Stu, Hausfrau, Others: Dordogne

Old Mar 29th, 2007, 03:12 AM
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Stu, Hausfrau, Others: Dordogne

We are in France for two weeks in August and plan to do a short trip to Dordogne. We like medieval villages, castles, sceary and good food. If we plan on spending up to four days in the region, can you suggest towns to visit, central towns as bases for these visits, gites you have stayed in, other places you stayed at, and MUST-DO things? Thanks.
Old Mar 29th, 2007, 04:49 AM
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Hi elliottp,
Here's our itinerary from our 4-night Dordogne visit last October. It was my 2nd visit and my parents' 3rd or 4th, but my DH's first, so we basically returned to all of the "old favorites" and a few new ones.

We stayed at L'Esplanade in Domme. We had previously rented a marvelous gite out in the countryside near St. Genies, but most gites rent by the week so that probably won't work for you. If you like a bigger town feel, Sarlat is the place. For a very small village, Beynac is lovely. We like Domme because it is somewhere in between, with multiple restaurant options, and it really quiets down at night. Some people complain about the drive up and down the hill, but it only takes about 5 minutes.

We arrived in Domme in the late afternoon, took a stroll through town, watched the sunset, and had a fabulous dinner at L'Esplanade. This was our most expensive meal (40 and 47 Euro menus) but also the best. Excellent service, excellent food.

- La Roque-Gageac (picturesque riverside village very close to Domme)
- Picnic lunch near Castlenaud (picked up goodies at small marche in Domme)
- Castelnaud (fascinating castle with excellent museum of medieval warfare)
- Dinner at Le Pot de Fer in Domme (atmospheric place run by a charming couple; fantastic fresh foie gras!)

- Jardins de Marqueyssac (nice self-guided tour if you like gardens and strolling, had picnic lunch in the parking lot and ice cream on the terrasse looking out at Beynac)
- Beynac castle (good self-guided tour; this is my favorite castle ever!)
- Beynac town (quintessential medieval town clinging to the cliffs)
- Dinner at La Belle Etoile in La Roque Gageac (a little stuffy for our taste, good food but not quite as good as L'Esplanade. Others may disagree!)

- Sarlat Saturday marche and stroll
- Lunch at L'Entr' Act on main square in Sarlat (perfect salads and people-watching)
- Les Cabanes du Breuil (well-preserved bories still used as an active family farm, located between Sarlat and Les Eyzies)
- Dinner at Cabanoix & Chataigne in Domme (nice casual alternative to the more traditional places in the area; they use fresh local ingredients in innovative ways)

Other options include:
- Les Eyzies (another great marche)
- Lascaux II (haven't been, but people say it is excellent; may be very crowded in summer)
- Canoe ride on the Dordogne (this is a must in warm weather!)
- Padirac Chasm (underground river and caves)
- Rocamadour

Of course there's many more places along the way, little churches out in the country, viewpoints, etc. so leave time for those. Others will suggest many more towns, including some that may be more "off the beaten path," but IMHO Sarlat, Castelnaud, Domme, La Roque Gageac, and Beynac are the so-called must-sees.

Writing all this makes me realize that I really ought to post that trip report!

Keep in mind that many Europeans go on vacation in August so you'll want to check to be sure restaurants are open.


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Old Mar 29th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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THANKS for walking me through a great itinerary!

Can you post your trip report. Would appreciate that.
Old Mar 29th, 2007, 06:58 AM
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elliot: we had a wondeful two weeks in the Dordogne last June and I planned much of our itinerary by searching for information here. My report is lengthy but there are titles and photos for each section so you can just read the ones that appeal. Maybe it will give you some inspiration.
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Old Mar 29th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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moolyn, that was one great trip report.
Old Mar 29th, 2007, 07:13 AM
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My Dordogne suggestions are over 20 pages long, so Fodor's wouldn't like me to post them here. e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll return a copy.

Glad someone (hausfrau) posted something about lunch & sightseeing at Jardins de Marqueyssac. Great views & fantastic lunch under the plane trees admiring the view of Beynac.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 29th, 2007, 07:17 AM
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Hi E,

Our visit is in my trip report at

Photos at

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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 12:34 PM
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elliottp, I've started my trip report and am just getting to the Dordogne now:

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Old Apr 12th, 2008, 05:13 PM
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Old Apr 12th, 2008, 05:47 PM
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I sure wouldn't stay in Domme, or Beynac, or La Roque-Gageac, or Sarlat in August, especially if you have only 4 days. It will be pretty mobbed, and you'll be in traffic for a lot of your visit.

I'd stay further afield around St-Cyprien or Le Bugue or Montignac or on the east side of Sarlat.

You must see Sarlat. Take the walking tour that the tourist office offers; it's a good one/

You should do a canoe/kayak trip down the Dordogne (be prepared for the most amazing traffic on a river ever, but still worth it to float under the castles).

I highly recommend the Chateau de Castelnaud for a good overview of medieval warfare.

See if you can get reservations for a tour of La Grotte de Font de Gaume and/or Les Combarelles.
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Old Apr 12th, 2008, 11:44 PM
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It's never too late.
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 12:00 AM
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