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Visiting the Dordogne

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I'm planning a trip to the Dordogne next spring and am looking for places to stay as well as great restaurants. Should we stay in Sarlat or nearby? We'll be driving from Barcelona and also wondered if we should plan a night in Carcasonne. Any thoughts or suggestions? We will be in the Dordogne for a week and flying out of Bordeaux. Merci á tout!

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  1. It's been some years since I've been to the Dordogne, but the hotel Lion d'Or in Gramat was very nice. I just looked up their rates and the most expensive double room is 76 euros. It's modern, not old-fashioned and charming, but very comfortable. It is also a restaurant and I had a very good dinner there. Also not expensive, and very good value for the money. Gramat is very centrally located for touring the Dordogne. It would also be an opportunity to take a day trip into the Auvergne and have lunch at Michel Bras near Laguiole. He is one of the top chefs in France and the 2 times I ate there it was truly memorable.

    Absolutely visit Carcassonne. Whether to spend the night there would depend on your schedule. The old city is small and can be seen in a couple of hours, but I am told that it is especially beautiful when illuminated in the evening. I was there recently and had a wonderful lunch at le Comte Roger, a fairly new restaurant that was not listed in any of my travel guides. The menu looked intriguing so we tried it and it did not disappoint.

    1. I would stay close to Sarlat. When you decide where you are staying I will give you a few ideas from two recent trips to the region..

      2 Replies
      1. re: erica

        We have finalized our plans, and will be staying in Sarlat at the Villa des Consuls for 3 ngihts. I have couple of castles to visit and the caves, know about a couple of markets. If you know of some great restaurants, not too pricey, for lunch and dinner both, I would love to know about them. I have a list of artists studios to visit also. If you know of anything "not to be missed" please share, or anything out of the ordinary, I'd love that too. What do you think about spending any time in St. Emilion? We fly out of Bordeaux, and will be going through there. Merci beaucoup!

        1. re: Robin D

          I would want to visit not only St. Emilion, but Pauillac, as well.

      2. Try a trip to the north of the Dordogne department - very forested and beautiful and should be lovely in the spring. In a village called Saint Saud Lacoussiere there is an 18th century coaching inn called L'Hostellerie Saint Jacques, with rather spectacular food, based on local produce, but fancified and modernised. The rooms are very pretty indeed and cost 75 - 100 euros.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Jenny Sheridan

          If you have a week, I'd suggest choosing two different hotels in different areas. There is so much to see in the Dordogne! I'm away from my travel notes right now, but will come back with some restaurant and hotel suggestions. Personally, I did not like Sarlat all that much. I found it a bit too touristy for me.

          1. re: zuriga1

            I agree that the town of Sarlat does not have the best eating in the region...I have been pretty disappointed by the restaurants actually in the town. In general and with a few exceptions, I enjoyed meals at the Ferme Auberges as much as at the restaurants.

            1. re: erica

              Many hotels or inns in France seem to have terrific meals. Sometimes it's a better choice than going out to a village restaurant. I'll remember about the Ferme Auberges!

              1. re: zuriga1

                Try to get your hands on a copy of the green and yellow booklet listing the Ferme Auberges in the region. One place we liked very much (lunch only) was the walnut oil mill near Martel..it was featured in Saveur a few years ago..

                Near Montignac, Le Table du Terroir is good country food as well.

                1. re: erica

                  The web site that covers Ferme Auberges now is in English also:
                  http://www.bienvenue-a-la-ferme.com/
                  Just click on the British flag on the top right of the page.

                  1. re: BlueOx

                    Merci... I'll try to read in French so my teacher here will be proud of me. :-)

                  2. re: erica

                    Thanks for the tips. My new husband has never been to the Dordogne, and he certainly should take me there! The booklet shouldn't be too hard to find here in the UK.. I'll search.

          2. I've had a chance to look back at my notes. This trip was a few years ago, so I hope the information is current. One of our best lunches was at the beautiful Moulin du Roc in a small town which is close to Brantome.. Champagnac de Belair. Their gardens were beautiful.

            www.moulinduroc.com

            Back in those days, we often stayed at a hotel from the Relais & Chateaux chain and all their restaurants were lovely. One hotel that I remember is Le Puy Robert situated near Montignac (good food). The best of the prehistoric caves is in the nearby Lot Valley near Cahors (Peche Merle). We were glad to visit that area as well and stayed at a spectacular old chateau called the Chateau Mercure... also a beautiful place to eat.

            1. We enjoyed our stay in Domme.....

              1. Here is a report of my trip to the Dordogne and Perigord this last september:

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/444683

                If you venture around Chateau de Hautefort , have a nice meal at the little foie gras restaurant just below the castle...very nice ant the owner is very nice as well ! It is called "Les foie gras d'Erilliac"

                http://www.foiesgraserillac-hautefort...

                1. Look at the France forum at slowtalk.com (the Slow Travel board). Dordogne is a popular destination for that group and I found some great tips there for my trip (which is next May).

                  1. Head off to Montignac to catch 2 birds with one stone-visiting these famous Lascaux caves and sample the perigord cuisine in the area.We stayed at this place called Le Four a Sel(www.lefourasel.com).The owners are an english couple-very helpful with giving you tips on where to go and eat,what to see/do in the area.They offer bed and breakfast( we paid 50 euros for a double room w/c includes a huge breakfast -fresh croissants and baguettes,fresh brewed coffee,danish pastries etc..) or self catering units called gite which they rent out per week if you want a longer stay(well worth it to stay longer in the area).In montignac itself, theres a really good restaurant-La Roserie.But all around theres lots of great local restaurants to sample the local cuisine.
                    I agree Sarlat isnt the greatest place to base yourself in ,in this region-too touristy already so prices are inflated.

                    1. I've traveled around the Dordogne a few times - I remember enjoying the market in Sarlat when I was there about 8 years ago. It's really nice to have a car in that region - I've been there once without, and twice with, and when i had a car, i was able to stay in gites, visit the various chateaux built into the cliffs; etc.