Vive La France

Follow us as we travel around the Dordogne, Lot & Languedoc regions of France

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24 - Canoeing the Dordogne, Chateau Montfort, Chateau de Fenelon

Today was a perfect day, sunny and 75. After our usual breakfast we left for Vitrac where we would start our day canoeing down the Dordogne.

Various companies rent canoes. You pick how far you want to go, as few as 7km and as many as 30km the rental is then based on where they pick you up to bring you back to your car. We decided to leave from Vitrac and end at Beynac castle, a distance of 15 Kms (about 9 miles), which they estimate at 2:30 hours but took us 3 hrs. They provide life jackets and a waterproof barrel to put your stuff in, just in case you tip over or splash water (more the likely event).

The trip down the Dordogne is beautiful. The river runs slow, no rapids (just a few burbles), and plenty of areas to pull out. But also along the way are various camping areas with snack bars. We had eaten a big breakfast & had water bottles, so except for one brief stop to admire the view of La Rogue Gageac again we were able to just paddle slowly down the river.

We passed three bridges, a few chateaux, and sites we'd seen such as La Roque Gageac, Castlenaud and Fayrac, as well as loads of ducks, swans and fish hopping out of the water.

While we may have thought about all our missed fitness center days, today definitely got us our upper arm, bicep and deltoid exercise. All the other days of climbing to the tops of the chateaux and hilltop towns took care of the legs and thighs.

We cannot describe enough how beautiful the Dordogne canoe trip was. With mild temperatures and a practically cloudless sky, light winds at times but mostly the water was like a mirror. The depth of the river is at most 6 feet but most areas are 3-4 ft and crystal clear water.

Lunch at Beynac, same great riverside restaurant as on Monday, a short 20 minute drive to the car, and we were off to see Chateau Montfort. While the chateau is closed to the public, the views of it from various stops along the road are fantastic and, if anything looks like Snow White's castle, this one did.

Then off to Chateau de Fenelon. It has existed since 1375, but in its present form from 1445. It is now owned by a family who bought it and set about restoring it as it was furnished in the 16th through 18th centuries.

Then back to Sarlat. With our late lunch at Beynac we're just going to go out for some coffee and dessert, walk the village and call it a day.

One item we have observed is the obvious lack of cell phone use. It is so refreshing to not hear the constant ringing and loud talking at restaurants and nobody walks around with them glued to their ears.

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