Touring in SW France

Old Jul 17th, 2013, 05:20 PM
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Touring in SW France

Friends have rented a villa with my wife and me for two weeks outside of Sarlat, France. We are interested in any experiences with tours including ones that might be recommended or not. We would like to visit the caves and do a wine tasting tour (as local as possible, saving Bordeaux wineries for the end of our trip). There is a boat trip down the Dordogne River we would like to explore as well. Pilgrimage towns in France on the way to Santiago de Compostela appear a tad distant on the map, but are they as far away as they seem from Sarlat?

Should we make advance reservations for all tours, specified tours, or can we make them when we arrive in France?

Any and all insights would be appreciated. Please add any suggestions you might have. Thank you.
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Old Jul 17th, 2013, 05:43 PM
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Caves: Lascaux II (tickets are obtained in Montignac) and for a different perspective Rouffignac, although the latter tour is only in French.

You can take a gabarre ride from La Roque-Gageac, but I would hardly call this a boat trip. Longer sections can be covered by a renting a canoe for a day with precise drop-off and pick-up locations.

The wine region is around Bergerac. Pécharmant is the better known red wine and Monbazillac the better known sweet white wine.

Rocamadour is probably a pilgrimage town. Périgueux has the Compostella brass shell embedded in the rue Limogeanne, indicating that pilgrims passed through that town.
Michael is offline  
Old Jul 17th, 2013, 05:52 PM
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This post is tagged for Latvia, not France.
You'll get far more results if you e-mail the Fodor-monitor and ask that it be re-tagged; if that's not possible, re-post it under France, and let this one sink to the bottom.
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Old Jul 17th, 2013, 07:03 PM
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Why did you tag this Latvia?

Get the Michelin Green Guide to the Dordogne and Lot and read it, as well as other guidebooks.

The Dordogne, apart from Bergerac and Montbazzilac and Pécharmant, which aren't near Sarlaat, is not a wine region, so forget some romantic wine-tasting event; just buy and drink.

Lascaux tix can be bought at the tourist office in Montignac. Font-de-Gaume and Combarelles, you take your chances by getting there really early in the morning. Others - Rouffignac, Bara-Bahau, Grand Roc, Abri du Cap Blanc, etc - google them for info. Don't miss La Roque St-Christophe (not a cave, but read about it - it's fascinating).

A gabarre ride takes an hour or so and is instructional about the wine trade between Bordeaux and the Périgord in the 18th century.

Not sure what you mean about pilgrimage towns being distant from Sarlat - they are all over the place, including St-Léon-sur-Vézère and my own St-Cirq. But what do you expect to see in them?

How about all the castles on either side of the river, the ones involved in the Hundred Years War? Surely you'll want to see at least a couple, at least one English and one French one?

I don't know why you'd need tours. Surely, you'll have a car, right? If not, forget it - you just can't get around. The Tourist Office in Sarlat gives very good walking tours of the town, which I recommend, but apart from that just get out and about.
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Old Jul 17th, 2013, 07:41 PM
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Ophorus is a tour company offering day trips from Sarlat with fixed itineraries:

Also, I have already reserved a day trip with Allo Philippe Taxi of Sarlat:

Both of these companies have received rave reviews and both are now listed in Rick Steves' France guidebook -- for those who do not wish to drive.
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Old Jul 17th, 2013, 08:19 PM
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Listed in Rick Steves doesn't mean anything. Rave reviews elsewhere, maybe. Rick Steves really doesn't know squat about the Dordogne, sorry.
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Old Jul 17th, 2013, 08:58 PM
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Hi, StCirq. Actually Steve Smith writes Rick's France guidebooks. He lives in France, and has for quite some time, and seems to know quite a bit about the region. But since you live there, of course you would know more (Smith lives in Burgundy).

I've read rave reviews from people who have traveled with both companies (on Trip Advisor and elsewhere).
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