A view from my canoe: Châteaux hopping on the Dordogne

On our recent visit to France we were based near the Dordogne a départment in south-west France.   The Dordogne is famous for its many fortified chateaux and bastide towns – reminders of the bloody battles waged here during the Middle Ages and the Hundred Years’ War.  It also offers the perfect image of the French countryside full of hilltop towns, turreted châteaux and lush green fields and woods.  Plus it’s quite renowned for its food and wine.

La Roque-Gageac

One of the best ways to see the outstanding beauty this area has to offer is to take to the water.  So we (hubby and Milo the dachshund were in tow) climbed into a canoe and paddled downstream.  The canoeing isn’t difficult here, thankfully the Dordogne River is wide and slow moving. But with a little more work than I’d anticipated we slowly drifted passed Beynac, La Roque-Gageac and the other villages and towns dotted along the Dordogne river, seeing quiet sections of the river that can not be seen by road.

Château de Beynac
Château de la Malartrie

Canoeing the river is the best way to see this fairy-tale like countryside and we were rewarded with fantastic views of the medieval castle of Castlenaud, the fabulous mountaintop setting of Château de Beynac and Château de Marqueyssac.  Along the route you also pass Château de Fayrac, Château de Milandes, Château de la Malartrie (in La Roque-Gageac available to rent by the week) and countless others.  It was a really great way to see the surrounding area and pinpoint, which areas were worth another look at.

Milo exploring the river

We came back to Castlenaud about a week later for a Grande Brocante (in the lashing rain) and went for a delightful candlelit tour of the 22 hectares of Jardins de Marqueyssac complete with Jazz musicians (Milo enjoyed the concert).


The Dordogne River



  1. July 27, 2011 / 10:58 am

    Lovely photos. What a lovely idea to take a canoe to see more. Very peaceful.

  2. July 27, 2011 / 11:35 am

    Thank you, it was a really great way to get around and get another perspective – quite literally – on the area. You'd have love the Brocante's we went to. I'll be posting more about them later

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