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Archive for the ‘FUN Adventures’ Category

SURFING THE MASCARET IS A VERY UNIQUE EXPERIENCE and for over 20 years, surfers from around the world have come to ride this phenomenon. The wave set/ tidal bore occurs on the Dordogne River passing directly through the heart of the Bordeaux wine region which is another very good reason to drop-in!

The river’s port of Saint Pardon is ground zero for most surfers and kayakers. Located in the commune of Vayres it is only 20 minutes from the city of Bordeaux, and 10 minutes from Saint-Emilion. Both surfers and paddlers use the boat ramp in the center of the village to enter the water and then paddle upriver, riding the waves back to their starting point at St. Pardon (or sometimes beyond). Just one wave set occurs every 12 hours and consists of 5 to 10 waves very close together (6’ to 10’ apart).

These waves move faster but break slower than an ocean swells. Surfers, SUP’s and kayakers paddle for the first wave in the set which carries the vast majority of riders… sometimes over 50 people riding it! The wave is constantly changing shape depending on both river depth and width, it can be hollow, breaking or just a re-forming swell at different points. Around Saint Pardon rides of 1 kilometer from are common and occasionally rides of 20 minutes can be experienced!

Here is a GoPro view from a kayak: perspective:

Another perspective… surfing from the air:

Philip Plisson au-dessus du Mascaret by Annette2436

Tidal Bores like 'Le Mascaret' are a rare globally and the most famous occur on just three rivers: Amazon, Severn (England) and the Dordogne.

On the Dordogne they occur year round but are at their peak during August and September as a result of exceptionally high tides (tidal coefficients of 85+). The wave set is created by the tide dramatically rising in the Gironde estuary and then pushing upriver growing larger and moving faster as it progresses inland.

WANT TO RIDE IT? Here are some equipment tips: Wear booties. Short boards are too light don’t work well… A 9’ to 10’ Longboard, SUP or kayak works best. For surfers: heavy boards with very little rocker and relatively thick rails & tail are ideal to get through slower rebuilding sections of the wave.  The stronger your board is the better as you can encounter floating branches and submerged debris in the river.

10 & 11 September 2014 is the annual:

Fête du Mascaret

See you there? (à bientôt!) Jack

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March 3, 2014 - Posted by Jack Tobin


Even if your primary reason for coming here is to canoe or kayak the magnificent Dordogne River, there are a few places that should not be overlooked when visiting the Dordogne River Valley:

Pech Merle, Grotte du Gaume, and Lascaux:          The Pre-History of Man

Check out magnificent cave art of early man at Pech Merle, Grotte du Gaume, and Lascaux. (Also, a visit to the National Prehistoric Museum in Les Eyzies is a must)

Links: Les EyziesGrotte du GaumePech MerleLascaux


Rocamadour is a nearly vertical village which has been visited by pilgrims since the 9th century. In 1166 when the perfectly preserved remains of St. Amadour were discovered under the floor in front of its little Chapelle Notre-Dame, Rocamadour became one of the most important centers for religious pilgrimage in all of Europe. It is said, ‘St. Amadour’ was actually Zacchaeus – a tax collector in Jericho at the time of Christ – who was advised by the Virgin Mary to come to this location in France to live out his remaining years as a hermit. Toward the end of the 12 century, Henri Courtmantel, aka: “Young King Henry”, son of King Henry II of England & Eleanor of Aquitaine (and the old brother of Richard the Lionheart),  plundered Rocamadour and stole its most prized relics including; a small statue known as the ‘Black Virgin’ and Rowland’s famous sword, Durandal. Ultimately, under pressure from King Henry II, he returned these relics to Rocamadour and they can be seen there today.

Link: Rocamadour

Gouffre de Padirac:


Imagine a voyage down a river deep underground it is probably one of the most unique boating experiences you will ever encounter. The Gouffre de Padirac provides a spectacular entrance to a network of rivers about 300 feet underground and the opportunity to take a little cruise of about 1.5 nautical miles through a beautiful grotto and cave network. The view up from the base of the Gouffre’s main chasm gives you the sense that you are beginning a journey to the center of the earth. Then, you continue to descend another 100 feet underground to the boats below!

Link: Gouffre de Padirac

Explore the most beautiful villages in France:

THE French government has generated a list of 148 villages within the 65 French Departments (Counties) they protect & consider these villages’ true national treasures. All of these villages date back to the Middle Ages. Within a 20 to 30 minute drive radius of Carennac, there are seven! These include: Carennac, Loubressac, Autoire, Curemonte, Rocamadour, Turenne and Collonges-la-Rouge.

In total, eighteen of these plus beaux villages (including; Collonges-la-Rouge, Turenne, Curemonte & Domme not on detailed on the map above) are within an hour drive or less of Carennac. That’s better than 10% of the entire List …Right here in the Haut Quercy, how cool is that???

Link: Les Plus Beaux Villages

à bientôt! Jack

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June 8, 2013 - Posted by Jack Tobin

In the North of France’s Lot department, history and geography combine to mark the transition from the Massif Central to Causse. Here were the landholdings of the Duchy of Aquitaine and the possessions of the Counts of Toulouse.

The diversity in topography provides visible proof: the Correze’s shale foothills of the Massif Central, offers undulating, broken features both wooded and green; the Lot’s wide limestone plateau is accented by dry-stone walls that are centuries old and valleys where sometimes water disappears into a secret subterranean networks.

The evidence of man’s pre-history and evolution through medieval times is everywhere. Neanderthal’s and Cro-Magnon’s co-existed for a time here. These are the lands of Eleanor of Aquitaine, King Henry, Richard the Lionhearted and birthplace to the crusading Knights Templar’s.

Three great families fought for centuries over this territory. The Turenne’s from their Chateau near Brive, controlled Saint Céré, Martel, Collonges and Curemonte. The Cardaillac’s controlled an area from Saint-Cirq-Lapopie to Lacapelle-Marival. The Castelnaus formed the armed guard of their sovereign, the Count of Toulouse, before becoming vassals of the Viscount of Turenne in 1183.

This region rich in castles has its religious roots founded in the middle ages. One of Europe’s principal pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela runs though the very heart of Rocamadour and many of our other beautiful villages:

So why not come for a visit with us? We’ll be happy happy to help you navigate the Dordogne River Valley and surrounds!

Plan to visit in 2013? Please check out the delightful accommodations at: Le Sud. Or email us about affordable homestays at our rural and eclectic French home: Rancho Escargot.

Both are located in the very heart of the Dordogne River Valley!

Bonne Route et à bientôt! Jack
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April 28, 2013 - Posted by Jack Tobin