Dordogne

Hi our family is thinking of renting a car beginning in July in St Raphael and driving to the Dordogne region. We would love to stay in a town in the Dordogne area that is less touristy. Does anyone have any suggestions of such a town? We want to explore the rive, the caves and the beautiful gardens of Marqueyssac. (Here is a link if anyone wants to see them:http://www.marqueyssac.com) We are thinking of spending about 3 or 4 days in this area and then heading off to Avignon. Thank you!
Jen.

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2664 posts

We are planning a similar trip for May so we haven't been yet but here's our plan. We are spending 5 nights at Hotel Belle Etoile in La Roque-Gageac. It very near the gardens you mentioned and on the river. We plan to make day trips to the caves. We considered staying in Sarlat but La Roque sounded a little less touristy to us.

Posted by Jennifer Krigsman
Boulder
10 posts

Hi Sharon - that's great that we are doing a similar trip. I'd love to hear how it goes! Thanks for the tip on where to stay, I'll look into it. I agree with you, Sarlat does sounds too touristy.

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2664 posts

Hi Jennifer,
I just bought the Michelin Green Guide for Dordogne, Berry, Limousin - it may be more information than you need for your 3-4 days but it looks like it will be helpful for planning. Maybe you can get a copy at your library. Hopefully others who have traveled in Dordogne will have some ideas too!

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1353 posts

+1 for what you find out. Dordogne is on my agenda the next time in in France. happy trails.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
671 posts

We liked Beynac, just down the river from LaRoque and a little easier to navigate. Hard to avoid "touristy" in the Dordogne, especially near the river, but Beynac is so small it doesn't have much room for tourists! You might consider Domme, on the south side of the river in the same area, a larger hilltop town with old walls and sweeping views. We spent a couple of hours there, I don't remember hotels but there must be some. It didn't have a lot of traffic going through it, unlike the towns along the riverbank.

Posted by pat
cochranville, pa, usa
238 posts

If you decide to stay in Beynac check out http://www.lepetitversailles.fr/page/eng/accueil.html. A wonderful bed and breakfast. If you choose the green room you will actually see 5 castles from the windown as well as the gardens at Marqueyssac in the distance.
We've stayed on 2 separate occasions and truly enjoyed the hospitality.

Posted by Dean
El Cajon, CA, USA
126 posts

I would agree with previous replies that it may be difficult to avoid "touristy." But I will also agree that La Roque-Gageac and Beynac are two of the more fantastic little French villages you will find. One of my fondest memories is picnicking along the river in La Roque-Gageac on a warm autumn day.

Posted by Jennifer Krigsman
Boulder
10 posts

Sharon, thanks for tip about the Green Guide, i'll see if they have it at the library. Dick, Pat and Dean, thanks so much for the suggestion of Beynac and LaRoque. Pat, the B&B in Beynac looks wonderful! Also found another site that lists a few of the B&B's in the area: http://www.thebestbedandbreakfastfrance.com/tourism-france/chambre-d-hotes-a-beynac-et-cazenac-C905-M12.html I like the idea of staying in a B&B. Anyone else have a recommendation for one?
Thanks! Jen.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
671 posts

Jennifer and Pat, we too stayed at Let Petit Versailles in Beynac, in the first room at the top of the outside stairs, looking over the valley, don't remember whether there were five castles or only four, but enough! The Flerys' warmth and friendliness more than make up for their limited English, breakfast is great, it's a short and pretty walk downhill to "downtown" Beynac where there are several restaurants (La Tonnelle probably the best). One of the highlights of our trip.

Posted by Bev
Decorah, Iowa, USA
250 posts

We stayed at Hotel le Perigord a few KMs outside of La Roque Gageac. It is a Logis brand hotel. The town of Domme was just above the hotel and we could see the town lights at night. It was so quiet! The resturant at the hotel was great. The owners, as of the 2011 Logis hotel book, are M. and Me Freiburghaus. The link in the book is www.hotelleperigord.eu. or under the Logis website. There are probably thirty Logis brand hotels in the area. There is one in the town of Les Elyzies where the pre-history museum is located. I am sorry we missed the museum. Now knowing how good the museum is, I would plan to go there if visiting any of the caves in the area. I hope this helps!

Posted by Sandy
Palm Desert
93 posts

We rented a house for a week in 2009 at the top of the cliff in La Roque several years ago. Great central location to sites, but it always seemed to take twice as long to get anywhere. A GPS helps. This is basically a day-trip town for the canoes or boats trips. Nothing to do at night. There are only a couple of restaurants. We dined in the expensive one shown in RS video. If we went again, I think I would stay in Sarlat. There was shopping there, supermarket, launderette, and McDonalds for the free wifi. After we ate at all the places in La Roque we started trying to Sarlat every night for dinner. Really enjoyed those gardens, Beynac and Domme where I bought my one and only souvenir for the entire trip. The Pre-History museum is fascination. They have videos showing how these people made tools, etc.

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
633 posts

Went two years ago and stayed at Hotel Belle Etoile in La Roque. It is a beautiful location and we enjoyed our stay but the availability of restaurants is limited. We were too tired to feel like driving at night so except for the one night we ate at the hotel, dinners were a little disappointing. Be careful walking out the front door because the town is so close to the river that there is no sidewalk and the road is right there. I tend to wake up early and walking around in the morning was so quiet and peaceful with the mist on the river. Breakfast at the hotel was very good. We picnicked in the town of Les Elyzies down by the river. A class of school children came out with their teachers (probably 2nd graders) and had their sack lunches and ate nearby. It was the cutest and what seemed like the most quintessential French country side scene we could imagine. Many had little hats and they were extremely well behaved. It felt very non-touristy at the time. I thought it would be a lovely town to stay in but like most of the Dordogne, it is catering to the visitors. Between the nature, architecture, geography, history (from cave men, Viking, Medieval and Renascence...) I just kept saying "amazing" more times than an episode of The Bachelor.

Posted by Mike
Columbia, MO, USA
249 posts

We second the notion of Le Petit Versailles in Beynac-and Beynac as too small to be very touristy. And the restaurant in Beynac-La Petite Tonnelle. Exceptional. We also took a float trip down the Dordogne-ending in Beynac, with a lunch stop in La Roque Gageac-unforgettable with swans along the way.

Posted by Lo
Tucson
648 posts

We stayed in Sarlat. It didn't seem touristy to me, but it was October (2009) so that may have made a difference. We loved our B&B, Les Cordeliers, owned and operated by Brits. Without a car, we hired a guide, Philippe, who showed us around and took us to a place not mentioned so far in all the responses to your question, Maison Forte de Reignac. It is built right into a cave in the cliffs with parts of the Maison having walls and ceilings that are actually the cave. The cave painting was breathtaking and was on my bucket list. The Maison was a great surprise and fascinating in its own right. Sarlat has some great restaurants and part of the downtown area is lit only by gaslights. Lovely.