Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Dordogne Region - Canoeing - Canoe Dordogne-Roque Gageac

A Day on the River!

Roque-Gageac - from canoe base
One of the activities I was really excited about doing this summer during our trip to the Dordogne Region was to go canoeing.  Each summer, I love watching all the canoes descend down this river.  My husband & I had enjoyed this activity years ago (pre-children!) and I couldn't wait for the kids to be old enough to do it all together.

Canoeing has become quite a business in this area on both rivers - The Dordogne and the Vezere.  Having spent many summers in St. Cyprien, my husband has a preference for the Dordogne.  There are many  canoe/kayak companies to choose from - a lot of it just depends on where you want to canoe and how long you want to do it.  We choose Canoe Dordogne - at Roque Gageac.  One of the reasons we choose this company was that one of the routes started further upriver, in Carsac - so one can see Chateau de Montfort and deeper carved out sides of the Dordogne River.  Another reason for us, was Roque-Gageac was closer and very convenient for us to drive based on where we were staying.  Our canoe route was Carsac to Roque-Gageac - 16 Km of the river and about 3 hours by canoe.
Canoe - Dordogne - base in Roque-Gageac
The amount of time listed on the brochure is non-stop canoeing - so you need to factor in a lunch stop, and any other swim or breaks you wish to take.  In our case - we leisurely descended down river - enjoying the scenery, stopping to look at caves and limestone walls now and again, stopping for about an hour for a picnic lunch & swim and a couple other swim stops as it was a hot day.  All & all - our day was 6 hours in a canoe.  (launching at 10 am and arriving back at Roque-Gageac at about 4 pm).

Life Preservers
We arrived at the Canoe base in Roque-Gageac about 9:15 am.  Our reserved departure time was 9:30.  We were all given our life vests and a plastic container with each canoe.  They recommend all belongings get put in these containers - towel, lunch, etc.  This is good to keep in mind when bringing items - no big cooler - insulated sacs/backpack work really well.  At 9:30, they loaded all of us and others into a van with canoes in tow and took us up river to their launch site in Carsac.  This was about a 20 minute drive.
Launch base in Carsac
At the launch site, there were several other companies also launching their customers.  It's quite an operation!
The Canoes on the back of the trailer - before unloading

Happy Girls!
And we were off - There was 6 of us - my husband, his sister, myself and the 3 kids.  I started with my oldest and youngest daughter in my boat.  They were super excited!!
Love the Rocks
This upper part of the Dordogne has beautiful rock sides.  We made our first stop about 30 minutes into the trip.  The girls were already hot and were anxious to get wet.  We just pulled the canoes over onto a flat part of the rocky shoreline and got wet.  These next few photos were taken at that stop!
Canoe & Paddle

Beautiful scenery

Some caves 
After our brief swim stop, we headed further down river - as we came around a bend in the river, we could see Chateau de Montfort protruding out from a rock cliff.  Stunning view from below!
Chateau de Montfort

Looking back up river - Chateau de Montfort
After we descended past the chateau, it was around 11:30 am - we saw a beautiful split in the river - with an island in the middle - We decided this was a great place to stop for lunch and have another swim.

Swim and lunch spot - Love the clear water!

My youngest 

Lunch time
Happy girls - hanging out and eating lunch

Getting ready to launch after lunch

After lunch, we chose the narrower section of the river to head down...This was beautiful and very quiet.

A quieter portion of the river

Further down the river, were limestone cliffs - The kids wanted to stop and check these out.

Investigating some limestone cliffs
Onward we went...I love this River and the views were constantly stunning!
Continuing on

Sunny & warm

The wall on the side is the road along the river - very narrow 

Under the bridge
After our final swim stop, we continued toward Roque-Gageac..
Launching again after our final swim stop

More limestone

First views of Roque-Gageac - final leg

Crossing over to the right - ready to finish
The canoe base was located just on the edge of the town - You just pull the canoe into the base and return you life vests, paddles and container.

Back at the base - The 2 green canoes in the distance were ours. An awesome day!
As I'm writing this post, I was just asking my girls what was their favorite part of our vacation - and their answer - Canoeing!  No surprise - it was a great day - relaxing, fun, adventurous and a super activity for our family.  

If anyone is visiting this area and looking for a great activity - check it out. You can find this particular company's site on-line at:

Final look at our canoe...Looking forward to doing another day like this next summer!


  1. looks like you guys are having the best summer! So beautiful and so much fun! I would love to see that part of France.

    1. It has been a really nice summer - not too much traveling - but really enjoying this area! I have just been so happy that the weather has finally turned back to the sunny, lovely, warm climate that I know Bordeaux to be. Thank you for reading and commenting- always good to hear from you. - You too, look like you had a super summer! I am anxious to keep reading more about your new addition!

  2. It looks like such a fun way to spend the day, and like you made some great memories for the girls :)

    1. Definitely a fun way to spend a day! I love being outside like that! The girls are still talking about that day! Thank you for commenting - always great to hear from you!

  3. If you want make more cannoeing, you must go to the Gorges de l'Adèche or Gorges du Verdon.
    In my Franche-Comté country you can go in the Gorges de la Loue well painted by native Courbet.

    Bonne rentrée pour vos filles.

  4. That does look like a pleasant way to spend a warm day. Things look so much different from down on the water.


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