Wren's Paris, Dordogne, & W. Loire Trip

Jun 21st, 2007, 01:30 PM
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Wren's Paris, Dordogne, & W. Loire Trip

First, a huge thank you to all from whom I received help planning this trip. There are far too many to name all, but a few of the major players were: St. Cirq, Carlux, Ira, Stu Dudley, Progol, and I am sure there are many others!

This 14 day trip was to celebrate our younger son's graduation from high school. We were able to secure 3 frequent flyer seats on Virgin Atlantic on the outbound and Air France back home. The entertainment on Virgin is wonderful...and I thought the food and service on Air France was excellent.

Our itinerary:
June 6-8 Paris
June 9-16 Dordogne house rental
June 16-18 Visit w/ friends in W. Loire
June 18 Last night in Paris
June 19 Fly home

We flew out of Miami and after a connection at Heathrow, we arrived at CDG around 2:00. We took a taxi to Hotel Monge for about 45 euro. The hotel was just right for the 3 of us...clean, great location, nice people at the desk. After a light snack (of course, I had to start the trip with a Salade du Chevre Chaud and a glass of Sancerre) down the street at a brasserie and a short nap, we set out for the Tour Eiffel to show our son the city.

Our 18 year old son is reserved, the kind of person that shows little excitement--but at the Tour Eiffel, he is definitely letting his excitement show! He absolutely loved the views from the tower and "he" decided it would be invigorating to walk down the stairs...uh- yeah--sure---so we do it---walk to the Trocadero---(feeling like a chicken with shaky legs) and then to the Metro, we decide to go to the Les Halles area to get a late night bite.

We ended up at Chez Denise...how fun...how French! After drinks, (our son thinks it is really cool that it is legal to order alcoholic drinks!) plates of pate with bread and gherkins, we have wonderful desserts...a gateau framboise for me and an Ile flottante for him. We all got coffee.

We notice it is after 1:00AM!!! By the time we fall into bed, it is almost 2:00, but what a wonderful first day in Paris!

More to follow...
wren is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 02:18 PM
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"our son thinks it is really cool that it is legal to order alcoholic drinks!"

ah yes, I remember that feeling, too. My first wine was in Paris when I was 16 (well, except for that night with Spanada...but let's not go into that).

Good stuff, wren. Looking forward to the repoty!

maitaitom is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 02:20 PM
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"Looking forward to the repoty!"

"Repoty" is something I do after too much wine, but I am looking forward to the report.

maitaitom is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 02:23 PM
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Looking forward to more, W.

ira is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 02:26 PM
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Welcome home...looking forward to more details.
CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 03:05 PM
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Hi Wren,
I am leaving for a house rental in Dordogne . . . TOMORROW! If you can complete your travel log ASAP, it would be very helpful to me. I am very excited about this trip, but I'm not sure what we'll do when my husband gets bored with R&R and needs something to do. Please tell me all you can. Thanks very much. Pat
Jann_Nielsen is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 03:40 PM
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Pat...in a week, we never came close to doing all there is to do in the Dordogne...there are many wonderful towns to visit, markets in various towns, prehistoric caves to see, as well as castles.

I also forgot to mention ekscrunchy and Moolyn...their reports were amazingly helpful and full of ideas!
wren is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 03:45 PM
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Great report so far!
jamikins is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 04:26 PM
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The second day in Paris we arose rather late, had a quick coffee, and went directly to a creperie on the Ile St. Louis, before our visit to Notre Dame.

We loved the cathedral...the headphones provided additional info that was helpful. We climbed to the top--along with a lot of other Americans. It seemed there were just a lot of Americans in Paris at this time. Our son was fascinated with the architectural detail of Notre Dame; amazed that it took over two hundred years to build.

After lingering here as long for awhile, we strolled down to the Musee' de Moyen Age--the Cluny Museum...near the Sorbonne in the 5th arrondisement. Once again, our son was enthralled with the abundant history.

We decided to return to the hotel and then head out to Rue Mouffetard for the evening, in search of food. This area is totally alive--full of vibrance. We chose the Pot de Terre...on the Rue du Pot de Fer...a great choice. I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner of salade greque, pave de saumon a l'oseille, and tarte au pomme for 15,50 euro. Of course, we had wine as well...a good meal---in a fun location.
wren is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 04:55 PM
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What a wonderful present for your son! Waiting for more . . .
LCBoniti is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 05:00 AM
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Day 3--We toured with Michael Osman for the 3rd time, knowing our son would enjoy him and his insight.

Highlights: Louvre, Montmartre, St. Denis, and Pere-Lachaise Cimetiere.

Because we had a large lunch near the Louvre (excellent quiche and salad), we snacked in our room compliments of the nearby Champion store, and decided to turn in early.

We had a train to catch at Gare Austerlitz the next morning which would take us to Brive-la-Gaillarde. I had bought Prem fare tickets several weeks earlier--1st class seats for the same price as 2nd. I had never ridden in the 1st class section before, even though I had used the train system extensively in the '70's and again in the last 5 years. (The main difference was the seat size--basically the only difference I could see!)

Next up--our love affair with the Dordogne continues...
wren is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 10:18 AM
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Day 4 Trip to the Dordogne

How did we decide on the Dordogne?
We visited the Dordogne in 2004 and just fell in love with the area. We thought its variety would appeal to our younger son. Our 27 y.o. son and his wife were interested as well. (Unfortunately, our 25 y.o. daughter was unable to coordinate her vacation then.)

After an easy 10 minute walk from Hotel Monge to Gare Austerlitz, we hopped on the train. With the very relaxing train ride, we all snoozed. Four hours later, we arrived in Brive and headed straight to Europcar. The two people in front of us received their Renault Megane compact car, which we had reserved as well. As we walked out with the attendant to get our car, we passed a couple of small cars and then she showed us our vehicle for the next week. SCORE! It was a Citroen Berlingo...I thanked her for this particular car in my "best" French and she laughed. With my son over 6'4" and the others meeting us the next day, we were more than thrilled to get this roomy SUV.

The weather was rather warm--but not uncomfortable, and the drive to our house just outside of St. Cyprien was beautiful. Within an hour and 15 minutes, we arrived at the house and the owners were there to show us around. SCORE again! Our house was perfect for us...better than the pictures and it more than exceeded our expectations!

After a brief rest and exploration of the place, we headed out to the store in St. Cyprien to stock up on supplies...wine, food, wine, etc. Did I mention wine? We saw the couple from Europcar in the store and chatted for awhile...they asked if we got lost on the way...no--we had our laptop w/ GPS!!!

That evening, we drove down to see the Dordogne River and take a look at Beynac. We had eaten at the Cafe La Riviere in 2004 and enjoyed it...so we thought we would eat there this night for dinner...we discovered it had changed hands since we were there last. The food seemed the same--and the view on the little terrace was still fabulous...

Tomorrow--St. Cyprien's marche' and lunch at a ferme...thanks ekscrunchy!
wren is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:04 AM
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Just curious - are the new owners of Café La Rivière also Brits? I went to a private party there once and they served prawn crackers with onion dip, curried chicken kabobs, green jello salad, and white cake with crème anglaise. Never could bring my self to go back there and actually pay for a meal (so glad to hear the food is edible)!
StCirq is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:08 AM
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Will be waiting to here more!
hopingtotravel is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:19 AM
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This is a great read, Wren. And I have a feeling that there were chickens on the table for Sunday lunch!
Thanks for writing!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 02:24 PM
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St. Cirq---in all honesty, we wouldn't return. Mark and I were rather disappointed in it. The first time we went in 2004, we were hungry and tired and the meal they served us was great...this time, it was definitely edible, but rather uninspired. Ho-hum. The new owners are Brits; and quite nice.
wren is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 02:37 PM
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...oooh, never mind my post..I see that lunch was at the ferme after the market....can't wait to read about it!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 03:12 PM
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Wren, enjoying your post. We're planning a trip to Dordogne area next May so I can't wait to hear more about your trip and also about your rental house (there will be 3 of us too).
Tuni01 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 03:19 PM
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Fun report, thanks, looking forward to more.
Nikki is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 03:41 PM
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wren, enjoying your report. I had wonderful afternoon at Chez Denise.
I'm rereading Three Rivers in France""
The reason I visited the Dordogne, Tarn and Lot.
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