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Dordogne region lodging

  1. I am traveling in the Dordogne region for 11 days in late Oct. I have Rick's guide book, but do any of you have recommendations for reasonable lodging? I am thinking of using Beynac, La Roque de Gageac, or Sarlat as a base (Rick recommends the first two if you have a car as Sarlat is so crowded with traffic).....will possibly use Cahors or something around there--Albi-- as a more southern base for a couple of those days as I don't want to drive very far each day to reach the various villages and sights.
  2. Any idea what the weather will be like in late Oct.?
  3. Will be flying into Toulouse and picking up my car there. Also, can anyone refer me to a website where I can get accurate mileage info.? The one I found gives "as the crow flies" and that's not very accurate.
  4. Lastly do you think there will be a lot of car traffic that time of year--even in Sarlat?

If you have traveled there, any other input will be appreciated.

Thanks!

Posted by
428 posts

We have had good experiences (twice) at Le Petit Versailles http://www.lepetitversailles.fr/page/eng/accueil.html in Beynac. Mme Fleury's breakfast is fantastic - the best I've ever had at a B&B. It's recommended by Rick.

This trip we'll be staying in Sarlat at La Villa des Consuls http://www.villaconsuls.fr because it's more central to what we want to do. I can't comment on the place because we haven't stayed there yet but reviews repeatedly laud the manager's all-out helpfulness.

What I can say is that I don't think traffic in Sarlat is all that awful. Admittedly, I may be comparing it to Manhattan traffic, but we drove there twice - in July - from Beynac and had no trouble finding a place to park so we could walk around in la Cite Medievale. I don't think traffic in October will be worse than traffic was in July.

For another Sarlat-based place, you might try Terri Bowen at La Lanterne http://www.sarlat.biz We couldn't stay at La Lanterne but she went out of her way to suggest other possibilities. That attitude alone makes her worth a try in my opinion.

Google maps shows alternate routes and gives route-based mileage.

Sorry, I can't help with the weather, having only been there in the summer.

Hope you have a good trip.

Posted by
5262 posts

Let me try, Patricia.

  1. We stayed five nights at Le Petit Versailles in Beynac and liked it a lot. I agree with Rick (or does he agree with me?) about Sarlat traffic, but it's a great place to spend a day (market day if possible) and has more choices for lodging and food. You will need a car to see much of the Dordogne, and I think you'll find 11 days is a long time there. Cahors is an interesting town, and I agree that with that much time a second base makes sense.

  2. Be prepared for rain any time of year, especially in a rural area where you'll be outside a lot. But I doubt if it will get very cold and you could have fine weather.

  3. Try Via Michelin for good info about routes and distances. Expect trips to take somewhat longer than they estimate.

  4. Less traffic in late October, I'd think, than in the warmer months, in Sarlat or anywhere else.

PM me if you want other specific input, or ask more specific questions on this board. Our trip was in April so anything I say about October is just semi-educated guesswork!

Edit -- No, Bob and I don't both work for Le Petit Versailles, just both got lucky with accommodations!

Posted by
9110 posts

Sarlat's not that bad with a car unless it's the night before market day or market day itself. Even then, you can still drive in to dump your junk and move out a few blocks to park.

Google around for something run by P - H Toulemon. He keeps changing what the calls his hovel - - sometimes a gite, sometimes a chamber, sometimes something else - - but it's always the same place which is within spitting distance of the market square. . Good rooms, good service, good breakfast, super wife, and he ain't so shabby either.

Albi will always trump Cahors which is almost a skip.

Traffic thins down by the end of September. It and October are a couple of the rainiest months, but it's something less than a whopping ten inches for the month, so not a factor. Daytime temps will be in the mid-sixties and the very high thirties, at worst, at dawn. A jacket is plenty.

Without knowing exactly what's on your list - - Perigueux offers a heck of a lot, especially at night when you're done wandering It's maybe an hour from Saint Cyprien - - which would make it a bit over thirty minutes down to Les Eyzies and such.

If you're plutzing around over toward Rocamadour and Souillac, get out of those valleys by dark or at least get your mind set for twisty roads with neither side nor center lines.

Posted by
3685 posts

We stayed at Les Cordeliers, right on the square in Sarlat: http://www.hotelsarlat.com/bedandbreakfastsarlat/. It is run by a couple of Brits and they have a great breakfast and rooms. We did not have a car, but he mentioned that there was free parking nearby. The website still says that toward the bottom of the opening page on the left.

We were in Room #6 at the top of the building. My husband hit his head on that curved beam only once while we were there. The prices may be a little high for you, but don't hesitate to mention that you are traveling alone. At that time of year, they might give you a reduced rate.

We were able to easily walk to places for dinner nearby and loved walking after dark in the gas lit part of the town. Most of the lights had Coleman lantern style flames, but we did see a few that had real flames without the little socks over them.

We spent only 2 nights, but we had lovely dinners at Le Bistro de l'Octroi (http://lebistrodeloctroi.com/welcome/4581823313) and Auberge de Mirandol (http://www.restaurant-auberge-mirandol-sarlat.fr/mirandol-fr/Les_Lieux.html). I skipped the intro on the Auberge because of the exceedingly annoying music. It had a flying British flag you are supposed to click on for English, but I couldn't get it to work, so you will be stuck with the French.

We didn't have nearly enough time to spend there that trip. I'd go back in a heartbeat. We were there in mid-October. My pictures show my husband in rolled up long sleeves and our tour guide, Phillippe (http://allophilippetaxi.monsite-orange.fr/) has on short sleeves.

You can find temperature averages for towns nearby here: http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/city.php3?c=FR&name=France. Just check your map, click on the name of a close by town and you will get a chart with lots of weather data.

I'd use Google Maps Directions to get the kilometers (start thinking in km) as well as directions that you may or may not use depending on your sense of adventure. Directions will give you alternative routes with slightly different distances and times. Just keep clicking on the + to get more detail and click on Earth to get a better feel for the terrain.

The Michelin map of France has excellent detail for the whole country, and even though you will be driving alone, I think it would be easier to fold it to show the area and lay it on the seat next to you to check from time to time, than using some electronic device. I think you can get the bigger picture that way.

One more tip. I'm sure you are researching the area and are aware that entrance to Font-de-Gaume is severely limited to avoid damaging the cave and the paintings. What may not be obvious is that you can carry nothing into the cave. No purse, no pack, no camera, nothing. There is a niche next door to the entrance where your stuff, if you have any, will be safely stored behind a locked gate.

Posted by
29 posts

We stayed in Sarlat, Rocamadour, Domme and loved each one for different reasons. We are drivers and did not find the traffic (May) in Sarlat to be bad at all. It is also a nice central place (We stayed at La Couleuvrine) to visit Lascaux and all points in the Dordogne. Don't miss the market in Sarlat. One of the best we've been to!! Rocamadour is just a nifty little town to stay one night to leisurely walk around and watch the lights come on. Very worth an afternoon and night. Domme is outstanding. We stayed at the L' Esplanade and enjoyed every minute of this wonderful town. The view from on top right beside L ' Esplanade is worth the whole trip. Stay the night and watch the sunset. it'll take your breath away. We found St. Emillion to be worthwhile too. This is WINE country. Driving is always a little tricky in the countryside, but not difficult. We don't use a GPS, but my wife is a seasoned guide/navigator. Buy good maps!! Country roads are not crowded and I can't imagine they will be in Late October. Even in May we didn't have hotel reservations. We like to travel without a lot of plans.

Posted by
66 posts

Bob and Dick--thanks for your info......unfortunately Le Petit Versailles is booked for the end of Oct., but I will check into your other recs. and will e-mail directly if I have more questions. Thanks, again!

Posted by
66 posts

Droggow, where did you stay in Rocamadour? Did you travel to St. Cirq Lapopie from there--or at all? Am thinking of two nights in Albi--maybe 3 and then 2 in Rocamadour or St. Cirq L. and then up to Sarlat or Beynac or for the remainder. Also want to get to St. Emilion at the end if possible.

Posted by
759 posts

Sorry to hear that Le Petit Versailles is booked up but not surprised it's really nice. We booked 6 months ahead for a mid-Sept. stay in 2011. Traffic should not be bad in Oct. You definitely want a GPS as we found it easy to get lost in the area. The area around Beynac and La Roque is really nice, my recommendation would be to go to booking.com and see what they have in the area. One place near Beynac that is not in any of Rick's guide books is the Chateau des Milandes which was once owned by Josephine Baker. It is very much worth the time and made a very pleasant lunch stop as well. the ViaMichelin web site gives fairly realistic driving times and it also estimates tolls. On the other hand I find Google Maps easier to use although their drive times are more optimistic. Remember all drive times are just educated guesses. Have a great trip.

Posted by
396 posts

We were in the Dordogne area last month in May and stayed in Sarlat at La Villa des Consuls. I didn't think the traffic was bad at all. It did feel like shoulder season at that time based on all the restaurants that didn't seem busy, so perhaps it's worse in summer, and perhaps just fine in October. The parking around Villa Des Consuls is limited, though. Through Villa des Consuls we reserved a space in a super nice pass-code protected parking garage, which is a few blocks away; we tend to be out all day and just back at the hotel around dinner-time, so parking the car a few blocks from the hotel wasn't a big deal for us. The details about parking are shown on a map on their website. When you arrive the owner has a motorized cart that he uses to fetch your luggage to the hotel, and then you can take the car to the garage. We were in the Dordogne area around the middle of a two week trip and really appreciated the free laundry. Villa Des Consuls is very well located in relation to the old core of Sarlat and we had tons of restaurants to choose from. It's a very strollable area. Our apartment was very spacious, clean, and decorated nicely.