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traveling from cdg to Dordogne

Hi All, My H and I just returned from 2 weeks in Provence, with a side trip to Nice. Loved it so much we bought tickets to return to France Oct. 22 for another weeks. We are flying into cdg and would like to go to Dordogne to see the caves and villages. We also want time in Paris. We thought it might be best to start in Dordgogne as it is late in the season. But how to get there without wasting too much time? We are willing to drive, but don't want to be backtracking and will be tired first day. We are considering taking a bus to Lyon and spending a night there and then continuing to D. Has anyone taken a bus from CDG to Lyon? Where does it drop you off? I'm concerned that it goes to the airport. How about the train? Is Lyon worth a visit? Anyone with a better idea about where to go?
Thanks!

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks for all the input! Here is the plan I'm formulating: Day 1: Hire car at CDG. Plane in at 9:30. Probably on the road by 11 or 11:30. Drive to Beaune - 3 hours 17 minutes. Stay 2 nights. Day 2: Explore Burgundy. Day 3: Drive to Sarlat from Beaune - 4 hours 24 minutes. Stay 3 nights, maybe 4. Day 6 or 7 (unless I am screwing up counting) Head north. We will have 7 or 8 nights left. Probably spend last 5 in Paris.
Any ideas for other nights?

Posted by
3699 posts

High-speed trains run from the TGV train station at CdG directly to Lyon without going through Paris. Trip takes around two hours. To see the schedule go to www.tgv-europe.com That site can also show you the fast trains to/from Paris if you elect to spend some time there. Lyon, second city in France, certainly has its own distinction, especially for foodies. If you are new to the French train system, known as SNCF, you won't be able to buy tickets for October yet. In general, they go on sale three months before the travel date. The earlier you make your purchase, the cheaper the price. Resources for train travel: www.parisbytrain.com and www.seat61.com

Posted by
4125 posts

The Dordogne is a fabulous choice. But Nancy, check out a map. Lyon is nowhere near. (And why take a bus when the train is so fast and easy?) From deGaulle I suggest boarding a flight to Toulouse or Bordeaux and driving to the Dordogne. More practically, just buy tickets to one of these southern airports whether it routes you through CDG or not. (You might be routed through London or Frankfurt instead, for instance, but why should you care?) You can drive or take a train back to Paris. Either way will take you most of a day. If you drive you could stop in the Loire valley. Then fly home from Paris.

Posted by
8700 posts

I don't think there is any bus service from either CDG or Paris to Lyon. Direct TGVs from CDG to Lyon Part Dieu depart at 08:30, 09:58, 11:58, and 13:58. You also can depart at either 10:16 or 14:16 and make one connection in Massy.

Posted by
33 posts

Hi All, Thanks for the replies. Our original idea was to rent a car at CDG and drive to Dordogne. However, it's a five hour drive and we will be tired from being up all night. If we fly, we will incur extra baggage charges; althought there is a well-timed Air France flight to Bordeaux. After visiting Dordogne, we will drive from Dordogne to Paris through the Loire Valley. We are not much interested in the chateaus there, but may swing up to Normandy. We don't want to drive down to D. the same route that we will leave by, so considered taking the bus ( I think Air France has a bus that runs between CDG and Lyon) to Lyon and renting a car there, and possibly exploring Burgundy a bit. It's about a four hour drive from there to Dor. But, it does seem time-wasting. The train is much more expensive than the bus, and the bus only takes 30 minutes more. I can't find a schedule, though. We are thinking of spending a full week in Paris. Too much?
Thanks for your kind replies. Has anybody driven from CDG to Dor.?

Posted by
9110 posts

You keep pulling more worms out of the can, but haven't said how much time you have to spend. If Normandy is now in the mix, go there first. It's a two and a half hour drive from the airport to Caen/Bayeux so fatigue shouldn't come into play. If you think it might be, spend the first night in Rouen which makes the first drive an hour and a half. After Normandy head south. Enter the Dordogne from Periqueux. That's less than seven hours from Caen. If you want to break the trip and still have the Loire in mind, Blois/Tours is about half way. You could see one chateaux in the afternoon and another the next morining prior to continuing. Leave the Dordonge from the east heading toward Brive. Brive to Paris is less than five hours. Finish up in Paris, saving the best to last. Four days is plenty for the highlights. There's no back-tracking except for what you might do driving up and down the Loire or in and around the Dordgone.

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks, Ed. I have all of France in my can of worms! Other than Provence and Nice, which we just visited, we are still thinking about where to go. Definitely Paris and Dordogne, other than that we aren't sure. This is a first for us, as we usually plan trips about a week before we go; this time we have 5 months. I'm sure we can drive 2 or maybe 3 hours without killing anybody. We've been to Paris before, but it has been many years. We loved it. We like to wander and are not big on touristy places. We are interested in history and art, which is why we love France.
Thanks

Posted by
4125 posts

Nancy, I think maybe you are confusing the Air France bus from the airport to Gare Lyon, a train station in Paris, with a nonexistent bus to Lyon, a city in the Rhone valley. Neither really helps you to get to the Dordogne. But I have taken the bus to the train station. Do you have a question about it? If you are interested in exploring Burgundy (good choice), it is not necessary to detour to Lyon to rent a car. Instead you can take a train to Beaune and rent a car there or in Dijon. From Lyon Burgundy is, furthermore, in the opposite direction than the Dordogne. Your original post said you had enjoyed 2 weeks in Provence and will be "returning to France for another weeks." Assuming you meant "another two weeks," you do not have time to visit and enjoy Paris and Normandy and Burgundy and the Dordogne. Any 3 of those destinations is feasible, though I would not recommend Dordogne + Burgundy + Paris - it's too much driving for such a short trip. (And there's quite a bit of driving in Dordogne + Normandy + Paris.) The impulse to start in the south is a good one, as is the imperative to not waste time. Traveling on the ground from CDG to the Dordogne is wasteful of time. You are being coy about these arrangements, so I am guessing that you have already bought airplane tickets round trip via CDG. Open jaw would have been better. If the Air France flight you mention is reasonable, you might consider what it is worth to you to have an extra day (most of one) in your short trip. You can save on bag fees by traveling light. I think a quick look at a map of France, even online, will help you to visualize some of the logistical constraints you face. Remember it is a big place. In addition, I suggest, if you want to visit the Dordogne, go there, not Lyon. If you want to visit Burgundy, go there, not Lyon. Good luck planning your trip.

Posted by
9110 posts

Roissy to Rouen (1n). To Bayeux (via Honfleur) (2n). To St Malo (MSM enroute) (1n). To Vannes (for Carnac) (1n). To Perigueux (1n) Elsewhere in Dordogne (3n). To Paris (remaining nights). The longest leg is Carnac to Periguex (six hours) you have time to do it after wandering the stones. Total driving time is less than twenty hours.

Posted by
2916 posts

For the start, consider taking the train from Paris to Bordeaux (requires taking the RER into Paris from CDG), staying a night in Bordeaux, then getting a car and driving the short distance to the Dordogne the next day.

Posted by
33 posts

Yes, I bought tickets, but at a great price( I hope) - 700 from Boston. Thanks for the suggestions. I will skip Lyon. I'm not sure the DDay beaches interest us very much, so will skip Normandy. Will skip Brittany. We don't like a night here and a night there; we prefer a minimum of 2 nights, 3 is better. We don't want to spend the time in a car or on a train any more than necessary. We must see Paris and Dordgogne. Those Cro-Magnon's really should have stuck closer to Paris. Didn't they know I was coming? Burgundy sounds appealing, but I've never been there. How does it compare to the Loire Valley? (Probably a stupid question.)
I have been staring a my map of France and just can't get it to cooperate!

Posted by
4125 posts

Re Burgundy vs. Loire (mine probably a stupid answer): more rural less-magnificent (and fewer) chateaux better wine much farther from Dordogne valley

Posted by
2916 posts

Looking at the route from Sarlat to Paris, I'd suggest staying in Bourges and possibly seeing part of the eastern Loire Valley (the Sancerre area).

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks for the suggestion. I will look into it. Has anyone driven out of CDG? Is it a nightmare? You are all very helpful and full of good ideas.

Posted by
5265 posts

I think your plan makes sense, Nancy. I agree with Robert that Bourges would make a good midway stop if you don't want to drive all the way from Beaune to Sarlat in one day. Check out the cathedral and the Jacques Coeur house. But it looks like there are more direct routes between Beaune and Sarlat, and it looks like you've found one. Bourges could also be a stop on the way back north to Paris. Or the more central Loire Valley like Blois or Amboise. We drove from Paris to the Sarlat area and the only difficult part was getting in and out of Paris itself. No experience with driving around CDG. My only suggestion would be to drive as far outside central Paris as you reasonably can between CDG and the areas you'll be visiting to the south.

Posted by
8512 posts

Drive as far outside of central Paris is why Ed suggested going to Rouen for the first night. If you don't want to go further west into Normandy and Brittany, you could still dip down toward the Loire and on to the Dordogne from there. Ed really knows his trails. Bourges is an interesting city and worth a stop if you do end up adding Burgundy into the mix. However, with Paris and the Dordogne, plus driving, you already have a lot for two weeks.
It's easy enough to drive out of the airport area if you use a gps. Ed will disagree on that point, but we rely on the gps to get into and out of both of Paris' main airports. If you do end up adding Burgundy to this, I'd suggest taking the Air France bus which connects CDG to Orly and picking up your car at Orly, which is on the south side of town. My husband's family was from Burgundy and that's what we always did. You can catch some sleep on the bus while the driver fights the traffic. With traffic and all, it gives you two extra hours of sleep.

Posted by
4125 posts

Reality check: There is NO WAY you will be able to drive from Beaune to Sarlat in 4-1/2 hours. I suppose you could do it on one long day. If you don't like the idea of driving from Charles deGaulle, the train will get you to Beaune in about the same amount of time.

Posted by
8512 posts

Right, it's mountainous and hilly from Beaune to Sarlat. There are no freeways going east-west, just highways, some two lane, some four lane.

Posted by
8512 posts

Your latest plan sounds better. There is so much to see and do in that area of France that you could easily spend a month. Rather than suggest any specific place, I will suggest you get the English version of the Michelin Green Guide to the area (available via Amazon), which is the most detailed. I stand corrected about no freeways between Beaune and Sarlat-la-Caneda since you take the route via Clermont, but it is narrow and twisty over the Massif Central, even on the freeway part. Good idea to drop Burgundy. Though you don't care for castles, and neither my husband nor I count them as a priority, there is one that is not well-known but is very unusual. The original chateau dating from the 11 C. is underground, with a Renaissance chateau built above it. It's called Breze and is in the western Loire Valley, the Anjou region, an area with a little more diversity of sites and terrain. It's different enough that you may like it. Warning, it's underground and parts can be narrow. You have to walk down into the ground. http://www.experienceloire.com/breze.htm

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks for setting me straight! I got the driving times from Via Michelin; apparantly they are wrong. I am very happy to know that now and not in France. Do any of you have experiencce with Via Michelin? Are they generally reliable? I am now thinking we should skip Burgundy. Instead, leave CDG, drive to Chartres (1 1/2 hours VM) and spend one night. Day 2 drive to Sarlat (4 1/2 hours VM). After a few days in Sarlat, drive back, stopping to see some sights. We are not interested in the showy chateaux ( off with their heads), but will read more on the Loire to see what else is there. Or, I thought about going down to Carcassonne after Sarlat, and then going to Paris. Looks like too long a haul, though. I haven't checked driving time, but the pix we have seen of it draw us. I'm all over the place at this point Thanks again!

Posted by
5265 posts

Nancy, I wouldn't do the Carcassonne thing on this trip. Driving and visiting overnight will take two days out of your timeframe. It's a neat place, less likely to be overrun in October than in summer, but maybe best to save for another trip. Chartres is one of my favorite places and would be a good stop either coming or going. Another thought someone else suggested taking the Air France shuttle bus ("Les Cars") from CDG to Orly when you arrive, and renting your car at Orly. That would put you south of Paris when you start driving and save you a lot of miles and traffic. You could return the car to Orly and get into Paris by RER or shuttle bus for the second part of your trip. The bus website is http://www.lescarsairfrance.com/en.html. I like the Loire chateaus (within limits), I'd suggest you see at least one or two (Chenonceau, Blois, Amboise, Chambord?), but there are other good sights, like the old walled city of Loches, in the area.

Posted by
33 posts

What a wealth of info you folks are! Great suggestions. Will drop Carcassonne. Will look into those neat places you guys mentioned in the Loire. Great idea about picking up the car at Orly. I thnk we will spend at least 7 days in Paris. My husband and I are suffering from some awful virus we think we picked up in France. Went to the docs today, one of the docs just back from Europe - had the same thing. I will get the Michelin guide. Is one night enough in Chartres? Thanks so much!

Posted by
8512 posts

Yes, one night is enough for Chartres as long as you give yourself enough time to see the cathedral and town. Chartes is within commuting distance to Paris, so you could even return your car there and take the train back to Paris. If you rent via Autoeurope.com, it's easy to coordinate this.

Posted by
33 posts

Thank You! Do you know which drive is easier, Bordeaux or Toulouse?
Thanks again

Posted by
33 posts

Hello again. I'm beginning to see some problems with my plan and would appreciate some advice. I only have 13 days. I want to see Dordogne and Paris. I like to spend time in places and not hop around. I was thinking 7 days in Paris; I'm not interested in day trips to Versailles, etc, plan on just enjoying the city. But with only 6 days left, maybe I can't afford 7 days.
Looking at pix of Sarlat, it appears very appealing. So 5 days there? Leaves only 1 day and it will take that long to drive back to Paris, so maybe too many? Maybe I need to change the number of days in each place. What do you think. I learned there is an airport in Brive, 3 flights a day from Orly, and a 45 minute drive to Sarlat from there. Have any of you done this? Thanks a million!

Posted by
403 posts

There is a major airport in Toulouse, a short drive south of the Lot River Valley, and another one in Bordeaux. It seems to me that it would make sense to fly into one of those, rent a car, and drive into the Dordogne, then drive via autoroute to the Loire, see a few things, return the car at St. pierre des Corps, and then train into Paris where you neither need nor want a car. Since you seem to have already purchased a round trip into CDG, look into getting a cheap fare from Easyjet or Air France scheduled to take off a few hours after your scheduled arrival at CDG.

Posted by
2916 posts

Bordeaux and Toulouse are pretty much equidistant from Sarlat. Bordeaux is closer if you were going to the western part of the Dordogne. The route from Toulouse to Sarlat is probably more scenic.

Posted by
33 posts

Thank you! I think we may drive directly from cdg to Chartres. How bad can we expect the traffic to be on a Oct. Monday around noon? Via Michelin claims 1 1/2 hours. do you think this is accurate?
Thanks again!

Posted by
28131 posts

I think we may drive directly from cdg to Chartres. How bad can we expect the traffic to be on a Oct. Monday around noon? Other people may be able to give a better answer but my crystal ball is very cloudy. I keep peering in but all I get is dim figures in the clouds. Nobody, certainly not me - well maybe Ansbach James can - know what the weather will be doing on that October Monday. Maybe clear and dry. Maybe fog? Maybe light or heavy rain? Maybe sleet... I also can't predict traffic problems - the accident that shuts the road down, the beer truck on its side, etc. You have to take reasonable research, take it with a pinch of salt, leave wiggle room, plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Posted by
9110 posts

Nigel hit it pretty close. After clearing the airport , I've been abeam Chartres (but still on the freeway) in a tad less than an hour. It's also taken me more than two hours to do the same thing. You're dealing with the darn southeast quadrant of the peripherique which is totally unpredictable.

Posted by
4374 posts

"...the beer truck on its side..." Take it back, Nigel! That's the stuff of nightmares ;-)

Posted by
33 posts

Hey thanks! Two hours we can do. If a beer truck tips, we'll stop for a sip or two, then lay down on the road and catch some ZZZ's!

Posted by
4125 posts

Nancy, if you are thinking about flying after all, why not fly to Toulouse (or Bordeaux) from DeGaulle when you arrive and start in the south as you originally planned? This will save you a trip to the airport, since you will already be there. You can drive back to Paris, or to the TGV back to Paris, or to the airport in Brive.

Posted by
28131 posts

"...the beer truck on its side..." Had that around here not long ago. Not actual beer, Marmite. That the black sticky gooey byproduct of beer making, the yeast extract. Made an awful mess of the M42 for hours and hours.

Posted by
33 posts

I guess that yeast would not be very refreshing! I can 't find a flight at a reasonable time - either too late, or too tight. I do think that might be best, so will keep looking. The train schedule isn't much better. Thanks for your help, again. I will be back shortly I'm sure. Ever confused!

Posted by
33 posts

I found a flight from CDG to Bordeaux at 1:25. Our Aer Lingus flight lands at 9:40. I think that should leave us plenty of time, do you?
I think we may spend the night in Bordeaux or there-abouts as we will be very tired at that point. Thanks again.

Posted by
8512 posts

Adam is right about flying one way, but if you can't find a good connection, try reversing the itinerary. You can go into Paris when you arrive and spend time. Then get your car and drive to the Dordogne. Finally, fly back and connect to your US flight home. Or fly back the evening before and spend the night at an airport hotel. Be sure you book the airport from which you'll be flying back to the US. One thing to note, on Thursday, Air France announced they would be cutting the number of interior flights to save money, so what you see on line now could change. Of course, Air France waited until the presidential elections were finished.

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks for that!
I found a better flight, but form Orly at 3:10. Do you think we will make it? Our flight from Boston lands at 9:40. If I buy now, could they cancel? Thanks again!

Posted by
9110 posts

You're hopping all over the place trying to hit a bunch of moving targets - - go back and look at all of the places you've mentioned, but later abandoned. You've said you have thirteen days. The only two constants have been Paris and the Dordogne. I've forgotten if you said you've ever been to Paris before, but four days can cover a lot in a first visit - - four more on a second can pretty much pick up what you might have missed. Five days will have you screaming to leave the Dordgone if you plan your time well. If you keep jacking around trying to make different modes of transportation fit, it's never going to work. Just think of the time it takes you to turn in a car, wait around for a plane or train, and then get moving again at the other end. Look at a map. You need a car for the Dordogne. It's six hours from Roissy to Les Eyzies (closer to seven via Chartres). You probably shouldn't do either the day you get off the plane. You can make it to Chartres easily enough and call it quits. Three hours is enough there, five if you dwadle. Having supper fills up the first day. If you get a brisk start the next day, you can be in the Dordogne for lunch. Look at a map again - - Sarlat is on one end for most things, but you've started to focus on it based on some pictures. It's also on the wrong end if you're coming down from Chartres.

Posted by
9110 posts

Make a list of all the things you want to see in Paris, we can give you an idea on how to group them and how much time each will take. There's your number of days. Do the same for the Dordogne. What's left over is transpotation days and time to spend elsewhere (but only along the route) or for more in the primary spots. It's going to take you two days (if you include Chartres) to get to the Dordogne and one to get back north. Three days, plus four for Paris and five for the Dordogne is twelve. You've got one to play with. Anything else has to come from adjusting times between the primary spots.

Posted by
9110 posts

This last bit of the flight from Orly is verging on nonsense. Yes, you can make it. BUT, if you start driving from CDG at 10:30 you can be in Les Eyzies in seven hours or at 5:30. Assume the flight takes an hour, you land somewhere about 4:45 and still have to make your way to somewhere in the Dordogne. Assume it takes you an hour to clear the airport with a car and you have to drive a couple of hours it's going to be 7:15 (two hours more than driving, an hour different if you make a meal stop). You're going to be more shot than the horrible business of driving for seven hours after a flight. Make the first stop within a couple of hours of the initial landing (Chartres ?), catch your breath, and press on with the vacation. Above all: STOP GRASPING AT MARGINAL STRAWS.

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks so much. We were in Paris thirty years ago - with our three year old. I loved it. We want to go to the Dorgdogne because of the Cro-Magnum art in the caves. In our limited experience, we waste less time just driving instead of waiting in lines at airports and train stations. I would prefer to skip the public transportation. I chose Chartres because it was close enough and seemed on the way to D., and it had the cathedral.
Would somewhere else be better? I am all over the place, as I usually am in solving a problem. Thanks again!

Posted by
9110 posts

And, what I forgot in the long post, was that, if you don't want to drive back up to Paris, on the last day in the Dordogne, you can use the car to get to the best cave (Pech Merle), drop it in Brive, and take the train back to Paris.

Posted by
9110 posts

I've just about exhausted my thoughts, but if you really want to focus on prehistory, focus on the museum at Les Eyzies, the cave at Font de Gaume, and the cave at Pech Merle. Lascaux II is a reproduction tourist trap which doens't hold a candle to the other two. The rest of the Dordogne/Lot area is bastide towns and hill towns, both excellent. The canoe crap has always seen a waste of time to me since you can take a canoe ride anywhere in the world.

Posted by
33 posts

I sure agree about the canoe ride! Thanks, Ed. You are a tremendous help. We appreciate it. We will stay in Chartres the first night. Thanks to everyone! Wonderful suggestions!

Posted by
1821 posts

If you are locked into flying in and out of Paris you may as well get a car and drive to the Dordogne. Taking a train or plane and than a car will save some driving but not time or money. Sarlat, while worth visiting was my least favorite part of the Dordogne and I wouldn't make it my base. Beside the prehistory aspect of the area there are other amazing things to see and do. Some of the castles and many of the villages are fantastic as well as the food and abundance of nature. The canoe ride (I know Ed hates the thought of it) is less about canoeing and more about a day at the beach. It is an excuse to swim, lay on the shore, see the otters and swans and everything else from a different perspective and since everything was built with the river in mind it is a great perspective You could certainly do everything in a well planned 4 days but I prefer a relaxing less planned style of travel and could have spent some more time relaxing and enjoying the area. The biggest mistake I made was limiting myself to dinner in the small town of La Roque which we loved but had few choices. Driving at night to other areas would have led to more variety of restaurants. I'd go back for sure.

Posted by
5265 posts

Agree with Richard about Sarlat. A great place to spend a day, not so great as a base for the Dordogne. It's a big town (small city?) that takes awhile to get into and out of. Go see it on market day. We stayed five nights in Beynac, a few miles down the river. Les Ezyies (sp?) is another nice little town, with the prehistory museum and Font du Gaume cave, that might make a good base. We didn't think Lascaux II was a tourist trap, it's a good way to learn about cave art and get a sense of what the Magdalenians actually did and saw, as distinct from what millenia have done to their work. The Lascaux II reproductions were made using the same plant-based paint materials as the originals. That stop added value to our trip, as did Font du Gaume in a different way. (Haven't been to Peche Merle but friends have raved about it.) I agree with Ed, you've got the basic logistics right (drive CDG-Chartres-Dordogne base-Paris). Think about whether you want to drop the car at Orly vs. CDG CDG would mean more traffic getting around Paris, Orly might involve an additional cost. Check the rental company website re this. I wouldn't bring the car into Paris itself (Ed probably would, but he's a more intrepid driver).

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks to both of you. I don't like canoes, and it wil be late Oct., so I don't think we want that. We are hikers, though.
We will go to L. first to get an intro., and will read up on those Cro-Magnon's during the summer. Our son studied them in college, so has material for us. Checked and no extra charge to drop car at Orly. Worried now about catching flight home. It leaves CDG at 10:20 on a Monday. We will be staying in Paris night before. How best to get to CDG and how early should we leave? Also, unsure abolut Paris neighborhoods for hotel. We are walkers, so will probably walk more than metro. We do this in NYC, saves money and we get better acquainted. Also in Bacelona and London. But my h likes it quiet at night, and we want it to seem Paris-y, and don't want to be in the boonies, would prefer the thick of things. Rue Cler sounds a bit Americanized. Is that correct? Found good rates at Hotel Muget (120 E), and Hotel du Champs de Mars (115 E). Thanks bunches You are all so helpful!

Posted by
2283 posts

One important issue if you are going to the Dordogne to see cave art - it's hard to get reservations for the best places. Maybe you should e-mail them to see if they have spots available before you finalize your plans. We went to font de gaume and peche merle last year. Pech Merle was far superior and easier to reserve, so I would try that first. Of course there are many other reasons to love the Dordogne. We loved Sarlat and thought it was a great base. We loved the castles in beynac and castlenaud as well as the small towns and villages. We were not crazy about the museum in les eyzies - I would not go there just for that. We did enjoy la roque st Christophe, which is nearby.

Posted by
2916 posts

"Worried now about catching flight home. It leaves CDG at 10:20 on a Monday. We will be staying in Paris night before. How best to get to CDG and how early should we leave?" We recently flew home from Paris at the same time. We left our hotel at 7:30 a.m., walked 15 minutes to Gare du Nord, got our RER tickets, and made it to CDG a little less than 2 hours before our flight; plenty of time. It helped that we had a chip and PIN card so we could use the ticket machine at Gare du Nord rather than waiting in line at the attended ticket booth. It also helped being 15 minutes from an RER stop.

Posted by
5265 posts

Re getting to CDG in time for your flight: The safest bet is to have your hotel arrange for a taxi to pick you up early in the morning, say 7:00 or whenever they think is right. You want to allow time in case of heavy traffic. But this will cost you probably 50+ euros. Probably the next-safest bet is the Air France "Les Cars" shuttle bus, http://www.lescarsairfrance.com/en.html, leaving every 20 minutes or so from specific hubs. You could take a taxi to the nearest hub (see the website) if your hotel isn't close enough to walk with luggage. This should cost less than a taxi for two people. The third choice, which could actually be the fastest and cheapest, is the RER "B" line. Once you're on, it whisks you to the airport -- if you make sure to take the B3 that goes there and not the B5. See http://parisbytrain.com/paris-rer-map/. You can choose a hotel close by or take the metro to the RER. But you'll have to handle your bags on a possibly crowded train, up and down steps, etc. Let your friendly hotel staff help you figure this out if you need local advice. As for hotels, there are a great many well-located ones. A room facing a courtyard will be quieter than facing the street, a higher floor will be quieter, and in October your window will be closed at night anyway. We loved the Hotel des Grandes Ecoles in the Latin Quarter, http://www.hotel-grandes-ecoles.com/, around your price range. All the rooms are quiet. If you want to ask about other topics besides driving to the Dordogne, you might want to start a new thread with a new title so people with relevant info can see it.

Posted by
8876 posts

It is recommended to arrive at CDG 3 hours before your flight.

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks to all of you. I will make reservations at the cave.
We probbaly will take a train to CDG since it won't have traffic problems; we travel relatively lightly, and are able to maneuver it. We found a room in the Latin Quarter at Hotel Cluny Sorbonne for 98 e. Will keep us under budget - more croissants!! Thanks and I will start a new thread with my next (endless) questions.

Posted by
2283 posts

You picked a great location for your hotel. It will be very easy to jump on the rer in the morning - I'm thinking the luxembourg gardens stop. Try to get to the stop by 6:30 and make sure to get on the right train. CDG can be insane.

Posted by
9110 posts

If you go to the Lux Gardens stop from the Cluny Sorbonne, you're walking uphill and twice as far (as well as away from the desired directioin of movement) than you would if you went to the Saint-Michel - Notre Dame stop. There will also be fewer stairs.

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks for the tips. I feel much better about getting on that plane. How did Augustine ever get to Canterbury without you guys?
Thanks again

Posted by
284 posts

I'm in the initial stages of planning a trip to the Dordogne too and I've found all this info very helpful - thanks to all of you. Nancy, hate to set you scrambing again on your itinerary but I did hear (through the RS helpline) that the cathdral in Chartres is being renovated and more than 50% is inaccessible. Not the best time to visit. Maybe go back to your idea about stopping in the Loire valley instead?

Posted by
10 posts

Hi, I'm glad all that was helpful to you too. I did hear about the cathedral renovation. Ugh! I'm trying to ignore it! I'm not sure what the alternative would be as we don't want to be driving more than a few hours after landing at CDG jet-lagged. We'll be heading toward Beynac the next morning which will be our home base. Any suggestions for an alternative? Are you planning to see the caves?
Thanks