First time to the dordogne with kids

(13 Posts)
Sixtiesqueen Thu 01-Aug-13 20:54:25

Probably done to death but....

Off to the dordogne next weekend. We are driving and stopping off at Calais, Disneyland Paris and Limoges on the way there (Chambord, Versailles and Kent on the way back!).

I'm familiar with some areas of France but never been to the dordogne. We are staying near to Sarlat and our kids are 8 and 4. I've bought books, maps, read trip advisor - but I'd just love to know what you mumsnet types recommend!

Sixtiesqueen Thu 01-Aug-13 20:54:57

Sorry- what you recommend we see/do/eat/drink!

ASmidgeofMidge Thu 01-Aug-13 21:05:20

Try Rocamadour and the nearby Foret des Singes-might be a bit of a jaunt but our dd (then 4) loved both places. Also the caves at Tourtoirac were amazing

Portofino Sat 03-Aug-13 08:32:11

We went last year and loved it. Sarlat is gorgeous - go early for the market. Domme is nice. Les Eyzies and surrounds is great for the pre-history stuff. We did the caves at Rouffignac where you go down in a little train and there are real cave paintings. Parc jacquou near Le Bugue is fun for the littlies with a water park and lots of little rides. Canoeing on the Dordogne is a must. The views from les jardins de Marqueyssac are to die for. Castelnaud castle is also worth a visit. On Wednesday evenings, Le Bugue has a food fair where tables are set up in the square with live music, and you can buy different food/wine/bread from stalls set up round the outside.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sat 03-Aug-13 14:32:51

We love the Dordogne and have been there 3 times. I'm cutting and pasting some info I sent on to a mumsnetter before about things to do:

Velorail - you would need to ring up and book in French, as for a tourist experience they don't seem to be very organised, but it's great fun
[[www.veloraildefrance.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17&Itemid=38 ]]

www.france4families.com/dordogne/RegionsDordogneChateauxCastelnaud.htm
DS loved Castlenaud as its a very authentic castle, plus it has a very nice cafe opposite which does great salads and crepes. Beynac castle is also a fun experience.

www.gouffre-de-padirac.com
This is a lot better than the website would have you believe as it involves walking down into the deep cave and then going on a boat trip. It is very popular so try to arrive early and do not eat in the closest restaurant like we did as it is overpriced and not very nice. Our friends also did caves with crystals but I can't remember the name of them.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/general_advice_tips/991463-Can-anyone-recommend-fun-things-to-do-with-children-in
Some great recommendations on this thread, although after having visited Jacquo park I would give it a miss, the water park bit was good, but all the rides seemed a bit rickety and the animals very sad. Canoeing or a boat trip is an excellent way to soak up the scenery although DS did claim to get bored on the boat trip.
www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g425001-d1385843-Reviews-La_Table_d_Erillac-Hautefort_Dordogne_Region_Aquitaine.html
This restaurant is absolutely brilliant if you happen to visit Chateau Hautefort. We stumbled upon it because the first year we went we were staying close. Very child friendly, reasonable prices and amazing food, we didn't find anywhere half as nice in Sarlat to eat. Sarlat itself is lovely in the evening, there is usually entertainment, there was a band and a contortionist when we were there and Sam had a brilliant time watching it all, also you can get free samples of all the liqueurs in the shops - do not buy truffle liqueur like my husband as it is foul.
They are very fond of anything relating to duck gizzards or foie gras, sadly I don't like that but managed to find enough to eat.

There is also meant to be riversides that are done up like beaches, but as it was so hot when we were there we didn't make it to one.

There are certain things I would avoid, we made the mistake of going to a museum involving prehistoric digging and bears, it turned out to be someone's back garden that they had excavated and some really sad bears pounding around a dreadful looking area that for some reason he had acquired, we were the only visitors and yet the tour guide refused to adapt the hour long presentation to tailor to the needs of a rather bored 4 year old. There is also the copy of the prehistoric paintings, this may have been fantastic, but I didn't get to see it as they started tutting the minute DS arrived on the tour so DS and I left before he could make any noise. They don't seem as child friendly in the historic properties as The National Trust and I would keep away from guided tours if possible as they tend to be long and tedious even for adults.

There is also an outdoor high ropes place, think its called something to do with squirrels, that is fun. Canoeing is good too - probably go for the shorter 1.5hr trip if you haven't done it before. Les Jardins De Marquessac are beautiful and they do candlelit evenings sometimes in the summer.

Enjoy !

BooToYouToo Sat 03-Aug-13 14:46:57

Agree with all the above.

We also loved Montpazier - pretty village, lovely restaurants in the square and some great homeware and toy shops to wander round.

We went to a dinosaur park which had a high ropes (and low course for little ones) as well as fibreglass dinosaurs dotted around the forest. Can't remember the name but it was north of Sarlat.

Portofino Sat 03-Aug-13 19:18:22

Oh yes - Dinopark in the Vezere valley. Good fun. The local village is pretty too.

Portofino Sat 03-Aug-13 19:20:20

The Grottes de Font de Gaume near les Eyzies are meant to have some of the best original cave paintings. You need to book months in advance for a slot though. We stayed nearly opposite and our gite owner promised to get us some, but left it til after Easter. All gone.

Sixtiesqueen Tue 06-Aug-13 21:07:42

Wow thanks for these great replies.

I've never driven so far before. I've also never camped with children.

This is going to be alright isn't it??!

Lifeisontheup Wed 07-Aug-13 11:43:33

You will love it, we've been going for years with children and always had a great time.
I second canoeing, they provide life jackets and in summer the river is generally shallow, so much so it's easy to ground the canoes. So peaceful drifting down the river spotting kingfishers and castles clinging to the rocks.

Sixtiesqueen Wed 07-Aug-13 15:25:45

Would our four year old be able to go canoeing? Does the canoe tip over? See, that terrifies me but I'd be ok with one of those open canoes.

Is there any particularly good place to head for canoeing?

What about a river 'beach' for paddling?

theoriginalandbestrookie Wed 07-Aug-13 22:19:16

Hi - we went canoeing when DS was 5 I think - he was fine, just remember to bring loads of water, suntan lotion and some snacks. Canoes are big and wide and the river is very calm, no likelihood of tipping over. Lots of spots to do it from, just pick wherever is closest for you.
I don't know about the beaches, we didn't go to one, but they are highly recommended.

You will have a fab time.

Sixtiesqueen Wed 07-Aug-13 22:22:56

Thanks mumsnetters. I honestly feel better about it now - we are going for an extended trip of 19 days in total Nd I was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed by it!

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