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Oct 3, 2013 06:54 AM

Need recs for Bordeaux (city) and a few towns in the Dordogne

We are coming to France for a week-long bike trip through the Dordogne. The rationale being, if we are in goose and duck country, 'tis better to cycle off those calories than let them accumulate while riding in a car. We arrive at CDG mid-day on Saturday, then will head straight to Gare Montparnasse to take the train to Bordeaux. Need some recommendations for the following places:

1) Bordeaux this Saturday night. Planning to go to the large market the next morning.

2) 3 nights in Les Eyzies.

3) 2 nights in Cadouin.

4) 2 nights in either La Roque Gageac or Saint-Cybranet (thoughts on either town?).

Will see if we can make Le Vieux Logis in Tremolat happen at some point.

Merci en avance.

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  1. Re Cadouin: Many years ago (10! ) we enjoyed a large family dinner on the terrace of La Salvetat, 3 km up a long and winding road (Route de Belvès). We were there at night, but it seemed to be on a plateau with views. Looks like it may have new (British?) proprietors now, tho. It's also a hotel/auberge. -- Jake

    1. Le Centenaire in Les Eyzies,, is a beautiful old school restaurant and hotel. If you want to take a side trip head up the hill to Marquay, a wonderful little village. We had a duck and goose filled meal at Auberge du la Ferme Brusquand, http://www.auberge-du-brusquand-dordo... but be forewarned, the portions are huge. Have a lovely time, the country around there is very beautiful.

      1. We absolutely loved the restaurant at the Hotel La Belle Etoile in La Roque-Gageac. Make reservations so that you are able to dine on the terrace. The food was fabulous.

        Have a great trip!

        1. Saturday night in Bordeaux, why not go to Le Saint-James in Bouliac? A 2-star, chef Nicolas Magie. Expensive and a steep bike ride uphill, but you may be interested.

          Or you can have great plateaux de fruits de mer, oysters and great grilled fish and seafood at Le Petit Commerce.
          Avoid Chez Fernand, which will try to attract you with its catchy red awnings. Unless you are interested in Fernand's amazing pan-crisped tête de veau with French fries, nothing is worth writing home about.

          I also like La Brasserie Bordelaise and its wonderful entrecôte-frites. I heard some good about Le Bouchon Bordelais near the Opera, but never went there actually.
          Bordeaux is the French city with the highest ratio of restaurants per capita, so you won't go hungry.

          Fantastic ice creams at the "coffee shop" on quai Richelieu, but they are not open at night.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Ptipois

            Of course I defer to my Culinary Goddess, Pti, who has spent so much time in Bordeaux (and published the definitive book on food and wine there - "Grands crus classés, grands chefs étoilés : Bordeaux 1855") and I love the St James but if you have time, also try out the place our mutual friend S. loves, Le Cape, with a star, just a smidgen out of town.

            1. re: John Talbott

              I'd have recommended La Cape too, if the chef that made it famous - none else that the aforementioned Nicolas Magie - were not currently, bingo, at Le Saint-James.

              Le Saint-James' former chef, Marseillais Michel Portos, is now back in his hometown where he is happily tossing French fries at Le Malthazar.

              Magie took over a little over a year ago and has now added a little more pomp and fussiness to his creative preparations, and I have heard that La Cape is still okay but not what it used to be in Nicolas' days. Haven't tested it though.

              1. re: John Talbott

                La Cape's food is better than average but less good without Magie's magic. And its location in a semi-industrial suburb gives me instant depression, especially since Bordeaux ville is such a sparkling and historic city. Maybe after trying Le Bouchon Bordelais, La Brasserie Bordelaise, Le Petit Commerce, and Bô Bar, La Cape might be an option...but for a visitor's one-and-only meal in Bordeaux, no way.

                1. re: Parnassien

                  I totally defer;
                  Since no one here is supposed to pay any attention to Michelin macarons/rosettes/stars, we'll ignore the fact that both Le Cape & Saint James have one and as someone who thinks depressing areas breed surprisingly good places, think 1965 Le Pot au Feu in Asnières sur Seine, I will concede that Le Saint James does have more elegant surroundings and the unique quality of the servers heels clicking on the railroad car floor which gives it a sort of well unique charm.

                  1. re: John Talbott

                    I totally agree about depressing areas. There are amazing gems to be found there.
                    On the other hand, stiffness is not absent from the atmosphere at Le Saint-James.

                    1. re: John Talbott

                      Context context context. Put yourselves in the shoes of a tourist with one night in Bordeaux. Reducing that brief total experience to a good meal in a very dreary suburb (as in the case of La Cape) might seem reasonable to a die-hard foodie or someone who is already very familiar with all that historic and charming Bordeaux offers. But, as a lover of Bordeaux the city (a very difficult admission for a snooty Parisien like me), I find it somewhat absurd.

                      1. re: Parnassien

                        I think it's more a matter of personal temperament than of context. For instance, concerning a restaurant, the neighborhood is not important to me. Only the restaurant is.