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Rick Steves' France 2003 Guidebook.

"...By Custom Taxi/Minivan Excursions:

 

These taxi services offer customized tours (split the cost with up to 6 travelers, find partners at your hotel). Friendly Philippe owner of Allo Philippe Taxi likes Americans, speaks English and has a new vehicle with leather interior and raised seats for better viewing. He will custom design your tour, help with cave reservations and give running commentary on his region during your excursion. Many pickup locations possible including Bordeaux's airport and remote train stations..."

Rick Steves' France 2012 Guidebook.

"...Allo Philippe Taxi is run by amiable Philippe, who speaks English and has a comfortable minivan with raised seats for better viewing. Philippe will custom-design your tour, help with cave reservations, and provide some commentary during your excursion. He can pick you up anywhere including Bordeaux's airport (€320) and remote train stations. His general rates are €36.50/hour for up to six people (€54.75/hr on Sun). Some sample fares: from Sarlat area to Lascaux II, €92 round-trip; from Sarlat to Beynac, €29 (€38 at night); from Sarlat to Les Eyzies, €40 (€60 at night). These prices are estimates only. Book early..."

THE MANLY DAILY

NEWSPAPER. AUSTRALIA

 

THURSDAY, JULY 22, 2010

 

Affable guide enhances mediaeval town

 

Up close, personal

 

Bob Osburn

 

IT is clear advantage when visiting a new country if you have a mate to show you around.

      For most of us, that's just not possible. But, if you happen to visit the stunning mediaeval town of Sarlat, in the Dordogne region of France, let me introduce you to Philippe.

      The affable Philippe is a taxi driver and tour guide with a great sense of humour and a truly intimate knowledge of the Dordogne.

      Philippe creates personalised itineraries. He discusses the sights you wish to see, adds his own suggestions and then shapes a day or even a week sightseeing around his home patch.

      Sarlat is the perfect base and one of the most beautiful towns in France.

      It is truly the stuff of picture postcards, built in stone, edged by ancient walls and architecture dating back to the 12th century. Almost all of it has been restored.

      Give yourself time in Sarlat. You'll need several days to properly explore and absorb the maze of historic cobbled streets, tiny, twisting lanes, fine buildings and abundant restaurants (pizza is popular) and patisseries.

      Tailor your stay around market days on Wednesdays and Saturdays when stalls fill the streets and aromas fill your nostrils as vendors from around the region offer delicaties such as foie gras, black truffes, wild mushrooms, cheeses, breads, pastries and more varieties of sausage than you can imagine.

      Make for the tourist office in Place du Peyrou, ashort stroll from the main square at Place de la Libertie. The Historical Tour brochure will guide you around the town in English. The square is the hub of Sarlat, where coffee is taken and where you relax at tablesunder awnings and watch the bustle.

      Australians seem to be prominent in Sarlat. I met Ross and Leslie, from Sydney's northern beaches, who were on their second visit. They've returned to see more of the mediaeval town and to enjoy the food and the markets. "We love eating. The Wednesday market is really nice. The strawberries are a special attraction."

      There are great advantages in hiring a guide such as Philippe. He knows how to create an efficient day of travel and sightseeing. His local knowledge enriches your experience, he picks out the best restaurants and, best of all, you often get escorted around the queues.

      The area is rich in pre-history with many remaining examples of Stone-Age man. Cliffs still carry etched notches where tribes built their homes out of reach of invaders.

      The Font de Gaume cave, where only 180 visitors are permitted each day in groups of 12, contains the most remarkable collection of paintings from the Magdalenian era (15,000 BC).

      More than 200 beasts are depicted on the rock walls. These amazing artists used contours in the walls to create two-dimensional shapes of beasts such a bison, bear, reindeer, mammoth and the hairy rhinoceros.

      Philippe has a surprise. He takes us to meet Bernard Ginelli, who deserves to be proclaimed a living national treasure. Bernard occupies a little workshop in Les Eyzies de Tayac where he sits amid a pile of shattered flint. His sorry hands are busy clashing stone, flint and reindeer horn to cleaver shards of flint for knives, axes, arrow and spear heads.

      Castles abound in the Dordogne. Philippe picks out the beautiful little 13th-century Chateau Fenelon, owned by the Delautre family. This triple-walled castle has beautiful dimensions. The interior is filled with the aroma of beeswax, testimony to its fastidious owner. It features armour, weaponry and furniture dating back to the 15th to 18th centuries.

      Before we visit the pretty cliff-side village of Rocamadour, famous for its wooden, carved black Madonna, Philippe diverts to his favourite Brasserie L'Esplanade for a delightful courtyard lunch. I recommend Rocamadour cheese melted on a walnut salad.

      Another nearby highlight is the Gouffre de Padirac, a spectacular system of caves. You descent by lift down a massive 75-metre-deep, fern-lined chasm then board a gondola which floats along an underground stream and into a network of massive caverns and stunning rock formations.

EXPRESS ADVOCATE

NEWSPAPER. AUSTRALIA

 

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2010

 

Guide well worth his salt

 

Bob Osburn


FAIRFIELD ADVANCE

NEWSPAPER. AUSTRALIA

 

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2010

 

Enjoy a slice of real Sarlat with Philippe

 

Bob Osburn


NORTHERN DISTRICT TIMES

NEWSPAPER. AUSTRALIA

 

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2010

 

Real France is simply Sarlat

 

Bob Osburn


L'ESPLANADE

VIDEO. FRANCE

 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 2010

 

Ken, Robyn, "Angelina" and "Brad" from Australia with me

 

L'Esplanade. Rocamadour

 

www.lesplanade-creperie.fr/video