Saint-Emilion and Dordogne in mid-November
My husband and I will be staying in Saint-Emilion in mid-November but would like to either do a day trip to the Dordogne region or stay there for one night (is a day trip doable?)
Some of the threads we've read so far got us very interested in going to a ferme auberge in the Dordogne area. So far I am looking at:
- Ferme Auberge de la Rhonie in Meyrals
- Ferme auberge du Belvédère in Tremolat
- La Toulado in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil
I found quite a few more that looked great but it seems like many of these are only open in the summer and closed by mid-November. Does anyone know of any that are open later in the year? Do you usually have to stay there the night to eat dinner there?
It would be easier to stay the night, because of the combination of France's low tolerance for drunk driving (0.05 blood alcohol level) , the late hour after dinner, and the winding (and dark!) little country roads in the Dordogne. It will take you 2 hours or more to drive from St-Emilion to any of those villages...a force to be reckoned with when it's late and you're sleepy after a big meal.
But yes, your impression is correct that the region slows to a crawl in the cold season.
Most ferme-auberges will be closed in November because they are farms, and most farms will be closed in November.
I'm not sure what months they are open, but Le Puy Robert near Montignac is a lovely hotel with very good food. There is so much to see in the Dordogne, that it really pays to spend some time there. Maybe it's just me, but I found the St. Emilion area fine for one night as I didn't have a lot of interest in visiting vineyards.
A good point -- by mid-November, the vineyards are all dormant, and many have been pruned for the winter....so all you see is hills full of twisted black vines...
Not much coming out of the soil that time of year (root vegetables) - any place remaining open over the winter is bringing it in from elsewhere (probably a greenhouse).
As most people have mentioned, almost all of the places I contacted are closed in November (looks like I just missed the cutoff). At least it looks like Ferme Auberge de la Rhonie is open for dinners only on Fridays/Saturdays until mid-December, which works out for us since we were planning to go on a Friday anyway. Will report back.
We are staying in Saint-Emilion since the primary purpose of this trip is to visit wineries, and it seems to be pretty central as we are planning on spending a day in Medoc to visit the big chateaux as well as spending a day in Dordogne. For our last day we will likely just stay in the Saint-Emilion area and look for any local wineries in that region.