The Dordogne river is one of the most popular destinations in France. The low flow in most parts of the river makes it ideal for a kayak or canoe trip as you can easily descend and visit many beautiful villages and impressive chateaux on the way. The enchanting scenery on the banks of the river includes picturesque villages like Beynac, La Roque Gageac and Domme as well as local flora and fauna near Bergerac. In this article I gathered the best places from which to start your kayaking and canoeing experience on the Dordogne river. There are of course many other good kayaking clubs on this immense river but I chose a few that are nicely spread around and offer good tours at reasonable prices. Enjoy and leave a comment if you have any other kayak and canoe clubs to add.
Visit the most beautiful villages in the Dordogne on a canoe
There’s a beautiful scenery along most parts of the Dordogne river, but there’s one region that will leave you truly speechless. The Perigord noir region is located in the south east of the Dordogne department and has one segment of the river that passes right through it. The area is known for its marvellous villages, labeled among the most beautiful in France, with several of them located on the river banks. If you have only one day to discover the villages and castles of Dordogne, canoeing in Perigord Noir is your best choice.
River canoe kayak
River canoe kayak is located at Saint Vincent de Cosse, just next to Beynac, which many consider as the most beautiful village in France. The company’s minibus will take you to your preferred starting point on the Dordogne, from which you’ll start discovering the amazing villages and chateaux on both sides of the river. They offer three different tours: a half day tour, a 4-5 hours tour and full day tours. The bus will bring you to different starting points according to the tour you choose. Departure times are 9h15 – 10h15 – 11h15 – 12h15 – 14h15 – 15h15 – 16h15. Open from April to September
During the summer it’s recommended to make reservations by email [email protected] or by phone : 05.53.29.41.01 or 06.87.13.58.41
For prices check out their website.
Address: Le Bourg, 24220 Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse
If you’re visiting the beautiful village of La Roque Gageac, you should definitely consider experiencing it from the river side. Canoe Dordogne proposes a one hour trip near La Roque-Gageac, which was chosen as one of the most beautiful villages in France. You can also take longer tours, from 9 to 25 km and the company bus will take you to the appropriate starting point depending on the trip you choose to take. If you come with kids, they offer different canoes for 2 to 4 people, meaning that it could fit the whole family. Unlike many kayak operators who are open only during the summer season, this one is open all year long.
Details for contact and reservation: [email protected] or by phone at : 05 53 29 58 50. For prices check out their website.
Address: Le Bourg, 24250 La Roque-Gageac
Canoe sans Frontiere
Canoe sans frontiere offers you a special trail they call the ‘Circuit des Châteaux’. It’s a 19km route (about 4 hours on a canoe) in which you discover five beautiful castles located on the Dordogne river. You start your journey in front of Château de Grolejac, followed by Château de Montfort, Castelnaud-La-Chapelle, Château de Fayrac and finally the famous Château de Beynac. If 19 km is a bit too much for you, this club also offers shorter trips with plenty of beautiful scenery on the way. Open from April to the end of October.
Reservations by phone at 06 31 70 40 08. For more details and prices check out the website
Address: Pont de, Grolejac, 24200 Carsac-Aillac
Canoe Soleil Plage
If you want to combine canoeing on the Dordogne river with a beach day, this is the place to go. Canoe Sun Plage is located on the Caudon beach, about 6 km from Sarlat and Domme (two of France’s most beautiful villages). There are three itineraries to choose from, one covers the castles of Dordogne, the second emphasises nature and the third combines both. On the long tour you’ll get to see the châteaux of Castelnaud and Montfort and the beautiful villages of Domme and La Roque Gageac. They operate from April to October.
Canoeing in the Dordogne around Bergerac
Another great location for water activities on the Dordogne river is the Pays de Bergerac, the western part of the Dordogne department. It’s a region full of beautiful bastide towns and vineyards. A canoe or a kayak can be a great way to discover the particular nature and architecture of this area.
Aquafun Canoes Dordogne
Aquafun Canoes Dordogne is located next to the beautiful village of Limeuil situated on the confluence of the Dordogne and the Vezere rivers. They offer several trips on both rivers that can start at different locations, depending on how long you want to paddle. On the Dordogne river, you can make short tours (starting from 5km) from places like le buisson or whole day routes from La roque gageac (32km). You have plenty of options in between which makes this place very flexible and adaptable for families. You can also discover the Vezere river from locations like Le Bugue and La Roque St. Christophe (another amazing place to visit in Dordogne). You start the tours at the port of Limeuil, from which you are bussed to your location of choice, with all the trips ending back at the same port in Limeuil.
Canoë Kayak Port Ste Foy
This small water sports club is located next to Sainte Foy la Grande, yet another charming town along the Dordogne river. The town is located right in between Bordeaux and Bergerac, making it a great option if you’re staying in Bordeaux (less than an hour drive). Every Saturday Sainte Foy la Grande hosts one of the biggest markets in the region, so this is the best day to visit. The club has a very friendly staff and offers Canoës, Kayaks and Stand Up Paddles.
Contact details: [email protected] or Phone : 05 53 24 86 12
Open the whole year, prior reservations are required (apart from July – August when you can come anytime). For more details go to their facebook page or their website (currently under construction).
Address: Base nautique du Cléret, Allée Paul Ducou 33220 PORT-SAINTE-FOY
Pessac sur Dordogne
Another Canoeing club between Bordeaux and Bergerac is located on the riverfront of Pessac sur Dordogne. The town is not very interesting on its own but the club has a nice restaurant with an amazing view on the river. They offer two tours, one from Riberon (8km) and one from Eynesse (15km). The 8km tour is a good distance to do with kids, but it’s important to know that it doesn’t have a stop spot for a picnic. So if you want a more relaxed trail with a break, take the longer tour. Both trails start at Pessac sur Dordogne from which you are bussed to the chosen starting point.
Reservations by phone 06 63 82 34 53 / Open from mid June to mid September. For more details and prices check out their website
Address: Les Quais, 33890 Pessac-sur-Dordogne
If you want more ideas for amazing day trips from Bordeaux you should check out my article about day trips which includes plenty of beautiful villages, history and nature. If wine is your things, check out my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion and about the Bordeaux wine route in Medoc. Enjoy your stay!