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Schnauzer, live from Paris, Lyon, Nice, Averyon and Dordogne, join me

Schnauzer, live from Paris, Lyon, Nice, Averyon and Dordogne, join me

Old Jul 4th, 2013, 08:20 AM
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Enjoying it very much.
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Old Jul 4th, 2013, 11:30 AM
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Are you staying at Les Cordeliers? The description makes me think it could be...Our group stayed there in '11 and we are returning in September.

I have enjoyed reading about your time spent in the Aveyron, also, as we will start our trip there.

Enjoy!!
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Old Jul 4th, 2013, 12:53 PM
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No, schnauzer, I'm not in France at the moment, unfortunately.

Glad you are enjoying Sarlat. Was the "potato bake" the tartiflette at Chez les Gaulois? It didn't have that yummy ham in it?

The tourist office does nice walking tours of the town, by the way. Enjoy the rest of your stay!
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Old Jul 4th, 2013, 09:38 PM
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Kansas I am staying at Le Jardin, it is a lovely B and B about 5 mins walk from the old town, in fact I walk past Les Cordiliers ever time I go into town! It does look very nice, but what is the parking like? Do you have a car when you stay?

St Cirq, can't remember if you actually live in St Cirq anymore, but I drove there yesterday as a kind of pilgrimage to you! I also spied a lovely looking chateau in the distance before I turned to St Cirq and turned left to try and find it, but couldn't of course. Instead I found Petit Paris.... and then did a loop around ended up in Le Bugue and came back around again to St Cirq. It was a pretty drive anyway. I thought Campagne looked particularly pleasant but wasn't so taken with Tamnies, however had a wander around St Genie and loved it because it was alive..... There were kids at playtime in the school, the village had life when so many others almost appear deserted.

Schnauzer

I did quite a lot of cross country driving yesterday from St Genie to St Leon via Tamnies.
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 05:04 AM
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I'm still here, schnauzer, and your report is not even remotely pedestrian. I'm enjoying every minute of it - keep it up!
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 05:44 AM
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Sighing for new places! More please.
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 06:20 AM
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4th July Thursday

Started the day with a huge breakfast, even a cooked selection this morning so had scrambled eggs on toast which made a pleasant change to just bread and pastry. It was a bit of a slower start this morning, I was so tired I couldn't get going and finally got in the car at 10.45, tut tut. The Gardens of Eyrignac were first on the agenda, I felt like doing something different today and a gently stroll around some gardens fitted the bill. They were only 20 mins away but somehow Feef got confused and we took 35.

I am finding the GPS doesn't like abreviated names or names staring with St. Anything, anyway soon I was approaching the gardens through a delightful wooded area and was pleased to find there weren't many other cars. The house and gardens have been in the same family for nearly 500 years; the current owner's father having done most of the garden work and design. Obviously very wealthy as well as a visionary. The gardens were truly spectacular and a testament to the French's love of control. They still hand clip everything and I witnessed one gardener chopping away. The day was perfect really, not sunny but warm enough with a bit of cloud cover. I made sure I walked around every single part of the garden, it was lovely to see the clipped topiary and then turn a corner and find a meadow full of wild flowers. Now as for the house I could move in tomorrow, and if that wasn't available then the caretaker's cottage looked ok by me as well, heck even the out buildings looked alright.

I partook of a coffee on the terrace before having a schnauzer fix in the courtyard area, two lovely old schnauzers similar in ages to mine were just waiting to be patted.... Had a good chat to the owners. It is a bit like being in the Yorkshire Dales around here, both B and B owners are from Yorkshire, so were the guests, these people as well, in fact I haven't heard any other accent but Yorkshire....

I have never been to the western side of this area so headed cross country to St Leon via St Genies which I thought utterly charming. The young school children were having their break and the sound of kids playing and laughing made the village come alive and seem 'real'. So many of the villages are deserted when you drive through, very pretty, but not a soul around. I can certainly see the appeal of St G. I cut right across country using the tiniest of roads sometimes wondering if Fifi was having a lend of me, I know I said I wanted back roads but some of these roads were hardly wider than a footpath, but no, this was the way... My destination was La Roque St Christophe a troglodyte settlement from 55,000 years ago.

This was actually the busiest I have seen anywhere on my trip but it wasn't crowded and was very interesting. The settlement was over 5 levels cut into these huge rock faces. You walk along and they have displays/reenactments set up for you to see what it would have been like. I thought it was very well done but couldn't imagine living the same way.....I would keep knocking my head on the dead rabbits hanging from the ceiling knowing me.

The formal visits done for the day and all that was left was to meander back to the B and B. I had left it too late in the day to have a good look around Les Eyzies, I just wasn't up to more wandering around towns, shame because it did look very pretty. I am trying not to buy 'stuff' as my case is full already and I don't want to be struggling with a case I can't lift, so walking around all these cute shops is just asking for trouble, I don't need anything, don't want anything and all it does it put temptation in my way. So I did a circuit to St Cirq, However before I got there I saw a lovely looking chateau in the distance, only part of it but my interest was piqued and I headed off to see if I could find it. No luck of course, the road veered off and I never saw it again. The roads were so narrow I decided against a U turn so kept going and ended up in a reasonably large town called Le Bugue, fortunately I came in the back entrance as it were because I managed to go around a roundabout in the wrong direction! Well, it was a strange looking roundabout, zero markings and well, ok, I got it wrong... The first mistake so far. Fortunately no one was around to see my mistake and off I went again to St Cirq.

Got on to the main road this time and drove straight to Sarlat with only one mini detour via Chateau Puymartin. I didn't go in but I had looked at it years ago for accommodation and was interested to just have a drive by.

It was happy hour at the B and B and I had a glass of wine with my fellow Aussie guests and another English couple on the front terrace. The Aussies then got out some nibbles they had bought at the market and we tucked in. Lovely saucisson and dips and marinated garlic. I wanted to try the restaurant they they had been to the night before so left them still nibbling and walked into town. Unlike french big cities the locals eat very early but the restaurant I had wanted was closed for some strange reason. I went over the road to the second choice Le Petit Borie ( or was it La) and had the set menu. It was fine but didn't set the world on fire. I had the local specialities but wasn't overly excited by the meal. There was some street theatre going on so I stood and watched a mime show with lots of audience participation which was very funny.

Back to the B and B for another chat as everyone, owners as well were sitting on the terrace again. The B and B encourage socialising and that was one of the reasons I chose it. Finally it was bed time...
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 06:28 AM
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Enjoying your excellent report, reliving places we've been and taking notes on new places to visit. I especially liked your take on Lyon as it is on our list for the future.
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 07:48 AM
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Am loving your report!! Although I have never visited any of the places, I envision what they must look like by your descriptions. I'm especially interested in your experiences as a solo driver - something I have wanted to do, but have not mustered the courage. I think I'd be okay on the backroads; it's getting in and out of the cities/towns that has me concerned. Looking forward to your next adventures.
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 08:05 AM
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schnauzer, I am surrounded by big and small châteaux - don't know which you saw. Could be the big one from the road from Le Bugue to St-Cirq, could be the small one next door, or the other big one just below my property. But yes, the roads are tiny and twisty, and if you do manage to get up and over the one that goes by/over my house, you end up way the hell up in the hills by the goat cheese farm and the beekeeper, and you wind around and then drop down into Le Bugue, which is *my* town. It's beautiful, though, isn't it? Did you go by the Grotte du Sorcier? That's right next to my house...well, 30 meters away from the driveway.

Baglady, there is nothing to fear in driving around the Dordogne. It's twisty roads, that's all, so you have to pay attention, but I am FAR more apprehensive on any American road. Getting in and out of the cities just requires patience.
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 12:49 PM
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Will answer bag lady tomorrow...late now.


5th July Friday

Last day in the beautiful Dordogne, boo hoo. It was a scorcher today, over 30o, just fabulous. Sunny weather meant a morning on the water to feel cool so whizzed into Beynac and parked the car right by the river. The roads are starting to get crowded around Sarlat and it took me a while to get onto the main road, I would just hate to see it in a couple of weeks... I parked right next to the boat departure point and a tour/boat was leaving in 2mins, in fact they waited for me to heave my now larger rear end on board and away we drifted. The is 100 year war central station and to see Beynac Castle on the cliff side as we set off was just amazing with of course Castelnaud on the other side, both glaring at each other. The commentary was in french and I got some of it but the rather cute young man did come up to 'us English speaking' and translate. I had asked for some English info not long after we had got on and he apologised for not handing it to me earlier as he thought I was french.. All I said was bonjour but it was a good bonjour.....

We meandered down the beautiful river dodging the many canoeists and oohing and aahing at the other two chateaux along the way. I just loved the private one owned by the Texans as a holiday home....as you do! Too soon we had to turn around and head back. I had a short walk around the town and as usual chose the path with no one else! Getting smart now, I ducked into the patisserie to grab a roll and drink for lunch as my next stop was Marqueyssac gardens and I hoped to have my lunch there under a tree or bush or something.

The gardens were all of five mins away and I drove right up to the entrance, as my friend Susie says always drive to where you want to be and then work back. Well didn't need to go anywhere as there was a spot right there with my name on it. These gardens are very different to yesterday but equally as enjoyable, in fact if you have children it was ideal as there great long windy paths, play areas and cubby houses etc. I of course had to walk every square foot and struggled with standing next to the fence at the Belvedere lookout point. My nerves weren't helped by a toddler standing by himself right at the edge, dad was just very casual but my heart was racing. We were 132metres ( I think) up in the air on this overhang.....hold onto him for goodness sake......I then found a picnic spot and munched away on my baguette. There wasn't much to see in the chateau, it isn't occupied and there was really only a couple of furnished rooms. However I did see the resident peacock so that was a bonus. The main feature of these gardens are the sculptured box hedges which are beyond description really, they almost look like they have taken on a life of their own.

Promising myself that I wasn't going to drive around the countryside again I followed the river passing La Roque-Gageac and ending up in Carlux for a sticky beak. I hadn't really seen Sarlat during the day so thought I best get back and get organised and head back into town. But by the time I had packed, showered and put petrol in the car, programmed the GPS it was now gone 6pm hardly much time at all. There was no one else at the B and B so no drinkies tonight. After a gentle stroll around town I looked and found Le Tourney was open tonight and I sat next to a couple from - yes, Yorkshire! there can't be any of them left back in the old country.

I had a much better meal tonight and just as I was finishing the Aussie couple from the B and B turned up. They took the Yorkshire's seats and I stayed chatting for a while. No, they did ask me to stay, I wasn't imposing, I hope.

Up early tomorrow to catch the train from Brive back to Paris at 9.00am so must get to bed.

I will do my thoughts of France tomorrow....now ain't that a great treat to look forward to?
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 12:51 PM
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I am continuing to enjoy your TR, Schnauzer. We missed Le Jardin d'Eyrignac last time, and definitely have it on our list this year. And as for parking for Les Cordeliers, there is a public lot down the street and up a hill. We always found a place there, and felt safe leaving our cars there.

Your B and B sounds delightful!
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 01:08 PM
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Oh, such a short time in the Périgord, but you made the most of it. Must come back, though, no?

I can't wait to be back next fall.
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Old Jul 6th, 2013, 12:22 PM
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St Cirq, I know, I somehow mucked it up a bit with only two full days, fortunately it wasn't my first time and it won't be the last either!

Baglady, if you do pluck up courage, first get a GPS as well as having good maps as the GPS doesn't show the big picture which is VERY important. Also I would get as close to your first countryside destination as you can by train and then pick up the car there. Big cities are not good! I ended up in Paris but caught the train from Brive, no way would I drive in Paris. A lot of the car hire places have odd opening hours which does affect the planning, you need to really take note of them before you make your other travel plans, this is essential. Hope this helps.... Also you don't want to have time constraints as this puts pressure on you.


6th July Saturday

After a disturbed night, of course... It was really hot to start and then it dropped about 10 degrees in the night, I woke early and had a little bit of breakfast before making my final trip with the red machine and Fifi. The Avis drop off point was right outside the railway station in Brive which was an hour north east of Sarlat. Fifi did pretty well but I felt like I was having 6 months of menopause during that one hour - hot, cold, hot, cold, A/C up A/C down, this time there was a time constraint but I settled myself by saying, hey, if something goes wrong there is another train in a few hours, my plane isn't until tomorrow so just relax. I found the GPS aka Fifi doesn't take into account some of the smaller exits at roundabouts, so she will say take the first exit and being literal I will follow blithely but it leads to the recycling depot or some such other weird place. So I learnt to follow my instincts a bit more and I arrived an hour later, however she did send me left instead of right at the last gasp. But fortunately I could do a u turn, only to discover that 90% of the road had been dug up and there wasn't much parking. Someone was looking out for me and I squeezed into the last remaining spot, than goodness I had hired a roller skate otherwise I would have been stuffed. The key drop off for Avis was at the La France hotel right in front of the station, so that was easy at least. I had plenty of time so had a coffee, I really didn't need anymore stimulation but a herb tea wasn't on the menu. They also did breakfast so I would have been better having my brekkie there as the B and B charged 8 euro for breakfast which I thought was a bit rich for a bowl of cereal and tea. Normally it was a full breakfast but they had got up extra early to help me out so I can't complain.

Just a note on the B and B... It was Le Jardin run by a really friendly English couple, you felt like you were friends staying in their house, they couldn't have been more kind and welcoming. It was only a five minute walk into Sarlat with free if a bit tricky parking right outside.

Caught the train without issue, the seat numbers are lit up and can be altered as necessary, so 34 and 35 were in front of my 22, just a tad confusing but they must have a reason known only to them.

So after some serious deep breathing I am settled in my seat typing away, catching glimpses of the luxurious french countryside as we zoom along. So, is the love affair over? Have I "done" France now? Absolutely NOT.... Had I encountered days and days of rain perhaps my feelings might be different but with day after day of sun and everything looking so lush and green (due to the days of rain before I got here!) I still feel totally enamoured with France. I know I live in Paradise in Sydney and before this trip thought nah... Why would I want to leave it for any length of time but I just love France, the language, the history, the food, the countryside. Yes, I know I am seeing it as a tourist but some time in the future I would like to stay for an extended period but only if friends and family promise to come and stay with me otherwise it would be very difficult I know.

So there are the thoughts at this moment in time but who knows what the future will bring. All I have now is the last few hours in Paris. I haven't bought much at all but my bag seems to weigh a tonne, I don't know why. So I am reluctant to hit the sales in Paris, mind you I haven't any money left either... travelling as one is expensive and there is just so many times you can top up the travel card!!

I took a taxi from the train station to the hotel, it wasn't far but I treated myself. The hotel is fine and the staff very helpful and friendly. I am staying at the Hotel Paris Bastille on rue de Lyon. I had checked it out with Denise when I was first in Paris and was a bit concerned about the homeless people's camp right opposite. I did do some more research on the net but as I was coming into Gare d'Austerlitz and leaving from Gare de Lyon the location was ideal so I kept the booking. The room is a good size as is the bathroom and very clean.

I dumped the case and took off on foot to see whether my Rayure shop really had gone cos according to the net it was still there, but no luck. Well and truly gone, oh well no room in my case and no money so that is ok. It was the last day of the Haute Couture expo at the Hotel de Ville and I really wanted to see it but so did everyone else and the queue was really, really long. Okay, open until 7pm so I shall come back later. I wanted to look at door knockers in BHV and certainly found one I liked in vert de gris but it was way beyond my budget, dang... They had two walls of door handles in all shapes, colours and sizes, a decorators dream come true but they also knew how to charge for the ones I liked - about $50 each! I bought a ceramic number for my house and went and checked out the queue again, just the same if not longer. I found the BHV pet shop and bought my girl a new collar, pink with black dots and a snazzy silver buckle. My boy has a very cool Harley Davidson collar and I couldn't find anything as good to replace his, so he missed out.

I haven't really bought much for my son so went to look in BHV Homme to see what I could find in the sales. I went around and around all four floors but so much of it wasn't made in France or was rubbish or designer and I wasn't going there! I even thought if I spent enough time I might attract a bloke or two but I didn't have any luck in that direction either. The queue was even longer now and time was running out as it was closing in just over an hour so unfortunately I headed off to Ile de la Cite, maybe sitting on a park bench at the pointy end of Ile de la Cite might bring me better luck with picking some poor bloke up. By this stage my feet were hurting again, I haven't been walking as far obviously these past two weeks but with the walking at the garden yesterday and all the walking today I felt like I was back to square one. I thought about joining all the young ones lying on the grass in the sun as it looked so good but as I looked closer of course the grass was all covered in butts so that put me off straight away.

I had a couple of restaurants on my list, one a rerun and one new on Ile St Louie so I caught a 67 bus which dropped me right between the two. Both I decided were too empty and dark at this time. I kept walking and found Cafe Med which was humming, mostly tourist but at least it had life. I had the set menu and a kir to celebrate my last evening. The service was good and the food fine maybe the chicken curry wasnt the smartest choice but i fancied something different to duck and the usual fare. The company next to me left a bit to be desired - an American duo from the airlines who didn't draw breath the whole time and I thought I could talk!

I had a lovely walk back to the Bastille up Bld Henri IV an area I haven't walked before. So my last full day today, I notice there is local market on Bld Lenoir tomorrow so may go and check that out first thing. My flight is at 8.00pm and I am catching the Air France bus to the airport from Gare de Lyon, another first for me.

I am going to try and work out a photo album thing when I get home for anyone interested, I don't know how to do it from the iPad.

Just an addition re filling car up with gazole in Sarlat... I am glad I filled up the night before when the cashier was at her station as my card with chip didn't work at the auto pump. At Carrefour just outside of sarlat there are auto pumps as well as normal pumps, those closest to the cashier booth, neither of which are signposted or obvious are the non auto. The cashier goes home at 6pm and doesn't open till 9 in the morning.

Schnauzer
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Old Jul 6th, 2013, 12:42 PM
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Loved your report!

Just curious, if you had to choose between returning to Provence or the Dordogne which one would it be?

We're planning 2 weeks to France at the end of October. One week we'll revisit Paris and trying to decide between the second week in Provence or the Dordogne--never been to either.
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Old Jul 6th, 2013, 01:24 PM
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Hmm, difficult choice...... Wouldn't like to say, both so different and both so gorgeous. Have a squiz at some photos of both places and see which ones take your fancy. I also liked Aveyron but the Dordogne is more WOW if you haven't yet been. Provence may be warmer at that time of year.... Who knows with the current weather patterns!

Schnauzer
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Old Jul 6th, 2013, 01:41 PM
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Sorry to see this TR nearing the end. Very enjoyable.
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Old Jul 6th, 2013, 02:42 PM
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Loving your trip report, Schnauzer! I always enjoy reading about France.
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Old Jul 6th, 2013, 05:50 PM
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Thanks for the words of encouragement Schnauzer and StCirq. If I do bite the bullet, I'll be sure to do a TR! Have you ever driven a car solo in Italy? I'd really like to do so in either country.

Your TR was very informative and humourous. Sorry your trip is over, but now you can start planning your next one!
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Old Jul 7th, 2013, 09:05 AM
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Schnauser, is this the correct web address for the apartments in Lyon: http://www.lalogedesavocats.com/

I could not get the address that you mentioned to work.

Thanks a bunch. Loving your report and looking forward to returning to France.
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