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Sarlat drive to St Remy-- over one day or two?

Sarlat drive to St Remy-- over one day or two?

Jan 12th, 2011, 02:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4,384
Sarlat drive to St Remy-- over one day or two?

The dilemma, based partly on limited time, partly on the Sat to Sat rental periods:

We (Mom and adult daughter) have a flat until Saturday a.m. June 4 in Sarlat.
Our next rental starts Saturday p.m. June 4 in St Remy.

Carcassonne seems a good point at which to either stretch our legs /walk for a couple hours (assuming we do the Sarlat to St Remy trip in one day) or to spend the night (assuming we break up the trip with an overnight stay in Carcassonne).

We have never been to Sarlat, and would like to maximize our already limited time there. But we don't like long days of driving either. : 3 plus hours to Carcassonne--stop --followed by 2.5 hours to St Remy.

Should we decrease # of nights in Sarlat from 5 to 4, leaving for Carcassonne Friday June 3, staying overnight in Carcassonne, then heading up to St Remy Saturday afternoon June 4? (It's not too late to make the change with the flat rental company). Would you recommend someplace else for an overnight stop, if we chose that option?

There is a market on Sat a.m. in Carcassonne. Thoughts on it as a "must see" vs other markets we'll have or will be visiting in Dordogne and Provence. I am aware it is not in the "old" part of town.

Traffic heading down to the sea...it will be a weekend. If we wait 'til Saturday a.m. to head to Carcassonne, should we anticipate loads of French city folk heading to Narbonne area? Would we encounter this Friday late afternoon also?

There look to be interesting stops on way from Carcassonne to St Remy (e.g. a seaside town; Nimes)--stops we'd be more hesitant to make they came toward end of a driving day. I know we can drive down later fro St Remy too.

I hope this isnt too "all over the map" with questions! Thank in advance for your help and advice!!!
CaliNurse is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 02:18 PM
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Just visit Carcassonne as a stop in between. I would never want to spend 2 days getting from Sarlat to St Remy - and all I have really seen in that period is Carcassonne.

There should not be that much traffic on June 4. We are almost always in that region on June 4, and the traffic has never been bad then. The horrible traffic jams you have probably heard about are north to south routes - primarily from Paris. They don't start until 1 or 2 weeks later anyway.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 02:19 PM
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"it will be a weekend."

It will be a long week-end : June 2 is Ascension Day and many people will take Thursday off. The worst of traffic will be on Wednesday evening, Thursday morning and Sunday afternoon.
Friday and Saturday should be relatively OK.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 02:20 PM
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We did the opposite drive in Oct 2006 and it was fine. Its long, but almost all on the autoroute. It will take a good part of the day, but I wouldnt want to spend 2 days doing the drive either.
jamikins is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 03:28 PM
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I LOVE taking two days to get from the Périgord to St-Rémy, and have done it many times. I absolutely hate that autoroute drive, but maybe that's because I've had to do it dozens of times.

I much prefer to go the long way, through Figeac and Rodez and Millau. But if you're dead set on going to Carcassonne, that won't work.

I wouldn't even bother with the market in Carcassonne. There's a good one in Rodez that I believe is on Saturday, though (I need to check that - it's been a few years).
StCirq is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 04:48 PM
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Highly recommend the route through Figeac and Millau - with the new 'Viaduc de Millau. http://www.abelard.org/france/viaduct-de-millau.php.

But then I don't like Carcassonne. If you do take the autoroute I'do it in one day, stop at the 'Aire' - parking spot, lay-by, just opposite 'la cite' It gives you the best view of the old town, and that's always as much as we want.
Carlux is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 06:16 PM
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Carlux & StCirq - would you recommend a 2 day trip at the expense of a first-timer reducing her time in the Dorodgne from 5 days to 4 days?

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 07:29 PM
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Well I would think she should spend as much time in the Dordogne as possible - I would maximize the time there and take a day out of the St Remy end.

But then I don't think 5 days is anywhere near enough in the Dordogne. I would spend the whole time there. Of course I'm prejudiced, since I live there. (Except this winter when we are uncomfortably close to flooding in Australia.)
Carlux is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 08:08 PM
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Well, as Stu and I just emailed, no, two days' trip at the expense of reducing 5 days in the Périgord to 4 is probably not a good idea. Take the hair-raising autoroute and zoom from location 1 to location 2.

I would take a day away from the St-Rémy location in any event. I think the Périgord is far more interesting.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 12:41 AM
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Cali -

This is a tough call. I agree with Carlux, et al, that the route through Rodez and the Millau bridge is more pleasant than the autoroute. We did the reverse last October and stayed overnight in Rodez. It's an OK town and the market Saturday morning wasn't bad, though nothing special.

But then again, if you've never been to Carcassone, you should really consider that. You could easily leave mid-late afternoon from Sarlat (so maximizing your time there) and then get to Carcassone when the crowds are thinning out early evening. Stay right in the Cité and enjoy it at night when it's really quite magical - even for an old, slightly jaded bugger like me !

Can't comment on the Sat market there, but why not instead get an early start and break up the boring autoroute drive with a stop in Aigues-Mortes in the Camargues. That will give you the Medieval "tri-fecta" (Sarlat, Carcassone and Aigues-Mortes) - let you get a glimpse of the Camargues (which is truly a world apart) and get you to your St. Remy rental comfortably by late afternoon without having exhausted yourself with an all-day drive.

kevin_widrow is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 07:20 AM
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We did the St. Remy to Sarlat drive in one day going up and two days (spending the afternoon and night in Carcassonne) on the way back in June. On the way to Sarlat we took the E11/A75 highway that includes the spectacular suspension bridge at Millau. The road had great scenery with cliffs and bluffs as we ascended from the coastal plain. We then took smaller roads and visited the Gouffre de Padirac, caverns that you go through on a small boat in an underground river, and did a quick stop in Rocamadour before going to Sarlat. I think it took about 8 or 10 hours with all our stops. We liked Sarlat and the area around there better than Carcassone (sort of Disneylandish), so if you are pressed for time, I'd do the drive in one day and skip Carcassone.
57BelAir is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 09:37 AM
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In September we drove from Caromb (near Carpentras) to Beynac in one day. It was a full, boring day but not difficult at all......took the autoroute to shorten drive.
We had Saturday to Saturday rentals and preferred not to stop for the night.
Judy is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 01:38 PM
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Thank you! Merci beacoup, beaucoup, to all, for for your comments. I am so grateful for the advice and opinions

Will write more later, as have some questions for all who have replied, to further clarify some points. (Am i getting too compulsive!)

For now.. to those who DO recommend a stop in Carcassonne--did you feel it was still worth given that you'd already been to and in Sarlat and other Dordogne towns and villages? (BTW, Kevin, I adore old, slightly jaded buggers!)

I will look into the Aigues-Mort suggestion.

thanks again! A bientot! (gtg work now--to pay for this trip!)
CaliNurse is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 02:06 PM
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Carcassonne isn't remotely comparable to Dordogne towns and villages. It's been a fortified hilltop settlement since about 100 BC. It's huge. There's nothing like it in the Dordogne. Also, I think if you go there without knowing its history, you're more likely to focus on the trivialities - the crowds, the souvenir shops, etc. - and come away just thinking you've been to an enormous castle, when there is much more to it. And yes, some say Violet-le-Duc's massive restoration wasn't entirely faithful, but it's still faithful enough to get a sense of how the place functioned through the ages.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 02:10 PM
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>>>did you feel it was still worth given that you'd already been to and in Sarlat and other Dordogne towns and villages?<<

Yep - it is totally different from Satlat & other villages. However, I would just plan for a 2-3 hr visit as a stop on the way from Sarlat to St Remy.

If you walk through Sarlat at night before or after dinner, I don't think you will gain anything by being in Carcassonne at night & losing time in the Dordogne.

We've visited Carcassonne twice.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 02:16 PM
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Hi Calinurse

There is always so much to plan but exciting too!

We did the drive to Sarlat from The Luberon. Its funny I looked up all possible stops along the way but we didn't take any of them. We did the autoroute way and even for Aussies found it quite easy. Not that interesting but easy. We actually just stopped at the road stops, had something to eat stretched our legs. We did this a couple of times.

I am in favour of not cutting your stay in Sarlat short and doing the change of location in 1 day. There are lots of markets and beautiful sights in Provence. Get there and unpack and relax, enjoy!
aussie_10 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 02:30 PM
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Ok, near the final decison, but need to ask one more thing.

Aussie, Stu, Carlux, Kevin, St Cirq, BelAir, Jami, pVoyageuse , as you are all familiar wtih Sarlat: Are the old buildings lit at night, or can you at least see them via street lamps?

Night time magic of Carcassonne, as mentioned by Kevin and seen in many photos, with illuminated bldgs, is a big draw. On the other hand, is Stu's advice:

"If you walk through Sarlat at night before or after dinner, I don't think you will gain anything by being in Carcassonne at night & losing time in the Dordogne."

We'll be doing lots of that, as our flat is right in the old part of town. (Here's the link, if interested):

Again, many many thanks to you all, for your time and thoughts.
CaliNurse is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 03:37 PM
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CaliNurse: Parts of Sarlat are lit by night, and it's enchanting to wander through the village. I'm not sure there is a plan for lighting everything. It's easy to go from a well-lit street to a small courtyard with no lights at all. Your area is great for wandering. By the name, I am assuming your gite is at the Presidial. We were about thirty yards away at the Gite du Coq last summer, and we dined at the Presidial a couple of times during our week in Sarlat.

If you're looking for a fun market experience, try Le Bugue (easy drive from Sarlat) on Tuesday. I haven't been to the Carcassone market, so I can't comment on that. We have been to Carcassone, and it's certainly worth exploring for part of a day. We''ve not been there at night, but I don't think it would have the intimacy of Sarlat. A fun read before your travels might be The Caves of Perigord by Martin Walker, which is set in the Dordogne around Le Bugue, Les Eyzies, etc. We read it after we returned from the Dordogne last summer and had fun identifying places we'd been.
Midnightsun is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 03:41 PM
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Calinurse - Sarlat is indeed lit at night in a beautiful surreal yellow glow arround the beautiful medieval buildings. Lovely to wander at night, after a delicious meal. If I was quick and clever enough I could send you a picture, but I'm sure if you googled it there would be lots of pictures.

I'm envious!
aussie_10 is offline  

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