Inspired by the classic book of the same name by Freda White, this new tour explores the Dordogne, Lot and Tarn Rivers in south-west France. Timed to follow the World Rowing Masters Regatta in Libourne, a short distance from our start in Bergerac, this is a perfect rower’s reward whether you were racing or not. We have drawn upon some of the best elements from previous trips to the Lot and Dordogne and added a new river to expand our exploration of a region famous for its food, wine and landscape. September is the perfect time for this tour. Morning mists will curl up from the water as the air temperatures begin to rise. In the evenings it is cool and crisp, and we will be ready to relax and enjoy the rewards of good company and rowing travel. On y va!
From bases in charming Bergerac, St. Vincent de Cosse, Cahors and Albi, we will row an ancient landscape of limestone cliffs, perched villages, farms and vineyards. We will explore a rich history on and off the water. The Dordogne was the scene of the Hundred Years War with spectacular fortified castles glaring across the river at each other. Bastide towns and troglodyte villages were built for practical and defensive purposes, but now charm us with their warm yellow limestone buildings. The Lot River conjures images of pre-historic hunters painting exquisite images on white limestone cliffs. Tow paths speak to the centuries old wine history. The Tarn shares similar history, with an artistic twist in Albi, the home of the painter Toulouse-Lautrec. The rowing of course is spectacular as we explore these beautiful and historic rivers.
In a country famous for its food and wine, the Southwest is particularly renowned. The hearty but refined food of duck confit or magret de canard, patés, walnut pastries and perhaps a little foie gras is perfect for our fall row. Cahors wine is deep red, with an intensity of flavour similar to Malbec, while the Dordogne wines such as Pecharment are lighter reds. We could sample sweet Monbazillac or pétillant Gaillac for whites and Côtes du Duras for a rosé. We will have earned our gastronomic rewards!
Read some of our blog posts about previous Lot and Dordogne trips:
A beautiful collection of photos from guests on the 2018 Dordogne trip!
Photos from our previous Lot River trips.
A profile of some past guests: The Ladies of York!
|Single Supplement||$ 335||$ 420||€ 280|
Non-rowing companions welcomed. We offer two options. The Fully Independent Non-rower gives you maximum flexibility to structure each day to suit you, while joining the group for evening activities. Our guides will be happy to provide suggestions and advice, but you must provide your own transportation. The second option is Semi-guided Non-rower. The priority of the guides is to support the rowers, and you will be invited to join the rowers at breaks and for lunches. As much as possible, you will be able to enjoy other activities, particular walking or visits to local attractions. Transportation and lunches are included (options for lunches not with the rowers on some days). Please contact us for the details and the price – we are happy to answer your questions. Note that we may be looking for someone to drive a second van, and will offer a significant discount for this.
|Daily Distances||Boats||Group Size|
|15 – 30 km per day.||Coxed touring quads.||Maximum 15 rowers.|
8 days/7 nights with up to six days of rowing
Note that is itinerary is subject to change. Many variables will affect the rowing, especially water levels and current. Alternate rows or activities have been identified in the event that water levels are too low.
Arrival in Bergerac. It is a medieval town of corbelled houses surrounded by green countryside with vineyards and farms. Settle into our charming hotel, where we will enjoy a welcome dinner.
We kick off the rowing at the Bergerac rowing club and enjoy a day rowing the basin of this charming city best known for the Cyrano de Bergerac novel. The old quarter is lovely with half-timbered buildings as well as those built of a whiter limestone. Dinner on your own tonight.
With a bit of trailering we row in the area of Limieul, which is yet another “Plus Belle Village de France” perched above the confluence of the Vézère and the Dordogne. The section of the river through the Cingle de Trémolat is surprisingly remote, tranquil and of course beautiful. Dozens of birds will be your only companions. In the afternoon we will visit Beynac to walk the streets and explore the castle. Arrival at our small chateau hotel at St. Vincent de Cosse.
Today is non-stop sensational sites. First we row past stunning views of Domme perched high on its cliff. Then you will not believe La Roque Gageac, a beautiful troglodyte town with the buildings built right into the cliff. But the scenery doesn’t stop! On past Castlenaud and then more bends to Beynac. The river between these two castles set the boundary for the Hundred Year War between the French and the English. Beynac is particularly impressive, with the town pressed into the cliff with the formidable castle towering above it. If there is time, we will visit the high bastide town of Domme to see where we rowed. Back to our “domaine” at St. Vincent de Cosse .
A new day, a new river. In the morning we will transfer to the Lot River where a new set of boats will be waiting. We will explore the river upstream from Cahors, towards Vers. Enjoy the scenic Lot River with its tree crowded river banks, lush vineyards and medieval towns. Make sure to keep an eye out for golden eagles, red kite hawks, golden orioles and singing nightingales. You might even see otters playing along the banks! We’ll stop for a picnic lunch, then continue rowing onwards to Cahors, our home for the night and the renowned Cahors wine. Dinner tonight with our friends at the rowing club!
Today we row downstream from Cahors, heading towards Mercuès. It is a unique view of the 7th century Chateau de Mercues from the river. Then back to Pradines where we say goodbye to the boats and our new friends. We’ll take a scenic drive on to Albi where we will be staying for the next two nights. Albi is a magnificent city built of red brick, famous for its cathedral and as the home of Toulouse-Lautrec. Dinner on your own tonight.
Our last river is the Tarn. We will do a loop downstream and back from the local club, enjoying views of more vineyards, villages and farms. Back for some more sightseeing in Albi and then a final farewell dinner.
Departure from the local train station. We will definitely be sad to say au revoir to the three most beautiful rivers in France.