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 half-day scenic stretch included an hour stop to quench our thirst and grab a platter in the tiny feudal village of La Roque-Gegeac.
La Roque-Gageac, or simply, The Rock, stood vacant as we approach from upstream. Above, looming cave dwellings the Vikings once raided are now just an aviary for 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 platter 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, 14th century replica 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.
A very lucky shot. Timing is Everything.