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Beautiful villages and regions in December

Launceston...
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Beautiful villages and regions in December

Hi all

We have hired a car to pick up from Montelimar on December 9th and have it for 22 days. From the 20 to 30 th December we will stay in a Gite in the Gripp area- Haute Pyrenees. Prior to that area though we would love some input on where to go? We were goin g to go to the Dordogne area but some people have said it wouldn't be nice in winter time. Could people throw in their suggested itinerary ideas , bearing in mind we need to be in Gripp on December 20th?, after the 30th we take 2 days to drop the Car back in Montpellier.

We do much prefer smaller places than big cities, though we are currently in Paris for a week which is amazing, but of course, it is Paris!

Thanks !

Toowoomba, Australia
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1. Re: Beautiful villages and regions in December

Belinda, I think most people here probably travel at other times of the year so cannot give advice relevant to December. I am only guessing here. While we travel out of season, we have never been there this late in the year and we do not do a trip like this where we decide each day where we will stop.. You may need to consider staying in larger towns , not necessarily large cities, but not small villages where the one restaurant or hotel or chambre d'hote may be closed for winter. You are also heading to an area that , other than Lourdes, rarely gets mentioned here.

I have to say you are a lot more adventurous than we are. Getting old I suppose and like to know where we will be sleeping. As we always self cater and go with everything booked, I have no advice for where to stay.

You seem to have eleven days to get from Montpelier to your gite. You could still travel via Figeac, Sarlat. Yes, the countryside will not be like summer, but the towns are still lovely and people still live there. You can still walk around Domme, Montignac, Monpazier. They will not be busy as in summer, but the churches, views, cobbled streets, bridges are all still there. Or you could head down through the l'Herault and Aude regions and visit Cathar castles, Carcassonne, Perpignan. You already have my link to our week spent there and the Aveyron .

But you need to do some research on likely places you could stay and what accommodation will be open.

Good luck. I hope you have a great trip.

2. Re: Beautiful villages and regions in December

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Removed on: 22 November 2015, 22:57
Edited: 22 November 2015, 22:57
England, United...
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3. Re: Beautiful villages and regions in December

I've been to rural France as late as end November, but not in the areas that are on your approximate route. I think the key is to base yourself in or very close to a town or large village with some life. If you base yourself out in the sticks, you could be looking at muddy fields for much of the time. Also make sure the accommodation you choose has good heating. Venturing out during cold weather is fine as long as one can get warm quickly when returning.

Almost everywhere in France will look wintry at that time of year, but one the beautiful things about the Dordogne is the lovely honey-coloured stone with which the traditional houses and other buildings are built. I can imagine that in winter that stone would add some visual warmth and friendliness to the landscapes.

In one of your earlier posts, I suggested Sarlat as your base for the Dordogne, because it offers facilities and some activities before Christmas. If you are really drawn to the Dordogne, it would be a shame to give up on it. Even if some places will be closed there is so much to see.

You've already had some excellent suggestions for alternative/additional places to visit from others.

I'll add one more idea: The small and characterful town of Moissac, which is roughly on your route. It has a beautiful Abbey/cloisters and a nice atmosphere. It also has some life during the time leading up to Christmas:

http://en.tourisme-moissac.com/

From Moissac there are many beautiful villages to explore, such as Lauzerte (full of character and on a very steep hill); Auvillar (beautiful central square); Castelsagrat (very well preserved pretty bastide village); and lots of others including smaller ones.

Have a great time!

Launceston...
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4. Re: Beautiful villages and regions in December

Thanks everyone that's helpful. I can understand that desire to want to have accomodation sorted but it does also take out some adventure for us...or maybe some sense of spontaneity if you know what I mean. But, we certainly don't want to be looking for a place to stay at 4pm each day, but it might need some planning. We don't go from Montpelier to the gite but from Montelimar to the gite and yep, we most definitely have snow chains and snow tyres :-) the gite in the Pyrenees is the bit we are looking forward to the most. I guess not many french folks who live in those areas frequent these boards ? Thanks for the tips everyone , we shall start looking at destinations! :-)

Ps we are in Paris now and it is just lovely this time of year :-)

Le Bugue, France
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5. Re: Beautiful villages and regions in December

Here's what it looked like last week (11/22/2013) in a village near Sarlat.

linternaute.com/actualite/…

England, United...
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6. Re: Beautiful villages and regions in December

The photos are beautiful StCirq, but are you sure they are near Sarlat rather than near Belfort?

Edited: 01 December 2013, 18:18
Le Bugue, France
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7. Re: Beautiful villages and regions in December

They came from this site, celestina, which supposedly shows last week's snow in the Périgord Noir:

linternaute.com/actualite/…

Last week's Le Sudouest also had stories about and pictures of the snow.

England, United...
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8. Re: Beautiful villages and regions in December

Seems to me that that website isn't all that good at updating because the pics in your latest links are from Jan 2010.

It has certainly been cold in the Dordogne and looks like it will continue to be cold into December, although with a fair bit of sun too - if one believes the weather forecast.

Anyway, Belinda doesn't seem to mind the cold if she will be going to the Pyrenees.

Toowoomba, Australia
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9. Re: Beautiful villages and regions in December

Ah Belinda, getting old as I said! I do not know why I typed Montpellier. As you can see there are some options for you. Celestina mentioned the gers. Our first week last trip was spent in the Gers and it is lovely. Very rural with some wonderful old villages. We visited several Plus Beaux Villages that week.

And yes, TA is mostly frequented by travellers. There are some lucky locals in various areas who can give advice, but mostly people like us who love visiting France. And I can understand wanting to be flexible . But after some stressful days on trips to the UK looking for a B&B, what can I say. Getting old!! But DH has often expressed a desire to spend winter in France. So who knows. Anyway, I will think of you on Xmas day in your gite while we are on the back veranda with a cold beer!!

Bon voyage.

10. Re: Beautiful villages and regions in December

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Removed on: 22 November 2015, 22:59