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Questions about the Dordorgne in March

Old Feb 15th, 2012, 10:00 AM
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Questions about the Dordorgne in March

We are going to the Dordorgne this March. We have a few questions-mostly about restaurants. We are staying in an apartment in Sarlat but will have at least one meal a day out. At this point I am figuring some will be lunches while we are touring since opening hours and daylight hours are shorter now. Dining out is one of our major joys in traveling to France. We are adventuresome eaters and enjoy trying new wines.

First we are taking the train from Paris to Brive and of course arrive at 1PM. The car rental place is closed until 2PM. Is there a decent restaurant within walking distance (walking with roller bags!) of the train station in Brive? Also on the drive from Brive where is there a grocery store where we can obtain provisions for the apartment?

One day we are planning on going to the Prehistory museum in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac. The restaurants I have seen mentioned are not open at this time of year. The only two I see that are open are Le Cro Magnon (sounds tacky but we are game) or La Metairie. Any information on these two or another suggestion?

We are planning to go to Les Jardins de Marqueyssac and Les Jardins d'Eyrignac. We understand they won't be at their best at this time of year but is it best to skip them now and plan a trip in the growing season.

Several of the restaurants we see are open in Sarlat are: Le Grand Bleu, Les Peyrouses, Le Quatre Saisons and Rossignol. Probably we will have two night for dinner in Sarlat-one being Saturday evening. Which of these should we not miss?

On the tours we are planning we will have lunch in Le Roque-Gageac or Domme. The restaurants that are open there are : Auberge La Plume D'Oie, Le Perigord and Les Pres Galliardou and L'Esplanade or Cabanoix et Chataigue. Best picks among these restaurants?

One place that we are planning on going to is La Gabarre in Saint-Julien-de-Lampon.

We are planning on going to Lascoux II and writing to Font de Gaume to try to get an English tour there. Unfortunately Pech-Merle is closed at this time of year. Any others that should not be missed?

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Old Feb 15th, 2012, 11:58 AM
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There are restaurants near the train station, but if willing to walk (all down hill), you'll have a better choice on the circular road just before the old town (I suspect that it replaces the remparts that disappeared a long time ago). Follow the main street down and then turn right on that main street.

We always take our guests to Rouffignac but the tours are exclusively in French.
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Old Feb 15th, 2012, 12:11 PM
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My favorite restaurant in Les Eyzies is Le Moulin de la Beune. It's always been open in March when I've been there, and it's a hotel as well, so I'd be surprised if it's closed. Le Cro Magnon is a dive. La Metairie is in Mauzac, nearby, but not in, Les Eyzies.

La Plume d'Oie in La Roque-Gageac is a good choice; so is La Belle Etoile.

In Domme, l'Esplanade is great.

I almost never dine in Sarlat, so will leave that to others.

In addition to Font de Gaume, you might want to visit Les Combarelles, right up the street. And be sure to visit La Roque St-Christophe.

I wouldn't expect much to be going on at the garden sites in March.
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Old Feb 15th, 2012, 01:09 PM
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I recommend Le Grand Bleu near the Sarlat RR station.
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Old Feb 15th, 2012, 03:01 PM
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Thanks for the response.

St Cirq- Le Moulin is open and looks gorgeous. Thanks
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Old Feb 15th, 2012, 07:51 PM
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You're welcome, AGM. Have the risotto -OH SO GOOD!
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Old Feb 15th, 2012, 09:23 PM
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Have you thought about visiting Gouffre de Proumeyssac (beautiful caves) instead of the gardens at this time of year? Also Rocamadour is very interesting. If you head about half an hour south of Sarlat, over the river, you can go to a really interesting one-Michelin-star resto called L'Etincelles in the tiny village of Ste Sabine Born. A really adventurous chef, with a chambre d'hote in a lovely setting. Also, if you venture to Bergerac, L'Imparfait is excellent.
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Old Feb 17th, 2012, 06:33 AM
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Rocamadour is on the list. We will look for L'Eetincelles as well. Thanks.
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Old Feb 17th, 2012, 06:40 AM
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Old Feb 17th, 2012, 08:51 AM
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Regarding Sarlat restaurants, you have quite a mixture. We like the Rossignol, because it's good honest food at a reasonable price. No ambiance at all though.

Le Grand Bleu is a Michelin one star. More expensive, but certainly a completely different experience.

Le Quatre Saisons. DOnt know what to say about this. It changed hands last year, and so if you have read reviews, they may be old. Their web site is unhelpful

Definitely go to La Gabarre in St Julien. We are currently in Cape Town, where there are lots of good restaurants, but we're starting to think longingly of being home in France, and this is one of the reasons.

Also, think about the Saint Martial if you are near Domme. It's only about 10 minutes away, and I think the food is as good as the Grand Bleu, and the Esplanade.

Like La Gabarre, it's run by a young couple who are very welcoming and has innovative food. Open in March, but closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

I see no one has responded about grocery stores. There is a very good hypermarche just out of Brive going towards Sarlat, Carrefour at exit 50 of the autoroute A20. Otherwise in Sarlat there is a smaller Carrefour on the road coming south from Montignac.

And about gardens. Both Eyrignac and Marqueyssac are formal French gardens (although Eyrignac now has more flowers, a rose garden for example) This means that most of the garden relies on structure from the buis plants which are evergreen. Certainly if you have a nice bright day you would have great views from Marqueyssac. Go right to the end, to the Belvedere and you can see right down the river.

Finally, you may well have good weather in March. We have friends who have come for 11 of the past 13 or 14, and they virtually always have sunny, bright, and often fairly warm weather. There are usually flowers blooming, flowering trees, etc. Don't know about this year after the recent cold snap, but our neighbours tell us that there are lots of buds in our garden, and so we are hoping too.
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Old Feb 17th, 2012, 09:50 AM
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treat yourself to a tin of walnut oil and chocolate covered walnuts at the 16th century Moulin-de-la-Tour in Ste-Nathalene,
from Sarlet follow the D47
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Old Feb 17th, 2012, 10:29 AM
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Carlux, thanks for the long reply. Saint-Marcel sounds very interesting and I will add it to the mix. Re the weather-from your lips to God's ear as the saying goes.

TPAYT- I PROMISE to write a trip report for you since I know you are going in Sep.

Mimi- it is on the list along with a bazillion other things. Glad you are going to Paris since you can pick up the things you asked me for yourself.
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Old Feb 17th, 2012, 11:17 AM
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your mention of the jardin d'eyrignac caught my eye, so i went to the website to refresh my memory:

you might like to note that in March they shut for lunch for two hours - so no point in turning up at 12 noon! but do go - we enjoyed it very much even though it was early april. the guide we had was a hoot - she clearly did not realise that some of her english audience spoke [some] french and that we understood when she contrasted "intelligent" well-organised french gardens with stupid english ones.

this has gone down in our family annuls and is frequently referred to when viewing the sort of garden that comprises box balls and not a lot else.

The jardin de marquayssac is much more dramatic but you want to go on a clear day so you can enjoy the views.

rosemaryoz talks about the gouffres de Proumayssac, but i was going to suggest the gouffres de padirac too - further away I think but very dramatic - you go down what seem like hundreds of steps into the chasm, then get on a boat along an underground stream finally reaching a huge cavern. after the tour you come back up to the world above in an ancient lift. however, they are shut until April 7th, so that's no use to you this time.

finally, in case you are thinking of not going, don't miss Lascaux ll. absolutely worth the trip, as michelin is wont to say.
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Old Feb 17th, 2012, 11:48 AM
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'Saint-Marcel sounds very interesting and I will add it to the mix.'

Just a note that it's Saint Martial. The restaurant is in St Martial de Nabirat
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Old Feb 18th, 2012, 08:02 PM
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AGM---I'll be waiting.

We have toured Paris, the Riviera, Provence, the Loire many times. Now we want to move on to the Dordogne and I have to say that this has brought a new "spark" to our French travels.

I have been devouring the treads on this region, and will do much more research shortly. Right now we are headed to the Turks & Caicos islands for our winter vacation. After a little sun, sand, and relaxation, I'll be ready to dig into the Dordogne. Sarlat sounds like the perfect place to base ourselves. We never would have chosen this region if it wasn't for the Fodorites trip reports.
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Old Feb 19th, 2012, 03:32 AM
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In Sarlat definitely Le Grand Bleu, a really great and relatively inexpensive (for a starred Michelin restaurant) place. We did not manage to get dinner reservations but did have a wonderful lunch on a Saturday if I remember correctly. It was definitely a highlight of our meals in our week in the Dordogne.
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Old Feb 19th, 2012, 03:39 AM
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Carlux- I have copied and pasted on my file so there at least it was Saint Martial.

TPAYT- we based in Sarlat because it is so far off season and we thought we would have the best chances of restaurants being open. I would ask on the board about what it is like in September. Since we have gotten restaurant recommendations from your trip reports I am happy to repay the favor. Have a great time on Turks & Caicos.

Flame123- I will add that to our list. thanks

We normally make reservations. Would several days be enough lead time for these restaurants?
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Old Feb 19th, 2012, 03:41 AM
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One other question about the train station in Brive- by any chance are there lockers or a checked luggage room where we could leave our bags while we go for lunch? Thanks
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