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Dordogne itinerary

My wife and I will be traveling in the Dordogne for about 5 days in the latter half of April of this year. We will have a car. Is there a book or other source that could give us a suggested itinerary for seeing castles, gardens, beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, and, to a lesser extent, some of the cave art? We are 66 and 74, so we cannot do too much strenuous climbs. Thanks for any suggestions. Peter

Posted by
545 posts

There are a number of books that will give you ideas of places to go. Rick Steves France book, Fodors, and Michelin Guide were all helpful to us last year. The Rick Steves book includes several suggested driving tours. After we arranged a short term apartment rental on the edge of Sarlat, we planned a series of day trips. Although there are many possible hiking and biking routes, you can easily enjoy the area with basic walks and minimal climbing.

Posted by
38 posts

In addition to the books mentioned by Anita, we also used The Rough Guide to France. Our final itinerary for last summer drew from all of those sources, including research on the internet. I don't think we used a published itinerary wholesale.

Some of what we ended up seeing that may also interest you: Chateau de Castelnaud (the path from the parking lot to the Chateau was quite steep though- we huffed and puffed to get up there), Les-Eyzies-de-Tayac (in addition to being a very picturesque village, the worthwhile National Museum of Prehistory is also there), La Roque St. Christophe (there is a steep path to get to the site, but also an alternative with a gentler grade), Lascaux IV, La Roque Gageac.

We also checked out market days in Sarlat and Le Bugue. We found the Saturday market in Sarlat extremely crowded (and parking therefore very difficult), but the one in Le Bugue was very pleasant and we were able to purchase food and enjoy lunch on the river bank.

The other thing we did that may interest you was to take a boat ride (they are called gabarres) down the Dordogne. We got on at the little stand just down from the roadside parking lot at Beynac. The narration (done by the person who steered the boat) was mostly in French, but upon finding out that French is not our strong suit, we were given a written summary of the narration in English, and he made periodic comments that helped us to locate where we were in the handout.

Posted by
3610 posts

You might want to look at a book I have used, entitled,”Back Roads France.” It’s a DK publication.

Posted by
487 posts

Hi Peter,
Once we decide on an area to visit I try to get my hands on every book that I can, including those mentioned by others above as well as "Lonely Planet" and "Frommer." I use the library first and only buy a book if it seems particularly useful for my interests (which sound similar to yours).
I might give a slight edge to the DK Eyewitness book based on our most recent trip (to Brittany) but I really like to pick up a tip here and there from different sources and see what different writers say about the same place.
Two of our favorite French Gardens are in the Dordogne - Marqueyssac (near Beynac) and Eyrignac (NE of Sarlat-la-Caneda).
About 25 miles to the West of Sarlat, along the Dordogne, is Loubressac, a beautiful little village (one of the "most beautiful villages in France").
Rocamadour would not be advisable in my opinion because of your physical limitations. It's stunning from across the river gorge but the main street is an unremarkable tourist-shop strip and everything else is up-and-down.
I'd be glad to talk further if you wish. Just private message me. Hope this helps.