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Tweaking a Sarlat based Itinerary

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posts: 35
reviews: 10
Tweaking a Sarlat based Itinerary

We will be staying in Sarlat for 4 nights starting May 31. Here is my proposed itinerary. Please let me know if I should do some of the sights on different days, or plan the "fancy" dinners for different nights. I've learned from experience that a reverse itinerary sometimes works better than the one I began with. Thanks in advance for suggestions!

Thurs. Pick up rental car Bordeaux 9:30am. Drive to St. Emilion for lunch, brief walk around town. Drive to Sarlat via Caduin w/Abbey (?), Belves(?) Arrive Sarlat hotel 6pm. Dinner at Le Grand Bleu.

Friday: Morning canoe ride or sail on Gabare. Visit Domme, Beynac, Castlenaud. Dinner at Le Presidal (reserve on terrace)

Sat. Sarlat market day. Afternoon in St. Armond-de-Coly, Montignac (?) St. Leon sur Vezere. Simple meal in Sarlat (Le Bistro de l'Octro, Le Vin 10 or Rest. Rossignol for a change from duck).

Sun. Rocamadour, return via Souillac (church architecture). Late afternoon in La Roque-Gagageac. Dinner at La Belle Etoile

Monday: Drive to Albi and then on to Toulouse. Dinner at Emile

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 221
reviews: 36
1. Re: Tweaking a Sarlat based Itinerary

I'm not sure if you're really into wines, but that seems to be a long time in St Emilion on first day. Maybe a wander and morning coffee there, and then hit the road to get a little closer to Sarlat befor you stop for lunch? eg Bergerac, and take a short stroll through the Old Town & Cathedral. Belves is a lovely village to look at, but there is not a lot to actually do there, so it could be worth considering a visit to Marqueyssac gardens after Cadouin, if you've saved time in the morning. Just a thought!

Tampa, Florida
posts: 29,841
reviews: 7
2. Re: Tweaking a Sarlat based Itinerary

is your Day One the day you're arriving from the US, or are you arriving in Bordeaux from somewhere else in Europe?

If it's your arrival day, please reconfigure your trip so you're not driving the first day - driving an unfamiliar car on unfamiliar roads when coping with the jetlag and exhaustion inherent in transAtlantic flights makes you a hazard to yourself and others.

posts: 148
reviews: 9
3. Re: Tweaking a Sarlat based Itinerary

Flying time from Philadelphia - France is a bit over 7 hours so really not a long flight (ive often done a full days work after a similar kength flight) and st emillion is less than an hours drive from Bordeaux so I would think its a problem.

Enjoy Sarlat.

England, United...
posts: 2,707
reviews: 20
4. Re: Tweaking a Sarlat based Itinerary

As La Roque Gageac is very close to Beynac, you might find it time beneficial to combine these 2 places on the same day. It is also possible to hire a canoe at La Roque G. and a Gabarre at Beynac. Depending on your timetable, consider visiting Castelnaud on the same day. We spent 2 hours viewing the castle and found this ample time. We had lunch at a very nice restaurant a few yards from the entrance with good views of the battlements.

Although you don't mention the caves at Padirac, you could combine a visit here with Rocamadour .

Sarlat is just a couple of miles from Montignac where the Lascaux II caves are situated and where you can also hire a canoe (extremely smooth water on this stretch of the river).

Tampa, Florida
posts: 29,841
reviews: 7
5. Re: Tweaking a Sarlat based Itinerary

It IS a big deal, Karen -- it's called driving while impaired, and it is just as dangerous as being under the influence.

The OP will have been up all day, before boarding a plane in the evening, where restful sleep is simply not possible, so is arriving with a few hours, at best, of fitful sleep, out of the better part of a couple of days -- add to that 6 hours' of jet lag, an unfamiliar car, with unfamiliar roads and highway markings, and once off the motorway, narrow winding roads with locals driving at high speed, and you have a tragic accident just waiting to happen.

If the OP were stopping in St-Emilion, it would be one thing -- but the above itinerary says that the OP is continuing on to Sarlat -- another 2-3 hours under good conditions.

And all of this is assuming that the OP is arriving from Philly that morning...it's just as possible they're arriving from somewhere in Europe, which eliminates everything except the unfamiliar car and unfamiliar markings...but at least they'll be awake and alert enough to deal with it.

Edited: 4:20 pm, April 26, 2012
posts: 35
reviews: 10
6. Re: Tweaking a Sarlat based Itinerary

Thank you for your suggestions, especially about adding in Bergerac or the Marqueyssac Gardens en route to our first night in Sarlat. To allay driving concerns, we will have an overnight stay in Bordeaux before picking up the rental car on Thursday morning. I understand that La Roque is close to Beynac, but I put it as our last stop because we will be eating dinner there on Sunday night. I know about both caves but they are not as high on our list as seeing examples (churches & towns) with medieval architecture--to each his own! Is Montignac worth a stroll even if we don't go to Lascaux ll?

Tampa, Florida
posts: 29,841
reviews: 7
7. Re: Tweaking a Sarlat based Itinerary

Not really -- it's a pleasant enough town, but it's not worth a special trip.

8. Re: Tweaking a Sarlat based Itinerary

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pasadena, ca
posts: 4,907
reviews: 22
9. Re: Tweaking a Sarlat based Itinerary

Gouffre de Padirac is not far from Rocamadour, and is really cool and fun. You ride a little boat on a stream that runs through amazing caverns.

The prehistory in the Sarlat area is amazing. The art in the Font du Gaume cave is awe inspiring, both the antiquity of it and also aesthetically (this is an original cave still open to the public, not a reproduction). Font du Gaume is on the outskirts of Les Eyzies, which also has a museum of prehistory.

If interested in medieval art and architecture, and if you have LOTS of time, consider a trip to Conques. The gorgeous Romanesque church with amazing tympanum, the fabulous collection of column capitals, and the museum of medieval relicqueries in the basement of the cloister-- including the stunning, unforgettable relic of St. Foy. The town appears almost unchanged since the 14th century-- as if it was preserved in amber. It is a village, actually, with absolutely nothing going on except the church and a few hotels and restaurants. Not much tourism except for an interesting stream of pilgrims walking the Santiago de Campostela route, there to see the famous relic of St. Foy-- which appears to have been the main economic engine of the village since the middle ages.

We stopped briefly enroute to Conques in the town of Figeac, which has a unique local style of vernacular architecture in the medieval buildings in the town center.

We did this route--Sarlat-Rocamadour-Conques-Albi (but with a couple of nights). It was great. Conques is probably a really challenging day trip from Sarlat, as the road is slow and narrow. And you have to be practically fixated on the medieval era. I am, and I loved it-- but not sure my husband and kids would agree....

Edited: 5:11 pm, April 27, 2012
10. Re: Tweaking a Sarlat based Itinerary

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