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camping in dordogne with 8 year old son, by public transport

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devon
posts: 11
reviews: 1
camping in dordogne with 8 year old son, by public transport

Hi there,

I am planning a holiday in the Dordogne, starting from Perigueux on 11 August and traveling on to Holland on 17/18 August. I am looking for a nice nature campsite with a good swimming pool and childrens activities somewhere in the Dordogne/Perigord region or anywhere not too far and reachable by train or bus (that seems to be the tricky bit!)

I am a single parent traveling with my 8 year old son.

Any help gratefully received.

Inez

Albufeira, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Algarve, Faro
posts: 32,782
reviews: 22
1. Re: camping in dordogne with 8 year old son, by public transport

Very difficult. The only reasonably frequent and regular public transport are the railway lines.

Take a look at the information under 'Top Questions' - can I get around by train or bus - and with a map in the other hand so to speak check out the towns you can reach.

There is virtually no bus service at weekends anywhere in the area.

Le Bugue, France
Destination Expert
for Dordogne
posts: 11,518
reviews: 4
2. Re: camping in dordogne with 8 year old son, by public transport

Please don't do this. You need a car to get around the Dordogne, and hauling a small child and camping equipment on the very few means of public transport, which are geared to local workers and school children, will be a huge pain.

I've been in the Dordogne long enough to recognize that Dutch people seem to think they can blunder their way around the area hoping for public transport, lugging tents and bicycles and whatnot, from one place to another, easily. Not so. I can't tell you how many times I have picked up mosquito-welted, weary Dutch families and driven them to the nearest campsite because they had no idea they couldn't just get off at a train stop here and hike to there....

I could name you any number of wonderful campgrounds...La Rivière, Le Brin d'Amour....there are loads, but you simply can't get to them without a car. Don't do this to your kid.

devon
posts: 11
reviews: 1
3. Re: camping in dordogne with 8 year old son, by public transport

Thanks for your replies.

St Cirq: I do not have a car or a licence so short of staying home in Devon (which is beautiful but the weather is lousy) I have no choice but to lug my kid around on public transport. He is pretty chilled out about it. We do several 10 hour journeys by train or bus each year and as long as we are not in a hurry he is fine. I am also very happy to grab a taxi where the bus or railway line ends and so far we have not been stuck on abandoned roads hitching lifts. I plan everything to the detail which is why I am on this forum. : )

I will already be at a retreat in Cubjac and am wanting to spend another week camping. I believe there is a campsite in Cubjac so we might stay there. Do you know it and could you recommend Cubjac for a week?

Otherwise I have worked out that we can travel from Perigueux to a number of railway stations in the area, but as I don't know the area I am getting lost in the hinterland of the internet trying to find which railway stations are near good campsites. I have already worked out that buses are rare at the weekends though there is a service from Perigueux to Angouleme that goes to some nice places.

So any nice campsite recommendations still welcome and I will find my way to them responsibly. I am a very doting mother!

Tampa, Florida
posts: 31,557
reviews: 9
4. Re: camping in dordogne with 8 year old son, by public transport

I don't think you really appreciate just how rural and isolated this area still is, regardless of the hordes of visitors (who all drive cars).

It's extremely difficult to simply get from point A to point B in this region on public transport. Trying to do it with a weary child and a pile of luggage is bordering on impossible, if it doesn't attain it.

In this particular instance, being a doting and responsible mother means finding a region where you don't put the two of you through the seventh circle of vacation hell.

Edited: 7:46 pm, June 22, 2013
devon
posts: 11
reviews: 1
5. Re: camping in dordogne with 8 year old son, by public transport

Dear Sunshine,

Oops I was almost offended by your implied criticism of my mothering, but hey we are all entitled to our opinions.

However for anyone who may be reading this post and looking for ways to get places in the Dordogne, i have taken cubsur's advice and have been looking at trains and it doesn't look all that bad.

From Perigueux it is possible to travel to the following stations within and hour:

Niversac

Les Versannes

Mauzens-Miremont

Les Eyzies

Le Bugue

Le Buisson

Siorac-en-Périgord

Belvès

From Siorac you can change to get to Sarlat. Trains operated by TER. See the SNCF website.

All in all not too bad from Perigueux going South. Also trains from Perigueux via Thivers towards Limoges, but the most appealing campsites were definitely around the area south of Perigueux. Several of those stations have campsites within 3 miles, which is an affordable taxi ride.

This is a lot better than the area around Cubjac where I am staying initially, so feeling less discouraged.

Hope this info proves useful to others traveling by public transport.

Tampa, Florida
posts: 31,557
reviews: 9
6. Re: camping in dordogne with 8 year old son, by public transport

I never questioned your parenting -- not even by implication.

I did, however, question your familiarity with the area...as well as your complete refusal to believe people who have spent a considerable amount of time in the area --- including Cubsur, who actually travels the region by public transport. If Cubsur says it's nigh on impossible, you can take it to the bank that it is.

St Cirq has lived in the area, and I've been visiting for nearly 20 years now.

It's only "not too bad" because you haven't been there yet.

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 276
reviews: 41
7. Re: camping in dordogne with 8 year old son, by public transport

Hi Cloudwatcher, I have been hesitating to give suggestions here, because, like the others, I keep being stumped by the lack of public transport options for you. Yes, you can arrive at certain destinations by train, but once you're there, there's nothing to connect to, and certainly very little to get you to the main tourism sites like the caves & chateaux (which is the main reason for visiting this area). For example, I was going to suggest taking the train to Le Buisson and then walking about 600 metres from the station to the camping ground by the river called Camp du Pont de Vicq, but a) once you're there you are left with not much to do except hang around the campsite all day and b) it is not a 'nature' spot as you requested earlier. It's actually fairly basic. The other alternative was to suggest a train to Belves and then fork out about 30-40 euros taxi fare to Moulin de David just on the southern outskirts of Monpazier, which has a much nicer setting. At least there you can hire bicycles and go to Monpazier, or explore the surrounding forest walking trails, or walk up to Chateau de Biron if you're energetic. But once again, without a car, you'd miss out on lots of key sites. The other thing to remember is that camping in August is a popular activity, so things may already be heaviliy booked by now. I know it's hard to comprehend, but this region is still very much an agricultural area, and poorly serviced by public transport, so a car is the best way to enjoy the experience. I hope that helps. Best of luck!

devon
posts: 11
reviews: 1
8. Re: camping in dordogne with 8 year old son, by public transport

Hi All,

Thanks for your advice and concerns. I guess there is a misunderstanding here of what a great holiday means for me and my son. For him it means having kids to play with and a pool to swim in. For me it means him having kids to play with and a pool so i can read a book and relax! Occasionally go for a bikeride, eat some nice french food and have an icecream somewhere. Very very simple.

As much as I can see that the region is full to the brim of interesting sites, I wouldn't dream of doing that sort of thing in high season and having to wait for hours in long queues. So I am not sad to miss out on major tourist attractions. Once we get ourselves to the campsite i will only need access to a simple food shop and a bicycle.

So I understand very well that we cannot travel around the region on public transport and that was not my intention. My intention is to get to a beautiful place and stay put until we get back on a train home.

I am looking at a campsite near Limeuil at the moment, la Ferme de perdigat, which looks very sweet and they rent out bikes. I will also check out Moulin de David at Montpazier.

Not having a car has lowered my expectation of what is possible, but we still have amazing holidays. We just need to plan everything to the tiniest detail. I have traveled in several areas with poor public transport (other parts of France and Northern Spain) and although it is challenging, with a bit of preparation it is possible to have a great holiday. Though maybe not the kind a car driver would expect to have.

I still intend to go somewhere in the region and hope I will get to eat truffles, rather than my words...

Tampa, Florida
posts: 31,557
reviews: 9
9. Re: camping in dordogne with 8 year old son, by public transport

Truffles are out of season - they're only harvested during the winter.

There is so much history and culture that it's a crying shame you'll share none of it with your son.

Boston
posts: 462
reviews: 4
10. Re: camping in dordogne with 8 year old son, by public transport

I'll just focus on the vacation part and leave the parenting piece alone. I guess my main question is why you want to camp in the Dordogne when you are not interested in anything that makes this region special? Please, I am not trying to be rude or offensive. I am just wondering if you may be better off somewhere else that has better public transport but is just as scenic? Am not well versed enough about all of France to suggest something specific (and I don't camp), but there is bound to be a lovely spot somewhere else that would satisfy your (and your son's) vacation needs without all the transportation stress. And since you don't intend to see any of the historical sites in the Dordogne, why not just go some where else? Just a thought.