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Dordogne Activities

from $2,679.00

Combine three of our exciting holidays to experience the ultimate activity holiday in the Dordogne. 2 days of safe, undemanding canoeing with a choice of leisurely walking or cycling on the other days.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
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All about the Dordogne Activities.

Explore one of the most fascinating corners of the Dordogne on this varied and flexible, walking, cycling and canoeing holiday. The Perigord Noir, arguably one of the most attractive parts of the Dordogne, is named as such for its rich dark oak and chestnut forests which fill the very heart of this region. The area offers spectacular scenery with ancient chateaux perched high above the rugged cliffs overlooking the entire valley. You’ll find mediaeval villages full of character and a plethora of historical sites including the Benedictine Abbaye Sainte-Marie in Souillac, founded during the C12 and which suffered badly during the Hundred Years’ War.
On foot, bike and by canoe, venture through the Perigord experiencing what this picturesque region has to offer. You have total flexibility with the choice of either walking or cycling routes when you’re not canoeing. The canoeing is safe and undemanding, and we will give you a lesson in handling your canoe before you set off. Your journey starts in Martel, a picturesque town also known as ‘la ville aux sept tours’ or the town of seven towers, moving on to Meyronne, on the banks of the Dordogne. From here you pick up your paddle, canoeing downstream to Souillac and on to Beynac with its hilltop castle, captured by Richard the Lionheart in 1179, finally arriving in mediaeval Sarlat.
You will stay in characterful *** hotels throughout, all with private swimming pools. These range from a stunningly converted C11 chateau to a panoramic country house, set in its own private parkland. You’ll enjoy delicious evening meals in this area renowned for its gastronomic traditions.
NB: All customers must be able to swim at least 50m fully clothed. We provide 2/3 person canoes (minimum age 8 years). Single-person kayaks are also available if specified when you book. Only suitable for children over 12 unless experienced. Should the river, at any point, be deemed too high to safely canoe, we will provide Headwater bikes at no extra charge for all days affected.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • All continental breakfasts and evening meals
  • 8 Nights, hotel-to-hotel accommodation
  • Route notes and maps
  • High quality bikes provided
  • Route notes and maps
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Buoyancy aid and helmet
  • Canadian canoes or sit-on top kayaks
  • Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip (at designated place and time)
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Three activities in one holiday: two days canoeing with a choice of walking or cycling for the remaining days
  • Impressive chateaux, troglodyte cave dwellings, Rocamadour, Grottes de Lacave and Gouffre de Padirac
  • Dramatic river valleys, pinky-gold cliffs and mediaeval villages
  • Friendly, family-run hotels, all with pools and fine food
  1. Day 1 Day 1 Arrive in Martel

    Arrive at your *** hotel, a former convent school in 7000m2 of private gardens. (Staying at Le Relais St Anne, Half board)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 Martel to Meyronne - Walk 10km/6.5mi (2.5hr) or cycle 15km/9.5mi

    Today, walkers will enjoy wonderful 360ree; views from the summit of Mont Mercou, along with views over the Dordogne Valley, while cyclists will pass the lovely village of Gluges, on the banks of the Dordogne River. Before you leave Martel, why not explore its mediaeval streets, in particular the Palais de la Raymondie and the Place de la Halle? (Staying at Hotel La Terrasse, Half Board)

  3. Day 3 Day 3 At Meyronne

    You have lots of choices today. Either relax by the hotel pool or walk south of the river to Rochers Ste Marie and the Grottes de Lacave. If you prefer to cycle (or use our walking route notes) head to the town of Rocamadour, home to the shrine of the Black Madonna and one of France’s most venerated religious sites. Alternatively, travel by taxi to the Gouffre de Padirac, an enormous chasm where you descend into an underground cave system which you then explore by boat along the subterranean stream. (Staying at Hotel La Terrasse, Half Board)

  4. Day 4 Day 4 Meyronne to Souillac Canoe 17km/11mi /4-5hr

    We meet you after breakfast for your briefing and canoeing lesson before you set off on this easy paddle, taking you below pinky-gold cliffs with buzzards and kites soaring overhead and the imposing chateaux of Belcastel and de la Treyne (to name but two), perched up high above the river. (Staying at La Vieille Auberge, Half Board)

  5. Day 5 Day 5 At Souillac

    Wander round this bustling town, people watch or visit the Musee de l’Automate which holds the largest collection of mechanical toys and dolls in France. You might also like to walk to La Durantie for some of the most stunning views along the Dordogne Valley or cycle to the Chateau de Fenelon, a Cathar stronghold during the C12 and C13. There is also the option to cycle to the impressive Jardins de Cadiot made up of ten gardens within two hectares of land – the choice is yours! (Staying at La Vieille Auberge, Half Board)

  6. Day 6 Day 6 Souillac to Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse Canoe 20km/12.5mi /4-5hr

    Its gentle paddling again today down to Grolejac through the heart of peaceful and prosperous Perigord countryside, leaving plenty of time for swimming, picnicking or just lazing by the river. We pick you up and take you to the tranquil Chateau de Monrecour where you stay for the next two nights. (Staying at Chateau de Monrecour, Half Board)

  7. Day 7 Day 7 At Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse

    Stroll to Beynac and climb the steep footpath lined with C15-C17 stone houses up to the spectacular C13 hilltop chateau; the reward for your effort is the breathtaking view of the serpentine sweep of the river. Or you could visit the beautiful Jardins de Marqueyssac and the impressive Chateau de Castelnaud (approximately 6km/4mi away). (Staying at Chateau de Monrecour, Half Board)

  8. Day 8 Day 8 Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse to Sarlat Walk 18km/11mi/5hr or cycle 32km/20mi

    Today you can choose to go on foot or pedal through pretty villages and shaded woods before arriving at mediaeval Sarlat with its Renaissance facades and richly ornamented buildings now protected by law. Wander through the narrow streets, discovering ancient courtyards as you peep through ornate archways, then its on to the tranquility of your hotel, in time for a last dip in the pool before dinner. (Staying at Hotel Meysset, Half Board)

  9. Day 9 Day 9 - Leave Sarlat

    Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in France for children under 12. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own. Please see our Planning you holiday page for full details.

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Where you stay
Le Relais Sainte-Anne
The rooms in the charming Relais Sainte-Anne are tastefully decorated with antique furniture. The grounds include a pool and extensive gardens to wander and relax in. Evening meals can be taken on the terrace in good weather.
Hotel La Terrasse
The Hotel La Terrasse, ideally situated overlooking the Dordogne, is a converted C11 chateau, which has survived in spite of the turbulent history of the region. It was converted into a hotel in the 1920s by the Liebus family – who still own the hotel – but it still retains many of its original features – wooden beams, exposed stone walls, stone fire places and stone spiral stairwell. Period furniture completes the impressive, yet comfortable, interior. Your evening meal is taken in the hotel’s restaurant, where the menu reflects the local specialities. If you eat on the hotel’s terrace, you’ll also get to savour views over the river!
La Vieille Auberge
La Vieille Auberge, a coach house from Napoleonic times, has been modernised to create a charming auberge in a quiet part of Souillac. The restaurant serves traditional regional specialities with a modern twist.
Chateau de Monrecour
The Chateau de Monrecour is located in Saint Vincent de Cosse, just a few kilometres from stunning Beynac. Guest rooms are traditionally decorated and equipped with a private bathroom, free Wi-Fi access and TV. The hotel also has a swimming pool and a large south-facing terrace. Breakfast is served in the chateau’s ballroom, which is decorated with tapestries and features a large stone fireplace. During good weather, guests can enjoy breakfast on the terrace, which has a view of the C15 Chateau des Milandes. Evening meals are served in the hotel restaurant and are a real treat: be prepared to sample sumptuous local dishes, prepared with fresh products.
Hotel Meysset
This 3* traditional Perigord hotel, set in 3 acres of pine woods and gardens, enjoys an elevated position just 3kms above Sarlat. It offers complete tranquillity, wonderful food and fantastic views from its terrace over the surrounding valley. The cooking here is based on the wonderfully rich and gastronomic cuisine for which this region is famous. Expect to be offered house specialities such as magret de canard, foie gras and pommes de terre sarladaises – slices of potato sauteed in goose fat, with garlic, parsley and wild mushrooms: don’t come here if you’re counting the calories!
Eating and Drinking

All continental breakfasts and evening meals included.

The Dordogne has a rich cuisine based on produits du terroir (locally grown produce). Typical first courses include tourain, an onion and garlic soup cooked in a broth with duck or goose fat, and ladled over slices of country bread and cheese. Pâté, often duck or goose, is equally popular, as is foie gras – ideally washed down with a glass of Sauternes or Monbazillac. Main course specialties also include duck and goose, often served in light cream sauces and, in the autumn, fresh cèpes. Duck or goose fat is also used for the accompanying pommes de terre sarladaises – slices of potato sautéed in goose fat, with garlic, parsley and wild mushrooms – delicious! Traditional desserts include tarte aux noix (walnut tart), gâteau aux noix, and flognarde, a type of flan with fruit and liqueur. A local cheese worth tasting is Bleu des Causses, similar to Roquefort, as well as Rocamadour goat’s cheese.

Some of the finest wines of France come from the south-west. Bordeaux is the largest wine region in the world, producing over 500 million liters a year. There are over 40 different appellations, including some of the most prestigious in France – Sauternes, Saint Emilion and Pauillac. Monbazillac is a renowned sweet dessert wine, while many of the lesser known regional wines are much cheaper but well worth trying. Bergerac reds and whites are also highly recommended; there is a delicious rosé too. Pécharment red is another one to try. See the section on Wine Service in our ‘All you need to know Guide’.

On foot, bike and by canoe, venture through the Perigord experiencing what this picturesque region has to offer. You have total flexibility with the choice of either walking or cycling routes when you’re not canoeing. The canoeing is safe and undemanding, and we will give you a lesson in handling your canoe before you set off. Your journey starts in Martel, a picturesque town also known as ‘la ville aux sept tours’ or the town of seven towers, moving on to Meyronne, on the banks of the Dordogne. From here you pick up your paddle, canoeing downstream to Souillac and on to Beynac with its hilltop castle, captured by Richard the Lionheart in 1179, finally arriving in mediaeval Sarlat.

Note: All clients must be able to swim at least 165ft/50m fully clothed. We provide 2/3 person canoes (minimum age 8 years). Single-person kayaks are also available if specified when you book. Only suitable for children over 12 unless experienced. Should the river, at any point, be deemed too high to safely canoe, we will provide Breakaway bikes at no extra charge for all days affected.

Overall Rating
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