While visiting the Dordogne Valley in France, we were lucky enough to paddle a canoe nine miles down the castle lined river banks of the Dordogne River. Today, we will run the flat autumn waters with our friends from Portland, Bev and John.
This time of year the poplars and walnut trees are just starting to change color, but these cliffs that spurred the Hundred Years’ War (1336-1453) above the river have changed very little. Only the majestic castles that once held defensive positions on the river are still being explored, mostly by tourists.
This scenic stretch took us about three hours. This included an hour stop to quench our thirst in the tiny feudal village of La Roque-Gegeac.
La Roque-Gageac, or simply, The Rock, stood vacant as we approach from upstream. The cave dwellings that the Vikings once raided loom above are now just an aviary for the local birds.
Looking up at the castle from the canoe, you might spot the huge model of a medieval catapult which would serve as a defense for the fortified castle.
Getting hungry? Pull over and pick up a charcuterie picnic at the nearby market.
For the adventurous, this extraordinary outdoor experience cost about 20€ each and included all the gear. For others, another option is to take the leisurely 1~hour, no-paddle boat cruise for about 10€. Trusted photographer NOT included.
These small handful of villages that line this portion of the Dordogne are always considered in the top ten for “cutest towns in France”. Even by French standards.
This gorgeous day on the river, within one of the most picture perfect regions of all of France with our Portland “river buddies”, was not just a nice trip down the river but a bon voyage.