Canoeing on the Dordogne Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Adventure Holidays in France
Programmes:
Family
Trip Code:
B08DO
Leisurely
Leisurely

Leisurely trips are ideal for children who are happy to engage in a few hours’ of activity and some travelling. 

9 Days Flight Inclusive
9 Days Land only
Ages: 12+

Trip Overview

This canoeing holiday offers a leisurely way to explore one of France's most interesting waterways. The Dordogne River runs alongside glorious golden-pink limestone cliffs and passes the walnut groves and truffle woods of the Perigord; an area rich in history and striking views. 

At a Glance

  • 8 Nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • 4 Days canoeing
  • Luggage transfers between hotels 
  • Canadian canoes or sit-on kayaks included
  • Buoyancy aid and canoeing helmet provided
  • Option to hire bikes for 'rest days'

Trip Highlights

  • One of France's most celebrated rivers: wide, peaceful, calm, flat
  • Excellent for families, easy for beginners
  • Friendly hotels, all with pools; superb cuisine
  • Excellent views all along the river: picturesque perched villages and troglodyte cave dwellings

Is This Trip for You?

The canoeing is safe, not demanding, and we give you a lesson on handling your canoe before you set off. There are no major weirs to carry your canoe round, and the flow of the water does much of the work for you, so you can travel downstream looking out for imposing and magnificent chateaux, mediaeval villages and prehistoric sites including the Grottes de Lacave. There are plenty of diversions away from the river too; from Carennac visit the Gouffre de Padirac, or, from Meyronne, get to Rocamadour, a spectacular cliff-clinging town. The local gourmet markets at Sarlat are also a great way to experience Dordogne culture and taste amazing produce such as duck, goose, walnuts and cheeses. 

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 hybrid bikes at no extra charge for all days affected.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. A local agent is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest

Adult min age:
18
Child min age:
12
Child max age:
17

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Rocamadour
End City:
Carsac-Aillac

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Rocamadour

    Our family run 3 star hotel is set within its own parkland just outside Rocamadour's ancient town walls. Wander round the town's medieval alleyways before dinner, which is included. You stay at the Hotel Les Esclargies (breakfast included)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 2

    Rocamadour to Carennac

    After breakfast, we take you upstream to the small hamlet of Thezel, just south of Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne for the briefing and canoeing lesson. Then it's an easy paddle down to Carennac. This is one of the Dordogne's most picturesque villages, with lovely 16th century houses. Our hotel, with outdoor pool, is right in the heart of the village, overlooking the river. (Staying at Hostellerie Fenelon)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4
  • Day 3

    At Carennac

    A fairytale village with a jumble of cottages and 16th century turreted manor houses along with the remains of the ramparts and the once-magnificent priory. Fenelon, still celebrated as the village's most famous son, was the very popular bishop here in 1681, and a local aperitif is named after him! It's fun exploring the narrow streets and alleyways and walks around the village, and on the causse, provide some of the very best views of the Dordogne. To explore further afield, you might like to hire a bike (request at time of booking) or take a taxi and visit the Gouffre de Padirac (9km away, via an uphill route), one of the region's important spectacles where you'll find amazing caverns, huge galleries, and a boat trip on the underwater lake. (Staying at Hostellerie Fenelon)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Carennac to Meyronne

    On the first part of the journey you pass below massive cliffs, paddling past four impressive riverside chateaux before arriving at Meyronne and our spectacular 11th century chateau hotel. (Staying at Hotel La Terrasse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 20 km / 13 miles
    Activity (hours):
    6
  • Day 5

    At Meyronne

    Why not relax at the hotel's pool, or visit the south of the river, by the Rochers Sainte-Marie and the Grotte de Lacave? Rocamadour (only a 15km taxi ride away, or use our cycling and walking route notes), together with the Mont St-Michel, is France's most venerated religious site. Kings once climbed the steps to the basilica on their knees, sailors prayed to the Black Madonna when in peril and the bell of her chapel rang each time she rescued another ship. The chapel is full of little model ships presented in gratitude. (Staying at Hotel La Terrasse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 6

    Meyronne to Souillac

    Today is an easy paddle, with lots of interesting things to see along the river, including some beautiful riverside chateaux (look out for Belcastel and the impressive Chateau de la Treyne in particular). (Staying at La Vieille Auberge)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 17 km / 11 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 7

    At Souillac

    The prosperous farming country around Souillac was created from marshland by industrious 12th to 13th century Benedictine monks. Of the powerful abbey they built, just the abbey church remains, with outstanding bas-relief sculpture. Today Souillac is a bustling town, with good shops and a weekly local market. Visit the Musee de l'Automate, the largest collection of mechanical toys and dolls in France. (Staying at La Vieille Auberge)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Souillac to Carsac-Aillac

    Today it's relaxed canoeing down to Grolejac via St-Julien (a lovely village and a good lunch stop) through the heart of peaceful and prosperous Perigord countryside, with lots of time for swimming or lazing by the river. We pick you up from here and take you to your hotel in time for a dip in the infinity pool before dinner. (Staying at La Villa Romaine)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 20 km / 13 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 9

    Leave Carsac-Aillac

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Canoeing on the Dordogne: Hotels

We have chosen lovely, friendly hotels throughout, all with their own swimming pools. These include a converted 11th century chateau, a 4 star Villa that sits on the ancient site of a vast Gallo-Roman farm and a country house overlooking two valleys. You'll also savour delicious evening meals, taking in the best of the region's delights. 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts and 3 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 specialities 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 litres 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’.

Transportation

Your luggage is transported from hotel to hotel for you. Transfers will be in a taxi or minibus. On Day 2 there is a transfer upstream to the small hamlet of Thezel.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Summers in the Dordogne are warm-hot with temperatures reaching 25-35 degrees Celcius. There may be occasional storms and showers, these are usually short but you should be prepared. Colder spells can also arrive and last a day or two. Temperatures in the early morning can still be quite mild, so it is a good idea to have an additional layer.

In spring and autumn the weather in the Dordogne is similar but milder, with temperatures around 22-28 degrees Celcius and with a greater chance of rain - especially in late spring.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

The tour itself normally begins at the start hotel in Souillac on the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary.

Prices include our standard flights/transfers

British Airways Heathrow to Toulouse 07:40/10:30 then rail Toulouse to Souillac 14:28/16:30 Mon-Thurs & Sat, 13:25/15:18 Fri & 13:34/15:29 Sun and transfer to hotel 20 minutes. Return: Transfer to Souillac station 25 minutes/Brive station 65 minutes then rail Souillac to Toulouse 12:30/14:33 Mon-Fri & Sun & Brive to Toulouse 12:02/14:15 Sat then British Airways Toulouse to Heathrow 17:40/18:35 except Fridays when 19:50/20:45. Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Standard transfers
Transfers included from Souillac train station at 16:30 Mon-Thurs & Sat, 15:18 Fri and 15:29 Sun and back to Souillac train station at 12:00 Mon-Fri & Sun and back to Brive at 10:45 Sat.

 

Location start:
Martel
Location end:
Carsac-Aillac

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Waterproofs
  • Warm fleece or jumper
  • Sturdy trainers or walking boots
  • Sun-hat & sun cream
  • Sunglasses
  • Swimming costume
  • Small daypack
  • Refillable water bottle (1-2 litre capacity)

All the other equipement needed for the activies will be provided locally.

Reading List

  • DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Dordogne, Bordeaux and the Southwest Coast
  • Tourist Guide Dordogne, Berry, Limousin Michelin Green Guide
  • The Rough Guide to the Dordogne and the Lot, 5th edition
  • A book, printed in English, written by Brian Spencer (pub. Bartholemew), covers various walks in the Dordogne, notably from Carennac, Souillac and St Sozy, and might be of interest to anyone spending more time here.

Practical Information

Passport

Adventure Holidays in France

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Adventure Holidays in France

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Adventure Holidays in France

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Adventure Holidays in France's Timezone:
Europe/Paris CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

Adventure Holidays in France's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Money

Adventure Holidays in France's Currency

The national currency of France is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can't get to a bank at the start of the trip

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will only need money for lunches, snacks and drinks and any sites you wish to go to. Lunches can be inexpensive if you buy produce from local markets or shops and make up a picnic. However, if you stop at a café you can easily spend €15. We would recommend budgeting for €5-15 for lunches and allow an additional €10 a day for any extras.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

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In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.