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Best time on a Friday to arrive in Sarlat?

Melbourne, Australia
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Best time on a Friday to arrive in Sarlat?

We are traveling from Paris by train on Friday in the second week of September. The timetable to Bordeaux would have us arriving just before 10 in the morning. We expect that it will take us a little while to find where the Europe car hire is and then leave from the station (chance of us getting lost a couple of times as we usually do...) and drive the approximate 2 hours and 15 minutes will see us realistically arriving in Sarlat around 2.30. We will have a sat nav with us and by then will have a Michellin detailed map. Once we arrive in Sarlat we will enjoy traveling the minor roads and getting lost from time to time. Would love some help with the following:

Should we find a little lunch stop on the way? A little scenic picnic would be nice.

Do the times I have suggested above seem realistic?

Presumably most shops close between 12 and 2?

I feel I would like to be in Sarlat before 4, simply because of traffic on our first day.

Thanks for any help.

Le Bugue, France
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1. Re: Best time on a Friday to arrive in Sarlat?

Hi, Fenguin.

DO ask the Europcar people for explicit directions to locate the car. I've spent a fair bit of time trying to locate cars after getting off the train in Bordeaux (don't remember if they were Europcar rentals or not, but some probably were). Sometimes the car is parked on the street, sometimes in a big indoor garage near the station that is a bit of a mystery to locate. That said, I think your estimate of timing is ample.

There's a Friday market in Bergerac that should still be open by the time you arrive (they typically shut down between noon and 1 pm). You could pick up picnic supplies and have a picnic by the river. Bergerac is about halfway between Bordeaux and Sarlat. Bergerac also has a couple at least of large supermarkets on the outskirts that should also be open.

If you take the old road instead of the highway, you'll pass through lots of nice towns where some things will be open. It'll add about a half-hour to your trip, but is much prettier.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Best time on a Friday to arrive in Sarlat?

Bergerac is a good idea, as the Old Town in the centre is actually well-restored now and really enjoyable for a wander, but many people tend to drive past it on their way somewhere else! There's also a 50 minute gabarre cruise you can take from the Old Port on the river. If you miss the market, I can highly recommend L'Imparfait in the Old Town, which has excellent two course lunches. For the Europcar pickup at Bordeaux Station, their office is at the rear of the station, so head out the back way, then walk a few steps across towards the carpark. There are several depots there in the one spot. These days that carpark holds all the cars booked for pickup that day for the hire companies, in sign-posted sections. It can be a bit of a queue when you first arrive, so allow about half an hour for pickup. Once you leave that carpark, turn right, and head towards the river, go through a couple of roundabouts, following the signs for "Rocade", which is a huge ringroad which encompasses the city of Bordeaux. Once you get onto the Rocade, follow it till you reach exit ("sortie") No 24, direction Bergerac. That will put you onto the D936, following the signs to Bergerac. This is the slower road, but as St Cirq says, much more interesting as you drive past vineyards & domaines and little villages. I'd say you could be in Bergerac by noonish, and then have a couple hours to explore before the hour & half drive to Sarlat, and still be there by 4pm.

Edited: 21 March 2014, 02:03
Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Best time on a Friday to arrive in Sarlat?

Thank you both for the fantastic advice and directions! Love the idea of a picnic on the river and will visit Bergerac. I will bookmark the restaurant...just in case. Hurray for little roads. We have travelled in France before, never in this region though and loved the little villages, the unexpected- in a nice way- around almost every corner. I am sure I will be back on the forum with a million questions between now and September.

Thanks in advance for your patience.

4. Re: Best time on a Friday to arrive in Sarlat?

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