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If you could only go to one region: Provence or Dordogne?

I'm concerned that my sister and I are trying to squeeze in too much in our trip and and we are considering cutting back on our itinerary. If we do that we'll either cut out Provence or Dordogne. Which would you visit and why?

Posted by
320 posts


All in all, I would visit Dordogne over Provence. Sarlat, Cahors, Beynac, Perigieux, Domme - so many great locations. The vistas are spectacular.

For me - more than the villages, more than the views, it is the cuisine of the region that draws me back. Duck confit, Foie gras, the Pommes Sarladais. Try the simple peasant soup of the region - Tourain - onions, duck fat, and chicken broth - so good. Great and affordable wines abound.

For a great sense of the region read the novel "Bruno, Chief of Police".

Just one traveler's opinion. I have really enjoyed my visits to Provence too - but, given the choice, I'd take Dordogne. Have fun.

Posted by
4132 posts

You can argue all you want about which region is better, but they are both great. I would make a decision like this based on your tastes and in the context of your whole itinerary.

In terms of your tastes, make a list of the top five things you would do in each place. Be specific and estimate time. (E.g.: "Visit the Grotte de Font du Gaume with lunch in Les Ezeyes, 4 hours plus driving time." "Bring picnic to the Pont du Garde, 3 hours plus driving time.") See which list thrills you the most.

In terms of your itinerary, Provence has better transportation connections, and the sights are generally closer together. (Many are served by rail.) So if you are traveling far to Perigord, make sure you can budget enough time to make that trip worth your while. Half a week, surely; a week would not be wasted.

If you do go to SW France, consider Toulouse as the entry or departure airport, which should save you some time on the ground.

Posted by
219 posts

Tesa, I also re-responded to your travel question. Responding to this question, if you truly aren't comfortable doing both, I'd choose the Dordogne. Provence is wonderful, but in my mind it is must more touristy (crowded hilltop towns, motorcoaches, etc) and definitely less French. As I say on my other post, the Dordogne is defined by it's scenery, food, history, and relaxed ambiance. It is simply wonderful.

Posted by
4132 posts

Oops! I've just read some of your other posts asking questions about this. Looks like you are on a pretty tight schedule.

If you really will only have two or three days, I would steer you towards Provence, for logistical reasons. I just think you will have a better time there if your time is short.

If you have more time, I would say Perigord (which includes the Dordogne), for aesthetic ones. It really is a very special place.

Posted by
88 posts

We weill be leaving Cassis Saturday morning, so if we do only the Dordogne we could get there by Saturday evening and have all day Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and then we'd leave Wednesday morning for Tours. So maybe that would be better. Still sifting through it all. Thanks for the advice.