Canoeing down the Dordogne
When you stay in the Dordogne, one of the best ways of experiencing the area is by canoeing down the Dordogne river. You can also canoe down the Vézère, but we recommend our guests at Le Mas & Le Mazet to go down the Dordogne as there’s more to see. If you want peace and quiet,
Children under 5 years old are not allowed to canoe. The canoe rental places will rent you a canoe/kayak etc. (their websites should tell you what they have and for how many people), paddles, life jackets and a big waterproof tub to keep your phone and sandwiches in.
As well as deciding what type of canoe or kayak you want, and how many people are going in each one, consider as well the route you want to canoe and how you’ll get to the start. Some rental companies take you in a minibus upstream and then you canoe back to your car. Others are already upstream, and when you reach the end, you’ll have to wait for a minibus to take you back to the beginning where you car is.
As Le Mas & Le Mazet is already downstream and because you’ll be tired by the end of the canoeing, and you’ll want to get in the car and come home, we recommend you rent canoes from a company who’ll take you in a minibus upstream.
We recommend that you go to a rental company in either Beynac or Castelnaud on the Dordogne. You can then choose to go with the minibus to either Vitrac or Carsac (if you want a challenge). This way you’ll go past Domme, La Roque-Gageac, Castelnaud (and Beynac if you choose to) with their castles, villages and limestone cliffs.
Vitrac to Castelnaud = 12 km about 2.5 hours
Vitrac to Beynac = 16 km about 3 hours
Carsac to Castelnaud = km about hours
Carsac to Beynac = 25 km about 4.5 hours
The time it takes you to canoe depends on the current and depth of water. The faster and deeper, the less you have to paddle and the faster you’ll be. In the summer it can be a bit slow going if the river isn’t very deep.
We suggest that you start in Beynac, minibus it to Vitrac, and then canoe back to your car. You’ll see the main sites and have a great time!
Here are some canoe companies you can look into hiring from:
Perigord Adventures et Loisir based both in Beynac and Vitrac
Butterfly canoes based in Castelnaud