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Loire Valley or the Dordogne?

Burlington, Vermont
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80 posts
15 reviews
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Loire Valley or the Dordogne?

Hello, we have a couple of days to spend in central France this fall before heading south to our vacation rental. We are debating between spending these days in the Loire valley or the Dordogne. We are very interested in castles, but also very interested in food and wine, so it is a tough choice. Any opinions on which we should choose? Thanks so much for your help!

Tampa, Florida
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1. Re: Loire Valley or the Dordogne?

We'll assume you're starting in Paris -- where is your rental? That will have much to do with our suggestions, as the Loire is pretty much on the way to anywhere south, but the Dordogne could be a very long and arduous detour, depending on where you're going to end up.

Burlington, Vermont
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80 posts
15 reviews
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2. Re: Loire Valley or the Dordogne?

Hi Sunshine,

Our rental is in the Languedoc, a short distance outside of Carcassonne. Yes, we will be heading south after visiting Paris and Mont-St-Michel. Thanks for your help!

Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Loire Valley or the Dordogne?

We have not been to the Dordogne, but have been to the Loire. If you have a car, there are many Chateau in the area. We stayed near Tours and visited Chennonceau, Amboise, Villandry to name just a few. It is a great area, and depending on your route, may be just along the way

Tampa, Florida
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36,653 posts
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4. Re: Loire Valley or the Dordogne?

If you're headed to the Carcassonne area, then yes, the Dordogne is very doable.

It's absolutely stunning, and the food and wine there is amongst the best in France (with due apologies to Lyon!)

I would choose the Dordogne -- the castles are much older, but were actually used as battlements, and to us, far more interesting.

Bradford, Yorkshire
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5. Re: Loire Valley or the Dordogne?

Having stayed in both these areas I would be hard pressed to choose between them.

The Loire between Blois and Angers has many chateau, both the aristocratic ornate super-hunting lodge style and also the fortified defensive type. The valley of the river is quite pretty but drive away from it and the area is just the normal rural. There are a number of towns, large towns, and major cities to visit. The area is has many vineyards and produces wine of many different appellations. The cuisine is as good as most of France.

The River Dordogne gives its name to the Dordogne Region. However the most scenic part of the river is at the far eastern end of the Dordogne Region, and continues into the Lot and the Correze Regions. The chateau are normally the fortified defensive type, but the surrounding area is generally more scenic. The towns tend to be smaller and no major cities. This is not a major wine appellations area, but Bergerac and Cahors are reasonably local, though you can find good wine all over France. The cuisine is very good and may just edge a win (others will dispute this), depending on your personal tastes.

Thats a quick run down on the criteria you mentioned. Either is a good choice. For a couple of days maybe the Loire as there is a lot in a compact area from wherever you stay, though I would say the Dordogne area is prettier.

Hope this helps.

Tampa, Florida
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36,653 posts
11 reviews
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6. Re: Loire Valley or the Dordogne?

If you go strictly from the logistics, the Loire is about 2 hours from most of Paris.

The Dordogne is 6 hours from Paris. Just get on the motorway and go -- it's boring interstate, but the roads are good and travel is much faster than the scenic route.

Carcassone is roughly 9-10 hours from Paris -- or 3-4 hours from the Dordogne (it's just a little to far to make a day trip and get back to the Dordogne!).

It might make an otherwise crazy-long road trip a little more bearable to break it in two, even if you'll spend one long day and one not-so-bad day in the car.

Burlington, Vermont
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80 posts
15 reviews
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7. Re: Loire Valley or the Dordogne?

Thanks so much for your replies! I think we are leaning towards the Dordogne. It sounds right up our alley and even though it is a bit more spread out, I think we'd really enjoy it. Thanks again!

8. Re: Loire Valley or the Dordogne?

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