Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 2077: Dawdling Through the Dordogne
By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2013
Trip Description: We spent a week exploring the Dordogne in May from a base near Sarlat-la-Canéda.
Destinations: Countries - France; Regions/Cities - Dordogne
Categories: Vacation Rentals; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People
Page 1 of 33: Information and Background
We have spent two holidays in France, sailing with Brittany Ferries and taking our car. We had enjoyed the Auvergne and fancied getting further west into the Dordogne and south into the Midi-Pyrenees. This made us start to think about Northern Spain, an area we've not been before. Michael wanted to get into the Basque country for many years. We could use Brittany ferries to Bilbao, spend a few days in Spain and then slowly work our way north and catch the ferry back from Caen.
We began with a few days in the mountains of the Picos de Europa (Trip Report 2074) before moving east into Cantabria (Trip Report 2075). We then headed north into France and spent a week in the Midi-Pyrenees near Foix (Trip Report 2076) before moving to a gîte in a tiny hamlet nearly 20 miles north east of Sarlat-la-Canéda.
We chose May which avoided school holidays and we thought the weather would be warm, but not too hot. It had been a late spring. The few days in the Picos de Europa had been good, but Navarra and the Midi-Pyrenees had been cold, dull and damp. The weather did improve for the Dordogne and we had three days with sunshine. The best two days were as we drove north for the ferry home.
I chose the Sarlat area as a base. They had been prepared to send me lots of tourist information, unlike Les Eyzies who told me information was on the web and they had a policy of not sending out information. My email that I had a policy of not visiting places that didn't send out information fell on deaf ears.
We wanted to book accommodation through Brittany ferries and the only place on their web site was Pech Mezel, near Borrèze, a small village to the north west of Sarlat. It was a beautiful setting up a side valley surrounded by walnut orchards. The downside was it was several miles up a very narrow road with many blind corners. Michael was a lot happier once they cut down the verges so he could see the edge of the road. Fortunately we never met any other traffic.
It was a traditional building with very thick stone walls, a huge open fireplace and old stone sink on the wall. Windows were small, making it quite dark inside and lighting was poor. After the damp spring, it felt damp inside. Heating was by small electric fires and we never did manage to get the place warm. Furnishing was a bit spartan. We felt it was expensive for what was provided and I'm not sure that I would want to stop there again.
Borrèze has lost its baker, but there is a very good baker and butcher in Salignac about five miles away. This also has a basic and rather scruffy Intermarché, so we did the rest of our shopping at the Super-U in Souillac.
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