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Help with driving route please Dordogne to Provence

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 383
reviews: 125
Help with driving route please Dordogne to Provence

We will be driving from St Cirq Lapopie to St Remy de Provence; we have one night to stop somewhere along the way before we need to be at our accommodation in St Remy. I have the Michelen map and there appears to be 3 ways we could go:

1. Take the road from St Cirq to Rodez, Millau, Lodeve, Montpellier, Arles, St Remy

2. Take the road from St Cirq to Rodez, Mende, Ales, Nimes, Avignon, St Remy

3. Take the road from St Cirq to Cahors, Montauban, Toulouse, Carcassone, Narbonne, Montpellier, Arles, St Remy.

Could someone who knows these roads please advise which would be the easiest way to go? We need to avoid too many winding roads particularly with sheer drops (like gorges). I know this means we will miss some spectacular scenery but I have a young child who is very fearful of such roads and I don't want the journey to be miserable for him. Some winding roads are ok, just not too much.

I am also interested in hearing about any pretty villages we should stop at along the way. We have two days to get across so we can take our time exploring.

I would be grateful for any advice on the route as I need to book accommodation for our night's stopover. It's hard to do this without knowing the route we should take.

17 replies to this topic
Tampa, Florida
posts: 31,797
reviews: 9
1. Re: Help with driving route please Dordogne to Provence

head over to www.viamichelin.com -- it will give you an option to choose "recommended", fastest, shortest, or cheapest, which avoids toll roads.

I'd take the A61-A9 recommended by them -- it's longer distance, but no longer time, as it's all motorway and thus easy driving (it would also give you the option of stopping in Carcassonne to see that -- a kids' delight.

Worcester, MA
Destination Expert
for Dordogne
posts: 1,278
reviews: 57
2. Re: Help with driving route please Dordogne to Provence

Have you checked www.viamichelin.com? That site will give you the routes, times, cost, places to stop/visit along the way. This site may help you determine which route works best or you.

The third option seems to be mostly highway and would probably be the easiest (not shortest perhaps) for driving, but good options for stops along the way. Carassone is along the way and worth a stop (enclosed medieval town) if that works with drive time.The route through Millau may include a very long bridge over a gorge.

Option 2 would be shorter in length but may be longer in drive time; it would give options for stops along the way.

again www.viamichelin.com will help out a lot and allow you to make the choices that work for you.

jhgrady

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 7,195
reviews: 7
3. Re: Help with driving route please Dordogne to Provence

I'd take the Millau route for no other reason than to see and use the viaduct.

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 383
reviews: 125
4. Re: Help with driving route please Dordogne to Provence

Thank you everyone, I've downloaded the viamichelin app, what a fabulous tool! Option 1 seems to be the one most recommended by the app. All the options have roads with bends so it looks like we are not going to be able to avoid that. Unfortunately the app can't really tell me when these winding roads involve driving alongside deep drops. I'm suspecting that might be more likely with option 2? We were going to stop for a night at the Chateau de la Caze over in Sainte Enimie until we read about the hairpin turns alongside the drop to the ravine and had to shelve that idea.

I'm not sure about the viaduct, he doesn't like us going over our Westgate Bridge here in Melbourne but he'll put up with it because we've done it repeatedly. That viaduct looks very high and long. Is it possible to go around it/ get across another way? I'm suspecting that's probably a dumb question...

Le Bugue, France
Destination Expert
for Dordogne
posts: 11,853
reviews: 4
5. Re: Help with driving route please Dordogne to Provence

I would choose option 1 for a variety of reasons, including the opportunity to go over the Millau viaduct.It is, however, extraordinarily high and fairly long. There are always ways around anything in France, though. You might want to stop off at the Grotte de Clamouze between Millau and Montpellier.

Option 2 I would never consider.

Option 3 would be simplest, as long as you have no problem with major highways and big trucks. I personally hate that route, but it's not difficult.

England
posts: 2,695
reviews: 24
6. Re: Help with driving route please Dordogne to Provence

You could avoid the viaduct by travelling along the old Millau road between juctions 45 and 47 of the A75 autoroute. We did that once because it's the way to see the whole span of the viaduct. That road is quite wide but there are a lot of bends as the area is quite mountainous. So I'm not sure it's really such a good alternative if someone has a fear of heights.

I think driving over the viaduct would be better. That's because as you drive over it you don't actually see very much, so it's not as if you are looking down a precipice right next to you. It's a beautiful drive and the viaduct is stunning. There is a service area from where you can park and walk to see the viaduct close up.

Have a look at this short video, which shows you what driving over the viaduct is like, to help you decide:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NWCC10Ci7U

Tampa, Florida
posts: 31,797
reviews: 9
7. Re: Help with driving route please Dordogne to Provence

there really isn't going to be a flat, straight road on that route...it's pretty rough country, and the roads have to follow those contours.

Stick to the autoroute as much as possible, and the curves and dramatic dropoffs will be minimised.

I wouldn't choose the route out and around and through Carcassonne, personally, but none of us are prone to anxiety on curvy or high-placed roads, so it's a non issue.

You'll all notice that it's only about 20 minutes longer to go via Carcassonne....that's why I recommended it...it's only slightly longer, but offers a stopover in a place that kids love, and sticks to really big roads nearly the entire way.

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 383
reviews: 125
8. Re: Help with driving route please Dordogne to Provence

This is really helpful feedback everyone, thank you.

I'm the one who doesn't like the fast roads with big trucks; to me they feel a lot more dangerous than winding roads with sheer drops. It's a dilemma and I'm glad we've got the two full days to take it slowly. It's tempting to not book anywhere for that night, take the quieter back roads and stop when we feel like it. This viamichelin app is great for telling us where the winding roads are; unfortunately it doesn't specify when they're alongside the steep drops.

Le Bugue, France
Destination Expert
for Dordogne
posts: 11,853
reviews: 4
9. Re: Help with driving route please Dordogne to Provence

I'm with you. I loathe the busy autoroutes with 5 lanes of traffic and megatrucks. It scares the hell out of me, and I'm not a wuss, but in a rental car I am often almost catatonic when on the 5-lane roads in the rain with trucks - NOT my idea of fun at ALL!

I don't think you need to worry so much about winding roads on the routes you've chosen - they are winding, but no no-guardrail moments or really scary drop-offs at all.

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 383
reviews: 125
10. Re: Help with driving route please Dordogne to Provence

Ok that decides it then, we'll go with option 1 and perhaps play around with the route along the way. I've had a play around with the viamichellen app and selecting the option to avoid tolls seems reduce the amount of dangerous roads; it's a longer route but that's fine.

Now I just need to identify some pretty villages to explore along our route, and somewhere to stop for the night.

StCirq the Grotte de Clamouze looks amazing!

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