Dordogne River and Dordogne Valley and the rivers of Lot et Garonne

The region here is crossed by the Dordogne river to the north and the Lot to the south, with the much smaller Dropt and Lède rivers flowing through the centre of the area.


river dordogne near la roque gageac

The Dordogne River is very accessible in most parts of our region. Reasonably slow flowing by this point, it lends itself well to various activities. These include:

Boat trips: From Bergerac, Beynac and La Roque Gageac it is possible to take an organised ride upstream on a boat ('gabarre').

Beaches and swimming: There are several river beaches along the Dordogne River, the one at Limeuil being of particular note.

Canoeing: Canoeing down the Dordogne is one of our favourite pastimes. See the separate page in Things To Do.


villeneuve sur lot

The Lot River defines the approximate southern edge of our region. This pictue shows the river as it passes through Villeneuve-sur-Lot.

Less developed for tourism than the Dordogne River, you will come across the Lot River especially at Villeneuve-sur-Lot and when you visit Pujols and Penne d'Agenais.

There is a small 'old-town' centre in Villeneuve, but otherwise it is more of a bustling modern town. Largely untouched by tourism, it is well worth a visit for a walk around the town centre (and for the large E Leclerc supermarket on the edge of town).

Dropt Valley

The River Dropt starts at the bottom of a hill, situated between the great valleys of the Lot and of the Dordogne. It flows from east to west from Capdrot, near Monapzier, to Caudrot where it joins with the Garonne.

The Dropt follows its quiet, meandering course through a lovely countryside of trees and fields. There are many mills along the river, although few are still functioning. One of the most interesting is found at Scalagrand, a bakers about two kilometres from Villereal - selling some of the finest bread available in the region, as it has for many, many years. This bakers is an experience to visit!

The Dropt passes several interesting towns en route, including Monpazier, Villeréal, Castillonès, Eymet and Duras. Of these, perhaps Eymet is the best placed to see and walk along the river.

Originally, the Dropt downstream from Eymet was used for transporting goods, but this activity has long since ceased. The focus now is more on developing the Dropt as a tourist activity, although the absence of a 'scenic road' along the river hinders this.

The Dropt exists more as a small river that you will see often as you travel around, perhaps without even realising that is is the same river each time.

River Lède and the Gavaudun Valley

The little Lède River flows through the Gavaudun Valley, which runs from Lacapelle Biron at its northern end to Salles at its southern end. (Lacapelle Biron is itself only a few kilometres south of Biron village and Chateau Biron, again along a pretty road). This valley is a very picturesque place, especially ideal for walking and cycling. There is a 'national pathway' that passes along the valley and details of other walks are available in tourist offices.

gavaudun castle in the gavaudun valleyst avit, gavaudun valley

On the way through the valley the river passes two villages - St Avit and Gavaudun.

St Avit is a quaint, pedestrian only village, in the Gavaudun Valley. It is a beautiful little village, reached by crossing a bridge over the river, and there is little clue that the village suffered enormously during the withdrawal of the German forces at the end of WW2. It houses an interesting pottery museum, the Bernard Palissy museum.

Gavaudun is better known for its remarkable keep or 'donjon'. VERY old and forbidding, perhaps not for those with a fear of heights. See chateaux page for details. The village also contains a very good little cafe / restaurant.

La Vallée et les Coteaux du Céou

To the east of our area, betwen Belvès/Monpazier and Domme, lies the Valley of the River Céou. The area is centred around seven pretty villages, including Daglan and Castelnaud, in lovely hilly countryside.

st pompon

The lower end of the valley, and the villages of St Pompon, Daglan and Prats du Perigord is a lovely place to explore. All three are quiet little villages, small yet very attractive, with churches and chateaux dominating the skyline. Villefranche du Perigord, another popular bastide town is close by (see Towns)

At its northern reaches the River Céou meets the Chateau du Castelnaud, towering high above the Dordogne River.

Chateau Castelnaud

Several stone cabins ('cabanes') can be seen in the area - these date from the years until 1880 when the Céou area produced a renowned wine. In 1880 phylloxera destroyed the vines, but some of the cabins remain.

stone cabane in the dordogne