Francy Pants Part Deux: What To Do In Dordogne

by farrah on July 14, 2014 · 5 comments

The boys are done with school and we’re soon off on our summer family vacation. Can’t wait to get back to Dordogne. We had to book our reservations last summer as the place where we’re staying is popular with those who know about it. I’ve mentioned before how tricky it is being an expat in Europe- you have to constantly decide between going someplace you’ve never been, OR go to a place you’ve already been but truly loved.

Dordogne, FranceTypical home in Dordogne.

Of course many people would say ‘Go someplace new!’ without hesitation. I completely get that- as I think prior to having the boys and learning first hand the struggles we can encounter when going just about anywhere- we wanted this summer vacation to be easy, relaxing and familiar. So I don’t let my mind wander and wonder what the beaches of Portugal with kids would be like, nor the lakes of Germany. Another time maybe. This summer we really want a sure bet.

Where to stay

Le Chevrefuille, DordogneOur room was the tower on the right.

Without question it is Sara’s family b&b which beckons us back first and foremost. This old farmhouse caters to families. Children rule and it’s wonderful to be in the French countryside with room to roam and stretch out. Le Chevrefuille as I mentioned last year offers traditional b&b rooms for guests- as well as two self-catering apartments. This time we’ve booked an apartment for the week which means we’re on our own for cooking.

What to do

The second biggest draw to return to the familiar is the Dordogne area itself. Last year when we arrived in St. Cyprien I remember thinking we were in a different world. I mean, we’re talking about ...’a commune in the Dordogne department in Aquitaine in southwestern France.’  Yes, it’s absolutely as crazy as it sounds: Old. Rustic. Like nothing else. It has peaked roofs, tiny streets and incredible cliffs and caves. It was overwhelming when we first realized just how much there was to do here- so this year we’re taking advantage of the fact that we’re not Dordogne rookies and will dig deeper on the activities front.

Last year we went to the caves of Rouffignac and saw 15,000 year-old cave drawings. We took a small train about 6 kilometers into the cave and saw the ancient designs all around us. I was humbled and awed at the history I saw before my eyes. How can we even begin to comprehend 15,000 years?

Lascaux II

So besides hanging out in the salt water pool most of the time, this year on our ‘things to do’ list are:

  • Visit the Prehisto Parc (a park devoted to depiction of Neanderthal and Cro-magnon man, as well as animals of the period)
  • Golf at a nearby course
  • See the Foret des Ecureuils (Squirrel Forest) which is about 30 minutes away. It appears to be a ropes/zip line sort of place with an area for kids as young as 3. The boys would totally go nuts here. No pun intended. It’s in Sarlat which if I understand correctly is additionally an amazing town to explore on its own.
  • Ride a Vespa through the sunflowers. For real- someone told me that they did this here and I have got to find out how.
  • I’m debating a canoe ride on the river.
  • Eat and drink!

I keep watching the weather and so far things seem to be much like last year too: hot with afternoon rain showers. One thing I do know: we have a/c in the car! What an awesome thing this will be- since that 10 hour drive last year was not my most favorite thing to do ever. I’ll resurrect the #FrancyPants hashtag on IG, and add on a ‘II’ to keep this year’s photos separate from last. Hope you’ll follow along.

Have a suggestion for us in Dordogne? Please let me know. Wine swilling is a given, and if you have a tip do share!

For more information, this is a great website with links to a ton of info on Les Eyzies.

All photos taken by me except the cave drawing (photos aren’t allowed inside the caves).

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer F- American Mom in Bordeaux July 14, 2014 at 7:07 am

So excited you are going back!! St Cyprien/Le Bugue is where my husband’s family live!! We love that area!! Won’t get there this summer as we are flying HOME (Yeah – USA!!).

Yes – Go canoeing!! It’s more like float-boating as you ride the river current -but so fun!!! Here’s a post I did about it last year – http://americanmominbordeaux.blogspot.fr/2013/08/the-dordogne-region-canoeing-canoe.html

Funny – you also mentioned our favorite ropes course there – http://americanmominbordeaux.blogspot.fr/2012/04/dordogne-high-ropes-course.html

Of course if you feel like exploring some other towns near Sarlat…Here’s some ideas…http://americanmominbordeaux.blogspot.fr/2013/03/our-day-in-dordogne-montfort-vitrac.html

My final piece of advice is to look see if you can attend an outdoor dinner/ball in any of the small towns. I know in Le Bugue – each Tuesday night beginning at 7 -you can buy dinner – sit at picnic tables in the town square and then starting at 9pm – the DJ or band begins…everyone (families) gets up to dance and just enjoy being outside ! Lots of fun group dances..my kids have loved it since they were 3!! Many towns do it – would be listed as Le Bal (always outside – you can also go later for just the music/dance part). We were always surprised how much English we heard!!

Enjoy your trip – will be following along – We leave tomorrow for the States!! First trip back in almost 3 years!!

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2 farrah July 14, 2014 at 10:09 am

You’re fantastic! And a big huge THANK YOU for reminding me about the outdoor dinner event. We heard about it last year but didn’t plan well and missed it. I was really disappointed. This year I’ll do my best!

Great links, thank you so much. Hopefully if anyone else stumbles here they will find them helpful too- and have a GREAT TRIP!!!

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3 Chamisa July 17, 2014 at 8:10 pm

We weren’t sure if we’d still be here this summer, but it looks like we are. I’ve been hunting for a place to use up our last remaining vacation time, and you have me intrigued. The b&b looks so charming and the things to do sound like they are right up our alley. Have a lovely time there!

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