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Where to start tour and rent car in Bordeaux/Dordogne region?


Where to start tour and rent car in Bordeaux/Dordogne region?

Old Aug 19th, 2001, 02:46 PM
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Where to start tour and rent car in Bordeaux/Dordogne region?

I will be taking the train from Paris to the Bordeaux, Dordogne and Poitou-Charentes region. Fodor's seems to imply that Bordeaux really isn't that great. Originally, I planned to take the train to Bordeaux, drive through the villages inland to St. Cirq-Lapopie and then north towards Poitiers. Now, I wonder if I shouldn't start and end my journey in Poitiers and just skip Bordeaux. One consideration is that Fordor's says that Avis is in the the Bordeaux St. Jean train station and it doesn't appear that there is a rental car agency in the Poitiers station. Can anyone give me some advice on Bordeaux and rental cars? Thanks.
Old Aug 20th, 2001, 11:56 AM
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Went to Dordogne (stayed in Sarlat) last summer for a week, and set aside one day for a side trip into Bordeaux (in particular wanted to see St. Emilion). Both the landscape of Bordeaux and the town of St. Emilion were disappointing, and I cut the trip into a half day, instead of going further into Bordeaux, as planned. Would recommend against Bordeaux. It's flat and not very green and the towns we passed through did not look very prosperous or well kept. The Dordogne was beautiful, on the other hand. Didn't go to Poitou-Charentes, so can't comment on that.
Old Aug 20th, 2001, 12:07 PM
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We picked up/dropped off our rental cars at the Bordeaux airport for our 10 days in the Dordogne. Bordeaux is worth a partial day (arrive 11am, stay overnight, depart first thing in the morning). You could take the train to Perigueux from Paris and start the road trip from there (it's sort of dead center in the middle of stuff).
Old Aug 20th, 2001, 12:48 PM
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Thought you might enjoy this article from the Sunday London times, made me want togo to Bordeaux!

Old Aug 20th, 2001, 01:57 PM
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I love Bordeaux, but then I've had the luxury of getting to know it well over the past 10 years. I don't think it's a city that immediately impresses, though, and so many travelers come away disappointed. It has some of the most beautiful 17th- and 18th-century urban architecture in all of Europe, and arguably the loveliest theatre. I have a file on it, including restaurant recommendations - if you'd like it, send me an e-mail.
Poitou-Charente, to my mind, is one of the least interesting areas of France, that is if you're looking for quaint villages, inspiring architecture, dreamy landscapes, and excellent gastronomy. There are certainly places worthy of a visit, but nothing to equal the kinds of impressive sights in the Dordogne, Normandy, Brittany, Alsace, etc.
The Dordogne, on the other hand, is inspiring.You've got a wealth of impossibly pretty villages, bastide towns, castles, outstanding markets, lazy rivers, prehistoric wonders, foie gras and truffles to munch on, and a lively local culture. You could spend a month there and never be at a loss for something fascinating to do or see.
St-Cirq-Lapopie, though geographically somewhat stunning, hasn't really impressed me much on two visits - once you go "Wow! Look at that village perched up on a hill!" that kind of wraps it up. A lot of people love it, I know, I just wouldn't drive from Poitiers (or Bordeaux) to see it. It's a good two hours'drive even from the Dordogne.
As for Poitiers and the train station, I'm quite sure there are car rental agencies there, though perhaps not Avis. Have you tried calling AutoEurope? Do you have to begin this journey in Poitiers? You could take the train to either Périgueux or Brive-la-Gaillard if you do decide to skip Bordeaux.
Old Aug 22nd, 2001, 02:49 PM
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This is Jeannette, the original poster. Thank you for your thoughts -- you've all given me a lot to think about. I started out by using Fodor's suggested itinerary but it seems that perhaps I should concentrate on the Dordogne and see Bordeaux or Poitiers only if I have extra time. I'm investigating taking the train to the Dordogne areas you suggested. I'll also investigate whether I can pick up a car in one town and drop it in another without a huge fee so that I don't have to circle around and backtrack. Jody, thanks for the article reference. I read it!

Old Aug 22nd, 2001, 02:54 PM
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There should be no fee whatsoever to pick up the car in one location and drop it off in another, as long as it's within France. I do this a couple of times a year - pick up in Périgueux, e.g., and drop off in Bordeaux (or Marseilles, or Paris....).Call AutoEurope at 800-223-5555 if you live in the USA.
And if you'd like help with an itinerary through the Dordogne, let me know.

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