Along the Dordogne river are villages which today are reminders of the earlier settlements that traded down the river hundreds of years ago.
We love to spend warm evenings in Limeul, sitting alongside the body of water with a glass of wine, watching children play on the freshwater beach with a great, orange bridge in the background. Other people also enjoy the river on their small boats, stand-up-paddles, or merely swimming around to escape the heat of Summer.
If one is feeling particularly adventurous, you can graduate from tipsy observer and join in on the action yourself by renting out a kayak or canoe.
There are dozens of rental huts along the river, but our choice will always be the one in Limeul (which is about a five-minute drive from Tremolat). We book in advance, either the day before or even the morning of. When we arrive, we’re driven up the river (we’ll be following the current that flows toward Limeul) just far enough for us to take a leisurely, hour-long paddle to our ending-point back at the rental hut (there are options to paddle for longer lengths of time, you will simply be driven further up the Dordogne).
Please don’t be discouraged from taking part if you do not have any experience with canoes, kayaks, boats, or any other oar-bearing vessels. Of the entire “trip” down the river, the most stressful parts are the start and the finish.
Starting off is a bit of a literal balancing act to make sure that one does not tumble into the water between pushing your boat down the slipway and hopping into your seat. This doesn’t take an Olympic athlete, but can be touch-and-go (or just climb in the boat on land and ask the assistant to give you a strong push).
At the finish, one is required to summon a surprising amount of upper-body strength to make it across where the river joins the main part of the Dordogne in order to successfully reach the rental hut which is on the opposite side.
But that’s about as stressful as it gets, I promise.
Your reward for these efforts is being able to enjoy the natural beauty of the river and, because you are following the natural flow of water, very little paddling is actually required.
Relax as you float along and take in the dynamic, yet peaceful scenery which of quaint houses, medieval buildings and chateaus, and the rolling hills.
The area is also not short of its wildlife. It’s very unlikely that you won’t see a hawk, crane, or family of swans going about their business.
So float down the river and see what awaits.