Canoeing on the Dordogne

9 days
Suitable for:
Age 12+
Activity level:
Trip code: 
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Kayaking & Canoeing
Min age:

Safe, undemanding canoeing holiday on the most celebrated river in France.

This canoeing holiday offers a leisurely way to explore one of France's most interesting waterways. The Dordogne River runs alongside glorious golden-pink limestone cliffs and passes the walnut groves and truffle woods of the Perigord; an area rich in history and striking views. 


  • One of France's most celebrated rivers: wide, peaceful, calm, flat
  • Excellent for families, easy for beginners
  • Friendly hotels, all with pools; superb cuisine
  • Excellent views all along the river: picturesque perched villages and troglodyte cave dwellings

Key information

  • 8 Nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • 4 Days canoeing
  • Luggage transfers between hotels 
  • Canadian canoes or sit-on kayaks included
  • Buoyancy aid and canoeing helmet provided
  • Option to hire bikes for 'rest days'
  • Countries visited: France

What's included

  • All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals 
  • Canadian canoes or sit-on-top kayaks
  • Buoyancy aid and canoeing helmet
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

What's not included

  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Travel insurance
  • Single supplements
Call for general departures:
01606 720003
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Days of Family
Day by day breakdown
Day 2 13.0km/8.0miles
Day 4 20.0km/13.0miles
Day 6 17.0km/11.0miles
Day 8 20.0km/13.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


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  • Day 1

    Arrive in Rocamadour

    Our family run 3 star hotel is set within its own parkland just outside Rocamadour's ancient town walls. Wander round the town's medieval alleyways before dinner, which is included. You stay at the Hotel Les Esclargies (breakfast included)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 2

    Rocamadour to Carennac

    After breakfast, we take you upstream to the small hamlet of Thezel, just south of Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne for the briefing and canoeing lesson. Then it's an easy paddle down to Carennac. This is one of the Dordogne's most picturesque villages, with lovely 16th century houses. Our hotel, with outdoor pool, is right in the heart of the village, overlooking the river. (Staying at Hostellerie Fenelon)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    At Carennac

    A fairytale village with a jumble of cottages and 16th century turreted manor houses along with the remains of the ramparts and the once-magnificent priory. Fenelon, still celebrated as the village's most famous son, was the very popular bishop here in 1681, and a local aperitif is named after him! It's fun exploring the narrow streets and alleyways and walks around the village, and on the causse, provide some of the very best views of the Dordogne. To explore further afield, you might like to hire a bike (request at time of booking) or take a taxi and visit the Gouffre de Padirac (9km away, via an uphill route), one of the region's important spectacles where you'll find amazing caverns, huge galleries, and a boat trip on the underwater lake. (Staying at Hostellerie Fenelon)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Carennac to Meyronne

    On the first part of the journey you pass below massive cliffs, paddling past four impressive riverside chateaux before arriving at Meyronne and our spectacular 11th century chateau hotel. (Staying at Hotel La Terrasse)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    At Meyronne

    Why not relax at the hotel's pool, or visit the south of the river, by the Rochers Sainte-Marie and the Grotte de Lacave? Rocamadour (only a 15km taxi ride away, or use our cycling and walking route notes), together with the Mont St-Michel, is France's most venerated religious site. Kings once climbed the steps to the basilica on their knees, sailors prayed to the Black Madonna when in peril and the bell of her chapel rang each time she rescued another ship. The chapel is full of little model ships presented in gratitude. (Staying at Hotel La Terrasse)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Meyronne to Souillac

    Today is an easy paddle, with lots of interesting things to see along the river, including some beautiful riverside chateaux (look out for Belcastel and the impressive Chateau de la Treyne in particular). (Staying at La Vieille Auberge)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    At Souillac

    The prosperous farming country around Souillac was created from marshland by industrious 12th to 13th century Benedictine monks. Of the powerful abbey they built, just the abbey church remains, with outstanding bas-relief sculpture. Today Souillac is a bustling town, with good shops and a weekly local market. Visit the Musee de l'Automate, the largest collection of mechanical toys and dolls in France. (Staying at La Vieille Auberge)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Souillac to Carsac-Aillac

    Today it's relaxed canoeing down to Grolejac via St-Julien (a lovely village and a good lunch stop) through the heart of peaceful and prosperous Perigord countryside, with lots of time for swimming or lazing by the river. We pick you up from here and take you to your hotel in time for a dip in the infinity pool before dinner. (Staying at La Villa Romaine)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 9

    Leave Carsac-Aillac

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info




There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 3 evening meals included.

The Dordogne has a rich cuisine based on produits du terroir (locally grown produce). Typical first courses include tourain, an onion and garlic soup cooked in a broth with duck or goose fat, and ladled over slices of country bread and cheese. Pâté, often duck or goose, is equally popular, as is foie gras - ideally washed down with a glass of Sauternes or Monbazillac. Main course specialities also include duck and goose, often served in light cream sauces and, in the autumn, fresh cèpes. Duck or goose fat is also used for the accompanying pommes de terre sarladaises - slices of potato sautéed in goose fat, with garlic, parsley and wild mushrooms - delicious! Traditional desserts include tarte aux noix (walnut tart), gâteau aux noix, and flognarde, a type of flan with fruit and liqueur. A local cheese worth tasting is Bleu des Causses, similar to Roquefort, as well as Rocamadour goat’s cheese.

Some of the finest wines of France come from the south-west. Bordeaux is the largest wine region in the world, producing over 500 million litres a year. There are over 40 different appellations, including some of the most prestigious in France - Sauternes, Saint Emilion and Pauillac. Monbazillac is a renowned sweet dessert wine, while many of the lesser known regional wines are much cheaper but well worth trying. Bergerac reds and whites are also highly recommended; there is a delicious rosé too. Pécharment red is another one to try. See the section on Wine Service in our ‘All you need to know Guide’.


Summers in the Dordogne are warm-hot with temperatures reaching 25-35 degrees Celcius. There may be occasional storms and showers, these are usually short but you should be prepared. Colder spells can also arrive and last a day or two. Temperatures in the early morning can still be quite mild, so it is a good idea to have an additional layer.

In spring and autumn the weather in the Dordogne is similar but milder, with temperatures around 22-28 degrees Celcius and with a greater chance of rain - especially in late spring.

Is this trip for you?

The canoeing is safe, not demanding, and we give you a lesson on handling your canoe before you set off. There are no major weirs to carry your canoe round, and the flow of the water does much of the work for you, so you can travel downstream looking out for imposing and magnificent chateaux, mediaeval villages and prehistoric sites including the Grottes de Lacave. There are plenty of diversions away from the river too; from Carennac visit the Gouffre de Padirac, or, from Meyronne, get to Rocamadour, a spectacular cliff-clinging town. The local gourmet markets at Sarlat are also a great way to experience Dordogne culture and taste amazing produce such as duck, goose, walnuts and cheeses. 

NB: All customers must be able to swim at least 50m fully clothed. We provide 2/3 person canoes (minimum age 8 years). Single-person kayaks are also available if specified when you book. Only suitable for children over 12 unless experienced. Should the river, at any point, be deemed too high to safely canoe, we will provide hybrid bikes at no extra charge for all days affected.

Call for general departures:
01606 720003
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Canoeing on the Dordogne: Hotels

We have chosen lovely, friendly hotels throughout, all with their own swimming pools. These include a converted 11th century chateau, a 4 star Villa that sits on the ancient site of a vast Gallo-Roman farm and a country house overlooking two valleys. You'll also savour delicious evening meals, taking in the best of the region's delights. 

Call for general departures:
01606 720003
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2018
    Annette Dawson

    Fabulous trip!

    The trip was well planned out and so very relaxing and enjoyable. The hotels and especially the food were awesome. Would absolutely take another trip like this.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The canoeing was so relaxing and fun. The scenery was beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The trip was self guided which was what we liked.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros  Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros  Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros  Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]