Dordogne Geography and Natural Beauty

River Dordogne

River Dordogne, near Beynac, Aquitaine, France

This major river of southwest France rising on the slopes of the Puy de Sancy in the Massif Central flows 490km south and west to the Gironde Estuary near Bordeaux giving its name to the department of Dordogne along its route where it provides a variety of exciting leisure activities and beautiful scenery so popular with British visitors.

Enjoy fishing, canoeing, kayaking along with sailing, swimming from river beaches such as those below Saint-Cyprien, and waterskiing. Or try boating in a traditional Dordogne ‘Gabare’.

Following the Dordogne Valley along rambling trails or by car is a great way to see the countryside, stopping at fascinating towns and villages such as Beynac-et-Cazenac, Sarlat, and Bergerac along the way.

River Dronne and Aubeterre-sur-Dronne

The beautiful and peaceful countryside around the River Dronne is best explored at a leisurely pace either by bicycle or canoe. The latter can be rented at Brantome, a village set on an island in the river, well known for its lovely riverside gardens flanked by willows and limes. Boat trips are also available from here Easter to mid-October. Glide downstream past sleepy villages such as Bourdeilles with its ancient chateau and the market town of Riberac.

30km beyond Riberac, in nearby Charente, lies the enchanting little village of Aubeterre-sur-Dronne. Traditional tiered white stone houses with red tiled roofs and floral window boxes line the steeply winding cobbled streets. Be sure to seek out Aubeterre’s amazing church carved into limestone cliffs with secret passage to the chateau above. Said to be the largest underground church in France, the nave is as high as Notre Dame in Paris.

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