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Dordogne

Mark

100+ Posts
Will Arrive at CDG on a Thursday will spend 3 nights then train to Bordeaux, 3 nights in Bordeaux then 4 nights in the Dordogne. Is four days enough time? Will not be visiting caves.
 

Parigi

100+ Posts
Dordogne is large. 4 days is short. I would give it at least one more day and focus on the area around one point, such as Sarlat.

Caves

What do you mean by the caves? Do you mean the prehistoric caves? In the the Sarlat area I love Fond e Gaume and Cognac most. After the visit, one is proud of humanity.
Lascaux, Lascaux 2, Lascaux 3, etc. are not real caves but are reenactments. They are well-executed museums. If you are pressed for time, you should see the real caves. If you have a couple of weeks, then the Lascaux places are good for a rainy afternoon.

Les Plus Beaux Villages de France

For 4, 5 da ys, if the weather permits I would visit some listed Plus Beaux Villages (besides Sarlat: La Roque Cageac, Beynac, Limeuil, St Léon sur Vezère, just to name a few of my favorites) and spend one afternoon canoeing on the Dordogne river or at least a "gabarre" riveri tour).

Ferme-auberges

I would also have at least one meal in a ferme-auberge. My favorites are Layotte in Tursac and Les Tilleuls in Marnac. All the food is farm-fresh. They are not open everyday and, when they are open, are mobbed by locals. Must reserve.

Market

I would visit a weekly market - the one in St Cyprien (Sunday morning) or Belvès (Wednesday morning).
I would avoid the market in Sarlat. It is overrun, and the medieval buildings on the narrow streets cause deafening echoes. The market stalls also obscure the buidlngs' beautiful architecture.
 
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Eleanor

1000+ Posts
We spent a week in the Dordogne a few years ago based near Sarlat. There was so much to see and do and we easily filled the time - and could have filled a few more days too. We didn’t do any of the caves either.

There were so many delightful places, and we found that many of the smaller, less touristy places much more interesting than the honey pots of Beynac and La Roque Gageac for example. Urval with its medieval bread oven and fortified church, Vieux St Crepin or Belves all spring to mind. We found places like Cabin du Breuil and La Maison Fort de Reignac fascinating.

However I appreciate you may have limited time and difficult decisions have to be made. Do you have any slack in your itinerary to build in any more time?
 

Mark

100+ Posts
ThanKs guys, We're thinking of basing in Sarlat. Have most of the places on our list and will visit the honey pots, but like your recommendations Eleanor. Need to see if only 2 nights in Bordeaux works. I have been working in the retail side of the wine business and teaching WSET courses for a long time. So this will be our first visit to Bordeaux. Always have the problem of squeezing wine regions into our trips. Have been to the Mosel, Rheingau, Wachau, Kamptal, Kremstal, Veneto, Tuscany, Loire, Champagne, Alsace, Burgundy, the Rhone and Provence.
 

Parigi

100+ Posts
When you said "cave", do you mean the wine caves (cellars) or prehistoric caves ? Sorry it was not clear to me.
For your next trip there are some very lovely wineyard b&b's in Burgundy. I know this genre of lodging exists in the Loire too, but I'm not familiar with them. All this is for your next trip.
 

Kathy

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
I've spent many months in the Dordogne over the years, and my husband and I lead a one-week small group tour there, based in Montignac. Four nights is just dipping your toe in the water... a sampler... enough to realize that you need to return and stay longer.

There's so much to see and do there, even if you're not that interested in the prehistory (which may be much more interesting than you're thinking). Sarlat is great... beautiful, but busy. Hope you can get out to the smaller villages and the more isolated spots. If you're up for some walking and climbing, I really like the Chateau at Commarque. And the gardens at Eyrignac... well, my list of what I love is pretty long!

(We canoe from La Roque-Gageac to St. Vincent de Cosse... a great stretch of the Dordogne River. I absolutely love this... truly one of my happy places in Europe. If you're there in summer, though, go as early as possible in the day, as the river is very busy during the school holidays.)

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Kathy
 

Mark

100+ Posts
When you said "cave", do you mean the wine caves (cellars) or prehistoric caves ? Sorry it was not clear to me.
For your next trip there are some very lovely vineyard b&b's in Burgundy. I know this genre of lodging exists in the Loire too, but I'm not familiar with them. All this is for your next trip.
No, I meant the prehistory caves. Have been to Burgundy and the Loire.
 

Parigi

100+ Posts
I think the market in St. Cyprien is on Sunday morning -- it's our favorite in the area. And lunch -- or dinner -- at La Belle Etoile in La Roque-Gageac is not to be missed.
Merci Ann, you're right as usual. I just corrected the info in my reply.
 

Sharon J

100+ Posts
We absolutely love Beynac. We always stay in a 500 year old stone house, once owned by a Knight. It has been completely restored and has a lovely view overlooking the Dordogne River. It also has a pool. It is on several levels, and half way up through the town, which is quite a climb. Two Master Bedrooms with full baths, and an extra room for children, which is usually locked off, if only adults are visiting. A stunning terrace with grill, overlooking the river, where we spend most of our leisurely time. Very modern kitchen, living and dining on the main level. It is truly stunning. If you are interested, please let me know. It does have a small parking grotto, but a bit intimidating. They also offer free parking in the main town parking lot for paying guests.
 

Mark

100+ Posts
Update, Decided to stay only 2 nights in Paris allowing for 3 nights in Bordeaux and 5 nights in The Dordogne. Staying in an apartment in La Roque-Gageac that has a terrace overlooking the river and the town. Looking to day trip to Cahors to feed the wine bug.
 

Ann

100+ Posts
Mark, could you please post the link to "your" house in La Roque-Gageac? The house we've rented there several times has been sold and is no longer a rental, and I'm sure we'll want to return soon. I know you'll have a wonderful time!
 

elizbuth

10+ Posts
SIGH - We have a wonderful month booked in Provence this summer, and here I am feeling envious of your trip to the Dordogne. So many wonderful places to visit and so little time!
 

Mark

100+ Posts
No worries, We probably will go back for second trip.
Enjoy Provence, another place we need to get back to we stayed in Lourmarin for a week.
 

Parigi

100+ Posts
Sounds good, Mark.
The area around Cahors is breathtaking, esp the confluence between the Lot and the Célé rivers. There are so many small jewels of villages like St Martin de Vers and Calvignac, and Marcilhac sur Célé, and my favorite : St Cirq Lapopie (try to go in the morning or late afternoon early evening when the tour buses are gone).
However, Cahors wines, which have made great progress, are not my favorite. I like further north, like all the Bordeaux, or further south, like the Gaillacs. Thus is my prejudice.
If you have only a day to tour the Cahors area, I would suggest the prehistoric cave Pech Perle and itsi surrounding area of the two rivers Célé and the Lot. And save the rest - so, so much, - for your next trip.
Actually since you have only 5 days in Dordogne, you mahy want to spend all 5 days there. And that means seeing about 20% of the major sights of beauty, if that.
 

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