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Lynn Mar 13th, 2001 08:51 AM

Rocamadour
 
We will be staying a couple of nights near Perrigueux in April. Is it worthwhile to see Rocamadour as a day trip? Also what would be interesting in Sarlat to see? Is LascauxII or any of the caves nearby worthwhile to see?

Joe Mar 13th, 2001 09:02 AM

This is a vote for Lascaux II. I'm an archivist and tend to get a little testy around fake history - - or at least that's what my wife says. But Laxcaux II is extraordinary. There's a great reason for keeping people out of the original cave, and they've managed to create a facsimle that gives you (or me anyway) the feel of the original. I would certainly go back. The guide was especially good, by the way.

Amg Mar 13th, 2001 09:15 AM

Lynn, <BR> <BR>I agree with Joe, Lascaux II is definitly worth a visit. The tour was very well done. I would also recommend a visit to Rocamadour. We stop in the town for lunch on the way out of the Perrigueux area and wished we had given the town at least a half day. The town is very different from the others in the area. <BR> <BR>Have fun <BR>Aileen

StCirq Mar 13th, 2001 10:11 AM

While I'm never sure if it's "worth it" to answer "worth it?" questionsI'll go ahead and answer, since this is my neck of the woods. If you have only "a couiple of days" in the Périguex region, I wouldn't necessarily bother to go to Rocamadour. It's a long drive on small roads and will take you roughly an hour and a half each way (depending on where you are in relation to Périgueux). If you do go, plan a full-day's trip to include Siorac, Martel, Collonge-la-Rouge, and the Gouffre de Padirac. It'll be a very long day, but you'll be sure to have seen some "worthwhile" stuff. But you don't have to travel that far to see wonderful things near Périgueux. Lascaux II may be a reconstruction, but it will give you goosebumps. The Grotte de Font-de-Gaume is the real thing and will give you bigger goosebumps. Stop at La Roque St-Christophe and see both an astonishing rock formation and a site where innumerable civilizations have lived since perhaps as long ago as 100,000 years. There are Hundred Years' War castles to see at Beynac and Castelnaud and other sites. Visit Josephine Baker's lovely château, les Milandes. Drive through some of the country's most beautiful bastide towns, like Monpazier and Domme. Sarlat can easily consume a day. It has been so beautifully restored to its 17th and 18th-century heyday that is frequently used as a film setting. Besides the beautiful cobblestone alleys filled with shops overflowing with foie gras and confit d'oie and chocolate-dusted walnuts, there is a wealth of architectural treasures.

John Mar 13th, 2001 10:34 AM

Lynn, as usual, StCirq's suggestions are great. I might add, though (from bitter experience) that if you're planning to roar around the countryside, it's wise to keep alert to the weather and road conditions as the rivers in the Périgueux/Dordogne can get high and fast (read, flood) in the spring, and it's possible to find that you can't get there from here, if you get my meaning. Also, since France now has cases of F&M disease reported, be alert to restrictions on walks and travel in farming country.

Diane Mar 13th, 2001 11:33 AM

I agree with StCirq--particularly with regard to Gouffre de Padirac, LascauxII, Castlenaud, Beynac,and Milandes. We did not think that Rocamandour was worth the time it took to get there. I was disappointed, it seemed to be nothing but a tourist trap filled with souvenir shops.

kalena Mar 13th, 2001 12:02 PM

We were in Dordogne for a week in april, and off-season as it was, Rocamadour was not overrun with people. In fact, we had it largely to ourselves. <BR> <BR>To me a highlight of our visit to Rocamadour was rounding a corner and finding Henri Cartier-Bresson's famed "steps". <BR> <BR>StCirq you are so lucky to know the Dordogne well. We fell in love with the area, especially Sarlat.

elvira Mar 13th, 2001 12:25 PM

St Cirq, now I'm missing one of the most beautiful places in France, and maybe the world! <BR> <BR>We loved Rocamadour, but we happened to be there on a day when there was a hot air balloon festival, and in early October when the crowds weren't shoulder to shoulder (still a lot of people, though); with only a couple of days to spend, I'd agree with everyone and skip it. <BR> <BR>Have you seen the book "the Most Beautiful Villages in the Dordogne"? <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR>

carol Mar 13th, 2001 12:36 PM

Take every piece of St. Cirq's advice, you won't regret it. The Dordogne is one of the loveliest parts of France. Don't leave without having the foie gras, the confit, and the walnuts!!!

kalena Mar 13th, 2001 12:47 PM

Now I'm in a Dordogne reverie....Thank you all:) The bastide towns and Domme especially are incredibly beautiful in the late afternoon and early morning light. We would love to return. Have a wonderful trip! <BR>Aloha, <BR>k

Nano Mar 13th, 2001 01:18 PM

Ooh la la. I could read your Dordodgne posts all day. We'll be there in 3 short months. I'd like to know if tickets for the caves need to be purchased in advance or when you arrive? Are there good and bad times/days to go? Does anyone have great restaurant recommendations? We'll be staying in Domme. Keep on reminiscing. I love reading it all.

StCirq Mar 13th, 2001 01:25 PM

John: You're quite right about flooding. There were terrible floods about 4-5 years ago, and I will never forget crossing the bridge at Lalinde over a swollen and raging river and realizing that an enormous uprooted tree was heading straight for me. It hit the side of the bridge just after I passed, and though it probably wouldn't have done much damage, it took my breath away. <BR> <BR>Diana:Rocamadour is not among my favorite places in the area, but it is much more affecting when it's not tourist season. And I always remind myself when visiting pilgrimage sites like that that things really weren't so very different in the Middle Ages. There were plenty of vendors hawking cheap trinkets to th pilgrims, and plenty of cheap watering holes serving mediocre food back then, too. <BR> <BR>Elvira: Yes, I have the book "Most Beautiful Villages of the Dordogne." And I take it out and look at it when I've been on the "wrong" side of the ocean for too long. <BR> <BR>But now I'm only two weeks from returning, and I can hardly wait! <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR>

StCirq Mar 13th, 2001 02:09 PM

Nano: You do need to purchase tickets for the main caves in advance, especially in summer. The Grotte de Font-de-Gaume limits the number of people who can visit, and Lascaux II just gets so many visitors they can't handle on-the-spot visitors very often. Here's a website where you can make reservations: http://www.arachnis.asso.fr/DORDOGNE...m#reservations <BR> <BR>There are plenty of lesser prehistoric sites where you won't need a reservation, some of the best being Combarelles, Bara-Bahau, Rouffignac, Cap Blanc, La ROque St-Christophe, and Le Village Troglodytique de la Madeleine. <BR> <BR>As for restaurants, it's hard to find bad food inthe Périgord, but here are some of our favorite places: La Belle Etoile in La Roque-Gageac, Le Relais des Cinq Châteux in Vézac,La Bastide in Monpazier, Le Tournepique in Castelnaud, Le Bois Safran in Audrix, l'Esplanade in Domme, La Plume d'Oie in La Roque-Gageac, La Métairie near Meyrals on the road between Les Eyzies and Sarlat, Le Vieux Moulin in Les Eyzies, Les Fontenilles in le Bugue. These range from inexpensive to moderate, with the Esplanade in Domme probably being the most expensive, but still hardly a bank-buster. Someone else also recently suggested La Borderie in Tamniès, which I haven't tried but may head to in April when I"m back there.

John Mar 13th, 2001 02:28 PM

Lord, you've got me going too, now. One of the most memorable meals in this lifetime was at the restaurant at Hotel La Couleuvrine in Sarlat on a rainy April night. One of those experiences etched...you get it. Go, eat, love... <BR>


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