7 Days Perigord/Dordgne Tour
This is a 6 Night, 7 Day tour in which we canoe down the Vézère for
two days and then the Dordogne river for three days with visits to
caves to see 25,000 year-old paintings, troglodyte dwellings along
the river, huge castles and beautiful chateaux, as well as paddling
through beautiful and dramatic nature and tasting the local cuisine
The rivers are easy paddling and suitable for families and less experienced paddlers alike. The emphasis on this trip is to enjoy the rich history and natural history of the region from the unique viewpoint of the river.
We shall enjoy lazy days meandering down the river and take our time to enjoy all that we see along the way and taking the time to visit many of them as we go. Our day-to-day schedule is given below.
At some point we will stop for a fabulous picnic lunch and in the evenings we will enjoy dinner in small family run restaurants or in the hotels where we are staying.
You will be accompanied on the river by an experienced river guide who will make sure you see all the interesting places along the way. If necessary we can provide top-up/reminder paddling lessons if it's a while since you paddled.
Flowing down the famous Unesco site of the ‘Valley of Man’ the Vézère river runs into the Dordogne. On the way it passes more than 200 sites known to have been used by Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon Man in the distant past. Along this river man has lived for tens of thousands of years.
The famous caves of Lascaux are close to Montignac and many other cave sites are spread down the valley. The valley also has the remains of medieval dwellings along its course: we can see them at Roque St. Christophe and Madeleine. We will also pass several Châteaux dating from the 13th and 14th C as well as the remains of a lock gate system which controlled the flow in the river when it was a major transport link. We will visit many of these places.
The Dordogne is a larger river that flows down to the Gironde before it reaches the Atlantic Ocean just north of Bordeaux. On the way it passes many large castles, remnants of the 100 Years War between France and England, before the valley widens out into the famous vineyards of Bergerac and Bordeaux itself.
We will visit the villages, castles and chateaux along the way at Montfort, Roque-Gageac, Castelnaud, Beynac and Milandes.
- Fully guided whilst on the river & trail
- Full minibus support throughout
- Includes all accommodations
- Includes breakfasts, lunches and evening meals
- Canoe the Valley of Man on the Vézère river
- Visit cave sites at Castel Merle and Lascaux
- Vist the Castles at Castelnaud and Beynac
- Visit the Chateaux Losse, Milandes & Marqeyssac
- Paddle the great Dordogne river and pass below vast castles
- Join your guides for a pre-breakfast walk
Day 1. Arrival and first meeting
You will be met at our arranged meeting point by our guides for your
transfer to the Vézère valley. This is usually Brive-la-Gaillarde
Station for those guests arriving by train from Paris.
Alternatively arrangements can be made for arrivals at regional airports: Brive, Limoges and Bergerac are possibilities.
We will meet you off the train that arrives at Brive at 1pm or 2pm. The drive to St. Leon-sur-Vézère valley takes about 45 minutes. We will stop here for a picnic lunch, get to know each other and go over the trip together. It is a 10 minute drive from here to our accommodation, or a 45 minute walk instead.
Our first picnic and meeting place is under the willows on the banks of the Vézère.
On our arrival at the Relais de la Cote de Jor we will be met by our host Roland. If time and the weather allows we will be able to use the swimming-pool and relax before dinner.
Day 2. Our first day on the river
Today we will paddle the Vézère river from Montignac to St. Leon. When we pass the village of Sergeac we will stop to visit and look at the village and the old church. We will have our lunch on the river-bank here too. Later we can walk along the river bank and visit the cave at Castel Merle. This is a working excavation where a recent find is reputed to be the oldest known cave painting in Europe. We may also have time to visit the Château du Losse.
We will pass several Châteaux built out over the river today and also see the remains of a lock system built in the 18th Century. We remain at the Cote de Jor tonight.
If we have time we can take a stroll around the beautiful ruins of the Château de Commarque.
Day 3. Continuing down the Vézère river
We will continue our paddle from St. Leon down to Les Eyzies. We will stop for our picnic lunch at Tursac. Today we will pass under the cliffs of Roque St. Christophe which was a troglodyte city built into the cliffs and inhabited until the Middle Ages. Further downstream we will pass the Chapel Madeleine built into the cliff below a Roman Fortress. Today we move onto the Hostellerie du Passeur in Les Eyzies and have the choice of several restaurants in the town to choose where to have dinner.
In the town we can visit the National Pre-History Museum to examine the world-class collection of Neolithic artifacts.
Day 4. The first day on the Dordogne river
In the morning we will visit the open-air market in Sarlat and wander the streets of the picturesque town.
Later we will drive to Souilliac and then later we will paddle the Dordogne river from Cazoules to Montfort. We will have our lunch on the river-bank somewhere near St. Julien. The size of this river will allow us to explore various routes around several islands before we arrive under the massive Castle at Monfort. Tonight we will be staying in the Hotel Plaissance.
Day 5. A day of Castles and Châteaux
We will continue our paddle from Montfort down to Beynac. Today we will pass under the village of Domme before arriving at the cliff-hugging village of Roque-Gageac. Further downstream we come under the watchful gaze of Castelnaud before arriving at another cliff-top castle at Beynac. We will take time to visit these places as we pass. Lunch will probably be taken on the river-bank at Castelnaud.
Tonight we stay at the Hotel de Château in Beynac or at the Château Monrecour.
Day 6. A final day on the Dordogne river
Today we will continue our paddle down the Dordogne from Beynac down to Siorac.
Before leaving Beynac we will visit the castle and the village and then paddle down to the Château des Milandes for a visit. After our picnic lunch we will continue to meander downstream and have some fun exploring a number of islands. We remain in the Hotel de Château for tonight.
Day 7. A visit to Lascaux and the time to leave
After a leisurely breakfast we will return to Brive in time to catch the 1pm train to Paris, but before that we can visit the world famous painted caves at Lascaux.
For the first two nights we are at the Relais de la Côte de Jor just
outside the village of Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère. Sitting high above the
valley of the Vézère with beautiful views from from the garden and
balconies the small hotel is a short 10 minute drive from the
village or an easy 30 minute walk down a trail.
The hotel has a pool in which we can relax after a busy day on the river
For those that wish to walk before breakfast we have a couple of ideas. Firstly along to the Côte de Jor itself which is a viewing point looking down on a bend in the Vézère river with the village of St. Leon and it’s château and church in the distance. A second possibility is to take the trails through the chestnut woods and down to a couple of small fishing ponds before returning past a private château with ornamental gardens.
The Relais does not do evening meals so we shall drive into the village and visit the Restaurant de la Poste on one night and choose from a selection of other nearby restaurants for our second night.
- High on the valley side above the village
- Relaxing garden and swimming-pool overlooking the valley
- Access to hiking trails with fabulous views over the Vézère valley
- Easy walk down into the village takes about 20 minutes
- Friendly welcome by our host Roland
- In autumn watch the mist in the valley and hear the deer rutting in the forest
On the third night we are at the Hostellerie du Passeur in the small
town of Les Eyzies. This charming and comfortable hotel is at the
heart of the village off a small square opposite the National
When in Les Eyzies we can choose our own restaurant for the evening. The hotel itself is available as are a number of restaurants in the town: they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
If you are in the mood for an early morning walk then we have a circular ramble that takes us across the river and up through some forests to the Causse past some remote farms.
- 10 minutes walk from the river-bank where we take-out
- Lovely welcome from Jérôme et Jérôme
- Opposite the treasure house which is the Nation Museum of Pre-History
- Lovely small town to wander around
- A delightful selection of restaurants for dinner/li>
- Beautiful location with fabulous riverside walks
On the 4th night we are at the Hotel Plaissance or La Trielle in the
village of Vitrac itself and both are only a step away from the
An early morning walk visits the Château Montfort which can look spectacular in the early morning light when the mist is rising on the river.
- 2 minutes walk from the river-bank
- Large swimming-pool and garden
- Morning walk to the Château Montfort
- Classic French restaurant
- Relaxing terrace
For the final two nights we are at the Hôtel du Château in Beynac.
The hotel sits at the heart of this small village directly
underneath the Château Beynac which looms above us. It is directly
on the river and no more than a two minute walk from where we
take-out the canoes in the afternoon and put-in the next morning.
The early morning walk takes us up to the castle via a secret path with smugglers caves and out into the countryside beyond, past some farms and through a mysterious wood before looping back home.
The hotel’s restaurant has tables on a terrace beside the river, and also a small swimming pool.
Alternatively we can stay at the Domaine de Monrecour which is a château close to Beynac in the village of Saint Vincent-de-Cosse. We will still have time to visit the Castle and village in Beynac which is only a five minute drive away.
- 2 minutes walk from the river-bank
- Hotel at the heart of the village
- Walk up to the fantastic Château Beynac
- Watch the boats to and fro on the Dordogne
- Close to small village with shops and cafes
- Beautiful location with stunning views