7 Days in Dordogne: Step-by-Step 

A Dordogne Travel Guide

A couple of years ago a friend from my growing up days in Charlotte, North Carolina and I reconnected on FaceBook. She now lives in Denver, Colorado. We were in school together from kindergarten through high school. Julie came to visit me in France after a cruise on the Seine. Together we took off to wander through Dordogne. I challenged myself to record the highlights of our stops and share them with you along the way.  Here goes…

Day one: Uzes to Albi

A full day at Pont du Gard and Nimes meant we got a late start from Uzes today. Oh well…it’s a pleasure trip, so being rested to start was important.  Nevertheless, we were on the road and at our first stop — lunch — by 1:30. We had no idea where we’d take our first break, but decided we’d get beyond the major roads to Albi. Our goal was to reach Albi before the close of the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum at 6pm. Pulling off the road at du Bois du Four, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, there was a hotel, bar, and restaurant. After a plat du jour of roasted chicken, potato au gratin, and a courgette tartine, we rushed out to get back on the road.

Albi and Toulouse-Lautrec

The new Garmin for the car proved its worth in getting us “almost” directly to Albi. A few turnarounds is par for the course on any trip I make, it seems. Still we made it to check into the hotel and run across the Tarn River bridge to the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum.

It was so worth the rush!

The museum contains, perhaps, the largest number of pieces of original artwork, by one famous artist, that I have ever seen in one place. The exposition reveals the story of Toulouse-Lautrec’s life as well as the evolution of his style. The presence of his work in the magnificent La Berbie Palace, in the center of town, is an homage to the respect Albi holds for one of its favorite sons.

Sainte Cécil Cathedral

As impressive as the rich collection of Toulouse-Lautrec’s work at the la Berbie Palace in Albi is the Sainte Cécil Cathedral. The gigantic religious structure is a testament to respect the area has for art, religion, and architecture through the ages.

The project to build the cathedral was started in the thirteenth century. Its history, which follows the tribulations and the triumph of French religion and culture from that time, is a story unto itself that I promise to explore. Meanwhile, the beauty and reverence of the place is breathtaking.

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Because no day in France is complete without rosé and cheese, we finished our near-200 mile journey with hot chèvre and a creamy, cold gazpacho at a bistro near the banks of le Tarn.

dordogne travel guide

Stay tuned….

For more on the Dordogne

7 Days in Dordogne: Albi to Cahors

7 Days in Dordogne: Cahors to Sarlat

7 Days In Dordogne: Lascaux to Brantôme

7 Days in Dordogne: Rocamadour

7 Days in Dordogne: Market Day in Sarlat

7 Days in Dordogne: Up, Up and Away!

7 Days in Dordogne: The Finale


18 replies »

  1. Albi looks wonderful and is one of the few things we did not get to see when we spend a couple of months in the area of Limoux and Foix. Looks like you are having a wonderful time and I do want to see that museum as he lived in that City and was not well known as an artist like some of the others so he gave everything to the City of his Birth.

  2. Love the post…we had visited the Dordogne region many years ago and loved it (Sarlat, the bastide towns, etc, as others have commented). But we never did get to Albi. Oh dear, now I badly want to go.

  3. My favorite village in the Dordogne is la Roque-
    Gageac. It is so photogenic. Also Beynac, Castelnaud, and Sarlat are very nice. Have a great time!

  4. We LOVED Albi, and shared similar experiences…Toulouse Lautrec Museum and the stunning palace gardens, Sainte Cécile Cathedrale, and leisurely walks through the lovely, narrow city streets. I know the city of Toulouse is nicknamed La Ville Rose for all the brick buildings, but Albi must be a very close second! We are keen to hear/read more about this current adventure of yours as our Dordogne escape begins November 1st!

  5. So glad you are doing a daily post – love following along rather than waiting until you get back! How do you like Albi? It’s on my “places I might want to live” list.

  6. Great post! Albi was already on my list of places to visit – after all, it’s not too far from Castelnaudary – and after reading your description and seeing your photos, I want to go there even more!

  7. St. Cecilia was the most interesting cathedral I have ever visited. Don’t want to go to purgatory, non, non!
    Your photos are wonderful and this will be a fun trip to share with you!

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