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Help w/ Travel Itinerary

Dallas
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Help w/ Travel Itinerary

My husband and I will be arriving in Bordeaux on 8/28 (around noon) and driving to St. Cyprien. We will be spending 4 days there and have already booked a tour of the caves in Font de Gaume for Monday morning. We also are planning on doing a short canoe trip one morning down the river. I have been planning this trip since Jan 09 and can't believe that it is almost here. I want to do as much as possible as we probably won't get back to this part of the world for a long time. I have read numerous guide books and they are just getting me confused. I know that some of you have explored this region many times and was hoping that you could help me with a itinerary. We will be catching a flight on 9/1 at 6:45pm from Bordeaux to Paris so I was hoping to leave St. Cyprien early that morning and stop at various places along the way. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

johannesburg,southaf...
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1. Re: Help w/ Travel Itinerary

Hi there,

Just saw your request. You have three full days in the Dordogne region. To start with, please let me know:

a.firstly what appears to interest you after reading all the guidebooks (you are already booked to visit Font de Gaume and you want to take a short canoe ride one morning) - which towns stand out for you and which activities are most attractive to you

b. and secondly, what confuses you.

Once you have responded to these two questions, hopefully I and other knowledgeable TA members will be able to help you.

I will start by letting you know or reminding you if you already know that the Sunday market in St.Cyprien is one of the best in the region - we have been there and is well worth going to and buying provisions for a picnic along one of the rivers - linked to this - at Limeuil - one of the "beautiful villages" of France - there is a lovely picnic spot with tables along the river - with a stunning watercolour like view to the left of a bridge in the not to far distance - another place for a great picnic is above the Tremolat Cingle - easy enough to find just outside the town of Tremolat on the way to Bergerac - could be a stopping place on your way back to Bordeaux for a breakfast or a brunch - probably the most stunning bend in a river that you would have ever seen. Waiting to hear from you.

nashville
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2. Re: Help w/ Travel Itinerary

if you are interested in pre-history the museum at Les Eyzies is remarkable -- I wish we had had more than the two hours we spent there -- it is not far from the Font de Gaume

The faux cave at Lascaux near Montignac is also well worth a visit -- it is supposed to be an exact re-creation of part of the nearby Lascaux cave which is closed to visitors --

for the canoe trip -- choose the Dordogne near Le Roque Gageac -- the Vezere is a bore -- when we did a long stretch on the Dordogne, we paddled by countless chateau and stopped for lunch at a riverside cafe -- the Vezere is slower (thus harder work to paddle) and once you leave Les Eyzies is fairly dull scenery

Dallas
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3. Re: Help w/ Travel Itinerary

We are really interested in touring small towns with great views. We love to tour castles since there are not alot of those in Dallas. I had read about the market in St. Cyprien and think that is a great idea to buy food for a picnic. I guess when I say I was confused it was more like being overwhelmed since there is so much to see and so little time to see it in. Since we will have a car distance is not that important as long as it is worth while to see. I hope that helps.

johannesburg,southaf...
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4. Re: Help w/ Travel Itinerary

Hi there,

Thanks robin13Dallas for your response. I will give serious thought to your request and get back to you with detail once you have perused the following thoughts and made your own suggestions.

I can start by telling you that we have been to many of the most interesting and beautiful parts of Europe and the world - we keep coming back to the Dordogne/Lot region - indeed have bought a small charming stone house built in 1604 and have been renovating it for the last few years. We don't live here full time as we love constantly coming back and renewing our love affair with the region - being here all the time would, I am certain, partially kill the magic of the place!

I will list a few (not all) of the places that you MUST visit in the three full days you are in this region - I am certain they are places that you would have on your own list - it isn't really difficult choosing the best and thereby reducing your confusion and the difficulty in deciding where to go.

Fortunately you are arriving at the tail end of the French/European holiday season and so the serious traffic jams and waste of time getting around should not be a problem (hopefully).

Firstly - roads around the Dordogne the Lot and the Cele Rivers - especially - are stunningly beautiful with the river on one side or the other - these drives in themselves - getting from one place to another is a key part of what makes this region so memorable and special and I would like you to keep in mind that the journey here is just as important as the destination.

Intial thoughts:

Friday - you will arrive in St Cyprien around 3pm - check into your hotel/accommodation. As you don't want to waste any time - you could consider driving to Beynac-Cazenac - as you want to see castles - this is one of the charming towns along the Dordogne which you shouldn't miss - drive up or walk up to Beynac Castle - the walk is relatively steep but not long at all. (don't know at this point visiting hours but either you or I could find out). When you return down to the town - stop in one of the restaurants along the river for refreshment.(I'll check into restaurant for this evening.)

Saturday - after breakfast at your hotel - depart as early as you feel comfortable to Sarlat for its Saturday morning market - it closes down at around 13:00. This is the morning that you will also be able to see all you need to in this picturebook town - yes very touristy but each building is a sculpture - also a good place to buy presents - gourmet delights/soaps etc. Have lunch here - will look into possible choices.

Saturday pm - after lunch is when you could visit the Cingle de Montfort - fairytale castle, Domme and la Roque Gageac - one of the "beautiful villages" of France.

Sunday am - Market in St Cyprien - drive along the Dordogne river - yes you would have been here the day before but one really cannot get enough of this route. Without going into details now - your morning's first stop could be Rocamadour - the three tiered town - really unique and again touristy but well worth the visit. You could then drive either on major highway or back roads (will give details) - it's about an hour or so to the Lot region and the amazing town of St Cirq Lapopie - perched high on a promontory overlooking the Lot river - walk around and have lunch here. If time permits and I hope it does, you must drive along the Cele river to Cabreret and visit the interesting caves of Peche Merle.Return home via highway - or have dinner in Cahors - many very fine restaurants here - we can find a few to choose and then return back to your hotel.

Monday - am you have booked a trip to Font de Gaume. You could drive up to Montignac and visit Lascaux - please check regarding the need for reservations. There are some lovely restaurants for lunch in the Montignac area we can come up with some suggestions.After lunch you could consider driving north to main highway via Brive la Gaillard and then take the D38 to Collonges la Rouge - extremely charming all in a deep red/maroon coloured stone. Travel south on way back stop at Carennac along the Dordogne - another charming town.

Tuesday - depart St Cyprien - and as mentioned previously, stop in Tremolat towards Bergerac and visit the very impressive Cingle to Tremolat. I must admit that though I have been in Bergerac, I really don't know it well enough to recommend places to visit but this exercise should not be a difficult one.

These are just some initial thoughts - we have left out the canoeing and more castles which can certainly be fitted in - also one of my favourite towns - Brantome - might just be out of bounds because of time and its location - unless you don't go to the the Lot region on Sunday - this must be considered.

Please take a look at your guidebooks and a detailed Michelin map of the region - (Michelin Map 75 - Bordeaux/Perigueux/Tulle is great but it doesn't include Cahors and the Lot region; Map 79 -Bordeaux/Agen/Montauban would be a good additional map - or Map 235 the Midi Pyrenees might be the best as it has virtually all the places mentioned above except Carennac). Check on the places mentioned plus others that you have thought of visiting and revert with your thoughts.

Best regards.

Dallas
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5. Re: Help w/ Travel Itinerary

Travelworld23,

This is just what I was looking for! Thank you so much. Several of these towns were on my list but you did offer some new ones that I had not heard of. I will go through my guidebooks this weekend and get back to you on Monday. I did puchase a Michelin atlas and I just received my Garmin Nuvi 270 so I am all set for driving. As for restaurants any guidance would be most appreciated. After reading your response I am getting so excited! It has always been a dream for my husband and I to visit France and now it is coming true. The week before we are doing an escorted tour of France which includes Paris, Giverny, Rouen, Honfleur, Deauville, Mont St. Michel, Tours, & the Chateaux Country. If you know of any restaurants in any of those towns please let me know as lunch and dinner is not included. Thank you so much!!

Robin

Worcester, MA
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for Dordogne
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6. Re: Help w/ Travel Itinerary

Check out Catelnaud for a castle stop. the castle is well restored with a great walk through/around and there is a wonderful display of siege warfare instruments and weapons. The views from the castle are amazing. It's not too far from where you are staying. This was one of our favorite stops in our three visits to the area - You will love font de Gaume and do try to spend time in the pre-history museum in town. We did visit Lascaux on a trip previous to our font de Gaume; we enjoyed it very much but if we had to choose one over the other Font de Gaume would win out. The caves near Padirac (Gouffre de Padirac) are magnificent (deep in the ground with an underground lake - boat ride) and should be on your short list. Go early in the day if you decide on this - the lines get long in the summer. Many other places in the area but almost too many as you are discovering. Sarlat is a good half day site as is Rocamadour but both tend to be crowded and somewhat "touristy" (of course, that is who we are)

Not sure of your route back to Bordeaux, but if it goes near St Emillion, which has a good direct road connection to Bordeaux, think about that town for a stop; Bergerac might also be a possibility. Of the two St Emillion offers more in my opinion.

Hope this helps and enjoy your trip-it's a great part of our world

jhgrady

Dallas
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7. Re: Help w/ Travel Itinerary

Jhgrady,

Thanks for the suggestions. I did have Catelnaud and St. Emillion on my list. I was thinking of stopping there on the way back to Bordeaux. As for the cave near Padirac that sounds wonderful. We did the cave thing in Capri and loved it! I will put that on my list as well.

Thanks,

Robin

johannesburg,southaf...
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8. Re: Help w/ Travel Itinerary

Hi there,

Just a short note before you get back to us:

I totally agree with janeharriet:

a.Castelnaud - can be visited on same arrival afternoon along with Beynac Castle - one across the river from the other.

b.Gouffre de Padirac - have been there - really fantastic with boat ride - which can be visited on same day that you visit Rocamadour (just to the east and slightly north) following visiting this town and before you go south to the Lot and St Cirq.

c.Yes, St Emillion - the most charming town in the Bordeaux wine region - lots of places for wine tasting and purchasing - after leaving Bergerac - the old town area - we have never stopped any place between Bergerac and St Emillion which won't be much more than an hour from Bordeaux.

Waiting to hear from you.

Best regards and pleased that you feel we have created some excitement for you!

9. Re: Help w/ Travel Itinerary

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