Dordogne canoeing holiday in France

“A beautiful way to see the Dordogne, canoeing from one hotel to the next, all self-guided. One of the best family holidays we have ever had. ”


Self guided canoeing on the Dordogne river | Martel | Carennac | Meyronne | Souillac | Dordogne chateaux | Souillac | Sarlat

Description of Dordogne canoeing holiday in France

This Dordogne canoeing holiday in France is nine days of exploring the stunning river valley in the most peaceful way possible. After a lesson in river safety and handling your canoes, you set off on a leisurely paddle that takes you past some of the region’s most glorious natural heritage, such as the rose limestone river cliffs or ancient woodland and walnut groves. Chateaux appear as if by magic and one of your hotels is even in an 11th century castle, just one of several stunning family friendly hotels that you will stay in, all with their own swimming pools.

This is a journey that is not only great fun, but also one that takes you through a delightful mix of medieval villages and towns along the river, as well giving you a chance to sample plenty of Dordogne cuisine which is second to none. Such villages include Carennac, where ancient cottages and 16th century ‘grandes maisons’ are like a film set, with Souillac and Sarlat the most stunning towns to visit and stay at en route too. It is all paddling perfection really.

Although this is safe and easy canoeing, the minimum age is eight years old, and everyone should be able to swim at least 50m fully clothed. 2/3 person canoes are provided although single person kayaks are also available for over 12 year olds, unless they are experienced kayakers. If the river is considered too high at any point for safe canoeing, bikes will be provided for the days affected by this, although this is unusual.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This holiday has departures every two days from June to September, please enquire for availability on all your tailormade trips.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Dordogne canoeing holiday in France

UK Office

We are well aware of the impact tourism has at home and abroad, and we make every effort to balance the environmental impact of travelling with the immense benefits sustainable tourism can bring to destinations and the people who live there.

So we start in the office: we turn off all electrical equipment every night; we use energy-efficient bulbs; we measure print and paper consumption, and re-cycle wherever possible; we print our brochures on paper from sustainable sources, and send them out in bio-degradable packaging.

Leaders & local suppliers

The quintessentially French Hotel Grangier – run by the affable M Destannes and his family – is set in the heart of the Perigourdine countryside, in the tiny riverside village of St Sozy, and has been key to our canoeing holiday for over 20 years. It has only 12 rooms, but also boasts a lovely pool and gardens. Aside from being the only place to stay and eat in the village, it also houses the village tabac making it the true hub of village life!

Group size

All our canoeing holidays are independent, or self-guided. This means that no minimum numbers are required to ensure that a trip operates. Trips depart every two days throughout the season, meaning customers are not restricted to busy weekend travel or costly high season dates. It also allows us to offer total flexibility over travel options and holiday durations.


Canoeing has minimal impact on the environment as you provide most of the energy yourself and, when you’re pedalling from one hotel to the next, you really feel as though you have the countryside to yourselves. It’s relaxing, fun and easy to get the hang of. You don’t need any previous experience, just the ability to swim 50m fully clothed, and the flow of the water does much of the work for you!

You’ll canoe every other day, and have the option of hiring a bike for all “rest” days. This allows you the flexibility to explore your surrounds at leisure, without the restrictions of buses, trains or expensive taxis.

We proactively encourages canoeists to think about travelling responsibly too: packing light, saving water, buying locally and re-cycling all maps and route notes at the end of their trip. If you opt to hire a bike for your “rest” days, you may be interested to know that we even re-cycle our old bikes! As part of our on-going maintenance, we often need to replace cycle parts which, although still serviceable, don’t meet our standards for reliability and comfort. So we donate these parts to Colchester-based charity, Re-cycle, who go on to send them to parts of Africa where locals are taught how to ride and look after a bike. This service has proven invaluable over the years for doctors, midwives, etc who sometimes need to quickly get to remote villages.

1 Reviews of Dordogne canoeing holiday in France

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 18 Aug 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Medieval village of Cerrenac. The picnic from Le Fenelon Hotel in Cerrenac. The food and pools in all the hotels.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

You need cycling gloves to kayak that far! Luckily our plumber had warned us in
advance and we had bought them. The info RT sent mentioned this but only received that info day before travel, this should have been sent at least 7 days before to give time to prepare.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Supported local family hotels.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Reps Rachel and Nick were brilliant, friendly and informative. The staff great on
phone and email. A great family holiday, occasionally challenging.

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