Biking through the Dordogne
To truly enjoy the beauty of the Dordogne Valley, you have to get out of the car. Hiking is always a possibility, and the local tourist offices are well stocked in trail maps. But you’ll see a lot more if you get on a bike and head down one of the country roads and ramble across the landscape. It’s easy to transport a bike on the French railways, but if you prefer, you can rent a bike when you get here (see rental options in this chapter’s sections on Sarlat and Les Eyzies-de-Tayac). Away from the tourist attractions, the area is lightly populated and very rural. If you’re ever in doubt about where your handlebars should lead you, know that you’ll rarely go wrong if your route parallels the riverbanks of the Vézère, the Dordogne, or any of their tributaries.
Exploring the rivers by canoe or kayak is another option. Every summer, a flotilla of bathing-suited visitors can be seen paddling down the Dordogne; the Vézère gets less traffic and is also beautiful. The rivers tend to be shallow and lazy, perfect for a family outing.
For information on where to find equipment and outfitters for biking, hiking, kayaking, and canoe trips, visit the regional tourist office. Two of the best outdoor outfitters are Canoë Loisir, Vitrac (www.canoes-loisirs.com; [tel] 05-53-28-23-42), and Adventure Plein Air, St-Léon sur Vézère, (www.canoevezere.com; [tel] 05-53-50-67-71).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.