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The long awaited trip report! Part 2 France

The long awaited trip report! Part 2 France

Old Jul 13th, 2013, 12:41 PM
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"people who are going way over the speed limit and make you feel like you're in the way"

Don't know about Australia, but in my part of the US people have a bad habit of sitting in the fast lane instead of using it as an overtaking lane and pulling over into the slow lane. That goes over very badly in Europe (it's illegal, too).

Have you checked the options on the GPS? Maybe you have it set for country lanes...
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Old Jul 13th, 2013, 01:16 PM
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Ok .. So the far left is for overtaking ... Got it... Didn't know that and no Western Australia doesn't have that rule. Sorted out my GPS so it's no longer fastest time but shortest distance.
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Old Jul 13th, 2013, 04:25 PM
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At least on the autobahn, the left lane is for passing only, and as long as you are passing traffic, you can stay in that lane. THEN immediately get over so those who are going to blow by you can do so!! LOL
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Old Jul 13th, 2013, 05:20 PM
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A couple of kid friendly restaurants recommendations for Sarlat if you are still there.

For basic food, chicken, pizza, crepes, salads, huge ice cream sundies try the Brasserie le Glacier at 9 place de la Liberte. outdoor seating.

If you want a more upscale local cuisine try Le Bistro de l'Octroi at the top of the town(where Rue de la Republique ends), 111 avenue des Selves. This restaurant compares with the Le Bec a Vin which you liked in Uzes.Indoor outdoor seating.

I have eaten at these 3 restaurants in June 2013.
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Old Jul 13th, 2013, 05:26 PM
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Try buying a map for driving. A combination of GPS and maps is your best option. Each has its pluses and minuses. Setting your GPS for the shortest distance may have you end up driving through some farmers field on a dirt road, which will probably get you where you're going eventually but it will be a strange drive. Look at a map and see the most logical route. Buy a Michelin map for that region of the scale 1:150,000 or 1:200:000. Go to a bookstore/magazine store and many other places and you'll find one. Check your GPS against the map or check your map against the GPS.

You should also acquaint yourself with rules of the road in France and road signs and such and this website will give you some useful tips:

http://www.nickbooth.id.au/Tips/FrenchDrive.htm
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Old Jul 13th, 2013, 05:30 PM
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How are you finding the heat and the crowds?
We are thinking of visiting the Dordogne next July (2014) for a family trip but are worried that the area will be too hot & crowded. Is it a pain to drive in and out of Sarlat?
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Old Jul 13th, 2013, 05:36 PM
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Suzan, Claire is from Perth where the temps an climb into the 40's (Celsius) during summer and stay there for days on end. So, they have probably acclimatised fairly quickly. If you are from Seattle, then that might not be the are for you!
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Old Jul 13th, 2013, 06:10 PM
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Be the case for you!
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Old Jul 13th, 2013, 07:48 PM
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Get Michelin maps for driving. GPS in the Dordogne is a pain.

Yes, it's hot and often humid in the Périgord in July, as in really hot and humid. It can be all the way through September...or not. Yes, it's really crowded and a pain to get into and out of Sarlat in July.
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Old Jul 13th, 2013, 08:01 PM
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Claire - everywhere in Australia, the far right lane is for overtaking only on motorways.
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Old Jul 13th, 2013, 08:06 PM
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Having a map as well as GPS is good. Setting GPS on shortest distance led us one night over a narrow, winding, steep & at times gravel road between France & Switzerland. An adventure I am not keen to repeat.
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Old Jul 13th, 2013, 10:09 PM
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Morning everyone thanks for that! Susannah we don't have big freeways /motorways so any lane is fine over here in Perth ... In regards to GPS we also said we only wanted sealed rds so fingers crossed we don't end up in someone's backyard!

Yesterday it was hot! And that's hot by my standard. Our place is in a loft without air con...therefore fans and heaps of windows but its still really hot... We are fine because its like our summer but I imagine others would find this heat incredibly uncomfortable when there is no pool or beach to cool off at.

In regards to getting in and out ...that hasn't seem to be a problem in regards to traffic but therecarecalot of one way streets or streets that become one way half way. Also if you do go up a side street and its wrong your three point turn becomes like 6 with someone having to get out and guide etc.

Dugi ...do I need to book the restaurant or. Is turning up ok? Tonight we are using the fair as our bribe be well behaved and you can have 3rides etc lets see how that goes.

I am loving that hubby and I are getting sleep ins because the kids are having 10/12hr sleeps at night ok time to get ready for this boat trip kinds wish I could trust my daughter and canoe ... That seriously looks awesome!
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Old Jul 14th, 2013, 02:32 AM
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We did the canoe trip from Vitrac to Beynac, but our sons are 24 and almost 16. It was a very enjoyable way to see the area, but with a stop in La Roque Gageac to picnic and explore, it took the better part of a day. You are making a good decision to take the gabarre. I can't imagine the canoe ride with a 2 and 4 year old.
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Old Jul 14th, 2013, 10:22 AM
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"Dugi ...do I need to book the restaurant or. Is turning up ok?"

No reservations required for Brasserie le Glacier and Le Bistro de l'Octroi.
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Old Jul 14th, 2013, 01:43 PM
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Oh Sarlat you have won my heart! I knw share my love with you and Uzes!

Anyone planning on coming to this area must stay here! Of all the little towns we have gone through jam so glad I chose this one!

My only regret ... We didn't have enough time! I will be back and next time it will be a minimum of a week!

Lets go over today ...

We started with the boat ride ... Since the kids were too young to canoe ... It was enjoyable and the views were great so I am glad we did it. The little town was also cute to wander around ... The town was La Roque Gageac

The boat we did was the Gabarres Caminade

There was another company right next door then only reason we chose this one was because it was leaving as we arrived..11am so we didn't need to wait ...the one next to it left at 11:30 ... They do close from 12-2 though. On the cruise ..which is a replica of the traditional boats used in the past. We went past 5 chateaux while listening to a commentary about the life of a boatman.

Now from here we went to

Les Jardins de Marqueyssac

For lunch and a wander around.

The view is amazing. It's huge though...6km of garden...had no idea how long we would want to spend there. And easy 2 hrs if you do lunch. We were there for 2 and a half and felt really rushed. Loved it! I also saw they did a night time visit all lit up and I am sure that would be really romantic ... Just not for us with our two ratbags! The playground there was also great for the kids. Really enjoyed it but as we only had today to do as much as we planned on we went!

We chose to do Le Chateau de Castelnaud.

Again this was much better then our expectations! It was just a chateau but a gorgeous village with plenty of food options. If I had my time again I would of done this visit on its own and had lunch there as oppose to doing the gardens and here. Nevertheless it was still wonderful..just rushed! It was so interesting seeing the medieval warfare items etc and the view again was a memory that will never leave me! There was also a great little live show on ..even though it was in French my 4yr old laughed so much!

From here we wanted to go to Le Chateau de Haufort and Lascaux II but the heat and the walking and the hills took it out of us so we decided it would be best to come home and give the kids a rest so we could do tonight in the town. As it was the last night of their fair. What a great decision that was. Dugi we thought we found your recommendation and we had a delicious meal for 13 euro (4courses) the name was almost identical but then as we made our way through the town we saw your one. I was glad for the choice I made and I can recommend it. It is right across from the golden geese. So this allowed the kids to climb and play and watch street performers while we enjoyed our meal etc.

From here we wandered through the town and took photos of Sarlat at night ... Much better as the crowds of tourist have gone etc although it was still busy due to the fair.

Now, what was really special was the street performers. Just at the end there was some musicians who started to play a folk song that had the town people start to do a folk circle dance and ...my little girl with a little French boy about the same age started dancing in the middle of the circle. It was so magical and so cute! Yes I got it on video!

From here we went to the amusement park thing they had set up and gave the kids some rides and fairy floss etc. made our way back home and then from our balcony watched the fireworks ( the kids however were asleep by then)

So yes, a magical and wonderful day and I am so sad to be leaving! I really can't wait to come back. S far this trip is everything I had hoped for and so much more! I only hope it continues!

Tomorrow we head off to Carcassone ...sadly for just the night..before heading into Barcelona.

Here's hoping for an easy drive that takes less then 9hrs! Hopefully we will be able to check in/ have a swim/ go into the town/ head home for dinner at the hotel since in is just outside the wall and is meant to be magical and then go in again for a walk through at night. Not sure if the town will be open being Monday but my fingers are crossed. Anything any of you think I must do on the way or while I am there please fell free to suggest. Good night everyone!
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Old Jul 14th, 2013, 01:51 PM
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Claire, for all the "angst" of your previous threads I think you are having a truly WONderful trip. Good for you--for being good humored enough to take the jabs--and finally finding the "thread" of your itinerary that suited you and your family!! Kudos.
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Old Jul 14th, 2013, 09:29 PM
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<<It was just a chateau but a gorgeous village with plenty of food options. >>

Well, I'm happy you're enjoying the Dordogne, and I did tell you back in January that you needed at least a week, here, but it's a little disconcerting that you don't seem to have any context for the things you're seeing. It's not "just a château." Heard of the Hundred Years' War? Eléanore d'Aquitaine? The châteaux on the north side of the valley versus the south? Simon de Montfort?

I hope you know, or find out about, what Carcassonne is, and isn't, about before you end up there. And know who Viollet-le-Duc was.

Don't get me wrong, you don't need to instruct your kids on this stuff - they're much too young - but it might be mindful to be informed on what you're seeing as it's multi-layered part of France's history, but maybe you're not interested. That's OK, but I don't get it.

There are a million things to see and do between Sarlat and Carcassonne, but I don't think you'd appreciate them from my perspective, so just go - it shouldn't take more than 2-3 hours.
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Old Jul 14th, 2013, 11:29 PM
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Another typo should have read it wasn't just a chateau .... I loved reading the history about it ... So much so I look forward to reading even more!

I think we will go straight to carcassone so we can make the most of the whirlwind time there!
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Old Jul 15th, 2013, 05:24 AM
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I feel bad about the somewhat snarky comment about needing to know about history to appreciate chateaux, etc. I am a history buff and enjoy knowing the background of things, but there are many ways to appreciate what one is seeing.

Claire, I am now really enjoying the flow of your report. Traveling with kids is certainly different than traveling alone or with adults. I hope your kids can remember all the fun in later years. I was about four, about the same age as your son,when my parents took a trip to Vermont (not as exciting as Europe, but....) and I can still recall snatches of that trip (hiking up Mt. Mansfield, a pile of cannonballs at Ft. Ticonderoga, taking the ferry across Lake Champlain, several of the motels we stayed in, Ausable Chasm). It was enough so that 60 years later I persuaded a friend to recreate the trip. I saw things that I thought I remembered but wasn't sure until I saw them again and they were just like the picture in my mind. My brother was three but says he doesn't remember the trip except for fighting with me for blankets one night. (I remember that too!) And we both remember the evening the car ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere and Dad had to hike for miles to get enough gas to get us to civilization. (My mother remembered it as well, and saw that Dad remembered it.) Mom read us an Uncle Wiggly story over and over until it got too dark to see. By then I think she could have told the story by heart.

But I digress. sorry for stealing your thread.
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Old Jul 15th, 2013, 05:36 AM
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ttt
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