Places to Visit in France
After lunch we said goodbye to our cousins in St. Emilion and drove off in our rental car. Destination, Sarlat France in the Dordogne river valley. Took hwy A89 vs. the scenic route because it was getting late and it would be quicker (although according to Google maps the scenic D936 is only 4 min longer).
Made our way though the town of Sarlat to our hotel : “Le Mas de Castel”
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Drove the short was to the town of Sarlat for dinner at the restaurant, Le Mirador. It’s located on one of the beautiful cobblestone streets lined with medieval buildings that Sarlat France is famous for.
France Travel Vacations Day 6
Saturday is market day in Sarlat France. And it is huge and outdoors in the streets. Lots of regional traditional French foods for sale by vendors. Cèpe mushrooms, foie gras, sausages of all kinds, goose, Chantal cheese and lots more. We bought lunch for a picnic. Sausage and cucumber.
I also shopped in the stores along the quaint narrow streets and bought a beautiful blouse at one shop and a Jaquard-like tablecloth at another. Jacquard is just as expensive back home ($250 and up) and the look-alike is beautiful and suits my needs perfectly.
For lunch we stopped at a roadside picnic area next to the river and ate our food purchases. The French picnic a lot on their France travel vacations.
France Travel Vacations next stop: canoeing down the Dordogne river
Got our canoe at Copeyre Canoe in Vitrac–Port because they pick you up at the other end and drive you back to your car. They were great and I use them again.
Canoed down the river past Domme. In Roque Gagec we beached the canoe and walked up into the village (it’s on a cliff edge) and looked inside the little church. Very hot day. Got Italian ices (made with Vitel water so very clean) mine was raspberry, very sweet and cold, just what we needed for energy to do the next leg of the river.
If you don’t want to canoe there are tour boats that take you down a small portion of the river. For canoers though, it means you get out of the way because they are bigger than you.
Castelnau looms over us as we paddled by. Last and final stop was Beynac. Took us 3 hours and 45 minutes. The river was low so it took longer. Listen to the canoe company when they say how long you will be because they know.
We drove to Beynac castle but since it was closing time only saw the outside. Thank goodness cause that’s all the energy I had left.
On the way back to Sarlat, sweaty and exhausted, we stopped by a roadhouse for dinner. Eating outside we felt ok dressed in canoe garb. From the terrace we had a view of the Beynac Castle.
We ate cèpe mushroom omlettes with pomme de terre Sarladaise (that means made with goose fat), very delicious and extremely filling. I couldn’t finish it.
And finally, home and to bed.
France Travel Vacations Day 7
Very early in the morning we drove to one of the Dordogne caves outside of Les Eyzie. We waited in line for tickets to Grotte de Font de Gaume. There are only 12 people allowed per tour so tickets are few. There are tours throughout the day however. This is the real thing. Featuring lots of Bison.
Up the hill is the Musée de la Prehistorie we looked at all the prehistoric displays plus videos showing demonstrations. Very good museum giving you the history behind what this area was all about.
Our France travel vacations to the Dordogne caves would not be complete without visiting one of the most famous tourist attractions in France, Lascaux II. It is an exquisite reproduction of the original. (visitors are no longer allowed in the real cave)
Home to Sarlat for dinner but since it was Sunday night most restaurants were closed. Found an ok place and ate regional traditional French foods of confit de canard with Sarladaise potatoes.
France Travel Vacations Day 8
This is our last day here. We got up early and went to Castelnau when they opened. Then drove to Domme and walked around (free parking next to the town park). Picnic in the local park overlooking the Dordogne river valley.
Next we drove towards Rocamadour stopping to see a goose farm. This is the area where they raise the geese for pate de fois gras. In Rocamadour parked for free next to the castle. Walked down the path of stations of the cross, 1 km long (you can take an elevator). At mid level visited the Chapel of the Virgin. Very beautiful. Walked down the next flight of stairs to see the city. And walked back up all the way.
If you like France travel vacations without the crowds the Lot River valley is stunning and peaceful with few tourists. We plan to go back and explore this area further.
Drove to beautiful Autoire in the Lot river valley, through Loubressac, to Martel for dinner. at “Auberge des 7 Tours” in Martel.
And then home and fell into bed.
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