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Where to Stay in the Dordogne

My husband and I will visit the Dordogne region with a car for 7-9 days in late Oct. early Nov. 2021. We were there once before in November years ago and stayed in Domme (which was lovely but very small). We also drove to many villages, caves, and castles recommended in RS books.

We have two questions:

(1) Which towns in the Dordogne would make a good home base?

(2) We have 4-5 days after Dordogne before heading back to Paris and we would love to see another part of France. We are considering Bordeaux, or La Rochelle, or Nantes. We would drop off the car and then train from one of these places to Paris.

Thank you for any advice and suggestions!

Posted by
27349 posts

How did you feel about staying in a place the size of Domme (pop. 910)? Your answer to that question may help posters suggest suitable options.

I liked all of Bordeaux, La Rochelle and Nantes, but I was traveling in the summer. La Rochelle is a popular summer destination (it's the gateway to the Ile de Re) and the smallest of the three by a wide margin. At a population of 76,000, it definitely won't be deserted in November, but I wonder whether it might feel a bit quiet then. I believe you'll find more indoor activities in Nantes and Bordeaux, which might be appreciated if you run into chilly, wet weather.

Two inland cities I really enjoyed are Limoges and Poitiers.

Posted by
37 posts

Domme was too small for us, and very sleepy in November.

Thank you for the suggestions.

Posted by
27349 posts

There are others here who have spent a lot more time in the Dordogne than I have, and with cars; I took trains and buses, so I had to choose large towns for logistical reasons. For what it's worth, I especially liked Cahors, Perigueux and Figeac (somewhat hilly). Bergerac was also nice. All of those may be larger than what you're looking for, and I have no idea what parking issues you'd run into.

I assume you've been to Sarlat-la-Caneda and know how you'd feel about staying there. I know it's very touristy, especially on market days, but I did enjoy a day-trip there despite being rained on the entire time.

Brantome was a pleasant place for a stroll, but it would be too small for me as a base. I was there noonish on market day; there were few people around and the market was pretty much gone.

Posted by
4230 posts

My wife and I have Beynac on our to-do list for an overnight stay. It is an incredibly pretty village, but I'm not sure if it would be big enough for 4-5 nights.
We did stay in Sarlat for a couple of nights and there were plenty of hotels and restaurants.

Posted by
2916 posts

As a prior poster did, we stayed in Beynac, and loved. And we stayed for a week, in a gite. It's a great location, but if you considered Domme too small, then Beynac certainly would be also. In fact, most towns in the Dordogne are pretty small. Sarlat certainly isn't, nor is Bergerac, but I wouldn't recommend Bergerac.

Posted by
6619 posts

(1) We spent five nights at Le Petit Versailles in Beynac and liked it a lot. It was late April rather than November and we had a car. If you want a bigger town I'd suggest Sarlat, with more lodging and dining choices and twice-weekly markets that are renowned. The downside of a bigger town is time spent in traffic getting to and from the caves, castles, and other sights in the region.

(2) Your second region could be the Loire Valley, where you could easily spend 4-5 days. We stayed in St-Aignan, a charming town on the Cher River, but I couldn't recommend the lodging we had. The major chateaux are either east or west of Tours, which has its own sights but is a big place with bigger traffic drawbacks than Sarlat. Amboise might be a good base east of Tours, Chinon west of Tours, or just pick one. You won't have time to see all the chateaux, and you may not want to anyway. Tours and nearby St-Pierre-des-Corps have good train connections to Paris and directly to CDG if that helps.