Please sign in to post.

Dordogne - 4 NIghts

Hello, Forum -- I know there are some huge fans of this region.....I have never been. There seems to be an embarrassment of riches here! I will be staying near Domme with a car, and would appreciate tips about arranging 3.5 days in the area in June (a last-minute opportunity). I would like to see Lascaux and perhaps Peche Merle, Gouffre de Padirac, Grotto de Rouffignac (most of the other caves are sold out); the prehistoric museum in Les Eyzies, maybe a short river cruise, a catapult exhibit (?), and of course the Wednesday market in Sarlat and perhaps another smaller one. Have heard that St-Cirq-Lapopie is worthwhile, as well as Rocamdour (sadly, the raptor sanctuary is closed). Yikes!! Is even a little of this possible? How best to organize my days/driving/sites? Thank you all in advance!

Posted by
173 posts

I cannot speak to the area. We are also going to be there in June for 7 nights, our first trip there. I can tell you that for the cave at Font de Gaume, the ticketing reservations have not opened up yet for June.

Posted by
30 posts

Thanks, Aimee, for your enthusiasm about St-Cirq-LP! I'm committed to my accommodations, but appreciate hearing this is worth a visit. Hopeful that others can suggest how to best sort and schedule seeing these various locations.

Posted by
30 posts

Ah, Karen. This is such encouraging information! I assumed the blocked dates in June meant Font de Gaume was completely sold out. What a relief! Thanks so much -- have a magnificent trip :-)

Posted by
30 posts

And ( à propros Karen's response), does anyone know how or at what time the tickets are released, for the future cave-dates? I can't seem to find this information on the official cave websites. Thanks!

Posted by
173 posts

I have been checking out the site for Grotte Font de Gaume for months. Looks like right now goes through May 15th. Keep on checking and I will see you there!

Posted by
27269 posts

I day tripped to St-Cirq-Lapopie and found it not mobbed at all even at the time I was there, which I'd guess was roughly between 11 AM and 1 PM. I don't remember whether there's a car park at the top of the town, so best to check on the parking situation before you go.

Rocamadour was a huge disappointment to me. It took me a lot longer to walk from the nearest (but very distant) bus stop, so I didn't have time to go up to the area where the religious buildings are located. The lower level of town has been turned into one restaurant/cafe/tourist shop after another, and that area was mobbed. If you go there, I urge you to allow time to see something other than the tourist strip. I don't doubt that it's worthwhile if you have time to do that.

Posted by
30 posts

Thank you, acraven. Anything that helps me narrow down an over-full itinerary is much appreciated!
Et bonne chance to us both, Karen!

Posted by
1882 posts

As a fan of the region who spend every year some days and week-ends there for more than 30 years, I can give you a short and nice itinerary which can be scheduled for an afternoon.

Starting from Domme you can follow this circuit:

Village of Turenne which has the certification "Most beautiful Villages of France", and a very old castle

Then to the village of Collonges-la-Rouge which is also one of the "Most beautiful Villages of France" (there are parking lots to park the cars outside the village)

And then go to the small town of Martel which is very nice to visit and was famous for its truffle trade

The whole circuit with the return to Domme represents less than 80mi
You can do the circuit in the other direction.
And as you will surely pass in the avenue Jean Jaures in Souillac you can visit the Louis Roque Distillery and buy their "Old Prune of Souillac"

You can also taste it, but be careful, you have a car to drive.

You will find information on all these places at:
https://www.visit-dordogne-valley.co.uk/

Posted by
30 posts

Jolui -- how marvelous this sounds....I can almost taste it! And thanks, also, for the link to an excellent website.

Posted by
1882 posts

A little "scenic route + local food " bonus to the circuit I gave you:

To return to your accommodation from Martel you can go through Gluges and Creysse.

From Martel follow the signs " Rocamadour/Gouffre de Padirac" (D840 road).
After about 3 mi, you come to a bridge over the Dordogne "the Gluges bridge" , just before the bridge turn right towards Creysse (D43 road).
This is the start of the bonus

For about 3 mi this road passes between the Dordogne River and large cliffs. It is quite narrow and in blind sections, honk your horn to warn cars coming from the opposite direction.

When you are in Creysse if you are greedy you absolutely have to go to the farm "La Campagnoise" (you will see signs) they organize small tours of the farm and tastings but you can just buy local specialties (foie gras, duck confit, homemade jams, liquors etc).

https://www.la-campagnoise.fr/ (website in French only)

I hope they are not closed because of the protective measures against avian influenza.

When you've done your shopping for local produce you will be less than 10 mi from Souillac (use GPS as you will be driving through small roads and small villages), then return to your accommodation.

Enjoy your stay in Dordogne, and "Bon appétit!"

Posted by
12 posts

Just today, April 11, 2022, ticketing for Font de Gaume was opened up through August of this year on the national monuments website. But beware: the English language version of the Font de Gaume ticketing site does not show tickets available. However, if you use the French language site you can buy tickets. First you select number of tickets, then it takes you to a calendar. Click on the date you want, and it will show the tours available on that day, which are in English and which in French, and how many of the maximum 13 slots are still available on each of the day's tours.

Posted by
30 posts

What great good fortune: my cave tickets are purchased! For a mix of architecture, local culture, caves, and scenery, does this schedule sound feasible:

Day One - Domme, St-Cirq-Lapopie, perhaps Pech Merl or Gouffre de Padirac?

Day Two - Sarlat market, Le Roque Gageac, Beynac, + Chateau de Milandes or Chateaux Castelnaud.....or a river cruise?

Day Three - Font de Gaume & Musee des Histoires Prehistoric, + Grotte de Rouffignac OR Jolui’s lovely afternoon drive?

Day Four (½ day) - Lascaux IV.

I’d like to consolidate drive times & distances whenever possible. Opinions greatly valued. Most of all, thanks to everyone for the expert advice!

Posted by
1882 posts

Day 1:
Assuming you are going to do this circuit.
This day requires a bit of organization and an early morning start (and bring something to cover you if you visit Pech-Merle & Padirac where the temperature does not exceed 55°F. )

Also be aware that the small roads in the region are not expressways, if you drive at an average of 40 mph it will be fast.

At the Grotte du Pech-Merle, visits do not start before 9:30 a.m. (book the visit online and choose a time slot)

https://booking.pechmerle.com/visites-pechmerle.html

There are only 10kms between St-Cirq-Lapopie and Pech Merle, so depending on your choice of time slot to visit Pech-Merle, organize Pech Merle then St Cirq-Lapopie or St-Cirq-Lapopie then Pech Merle .

Visiting the village of St-Cirq-Lapopie can take you 2 hours or more.

After these two visits I think it will be time to think about lunch (an important step in France, and especially in this region!)

Then go to the Gouffre de Padirac.
Plan to buy your tickets online before (I think it's mandatory) and don't book too early to be sure to be there at the time of your reservation.
The visit is very impressive and is done in small boats of about ten people with a guide

https://www.gouffre-de-padirac.com/billetterie/index-en.php

After the Gouffre de Padirac, if you have time and strength left, you can go through Rocamadour on your way back to your accommodation.

Day 2:
I didn't know you could do river cruises on the Dordogne (I've always done it by renting a canoe).
I saw on the internet that river cruises are possible from La Roque-Gageac in traditional boats called "Gabares"
It's in the area of ​​your day 2 itinerary, so why not.

Day 3:
You can do your circuit in the morning (watch out for the overdose of caves and prehistoric sites) then find a place for lunch AND then choose my lovely afternoon drive (thank you for the lovely!).

At Font de Gaume you will probably have to book in advance, but not at the Grotte de Rouffignac

In June there will start to be a lot of tourists in this region, If you have reservations always plan to arrive at the sites to visit at least 1/2 hour before

Posted by
30 posts

Thank you, JoLui. This sounds ideal. I appreciate the “overdose” concerns, so will probably skip the Grotte de Rouffignac, and take your “lunch is an important step in France….” to heart! I am fit and traveling solo…..and therefore hopeful that I can cover these three circuits by driving carefully and without too much fatigue. It’s difficult trying to fathom what makes a reasonable day trip, especially when there is so much beauty to encounter. Thank you again!

Posted by
1882 posts

il y a d'excelents producteur de foie gras partout dans le departement

I think you gave a wrong link. It directs to a website which is not in Dordogne but in the Pyrenees, near the Spanish border, 5 hours drive from Sarlat.