Help make our trip to Europe amazing, Dordogne France edition
April 16, 2016 7:32 AM   Subscribe

Our family will be spending a few days in Beynac France (Dordogne region) in June. We're traveling with kids, so our plan is for a mostly low-key trip filled with canoeing and lazily exploring the towns of Beynac, Castlenaud and Sarlat. But we're also looking for other unique or special experiences we could do as a family that would really make our trip special.

We do also have plans to visit the replica Lascaux caves, but we would love to hear any ideas that might involve:

- Meeting and interacting with locals
- Visiting special places in the city/area that might not show up in guide books
- Anything food or wine related that shouldn't be missed
posted by quantum to Travel & Transportation around France (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Instead of the Lascaux caves, consider visiting Pech Merle, which still has the original (and older!) cave paintings, and is less busy. We got this tip from a friend's husband, who is a paleolithic archaeologist in the area!

Sarlat has an incredible market on Saturday mornings, but get there early! Also note that the food part of the market closes up completely by 12pm - learned this the hard way last year :(

We also were stunned by Gouffre de Padirac. It was like being on a different planet entirely. And to get to the cave site, you are taken on an underground boat! It was super cool.

There are so many tiny towns to stop in around the valley, you really can't go wrong. We enjoyed looking in the regional specialty shops, which every town seems to have one of. We stayed in Cahors for a week, and they have a giant regional specialty store that sells tons of local (packaged) food and wine for really good prices. We only encountered French people there - seemed like a bit of a destination.

Have just the best time! It is an incredible part of the world.
posted by just_ducky at 7:44 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

> Meeting and interacting with locals?

Timeless advice from a former traveler.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 9:46 AM on April 16, 2016

It is stunning there. My top two recommendations are 1) to visit ALL the caves (and make reservations right away! They are treasures and everyone wants to see them) and 2) head for any castle you see -- your kids will be entranced.
posted by bearwife at 9:47 AM on April 16, 2016

Oh, and this is foie gras central. Ask your servers what they recommend in wine, as there is a ton of great local wine as well.
posted by bearwife at 9:48 AM on April 16, 2016

We really enjoyed exploring this castle.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:56 AM on April 16, 2016

Seconding Pech Merle caves. It was a really affecting experience for me to see the remnants of other humans from so long ago. There are handprints and footprints as well as drawings. We made reservations in advance. They limit the number of people that can go in and I don't know how much longer it will stay open before they shut it like Lascaux.

If you're in the area you might as well visit St. Cirq La Popie, a tiny pretty village perched over the Lot valley. There are plenty of beautiful villages if you just wander around. We randomly arrived at a food festival in Martel which is a gorgeous medieval town.

The Cahors wine is everywhere and what you will likely be drinking. Strong flavored wine. You are also in Cassoulet country and in foie gras country. So enjoy because it will be the best you've ever had.
posted by vacapinta at 10:29 AM on April 17, 2016

Thanks everyone! Pech Merle caves and Gouffre de Padirac look like great places to visit. Merci!
posted by quantum at 7:36 AM on April 23, 2016

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