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Report 1947: The Dordogne

By Winnick from Texas, Spring 2011

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Page 12 of 19: June 24 - Canoeing the Dordogne, Chateau Montfort, Chateau de Fenelon

photo by Mike Winnick

La Dordogne View of Castlenaud

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.

We decided to leave from Vitrac and end at Beynac, a distance of 15 Kms (about nine miles), which they estimate at 2:30 hours but took us three hours.

The trip down the Dordogne was 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 and 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 chateaus, 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 deltoids exercise. All the other days of climbing to the tops of the chateaus and hilltop towns took care of the legs and thighs.

We cannot describe enough how incredibly 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 six feet but most areas are three to four feet and crystal clear water.

We had lunch in Beynac at the same great riverside restaurant as on Monday and then after, 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.

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