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Would you choose Dordogne or Provence with kids (4 & 9 years)

Would you choose Dordogne or Provence with kids (4 & 9 years)

Mar 30th, 2013, 05:57 PM
  #1  
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Would you choose Dordogne or Provence with kids (4 & 9 years)

Though this is my first post I would like to start to saying thank you for sharing your knowledge. This forum has answered most of my questions before I needed to ask them myself and it has also provided hours of laughs (you have to love those trolls!)

For background, we are from Western Australia and will be spending a year in England (Sussex) and summer in Europe in 2014. We will use trains to get from A-B and then hire a car when necessary. We have much of the itinerary nutted out but we are doing the fine tuning now starting with France.

We will have 7 nights in either Provence or Dordogne (with a car) followed by 5 nights in Paris before moving on to Switzerland (Lauterbrunnen 6n), Bavaria(3), Salzburg (5n), Slovenia (5n), Croatia (Istria 6 n), Venice (3n), Tuscany (7n) and Rome (4n).

So our question is this, considering the other areas wide will also be traveling to would you visit Dordogne or Provence for our countryside stay in France.

Many thanks in anticipation.
louipivac is offline  
Mar 30th, 2013, 07:30 PM
  #2  
 
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The Dordogne. Ryanair goes from Stansted to Limoges. Take the train from Brive to go back to Paris. Order the tickets 3 months ahead of time.
Michael is offline  
Mar 31st, 2013, 12:31 AM
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Ryanair also flies into Bergerac from Stansted, which gives you good access to the Perigord Noir and Pourpre regions, which are usually the most visited areas in the Dordogne. In terms of choice, it depends on what things interest you to see...for example in the Dordogne there are prehistoric/ troglodyte caves, stalagmite cave formations, river canoeing, beautiful medieval chateaux etc. There are some lovely river beaches for the kids to swim in, and plenty of gites with pools, which will come in handy during the Dordogne summer (same applies to Provence too). Both areas have gorgeous villages and excellent summer markets, fetes and fairs, but I suspect Provence will be busier in high season than the Dordogne, and a little more expensive too.
rosemaryoz is offline  
Mar 31st, 2013, 01:51 AM
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Thanks a million to you both, I will have to look at how to get from Sussex to Stansted. I've noticed it's much cheaper from Stansted than Gatwick which is nearby. We can get to Bordeaux from Gatwick but it seems pricer but much more convenient at the UK end.

I have diarised to book train tickets thank you Michael,does the same apply to the air tickets?

The Dordogne is totally new to me so I shall have to start reading up on where to stay and what to see. Any pointers would be greatfully appreciated.

Thanks again
louipivac is offline  
Mar 31st, 2013, 03:55 AM
  #5  
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Of course logistically Burgundy probably make better sense (being between Paris and Lauterbrunnen) but we are happy to go out of our way for the more enjoyable family experience (plus I know as much about Burgundy as I do about the Dordogne = nothing)..I better hit the books
louipivac is offline  
Mar 31st, 2013, 04:14 AM
  #6  
 
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Personally, I think you are doing too much in your trip that is too spread out, there are lots of interesting places to see in Europe (or France for that matter) without making it logistically difficult. I'd veto western France given the rest of your itinerary beginning in Switzerland, and you aren't lacking in places that will have mountains, rural areas, castles, etc. I think Provence would be more of a change from some other things you plan. If you go to this (Provence or Dordogne) place before Paris, it doesn't really matter as it is easy to get to Paris from either by train. If you went to Paris first, then this place, then Switzerland, you wouldn't want to go to western France, I wouldn't think. I don't know how you plan to get to Lauterbrunnen, but Swiss trains are very efficient and nice and you can easily get to Switzerland by train from Paris (to Lausanne, then east to Interlaken or however you plan).

I haven't been to Dordogne, my reaction is just to what I've heard about its attractions versus the rest of your trip, vs. Provence. But, as I said, if you go to Paris afterwards, either Provence or Dordogne would be okay, at least you can get a direct train from Brive.

There are cheap flights on Easyjet airline from Gatwick to Marseille, where you could rent a car for Provence.
Christina is offline  
Mar 31st, 2013, 04:32 AM
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Louipivac, if you catch the flight to Bordeaux, you can then take a train from Bordeaux St Jean to either Perigueux or Bergerac and pick up a hire car at the train station. Being an Aussie too, I tend to reserve hire cars early (eg 12 months out) so I can get an automatic. BTW, I think your itinerary is quite achievable, given you've set several nights in each location.
rosemaryoz is offline  
Mar 31st, 2013, 08:15 AM
  #8  
 
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The Dordogne is a far better destination IMO for kids than Provence, though neither is shabby! Just more for kids to do in the Dordogne in a concentrated area, and more variety.

There are a gazillion posts here about the Dordogne - you could start reading right here on Fodors. You could start by clicking on my name or typing Dordogne into the search engine.
StCirq is offline  
Mar 31st, 2013, 08:17 PM
  #9  
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So it sounds like both are terrific destinations so I am considering choosing a few places in my itinerary that might be terrific at Christmas time, on the way back home to Australia. Possible Germany/ Austria?

This would allow us to see both Dordogne and Provence and avoid getting fatigued by too much rushing around.

What do you think of this plan?
louipivac is offline  
Mar 31st, 2013, 11:22 PM
  #10  
 
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We took our girls to Bavaria and Salzburg for a white Christmas a few years ago, and it was magical for kids (and me!). All the classics we read about in Australia but cannot do at Christmas-time...sleigh rides, tobogganing, ice skating, snow ball fights, gorgeous Christmas markets, as well as King Ludwig's castle without the crowds (we went on Boxing Day). Salzburg was really atmospheric in winter too, and lots to do.
rosemaryoz is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2013, 12:05 AM
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Thanks everyone for such great help, foderites are such gems

You've sold me on Christmas in Salzburg and Bavaria thanks Rosemary, though I'm a bit worried about driving in winter.

I agree with you Christina that we need keep our travel plans simple and that France is bigger than I realised. We are used to having to drive for 1000km or so for our holidays at home in Wetwrn Australia but its better not to have to.

Due to a possible change in plans we may now be living in Hampshire (New Forest) rather than Sussex and from Bournemouth we can get really cheap flights to Carcassone, which puts us in between both places.

So we agree that we need to choose one place, and drive to either Dordogne or Provence and from there train to Paris and with our spare week we can then get a campervan in Strasbourg and visit Rhine/Mosel/Black Forest and then make an easy connection into Switzerland. It seems logically easier.

This should make a nice contrast, but still means we will need to make a choice between Dordogne and Provence.

Thanks again
louipivac is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 03:59 AM
  #12  
 
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Hi Louipivac, I was worried about driving in a Bavarian winter too, coming from a place where there just is no snow! But we ordered snow tyres on our hire car (which turned out to be a lovely Mercedes sedan at a very reasonable rate!!) and we were amazed at the effort the Germans go to in order to maintain the roads during winter. Snow trucks were out early clearing roads every single morning, and there are local crews which also salt the roads - all a very new experience for us Aussies! We flew into Munich, did a wander down the Romantic Road from Rothenburg down to Fussen & Hohenschwangau, and then drove across to Salzburg, before hooking back to Munich. We also made a deliberate decision not to travel more than about 250kms on 'transit' days, with a few nights stopover in each village, so we were not needing to be on the roads for extended stretches. The autobahns to/from Salzburg were also really good to drive on, even in poor weather, as they were well managed. As to your Dordogne V Provence dilemma, I would still recommend the Dordogne, as I think it has more activities/places to interest children. Wherever you stay, just make sure your gite has a pool, and they'll be happy as clams!
rosemaryoz is offline  
Apr 6th, 2013, 04:39 PM
  #13  
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Thanks Rosemary I'm glad to hear the roads are not so frightening. I love your 250km rule and I have started incorporating it in our plan.

In fact we have changed the plan completely and rather than 12 months in UK with side trips we are going to stay 6 months in UK with kids going to school there and then home/road school the kids for six or seven months, 3 in Schengen areas and the rest in Croatia where DH inherited a property from his dad and we can get 12 month travel permits. Then we can still have our winter break in Austria and Bavaria before flying back to Western Australia.

What a wonderful resolution to our Provence versus Dordogne dilemma, we can do both and will start 20 June rather than July (saving loads on accommodation), arriving Carcassone heading to Provence for a week then drive Dordogne for a week , train to Paris for a week, then 10 days Alsace/Black Forest/ Mosel before heading to Switerland.

We are going to stay in camping grounds with gites or mobile homes so the kids get every opportunity to play with other kids in our grand open air school of the road
louipivac is offline  
Apr 6th, 2013, 09:48 PM
  #14  
 
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You are going to have the most incredible trip - and give your kids the most amazing memories. It's such a great opportunity for all of you - have a great time, and safe travels!
rosemaryoz is offline  

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