Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Canoeing the Vezere & Dordogne in October 2014 (Pt 1)

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Another season, another trip. This time it is late in the Autumn of 2014, the time of the Fall. We had expected it to be cool on the river with misty mornings and a chill in the air first thing. As it turned out we had days of 30°C, beautiful blue skies and at times it was warm enough for us to swim in the river as if it were June or July.

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Steve & I decided to make the long trip down to Bordeaux in one long fell swoop. So we were up at 5am to take an early ferry crossing and hit the road. To tell you the truth I can't remember much about it. Many hours later though we finally ended up in Bordeaux where we were to pick up our guests the next morning. After some wandering around we found ourselves somewhere to stay in a rather grand if faded Chateau Fontbelleau trapped amongst a grim industrial estate. We can however thoroughly recommend it.

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First thing in the morning we drove into the city to pick up our guests from the Grand Hotel in Bordeaux. We got out of town as soon as possible and started the drive up the Dordogne valley to St. Leon-sur-Vezere.

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It only takes a couple of hours. We stopped for a panoramic view over the Vezere valley before arriving at the Relais de Cote Jor for our two night stay. We then dropped down to the village for a picnic lunch besides the river and a little walk around.

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Whilst our guest relaxed back at the hotel Steve and I took a short drive down to Les Eyzies to pick up our other guest who was arriving by train from Paris.

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In the evening we wandered back down to the village for dinner at the Old Post Office.

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Bright and early the next day we began the first of our two days paddling down the Vezere river. This first day was from Montignac back down to our village of St. Leon.

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It was a stunningly beautiful day, very warm but with that smell of autumn in the air. We glided past the pretty Chateaux of Losse and Belcayre before arriving at the village of Sergeac for a picnic lunch.

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After lunch we continued downstream past the ruined locks and the last of the days Chateaux at St. Leon itself.House_20141015_D_000079.jpg

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In the afternoon we decided to visit the Chateau Commarque which is a beautiful ruin set in the hidden woods between the Vezere and the Dordogne rivers. It took us some time to find it as the roads wind about the hills and the signposts are few and far between.

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We spent a very pleasant hour or two wandering over the ruins before returning to St. Leon. In the evening we drove to Montignac and found ourselves a very pleasant Spanish restaurant for dinner.