Traveling to Dordogna

Apr 5th, 2007, 05:45 PM
  #1  
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Traveling to Dordogna

My family of 3 adults is traveling to the Dordogne this summer for one week and honestly I am feeling so overwhelmed as to what to see and do. Can someone(s) please help me with suggestions. We like gently hikes, love visiting pretty villages, would like to visit a few caves but I don't know which ones. Also I tried calling Lascaux today to make reservations for August but they told me to call back 3 weeks prior to our visit. Does this seem right - will I be able to get reservations if I wait that long? We love to just enjoy the beautiful scenery but please help me with must see villages and castles and possible a gentle walk. We will be there 5 days. Thank you soooo much for any help
mjsamherst is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 09:18 PM
  #2  
 
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We stayed in the Dordogne for a week-also 3 adults. Our favorites things--
canoeing down the Dordogne. We started in the town of Roque Gegeac (Spelling??)
and did a half day trip--so much fun. Wherever they tell you to dock--you then get out and they bus you back to the beginning spot. We bought really cheap innertubes in Sarlat and took them with us--we found a nice place to stop and used them inthe river. We also
stopped at one of the little towns for lunch--tied up the canoe and ate lunch at the restaurant right on the river. It was so much fun and views were fantastic--passing by castles, etc. We want to go back and do the 20 mile/longer tour!
You must to a REAL cave--limited to visitors. We enjoyed Lascaux, but it is
not the real cave--We went to Font du Gaume--they only take about 200 people thru a day--very small tours of only 10 people at a time. They only have 2 English tours which sell out fast-we had to take the French one, but it was still amazing--my sister who speaks NO
French loved it. Then we got the guidebook after to read up on. Someday this cave will be closed! We tried reserving with no luck so just got there early and stood in line. A Canadian lady encouraged us to take the french tour and I'm sure glad we did! There are other caves in the area that are open too so check them out. We visited Sarlat but missed the market day which I hear is wonderful--we had a cute patio lunch at La Sarladerie in their gardens on Cote de Toulouse.
We also enjoyed the Bastide town of Domme and were there during Bastille Day and watched fabulous fireworks there. It's perched on top of a mtn.
We also enjoyed Chateau des Milandes the chateau of 1920's star Josephone Baker. I read a book about her after I came home--it would be interesting to read before you go. It had a nice falcon show in the gardens.
We also had a ball our first day in the Dordogne going to the St. Cyprian Market day--we bought paella from a vendor and sat on the steps and had it.
We bought wonderful saucisson sec there-
I think 3 for 8E--wonderful and my sis bought spices and I bought a Dordogne print there I love! Monpazier is another bastide town you don't want to miss. Remember many of these towns close down after lunch and don't repopen until much later. There is a neat gentle hike above Roque Gageac
that goes up onto the cliffs. I think you can start at either end, but the parking lot side is the easiest. There is a darling church up there and you can
get a close look at the homes perched up on the hill and see the ruins of some that were destroyed when there was
a landslide. You can also pay to hike up to the troglodite caves even higher up and get fabulous views of the river and countryside below. Going to Chateau de Castlenaud is a fun thing to
do also.
Here is a website for one of the canoe companies:
www.canoe-dordogne.fr
There are more than 2-3 companies--most canoes come with a styrofoam chest for puttings picnic/drink things in. We did a 3 man canoe--my husband especially loved the topless girl he saw floating by the first day we were there! Be sure to bring sunhats, sunscreen and inexpensive jelly sandals or flipflops for the river. My husband loved wearing his cargo pants here and could zipoff to shorts if he wanted to. He actually bought them at the French market--loved all those pockets too. We loved the Dordogne and it's the one spot we want to go back to--many more places to explore. Lots of English here who have bought homes. The market in Roque Gageac is owned by a British man. People were very nice to us here.
Hope this info helps!
MadameClavel is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 04:55 AM
  #3  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,159
Hi mj,

>...Lascaux today to make reservations for August but they told me to call back 3 weeks prior to our visit. Does this seem right ...<

I would call once a week until they gave me the reservation.

You might find the Dordogne part of my trip report helpful:
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34676645

Photos at http://tinyurl.com/sjch4
http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&x=0&y=-pla2au

Enjoy your visit.


ira is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 05:20 PM
  #4  
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Thank you sooo much Ira and MC. I just think that with all of the planning I am trying to do over here in the states, I am almost on overload and probably the best thing is just go over relaxed and enjoy. I wonder why there is so little info on the Dordogne? We will be coming from London, and will be flying AirFrance to Carcassone - hope that connection goes alright. I probably should be booking my auto reservations now - right?
mjsamherst is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 07:24 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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We're going to the Dordogne, too, and have reservations for Font de Gaume. You just call (from US) 011 33 5 53 06 86 00 for reservations. Ask for the English Tour. It's 13E per adult, but they didn't need payment in advance. There's also an easy hike in Beynac up to the Chateau Beynac. Another good cave with original art it Pech Merle - about 1 and 1/2 hours away, near Cahors. Have fun!
MECindylou is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 07:43 PM
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Click on my screen name and you'll get about 10 years' worth of information here on Fodors.

I trust you have a guide book or two? I can't imagine planning a trip without one. I'd get the Michelin Green and the Cadogan.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 7th, 2007, 05:25 AM
  #7  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi mj,

>I wonder why there is so little info on the Dordogne?

We try not to let other people know about it. It gets crowded enough as is.

ira is offline  
Apr 7th, 2007, 05:44 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Font de Gaume is 6.50 Euros per adult....13 Euros for two adults. I actually made a reservation by email which needs to be reconfirmed 48 hour prior to arrival by phone. This is the email address:
[email protected]
They send a written confirmation in Adobe format with an invoice showing the amount due upon arrival.

I am also in the process of making a reservation with Lascaux II. The process seems to take some time...my first email was sent on March 24th and I was told that my reservation would be confirmed next week and they would send me a voucher. The email address is [email protected]
You need to be persistant as I had to send them 4 emails all together.

CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Apr 7th, 2007, 08:33 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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I developed a 20+ page itinerary for exploring the Dordogne. E-mail me at [email protected] if you would like a copy.

Get the Michelin Green Guide & the Cadogan also - like StCirq says.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Apr 10th, 2007, 04:12 PM
  #10  
 
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ttt
eholden123 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2007, 08:42 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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We recently spent a few weeks in the Dordogne with our 3 year old daughter. Driving around was wonderful, there are some very touristy things like Beynac and Lascaux - but they are still worth the visit. We stayed in a great small hotel outside Sarlat in the hills overlooking the town - La Maison des Peyrat (book trhough Guides de Charme) which was a plague hospital in earlier times. The gardens at Marqueyssac are a must - a great place to wander around, high above the river with terrific views. Le Bugue is also a nice place to stay - we stayed in a ritzy small chateau called Domaine de la Barde which was lovely, but also in a smaller and cheaper hotel/B&B called l'Auberge de Noyer which was also fantastic. There are small caves with not so impressive rock carvings close to le Bugue and also a large cave with stalactites, crystals, etc at le Gouffre de Proumeyssac - which is sort of fun.
darbs is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 02:06 PM
  #12  
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I think I have a "workable itinerary" for a week in the Dordogne but could some of you please review it and give it a "tweek" if you think I am packing too much in. Monday: Pech-Merle and St. cirq La Popie, Tues.: Montpazier, Montflanquin and Domme, Wed.: Sarlot, Les-Eyzies and LaRoque Gageac, Thurs.: Domme, canoe in afternoon and Collomges la Rouge, Fri,: hiking and Racomadour. Is this a realist schedule without being rushed? Are there any villages I should eliminate or add? Thanks.
mjsamherst is offline  

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