Posts Tagged ‘Carennac’
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)
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.
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
The most important tip we can provide you regardless of how you get to France or make your way into our area is that you will need a car once you have arrived!
There is virtually no public transportation between our small villages and regional attractions. The train services will probably not get you where you want to go locally and taxi services are just prohibitively expensive. To access car rental and short-term lease suggestions: Click HERE. (Please note: we do not earn commissions on referring these companies)
When in France the ‘Kayak Dordogne’ crew base in the ‘Plus Beau’ village of Carennac, located on the Dordogne River at the northern tip of the French department called the LOT (46).
This region of southwestern France was once known as the Haut-Quercy and is the heart of the Dordogne River Valley. The French departments of the Dordogne (24), Corrèze (19) and Cantal (15) also surround the north of the LOT department.
Medieval villages are everywhere and within about a 1.5 hour drive radius of Carennac you can visit 18 of the most beautiful villages in France. That’s better than 10% of the villages that have made the governments, Plus Beaux Villages list. This region was where Julius Caesar defeated the Gaul’s in 54BC, home to Richard the Lionhearted, and birthplace to the Knights Templar’s. (We think this makes the area one of France’s best kept secrets!)
For our Hawaiian friend, Paula, and other paddle-sport enthusiasts the rivers in our region of most interest include; the Dordogne (considered the cleanest & most beautiful in all of France), Vézère (which passes though the heart of the regions prehistory) and the Ardèche. (Information on all these rivers can be found in our drop down menus above)
Viewing the 25,000 year old cave paintings at Pech-Merle, Lascaux, and a few other important sites provides the opportunity to see some of its finest examples. Did you know that more that 60% of the world’s prehistoric cave art is to be found here in southwestern France? That’s fact!
The local French cuisine paired with the perfect regional wines is simply an epicurean delight. This is ground zero for the black truffles, fois gras, and other regional Quercynoise delights. If you come here don’t forget to bring your appetite.
TRAVEL time to/ from Paris is about 4.5 hours by car or train (Austerlitz Station – Brive la Gaillarde), Bordeaux is 2.5 hours due West, and Toulouse 2.5 hours South by car. The new Brive BVE airport and the SNCF train station: Brive: Gare de Brive la Gaillarde are our primary transport hubs along with the other two regional airports both offering services by budget air carriers in the UK & Ireland: Limoges Bellegarde LIG and Rodez Marcillac RDZ.
We hope you’ll come and paddle, bike, photograph and explore this wonderful area of southwestern France soon!
à bientôt! Jack
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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!
Both are located in the very heart of the Dordogne River Valley!
Bonne Route et à bientôt! Jack
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