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Where to overnight between Nice and the Dordogne?

Hi, all. For my upcoming trip in early October, I am picking up a car in the morning in Nice and heading to the Dordogne. I'd like to just drive straight there, but it seems to be a long trip that I'll probably want to break up. Where do you suggest I make my halfway point? I have been thinking Arles, but I'm not particularly attached to the idea.

Thanks in advance for the input!

Posted by
16894 posts

Traveling from Nice to Sarlat by train, for instance, the walled town of Carcassonne is a popular mid-way stop. But since you have a car, you can easily stay in a charming village like Caunes Minervois. A bit further on (more than half way), Albi has a really interesting gothic cathedral and Toulouse-Lautrec museum. These are covered in Rick's France book. www.viamichelin.com is a good source for route planning, and also has sightseeing summaries online from their Green Guide.

Posted by
6576 posts

I agree with Laura. Via Michelin shows at least 8 hours' drive from Nice to Sarlat, Carcassonne is about midway, Albi a slight detour, and the village she mentioned nearby. Plenty of food, history, and scenery for you, including a long run along the Mediterranean coast on the first day. (Well, to be fair, food is everywhere. ;-) ) That part of France has unique history well worth discovering.

Sarlat is a good base for the Dordogne, or one of the nearby villages. We stayed in this place in Beynac and loved both the town and the B&B. Views of the river and castles from the terrace outside our room. Sarlat should be visited, and there will be more dining options there, but it's a bigger busier place.

Where do I pick up my extra credit?

Posted by
11 posts

Laura, thank you! This is exactly the kind of information I'm looking for. I know Carcassonne is in between the two, but people who have been there before me might have better information about which towns are plus charmant, off the beaten path, and maybe not in the guidebook (which I have and have read pretty extensively in preparation for my trip). I will definitely circle Caunes-Minervois on my map!

And Dick, you can pick up your extra credit right here! Thank you so much for the recommendation! Le Petit Versailles looks quite lovely. Do you think it's necessary to make a reservation ahead? I'm the kind who likes to plan, so the first half of my trip is very rigidly planned, but I wanted to leave this bit in the Dordogne a little loosey-goosey to make myself step out of my comfort zone. But maybe it's best just to stay in my comfort zone and book a room, not to mention more polite than just dropping in unannounced. Hmmmmm.

Posted by
11 posts

Ah, heck, decided not to beat around the bush, as Le Petit Versailles looks to be exactly what I was hoping for and envisioning. Thanks again, Dick!

Posted by
11 posts

Another question: the Via Michelin website says that if I takes routes that avoid tolls, I'll be adding about two extra hours to each day of travelling (four hours total). Would this be worth it? I'm imagining a meandering drive that will allow me to see more of the countryside than if I take tollways. Is this accurate? Or should I suck it up, pay the tolls, and get to where I'm going quickly so that I can enjoy the rest of my day rather than exhausting myself with driving?