Pls. help jump start Dordogne planning.

Old Nov 4th, 2006, 09:20 AM
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wj1
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Pls. help jump start Dordogne planning.

It was a week of good karma as we were lucky and scored two business class tickets for our trip to France next year. (Thank you to everyone here who helped me count forward 330 days (math is not my strong suit)and to those who recommended that we fly directly to Toulouse rather than to Bordeaux.) We will be spending 7 nights in the Dordogne region and then 9 nights in Paris. The trip isn't until September 2007 but we can hardly wait.

I have already done some research including reading many of the trip reports here, including those from Ira, MsGo, Stu Dudley, Moolyn (and am patiently waiting for eskrunchy's!). However, it would be a great jump start if some of you would give us some ideas about where we should stay for our 7 nights in the Dordogne. Neither one of us (my husband and I) have ever been to that part of France before.

At this point, we plan to spend Night #1 in Toulouse. We will be arriving in Toulouse at 6:30 pm after having begun our travels from LAX and I think we will be tired and that it will be safer to spend the night in Toulouse. We can then rent a car the following morning after a good nights sleep and start our driving in daylight. We will also need to spend Night #7 in a location near where we can drop our rental car off the next day and take a train to Paris.

We had been planning to spend most of our time in the Sarlat area but I am wondering whether we should spend all our remaining nights near Sarlat or should we make a stop or two between Toulouse and Sarlat? Any suggestions would be apprciated.

Thanks so much.
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Old Nov 4th, 2006, 10:11 AM
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wj..as a fellow Southern Californian may I suggest that en route to the Dordogne from Toulose you consider spending a night or two near Rocamadour at our favorite restored farm/stable, Domaine de la Rhue (see link)...from there you can fill two very scenic and interesting days...one to do the Gouffre de Padirac, the Cirque d'Autoire, Loubressac, Chateau Montal, Castelnaud,and the less-visited tranquil parts of the Dordogne at Carennac (one of our favorite and most picturesque villages of all)..dinner that night at the fine Chateau Roumegouse, about two miles from the Domaine.(The lovely couple, Christine and Eric, owners of the Domaine, are as pleasant and helpful as can be)

Next morning, I suggest a hike of about one hour through the backwoods an into the famed Rocamadour. Back to the Domaine, check out at noon or so and drive on to Sarlat (about an hour)..base yourselves there for the remainder...and see a good chunk of the central Dordogne as suggested from the trip reports (Ira, Stu D., moolyn, etc.)

Enjoy!

Stu T.
http://www.domainedelarhue.com/gbbienve.htm
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Old Nov 4th, 2006, 10:13 AM
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I should have said....back to the Domaine in the afternoon...hour each way. You would still get to your lodgings in or around Sarlat by late afternoon, easily.

Stu T.
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Old Nov 4th, 2006, 10:16 AM
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Gramat is a great stopping point for one night, as it is very close to both Rocamadour and the Gouffre de Padirac, the two main attractions of the region (at least for French tourists).
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Old Nov 4th, 2006, 11:16 AM
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Wj1..Yes, I am home from France and will be posting a report very soon. We spent 7 nights in Domme in a rental house and I think that while the fantastically beautiful town of Domme itself is perhaps not the ideal place..a tourist-centered economy, lots of hills, etc, I would think that anyplace nearby..take your pick of possibilities..would be ideal. I will give details in the report..will try to at least begin it this weekend. I should say that this, my second visit to the region, was if anything better than the first......
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Old Nov 4th, 2006, 11:55 AM
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I totally agree with Tower about a stop-off at the Domaine de la Rhue. There is so much to see in that area. You wouldn't have to back-track from Sarlat to see the wonderful sites he mentioned, and that place is delightful.
I spent 2 nights there going south from the Sarlat area, and just loved it - the owners are wonderful people, and the Domaine is so tranquil and beautiful. Also, it wasn't congested and trafficy on the roads around there - unlike the Sarlat area.

I spent 2 weeks on the Dordogne in May of 2005, staying in several different places. I started out in Angouleme (taking the TGV from Paris) as I wanted to see the Northern Dordogne, and I had the time, spending 2 nights at the lovely Hostellerie les Griffons in the beautiful village of Bourdeilles. That's too far north for a base, but certainly a wonderful stop, with great food. I also stayed for a couple of nights at the Manoir d'Hautegente in Coly, which was also a great experience. They seem to get alot of repeat visitors there, with their great dining. I also stayed right in Sarlat, which I would not recommend - it's too congested getting in and out (especially in the afternoon). Nor would I stay right in Domme. But somewhere around there on the River like Beynac or La Roque Gageac. Don't get me wrong, Sarlat is a pretty town, but not my favorite as a base, just somewhere close. I seem to be happiest at countryside or village places with their own restaurants, as I'm usually tired from sightseeing all day and like to stay in the hotels (NICE ones!). By the way the Domaine de la Rhue doesn't have a restaurant, but there are places not too far to drive to, near or in Rocamadour. Enjoy your planning!
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Old Nov 4th, 2006, 12:11 PM
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Depending on your rental agency, you might be able to drop off the car in Limoges for a direct train to Paris. For a final expensive evening and night in the region, consider the Moulin de la Gorce, which is about 45 minutes from Limoges (type the name of the inn and you should be able to bring up my brief report). If I remember correctly, a late morning train departure will get you to Paris is the early afternoon.

While Limoges has a bad reputation as boring (in W.W.I the term limoger was used to describe stationing incompetent officers away from the front and where they could neither do harm nor enjoy themselves), it does have a very good porcelain museum, an enamel museum in the former bishop's palace, an interesting museum of the master pieces of the compagnons de France, and an old section of which the core is the rue des bouchers with a small museum showing how a butcher's house was organized in the 19th century. And of course the town and surrounding area is full of porcelain outlets.
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 08:06 AM
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Thanks for your suggestions.

Does anyone else have any thoughts? I know Albi had previously been suggested, but that was when we thought we might be arriving in Toulouse earlier and could drive there on Day #1. Maybe it's too close to Toulouse.


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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 08:22 AM
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Hi W,

Albi is only 1 hr from Toulouse.

Rocamadour is only 2:36 hr.

You can get from Toulouse to Rocamadour via albi and Figeac in about 4 hr.

That gives you time to see both towns.

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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 08:40 AM
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We just got back from a week in the Dordogne, and absolutely LOVED it! We stayed at http://www.les-granges-hautes.fr/en/accen.htm
and it was amazing. Fabulous breakfast, few minutes from Sarlat (which is a gorgeous little town), close to great restaurants. Sigh...would go back in a heartbeat. The breakfasts were amazing. And we were close enough to visit all the areas mentioned above. We really like staying in one place for a week and didnt find the need to move around, everything is very close to drive to.

Jamie
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Old Nov 9th, 2006, 12:02 PM
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Jamie, we are also planning three weeks in France next September. What sights did you enjoy the most? We want to stay in one place for a week also. Just curious what your favorite parts were.

eholden
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 11:38 AM
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We love France!

We spent 3 days in Paris as we'd been there before. Then we spent 4 days in Burgundy, 7 days in Provence, and 7 days in the Dordogne.

Our favorite was the Dordogne and Burgundy, beautiful scenary, lovely veinyards in Burgundy and of course wine. Fantastic food for reasonable prices in Dordogne. There are so many things to see.

In Burgundy we loved Dijon and Beaune...and all the wineries. We didnt make it to Northern Burgundy as we trained there from Paris to pick up our car but I hear thats beautiful. We only spent one day in Dijon and I would definitely go back for more.

In Provence we loved the small hilltowns on the Luberon. We stayed in St Remy, which we found to be a great base. We also loved Les Baux, Glanum, Isle sur la sorgue market, the olive oil...yum!

In the Dordogne, just driving around was amazing. Crazy villages built into the rock, we saw Lascaux 2 which was great, took a boat ride down the Dordogne from la Roque Gageac, Rocamadour...my favorite town was Sarlat, just amazingly beaufitul.

I could go on and on! My hubby is writing a trip report on fodors right now...you can read what he has so far at http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa..._name=jamikins

and you can also see our pics at http://tinyurl.com/w5rlb

If you need anymore info just let me know!!

Jamie
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 02:50 PM
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wj1, I'm not sure why I didn't notice your thread before this. Usually anything with "Dordogne" in it jumps right out at me.

Congratulations on your good karma! I'm envious!

One week is far too little time to see everything the Dordogne has to offer so donít stress yourself by trying. Make a list of recommendations based on your research here and in guidebooks then prioritize them. You have lots of time to refine your list. Save the other possibilities for next time. Believe me, you will enjoy whatever you choose.

Staying in Toulouse the first night seems like a very sensible plan unless you are arriving on a Sunday night when 90% of the restaurants in Toulouse are closed. I liked Iraís suggestion of driving to Rocamadour via Albi and Figeac so you can see both towns but towns take time to drive into, find a place to park, explore and then get out of so it could take a full day to do this option justice. Stu T. mentions so many great places to visit near Rocamadour that you might be best to rush right there via the autoroute and get started exploring that lovely area. The Domaine sounds like a comfortable place to stay. Itís an easy drive from the Rocamadour area to Sarlat.

Staying right in Sarlat was lovely in June and Iím sure the situation would be similar in September. We didnít find traffic at all a problem, much easier than Albi or Figeac, but then we are city people. My suggestion is to stay in Sarlat if you prefer towns or in a nearby village if you prefer to be in a village. Both options have advantages. Everything you might want to see is within a 25 mile radius of Sarlat, especially if you pay a visit to the upper Dordogne beforehand.

Be sure to contact Stu Dudley for his Dordogne Itinerary if you havenít already. We referred to it often. He has years of experience of visiting the Dordogne. I donít have his email address on this computer but if he reads this Iím sure heíll provide it for you.

Consider renting a house if you are in the Dordogne for a whole week. Carlux usually rents her houses for two weeks but you can check to see if she has a single week open next September.
http://www.yourfriendsinfrance.org/
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 03:24 PM
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Here I am.

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Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 12th, 2006, 03:04 AM
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wj1, here's another thought. Rather than changing locations for your last night in the Dordogne in order to drop off your rental car and catch a train in the morning, it's probably simpler and cheaper to drive to Paris via the autoroute and turn in your car at the airport at the south end of Paris. I believe it's about a four or five hour drive but mostly via autoroute which you should have no problem with as a Californian.
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Old Nov 12th, 2006, 10:40 AM
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Thanks everyone. You've given me so many great ideas. The biggest problem I have right now, is that I haven't been able to get a good map and the lack of one is making research and planning virtually impossible. But hopefully I'll be able to resolve that soon. And I'm really looking forward to receiving your suggestions. It really is exciting to plan a trip and have other people help you who are amazingly knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

And, yes, I do have Stu's itineraries and have already read it twice. So thanks for all of your help already and for the help I'll be asking from you later!
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Old Dec 19th, 2006, 11:33 AM
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bookmarking
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 02:27 PM
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jamikin,

We are staying at the same place as you in May; so glad you liked it so much! Did you have any dinners there? Where do you recommend nearby to eat?

Thanks for any info. ( what room did you have?

Pat
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 03:05 PM
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Pat,
My husband and I stayed at Les Granges Hautes in July 2004 and loved it, too. And we did have dinner there, which was wonderful. Beatrice and Jean-Yves are truly warm and gracious hosts, and serve excellent meals (at a very reasonable price, too).

We stayed in the room named Toscane, and it was more spacious than appeared on the website, and very comfortable.

All in all, I can't speak highly enough about Les Granges Hautes. It is well-situated to tour, and is such a beautiful place to relax in as well.

Paule
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 05:12 PM
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thanks progol, that is the same room that we have; looking forward to eating there too!

It never comes soon enough does it

Pat
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