Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Traveling in France with elderly parent-would Dordogne be a good region?

Traveling in France with elderly parent-would Dordogne be a good region?

May 27th, 2007, 01:47 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 253
Traveling in France with elderly parent-would Dordogne be a good region?

Looking at traveling to France with DH and 76 year old Mom. I'd like to visit Dordogne area but not sure if this is a good location due to hills and other potential mobility issues. We've been to Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley with my Mom and they were all great. Any other areas of France that would make a great trip with older parent?(DH and I have been to Burgundy and Provence). thanks,
Tuni01 is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 01:51 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,159
Well, how mobile are they, and how do you plan to spend your days? As long as you're not planning to hike around the region with them, I think it would be a wonderful place to take them!
StCirq is online now  
May 27th, 2007, 01:52 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 903
Tuni, yes, yes, yes! There are so many possible things to do that you can pick and choose flat locals. Canoeing down the Dordogne would be perfect, for example. For other ideas, check my report from our Dordogne trip last June: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34839073
moolyn is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 03:09 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,998
My 81YO FIL didn't have any trouble.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 03:26 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Yes. Have a great trip.
Leely is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 04:28 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 253
thank you very much for your replies. We use frequent flyer points and have to book so far in advance. this trip would be late spring early summer. I was hoping to hear from some of the experts before I book our plane tickets (and I did!). My Mom is pretty mobile but does tire out.I don't have any idea yet how to plan our days. I've seen some of your posts already and will be reviewing them all for sights and towns to see. I'm thinking late May?? thanks,
Tuni01 is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 05:37 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,159
Late May is a lovely time. The fruit orchards are in bloom and the tourist hordes haven't yet arrived. Sounds wonderful!
StCirq is online now  
May 27th, 2007, 05:45 PM
  #8  
annieladd
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We went to the Dordogne last year with my dad who is 85 and has quite limited mobility and my 80 year old stepmom who can get around a bit better. We had a great time, we did a few things on our own (Font du Gaume (w/ stepmom), Padirac), but every day we had something for everyone to do. We took Dad's mobile handicap tag for rear view mirror, and that came in very handy. Enjoy, annieladd
 
May 27th, 2007, 06:30 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,962
I find the Dordogne extremely relaxing. My dad's 82 and he would have trouble getting in or out of a canoe! However, the gabarre boat ride from Beynac (there are other locations as well) would be very enjoyable and doesn't require any energy. Domme, Beynac, Sarlat (except market days there) you can pretty much drive up to the top and back down w/o any problem.
klondike is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 08:42 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 490
I would just like to add to the chorus of support. There are certainly some places that might present some difficulty, but that can be said for anywhere here or there. I think she would be able to enjoy many things, but at a slower pace. You will not make it to all of the sights, but think about the opportunities to sit by a river eating a picnic or ice cream.

Limeuil is a great place for the ice cream. Something like 100 wonderful choices at the convergence of the Vezere and Dordogne rivers. A must stop in my book. We ate lunch and played in the river there for probably 2 hours. Not a great lunch, but wonderful ice cream and a fun place for us.
DanM is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 03:55 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 253
thank you for the encouragement! The boat ride and picnics (and the ice cream!) sound like very enjoyable things to do.
Tuni01 is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 04:44 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
I agree with everyone else. The towns are mostly flat (not like Italy or Provence)and are on top of the hills, not on their sides. It is also a very easy place to drive, so you need not worry about having to rent a car. Very little traffic. I would do some advance research about the size of car doors to be sure she can get in and out easily. I think she will love the markets, and it is a very charming area.
Ackislander is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 07:07 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,357
I don't think it is the age in years, but the physical condition. You can be handicapped at any age!

I know many 76 yr olds who travel regularly to France..solo..rent cars, travel the whole country, dine at fine dining places. They don't have any problems with it...........
gracejoan3 is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 07:10 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 894
I just got back from the Dordogne and I echo what others have said. There is plenty to do that would not require a great deal of mobility. There seems to be plenty of parking closer to the sites especially if you go in May. We found it relatively quiet.

I think Goffre de Padric could pose a problem as there was a fair amount of stairs down inside the cave. There may be a way to bi-pass them but you wouldn't see the most impressive part of the cave. We passed several people with canes on our way out of the cave so it's possible they stayed behind on the last part of the tour. Also, Font de Gaume is quite a trek to get up to where the tour starts. Peche Merle is easily accessible and would be a good choice.

It's a lovely area and the flowers are in their full glory in May.

CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 07:37 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,159
The place with the wonderful ice cream in Limeuil is called Le Chai - and yes, it's a great place for lunch.

I have to chuckle about the comment that the towns are mostly on the hills and not "on the sides." Checked out Beynac or la Roque-Gageac lately, or really any other town? First of all, it's not all hill towns like in Tuscany and Umbria - there are plenty of towns on flat alluvial territory and plenty of inland villages that are not on hills. But the hill towns definitely have dwellings in layers all up and down and over the hills. All of which is irrelevant, anyway, because you'll presumably have a car and will be driving to the top of such towns and wandering around from there.

As mentioned, some of the prehistoric sites might pose a challenge. But if your parents can't get to Font-de-Gaume they can get to Les Combarelles, right down the road. If La Roque-St-Christophe is too much of a challenge, they can visit Le Village Trogolodytique de la Madeleine. Lascaux II should be do-able for them. Peche-Merle and the Gouffre de Padirac would be a challenge, but they're not in the Dordogne.

So yes, take them - they'll love it!
StCirq is online now  
May 28th, 2007, 08:28 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,962
If your mother is fit but just doesn't have alot of stamina, we had a wonderful visit to the cave at Domme. It is rarely if ever mentioned on this site and was a totally impromptu activity for us.

You access it from the top of the bastide town where the flower decked covered market is. Besides some steps, occasional uneven ground and having to bend over slightly once or twice to not get bonked on the head it was not challenging. Besides the cave's beauty, you are rewarded at the end of this not-too-long visit with an outside ride back up the side of the cliff in a glass elevator. The view of the Dordogne Valley below is stunning.

We visited in the morning and you could plan lunch afterwards at the oft mentioned L'Eslpanade. Or do as we did, and make reservations at La Belle Etoile's terrace in La Roque-Gageac 15 minutes drive away, and watch the canoeists maneuver down the river while you dine. Heavenly!
klondike is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 09:31 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 490
The only problem with the cave in Domme is that you really have to watch your step and sometimes have to jump or tip-toe around puddles. If you mother is a fall risk, this is certainly something to be considered. Stamina would not be an issue, just footing. I would not take my 83 year-old grandfather to the Domme cave.
DanM is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 11:37 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 894
St. Cirq is right...Font de Gaume and Padric are in the Lot. I guess most reports I have read on this site pair those sites as well as Rocamadour as possible day trips. We split our time between the two regions so we wouldn't have to backtrack. In any case, there's plenty to keep you busy in the Dordogne without having to go elsewhere.
CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 12:14 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 253
I really appreciate the specifics on sites (ones to see and those with potential issues). These kinds of tips are difficult to find in a guidebook but make all the difference. I'll be using this list to start my research (along with other trip reports).
Crazy, I can't wait to read your trip report..
Tuni01 is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 01:26 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Tuni, there's something about the region that's just enjoyable, just being there. Hard to explain, but if your mother likes France, I think she'd very much enjoy the Dordogne (and the Lot) whether or not she can visit every cave or every hilltop village. The gabares, as mentioned above, are an excellent alternative to canoes.

I am *young* (she tries to say with straight face) and fit (now that's actually true), but I found myself getting awfully lazy in the Dordogne, frequently wanting to just sit at a cafe in a square somewhere and watch the world go by.
Leely is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:14 AM.