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Trip List by tot2006

Highlights of the Loire and Dordogne

5 Oct 2006  Like to stay in lots of different places rather than a fortnight in the same place
4.5 of 5 stars based on 3 votes

A fortnight touring in France with a nice mixture of hotels and things to do

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Amboise, Saint-Emilion, Sarlat-la-Caneda, Chenonceaux
  • Category: Roadtrip
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing
  • Appeals to: Business travellers , Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Seniors, Tourists
  • Seasons: Spring, Summer
  • 1. Hotel Le Manoir les Minimes
    Hotel Le Manoir les Minimes, Amboise, Loire Valley

    A classy mid price hotel set in the centre of Amboise. Excellent decor and service.

  • 2. Amboise
    Amboise, Loire Valley

    A pleasant and historic town set on the banks of the Loire. A visit to the chateau is recommended - take your camera! However the much hyped Clos Luce ("retirement" home of Leonardo da Vinci) was rather boring and fusty and ridiculously expensive to get into. Amboise town is attractive, with a good mix of restaurants and patisseries. The local railway provides links to Tours and Blois, although the service isn't very frequent.

  • 3. Hotel Palais Cardinal
    Hotel Palais Cardinal, Saint-Emilion, Gironde

    A pleasant enough hotel that is easy to find. Mid priced but a lot cheaper than the other 3 star hotels in the area.

  • 4. Saint-Emilion
    Saint-Emilion, Gironde

    A jewel of a wine village - clean, historic and jammed full of restaurants and wine bars. If you enjoy wine you will love it, otherwise the views across the vineyards are worth the trip alone. Recommended is a trip in the Petit Train, a typically touristy ride through the vineyards - incredibly naff, but absolutely hilarious due to the good-natured banter between the train driver and the vineyard estate workers. Also the only time I have ever been overtaken by a tractor!

  • 5. La Verperie
    La Verperie, Sarlat-la-Caneda, Dordogne

    A clean, basic and very good value family hotel on the edge of Sarlat. Extremely relaxed ambience and excellent service.

  • 6. Sarlat-la-Caneda
    Sarlat-la-Caneda, Dordogne

    Attractive market town with lots of historic buildings - very photogenic. Lots of tourist tat, but equally some very nice art and pottery shops. The Saturday market is huge and takes a couple of hours just to walk around. Recommended side trips are to the gardens at Marqueyssac and the Chateau de Losse. If you need groceries, etc there is an excellent large branch of the "Casino" chain south of Sarlat, on the route to Bergerac.

  • 7. Hotel du Bon Laboureur
    Auberge du Bon Laboureur, Chenonceaux, Loire Valley

    Comfortable and classy hotel/restaurant just a few minutes' walk from the chateau. Excellent standard of decor and professional service. Treat yourself to the Menu Gourmand for a special dinner. Bar and wine list rather expensive, but choose wisely and sip slowly!

  • 8. Chenonceaux
    Chenonceaux, Loire Valley

    Small but attractive village that is easy to find. Has railway station with links to Tours. Chateau de Chenonceau (note the dropped x) is huge and very busy - interior itself is nothing special and very crowded. However the gardens are vast and make for a very pleasant morning's stroll. Also a nice restaurant/tea room (quite expensive) with outdoor terrace. Downside is that there are only two toilet blocks, one at the car park and one by the tea room; really small in view of the number of visitors (ladies, join that queue!) and you need a 20 euro coin to use the loo. A bit mean after you have already paid to visit the chateau!