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Travel from Avignon to Dordognes

We are a family of three who plan to spend a week in Paris, then four days in Provence. We were hoping to then travel by train to see the Dordogne area for about four days. (We then leave from Paris to fly back home.) It doesn't look like any train routes go from Avignon to Brive-la-Gaillarde. Do we really have to travel back to Paris to get to the Dordognes? Help please.

Posted by
2921 posts

You do not have to go back to Paris. First, look at rome2rio.com for suggested transportation methods. Second, go to www.sncf.com/en and enter France as your ticket delivery country and take a look at the current train schedule for trains from Avignon to Brive-la-Gaillarde. There are many trains and most require two connections and take a bit over 7 hours but it can be done. Is Brive where you plan to stay or just the train station that you need to get to? Given that Brive is not in the Dordogne, that is the reason for my question. There could be other locations that are easier to get to by train from Avignon that might suit your needs. Also, have you considered driving? By the way, have you booked your flights already? Why not fly into the south of France and then work your way to Paris and stay there for your final week and head home from there?

Posted by
7 posts

It HAS to be possible to travel to some of the major towns in the Dordogne by train from Avignon, & surely Brive-la-Gaillarde isn't the only town to visit there (I'm embarrassed to say I've never heard of it & have spent months planning our up-coming trip to the Dordogne - I now feel that I'm missing something!). Just tossing out a few names, have you looked at Sarlat-la-Caneda, Domme, or Bergerac? They have train connections out of major cities...

Once you get to the Dordogne by whatever means you can't rely on train transport to see the sights, so perhaps you should think of renting a car out of Avignon & simply driving there.

Whatever you do, I hope you have a magnificent time.

Posted by
6720 posts

The Dordogne is not IMHO worth visiting without a car. Most of the interesting places are not reached by car and buses are not run with tourists in mind but rather school kids and workers.

Posted by
7688 posts

Brive is their jumping-off point for visiting the Dordogne. That's how my parents and I did it -- took the train down to Brive and then rented a car from there. It worked very well.

Posted by
245 posts

Another 2 cents - strongly agree with renting a car for that area. So many nooks and crannies to see that would be very problematic via public transport. If you rented in Avignon, you could swing through Minerve, Carcassonne, and Albi on your way - perhaps an overnight in Carcassonne.

Posted by
43 posts

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments! We actually decided to rent a car in Paris and drive to Sarlat-le-Caneda (with an overnight in Chinon). Then after three nights in the Dordogne, we'll drive to Provence (with a lunch stop in Carcassonne). Four days based in Vaison la Romaine, then drop off the rental car in Avignon and take the TGV back to Paris. One last night in Paris (where?) before we fly home.

Any tips on Chinon or places to eat in Carcassonne?

Posted by
7 posts

Dale, yours is the second mention I've had in 24 hours of the town of Minerve....why is it worth visiting?

BTW - I do NOT want to hijack this poste so pls forgive me as a newcomer to this site!

Posted by
1821 posts

Tami,
That is a good plan. I did a similar trip and wish I had driven from Paris. The Dordogne is amazing and a car is essential in my opinion. You'll be glad you have it in Provence as well. We had a GPS and never got lost. Compare the GPS results to a map to be sure you entered the correct destination. We visited grotte de font de gaume but I have read Peche Merle is even better. If it's warm do the canoe but trip and wear a bathing suit (not like Rick in long pants in the video). It's like a day at the beach. After visiting Beynac Carcassonne was a bit of a let down.

Posted by
7688 posts

It does sound like a good plan! I'll see what I can find in my references about eating in Chinon.

Do you plan to stay in Sarlat itself or just outside? We did the latter and really enjoyed being out in the country and just going into town for the market etc.

Posted by
245 posts

Tami: RS book has several good resto options in Carcassonne. I remember a nice meal at Le St. Jean Restaurant.

Shedridt: Minerve is incredibly picturesque - take a look at Google Images. It's a Cathar site that held out for a while under siege. It's within striking distance of Carcassonne and, though it couldn't in any way be called undiscovered, it didn't seem to suffer from mobs of tourists - at least when I was there.

Posted by
43 posts

Thank you Richard, Kim, and Dale! I am going to look into Peche Merle. And I wondered about RS in his long pants on the river (-;
Kim, we booked a place (hotel Biencourt) in Azay le Rideau instead of Chinon! Really looking forward to it.
Thanks to all for the great suggestions.