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Driving in the Dordogne

new york
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Driving in the Dordogne

Hi,

What is it like driving in Dordogne region? We are thinking of renting a car and spending 6 days in the area. We'd be driving in from Toulouse, staying in Sarlat, and taking day trips out. Planning for September.

I'm hearing that the roads are very narrow and windy. And that parking is very difficult. Is this true everywhere? Is navigation very difficult?

Thanks!

Tampa, Florida
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1. Re: Driving in the Dordogne

You hear correct -- the terrain in this part of the country is absolutely gorgeous -- but flat plains and rolling hills it's not. Steep grades and hairpin curves are not unusual. The driving is not difficult, but it does command your attention.

Parking shouldn't be a big deal in September, other than in Sarlat on market day (and even that's not nearly as bad as in the summer holiday months).

Get your hands on a map, or www.viamichelin.com -- and google some photos -- then you can judge what you're comfortable with.

Edited: 3:42 pm, May 03, 2012
new york
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2. Re: Driving in the Dordogne

Thanks. I'm assuming that alot of people do it since it seems to be the only way around this region. We are good drivers and don't mind a few scary turns and hills but would rather not plan a trip that requires stressful driving the whole time.

Wichita Falls, Texas
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3. Re: Driving in the Dordogne

If you drive an automatic at hope, get an automatic rental. The roads are narrow and hilly, so this is no place to be learning (or remebering) how to drive a standard. But, once you account for that, it's not a bad place to drive, particularly if someone else is doing the navigation (driver needs to be abe to focus solely on the road).

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Driving in the Dordogne

Most of the roads are not all that bad, in my opinion. We stayed for a week in Sarlat and another 4 days in Bourdeilles, and I had no big problems even though I usually drive on the left.

The Michelin road atlas of France is available from Amazon for around $15. Look at the pages for this region: the road width is indicated by the width of the line on the map, and you can clearly see which roads have many bends.

Tampa, Florida
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5. Re: Driving in the Dordogne

The driving is not bad -- but it there aren't any straight roads, and there aren't any flat roads (except for the motorway)....it's not stressful, but it would be a blatant lie to tell anyone that this is easy, carefree driving -- the scenery is beautiful, which makes it much more difficult to keep your attention on the road.

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Driving in the Dordogne

Hi there. I agree with Nick the driving around here (sarlat) is pretty easy. Sure it's a bit hilly and windy but certainly not mountainous or dangerous. If you are and experienced driver you will be fine..Enjoy your trip.

England, United...
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7. Re: Driving in the Dordogne

Agree that driving on Dordogne roads is not difficult but it can be tiring for the driver who has to pay a lot of attention, because you never know quite what's around the corner.

To give you a more direct feel you can have a look at this video on youtube which is about a car driving in the Dordogne (turn the volume down - the commentary is not English and not relevant anyway):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjhWCZM7giQ

I haven't watched it all but I think the drive begins in or near St Cyprien. Local experts may prove me wrong ...

Ottawa, Canada
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8. Re: Driving in the Dordogne

Good idea from Celestina. Google Maps Streetview covers much of the area and can give you an excellent idea of how the roads look.

new york
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9. Re: Driving in the Dordogne

Thanks for all of your recommendations!

We are comfortable with driving a manual car so this sounds doable.

conroe
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10. Re: Driving in the Dordogne

just spent 30 days driving around france. get a gps with maps of europe. to me it is the only way to drive in europe. many of the back roads are really one lane so you do have to be careful but traffic is not heavy on these roads. i got lucky and got a new volkswagen golf diesel auto which i was very happy with i paid $100 for my garmin nuvi and i have used it three times driving in europe and it has paid forself making driving less stressful, also signage is very good and there are alot of round a bouts

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