Canoeing on the Vézère from Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, with APA Canoë

Saint Léon sur Vézère
Canoeing on the Vézèr ...

Are you coming on holiday to the Vézère Valley? The little sister of the Dordogne Valley has nothing to envy. Its wild landscapes, its steep rocky cliffs where thousands of years of the History of Humanity are hidden, its charming villages... Canoeing or kayaking on the Vézère is a real pleasure for the whole family ! Come and meet Philippe Colomy and his team at APA Canoë. Two bases are available in Montignac and the historic base in Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère. Because they have been established for years and offer canoe rentals, they will be able to tell you the most beautiful routes in the Vézère Valley, for a moment of sport or relaxation, depending on the pace at which you are going to paddle!


Photos of the article © APA Canoe


Meander of the Vézère from the Madeleine -Guide du Périgord

The Vézère, a wild but safe river

Want adventure, but in complete control for the family? Whether you are an experienced practitioner or a beginner, whatever your age, you will enjoy canoeing or kayaking on the Vézère. This pretty, wild but calm river has its source at the Millevaches plateau in Corrèze, where it flows to Terrason, its entry point into the Dordogne department. The Vézère Valley is commonly delimited between Montignac and Limeuil, it is also there that it is the most practiced for tourism. The Vézère was once a river frequented by boatmen, the barges traveled its course. So as you walk, you also take a real trip into the past, you share the same points of view as our ancestors, merchants and merchants, who transported wood, cast iron and other goods such as wine.

APA Canoe Logo

The Vézère is a river whose flow is controlled by dams which does not prevent it from sometimes getting out of hand! You will learn more in Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, the village where the main canoe base of APA (Aventure Plein Air) Canoë is located. The Vézère is today a pleasant river for tourist navigation, it is easy, in summer it flows slowly to give you time to appreciate the landscape. Overall, you can canoe from Easter to Toussaint Day.

The clear waters of the Vézère - Guide to Périgord
Water from the Vézère - Guide to Périgord
Canoe APA Passage under the castle of Losse


Where to go canoeing in the Vézère Valley?

Montignac, Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, Les Eyzies, Le Bugue, Limeuil… These are the villages that offer departures. Departures from the APA Canoë base in Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère allow you to take several routes, so one of the most beautiful canoe routes in the Vézère Valley (the one that appeals the most to families): from Thonac to La Madeleine in Tursac, where you come across castles, natural sites, the pretty village of Saint-Léon, the Côte de Jor which stands in the distance and the cliffs of La Roque Saint-Christophe, a semi-troglodyte site on the side of cliff, to Tursac.

The APA Canoe team also has a base in Montignac. You therefore have the choice among 7 routes of 4 to 30 km, depending on your physical condition, the time you have, your desires. 


How to choose a canoe course?

  • As an indication, with children under 10 years old, 4 to 8 km for 1 to 2 hours of canoeing is sufficient (it depends on their patience and physical conditions).
  • With young teenagers and for adults who want to have fun while doing a bit of sport, 12/18km, or 3 or even 4 hours of canoeing, is perfect.
  • For those who want to spend a great day on the water, for friends who want to race, splash water and " glue it " 22 to 30km in the day, it's really great !
  • Want even more? Rent a canoe for a trip of several days: 48km of pleasure!

Saint Léon sur Vézère from the Côte de Jor - Guide du Périgord
APA Canoe Canoe on the Vézère
APA Canoeing Under the Roque Saint Christophe in Peyzac

The routes available at APA Canoe:

  • Thonac / Saint-Léon for 4km descent (you will see the village of Sergeac and Saint-Léon)
  • Saint-Léon / Tursac (bridge of the Madeleine) for 8km: you will also see the Roque Saint-Christophe
  • Montignac / Saint-Léon for 12km: Departing from Montignac, you walk at your own pace and will see 3 castles and the valley.
  • Thonac / Tursac for 12km, it is the most beautiful course!
  • Saint-Léon / Les Eyzies for 18 km: After Tursac, the valley continues and is very wild
  • Thonac / Les Eyzies for 22 km: We add a few km at the start to encompass Sergeac and Saint-Léon
  • The total of 30km in 7 hours from Montignac to Les Eyzies for the brave who will do it during the day!

What outfit and equipment for canoeing on the Vézère? Come with a pair of shoes that can handle getting wet and stay on your feet, like sneakers. Take a cap in summer, a pair of sunglasses for the reflection on the water which is strong. Sunscreen, a bottle of water and a snack, why not? A beach towel if you plan to take a dip. You can install all this in your waterproof container which will be lent to you and will be on the canoe with you.

APA Cano Group


Prepare your canoe descent in Périgord Noir

We recommend that you bring a picnic to eat beyond 3 hours of canoeing, because paddling is boring! You will have the pleasure of admiring magnificent water buttercups on the Vézère, from spring onwards, which bloom into beautiful white flowers where the blue damselfly dragonflies come to rest in an elegant way. The most calm and discreet will perhaps see the Kingfisher and its shimmering colors. Ducks, birds of prey and sometimes the heron… In the clear water there is a multitude of fish such as the Black Bass, the pike, the pike-perch, the carp of course and the catfish which can reach a certain size… It is harmless reassure -YOU !

Canoe or Kayak? See what you prefer. The canoe is with a simple paddle, you can go several above and you have the posterior above the water. The kayak is generally practiced alone, with a double paddle and the rear is closer to the water, you are more united with the boat.

The little extra: Read our article on fishing in the Dordogne !


APA Canoe Water Buttercups
APA Canoe the canoe base in saint-léon-sur-vézère
Apa canoe on the other side of the Saint-Léon bridge

You now have all the information to organize your canoe descent on the Vézère. Philippe and his whole team await you at APA Canoë, from Pâques holidays to Toussaint Holidays, depending on the level of the Vézère, which remains the only one to decide whether you can sail on its waters!


Did you like our report? Find more on the Guide du Périgord blog. Join us on the Facebook page of the Guide du Périgord, we also have an Instagram account @guideduperigord

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