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beyond Limoges for the Christmas Holiday 2013

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Minneapolis...
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beyond Limoges for the Christmas Holiday 2013

We plan to visit our son this Christmas holiday, who will be living in Limoges for 9 months. After a day or two of seeing his surroundings, we would like to go someplace for a week or so. A combination of culture, history and mother nature (and perhaps warmer weather!). Probably along the coast somewhere. We are a USA MN family with sons ages 20, 22 and 24. Sons speak French. Wide open for all suggestions. Any ideas?

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Le Bugue, France
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1. Re: beyond Limoges for the Christmas Holiday 2013

How will you be traveling? Car? Train?

Minneapolis...
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2. Re: beyond Limoges for the Christmas Holiday 2013

Forgot to mention that we will have a car.

Chateau Chervix
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3. Re: beyond Limoges for the Christmas Holiday 2013

Hi

You will find enough to interest you in Limoges for a couple of days. If you want to go further afield and find warmer weather ,think about driving to Montpellier or the Nice area. Limoges can be very very cold in winter but you will need to drive 6 to 7 hours south for something warmer. You won't have any problems finding cultural interest.

Le Bugue, France
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4. Re: beyond Limoges for the Christmas Holiday 2013

If you want the coast and don't want to go all the way to Provence you could head pretty much straight west to La Rochelle, which while not warm at that time of year, will still be quite beautiful.

Minneapolis...
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5. Re: beyond Limoges for the Christmas Holiday 2013

Thanks so much for the information. Our son will arrive in Limoges in a week! We look forward to a family december holiday together in France. Appreciate the responses!

Minneapolis...
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6. Re: beyond Limoges for the Christmas Holiday 2013

Thanks so much for the information. Our son will arrive in Limoges in a week! We look forward to a family december holiday together in France. Appreciate the responses!

Minneapolis...
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7. Re: beyond Limoges for the Christmas Holiday 2013

Our family trip is now set for Jan. We arrive in Paris. Make our way to Limoges for a couple of days. Then a short trip to Biarritz via Bordeaux. We will return to Limoges ( where our son as been living) briefly and finish our trip in Paris for three days. So glad to have the plans made. Question now is: are there any "must see" places/activities/ for our car days? Limoges to Biarritz. And Limoges to Paris? We will have a rental car and fortunate to have a couple of French speaking sons with us. Willing to go off the beaten path. Love to hear any suggestions Thanks!

Paris, France
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8. Re: beyond Limoges for the Christmas Holiday 2013

Without giving you specific suggestions I can tell you how to find places to visit on your own without using anything more than a Michelin map and tourist office websites. These are the only travel planning resources I use when vacationing in France and they have never failed me.

Get your hands on the Michelin maps. You want the ones of the scale 1:150,000 (departmental maps). The 1:150,000 scale maps show the starred attractions in the corresponding Michelin Green guidebooks, ranked from one to four stars. If you want ideas for what to see look at your map wherever you are and look for those towns/villages/attractions that have been given a star and you'll now there's something of interest there. Next, google that attraction and look for the official website. If it's a town you want the tourist office website. You will find loads of info on these websites including hotel/accommodation and restaurant info as well as what to see and do in the area. Occasionally the websites have English versions. In doing a google search enter the words "office de tourisme" followed by the name of your region, département, city, town or village and this will bring the town to the top of your search.

If you want to get off the beaten path then there is nothing that beats a Michelin maps for doing this. The Michelin maps have icons for all kinds of historically/touristically interesting things such as châteaux, ruins, churches, abbeys, scenic view points, caves, Roman sites, megaliths, designated scenic roads and many other things. Usually when I'm exploring various regions in France I just look at the map and I am able to plan interesting and scenic drives just reading the map. For instance, I usually look for a designated scenic road, which are highlighted in green, and I especially look for towns with the historic church and/or château icon. I also try to make sure the route goes through as many small villages as possible. Usually putting all these things together I find interesting and scenic drives without even knowing where I am going and with no assistance from a guide book. Often these places are never mentioned in guidebooks and remain completely unknown to many tourists.

You can buy the Michelin maps from their website and here is a link to the page that shows you the 1:150,000 scale maps of France: http://tinyurl.com/6mt4n64

You could also buy them here but then you can't do research beforehand. The maps can be bought in many places such as bookstores, news stands, magazine stores, larger supermarkets, department stores, hypermarkets and in the full service rest areas on the autoroutes, just to name a few.

It is also helpful to have good guidebooks for whatever region in France in which you will be traveling. I like The Michelin Green Guides. If you need restaurant info then get The Michelin Red Guides, which cover restaurants.

And speaking of Michelin, you can go to the website viamichelin.com and get info on drive times and distances, toll and fuel costs and suggested routes (i.e. scenic routes). The drive times given do not consider stops (fuel, food, bathrooms) nor do they consider bad weather and bad traffic. I find the drive times very accurate when these factors are accounted for. The time estimates can break down when you are driving in congested urban areas, like in or near Paris, due to the unpredictability of heavy traffic or traffic jams. They can also be affected on peak travel days, specifically on autoroutes leading to/from popular destinations.

To give an example of how to use the maps I'll use Limoges. I'm looking at my Michelin map right now and here are just a few of the starred attractions not far off from Limoges. You can google these places and see if they interest you. A very well known place near Limoges is Oradour-sur-Glane. Other places are Châlus, Solignac, the châteaux of Montbrun and Brie, Le Dorat, Moretmart, Montrol-Sénard, etc., etc. I have no idea if any of these places would interest you so you'll have to look into that.

I think some of the better places to see near Limoges are actually found an hour or so south of there in the Dordogne, Corrèze and Lot departments (south of Brive-la-Gaillarde) but I don't know if you'll have time to visit there. I wrote a photo report about exploring the area south of Brive if you want to have a look at some of the places I visited, several of which are listed as Plus Beaux Villages de France. Here is a link to my report: http://tinyurl.com/q6bb5av

Minneapolis...
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9. Re: beyond Limoges for the Christmas Holiday 2013

Thank you French_Mystique! Sincerely appreciate your thorough response. I have read your links too. Great information all around; from suggested small towns outside of Limoges to a nice restaurant review in Paris. Getting so excited. We will follow your advice.....Now I'm off to find my Michelin maps. Again, Many thanks!

Paris, France
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10. Re: beyond Limoges for the Christmas Holiday 2013

Hope you have a great trip. :)

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