Sunday, March 13, 2011;
Air France and Delta airlines offer nonstop flights from Washington Dulles to Paris-Charles de Gaulle starting at $816 round trip. From the airport, take a TGV train to Angouleme. The trip takes 31/2 hours, and second-class fares start at $71 each way. Rent a car near the train station, and make the one-hour drive to St. Jean.Where to Stay
St. Jean de Cole
Moulin du Roc
Avenue Eugene Leroy, Champagnac-de-Belair
This charming 17th-century mill house has 13 rooms starting at about $240 a night.Where to Eat
8 Rue de la Clarte, 24000 Perigueux
This tiny but gracious restaurant is right off the main square of Perigueux. Local specialties include foie gras and risotto with black truffles. About $35 per person for lunch without wine.
Moulin du Roc
The high point of any trip to the region. Two lovely indoor dining rooms, but lunch on the terrace overlooking the river is spectacular. About $58 for lunch with wine and an aperitif.
Place Halle, Bourdeilles
Directly across the street from the Bourdeilles castle. The inner courtyard is perfect for lunch. Local sausage is a specialty. About $20 for lunch.
Moulin du Pont
Route du Grande Brassac, Lisle
A 15-minute drive down the river from the Bourdeilles castle. Try fresh local trout at a riverside table. About $25 for lunch.
Hotel Le Saint Jean
On the edge of the village, with a nice leafy terrace and local foie gras. About $30 for dinner.What to Do
A day with Christine Desdemaines-Hugon is extraordinary but expensive. Her fee is 250 euros, or about $345. Add lunch and tickets at each site and the tab can reach $500. The Oppels can book her, or you can contact her directly at email@example.com.
Many companies offer canoe trips; you can spot the large trailers that carry the canoes from the road. There are several right outside Brantome. Paddling around the city on the River Dronne costs about $10 per person per hour. Consult www.allocanoes.com for details.
The Oppels favor an ambitious trip along the Dordogne River that passes many chateaux. One company arranging these trips is at www.canoe-roquegeoffre.com. Rentals are about $19 per person for a shared canoe.
Sites such as the castle at Bourdeilles and the church at Aubeterre charge entrance fees of about $5 a person.Information
St. Jean de Cole tourist offce