France listings.
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 09:10 AM
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We were there the last week of June & first couple of days in July of '97. It was very cold & rainy. We even had to turn the heater on in the house, & we wore jackets to most places.

We've been in France every June since '99, and only in Provence or the Cote d'Azur do we ever consider renting a place with a pool. I would not put any priority on a pool in the Dordogne in early/mid June. Not only because it will probably be too cool both outside and inside the pool (I've never seen a heated pool in France), but because there is so much to do in the Dordogne, that you may not want to spend much/any time by the pool.

St Cirq has a house in the Dordogne with a pool - perhaps she will chime in also.

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 09:13 AM
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Check the web site www.slowtrav.com for rental reviews and rental agency reviews as well as lots of tips. I would rent from a reliable agency. That provides some guarantee and some back-up. Plus you can use your credit card, another fall-back.
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 09:41 AM
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Thanks a lot for the input...we truly appreciate it. We are eager to get this part of the plan squared away, before they all shut down for the fall.

Stu, thanks especially for the tip about ordering the gite book. I have to say that I'm really liking the looks of the Limeuil property we found thru Simply Perigord (http://www.simply-perigord.com/house224.html) for 837E. But if there are even better properties/values to be found, I'm all for it!
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 09:54 AM
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Michael

From the web site I indicated, click on "Book your accommodation on line". This will take you to a page that displays a map of France. Slide the finger to "Perigueux" (a window that says "24 Dordogne" will display), and click on "Perigueux". This will take you to the on-line booking process - which I claim does not work. From the France map, click on "Cote d'Or" (Burgundy) to see one that does work properly.

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 10:00 AM
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Dear Gos:

I doubt you'll use a pool in June, except to sit around it. Ours is freezing until mid-July. But of course one can never predict the temperature. One thing to consider is that there are lovely beaches on the Dordogne, which is an exceptionally clean river and loads of fun to swim in - and there are municipal pools everywhere, and campsites will let you use their pools for a small fee.

Limeuil's a nice little town at the confluence of the Dordogne and Vézère rivers, with a unique "elbow bridge." DON't swim on the "beach" there. There's a great little restaurant there called le Chai, right next to the parking lot, that serves amazing salads and sandwiches and crèpes and simple stuff but that has an astonishing number of fabulous ice creams and sorbets.

The only problem with Limeuil (and I truly believe they have fixed it in recent years, as I've smelled no indication of it) is that it has had a sewerage problem - those medieval seweres that are evident on the cobbleston streets for a long time took raw seage right down the hill into the river, and in summer it stank. As I said, I haven't smelled it in recent years, but it's certainly something worth asking Simply Perigord (a good company, BTW) about.

Also find out about parking - that's one steep hill!

Personally, Limeuil wouldn't be my first choice (I'd like Le Bugue or St-Cyprien or Tamniès or something just a smidgin closer to Sarlat), but the place looks really cute, and the difference in distance to the Sarlat area is really negligible.

Will you check up on my daughter while you're there? She's just announced she and a bunch of her college classmates will be using the house in June - unsupervised !!!
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 10:18 AM
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Stu, I did as you said, and while it is a different page from what I got previously, it is not the Gites de France page. At least it does not have the logo that the Brittany page has, and it also offers a choice of hotels, which I believe are not part of Gites de France. I'm only pursuing this so that other readers are not misled by the Dordogne site.
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 10:30 AM
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Thanks for the info, StCirq. We are just starting to look around. Being fairly new at the rental thing (we did have a very good experience in Italy last year), we wanted to start with a good agency and go from there. We've seen good reviews of Simply Perigord on slowtrav, etc., so that's one we are looking at.

Of course we can check up on your daughter. Just tell her she has to invite us over for a swim!
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 10:38 AM
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>>>At least it does not have the logo that the Brittany page has, and it also offers a choice of hotels, which I believe are not part of Gites de France. I'm only pursuing this so that other readers are not misled by the Dordogne site.<<

The "home" page I gave you, and the page that displays the map of France (where you select a department) are common to all departments. Once you click on a specific department - anything goes, because at that point on, everything is controlled by the department and the software used can be customized anyway the department wishes (and pays for).

Several department's software is identical in function, and some have been highly customized - like the Cote d'Or and probably Brittany. However, note that there are actually 3-4 different departments than comprise Brittany.

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 10:43 AM
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I don't know what the problem is for you all. I just went on the Perigord site of gites-de-france and had no problem researching and making a reservation -- at least up to the point of entering my name, etc. Couldn't go farther since I don't actually want to reserve a place. Anyway, to that point it works perfectly.
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 10:44 AM
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Oops. Meant to say Dordogne, not Perigord.
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 11:21 AM
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>>I don't know what the problem is for you all. I just went on the Perigord site of gites-de-france and had no problem researching and making a reservation <<

Did you use the "screening" criteria where you enter the number of "wheaties" you want, maybe number of bedrooms, how close to the river, pool, private garden, etc. Last time I tried it, I only wanted to see Gites rated 3 wheaties & above - the list of Gites they presented back to me included 1 & 2 wheatie gites - and some were not near a river, and did not have gardens. If you know the specific Gite you want, it probably works fine. If you want one that matches your requirements (location, 3-4 wheaties, etc) it did not work for me when I tried it about 6 months ago. This morning I tried it again and it made my browser crash.

BTW, it works better on some browsers. Using Netscape, one function on the ITEA software does not work, but it works just fine on aol/IE.

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 11:43 AM
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Stu -
I put in that I wanted 2 or 3 epis, a washing maching, dishwasher, fireplace. Without going through the whole list, it appears that it returned the right stuff. By the way, I use IE on Windows XP. One thought --someone told me once that I needed to set my browser to accept all cookies if I wanted to use gites-de-france, so that is what I have done. How about you?
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 12:00 PM
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Vedette
I'll give it another try - on several browsers. Hopefully, it won't crash this time. I don't know how I have my cookies set.

Also, If you are really interested in renting a Gite - get a 3 wheatie Gite or higher (there are no 4 wheaties in the Dordogne - at least there were not any when I got my catalogue in '03).

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 12:29 PM
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Hi Stu -- I went through this exercise just to see if it would work in Dordogne. I have actually rented gites many times, including two on a recent trip. The best way to see France if you are not in a rush, as I am sure you agree.
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 01:03 PM
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Vedette

I totally agree - once you start staying in Gites, you'll rarely stay in another hotel.

Still can't get the Gites de France site to work properly for the Dordogne - however it did not crash my browser this time. I used Netscape, and entered a date of 16/09 and a stay for 7 days. Only selection criteria was for a "Classification" of 3 for 1st chouce & 3 for 2nd choice. I assumed that this would return only 3 wheatie gites to me. It did - kinda. There were 80 possible gites in my "complementary" catagory (whatever that means), and 207 in the "Obligatory" classification. The 80 gites were all 3 wheatie gites, but the 207 were a mix of 2 & 3 star.

The Gite we stay in is about 2 K from the Dordogne river, so I expanded my search criterial to include only gites 5K from a river or lake. It found none - although the village we stay in has about seven 2 & 3 wheatie Gites. I then changed the driteria to 2 wheaties and 50K from a lake or river - which probably includes every gite in the Dordogne. Again - nothing available for the period we wanted nor the next period either.

That's not possible.

Stu Dudley
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