We kicked off our summer of canoeing by doing a short week-ender trip down in the Perigord region of France with some guests from Hong-Kong. We squeezed the usual 7 day trip into a 4 day format to give our guests a taste of the area.
We took 2 days to drive down to Bordeaux, where we were to pick up our guests, and visited the Poitou-Charentes area on the way down to scope out the area and the river of the same name. We came off the motorway just after Poitiers and headed for Vivonne to pick up some lunch. It’s a pleasant little town with a massive Super-U supermarket. I can’t think now why I want to remember this, but I did.
Anyway we then pootled down to the town of Ruffec and got some information from the very friendly tourist office. We tried to find some canoe outfitters without much luck but we did eventually end up at a pretty spot for a picnic lunch before finding a swimming hole at Condac.
I thought the river Charente here looked very pretty and certainly has potential for a future trip. We then jumped back on the main road and headed south, avoiding Angouleme, before following the river again to the town of Jarnac. The river here is larger now and perhaps not what we’re looking for, but the town was nice and I think the whole Cognac region has potential.
It was late in the day now so we headed south again so we could be close to Bordeaux in the morning for a pick-up. We eventually found a camp-site somewhere near St. Andre-de-Cubac. Once again the tourist office was very helpful – we only just made it before closing time – and we were directed to a campsite run by a charming guy from Germany. We set up camp next to a pond. Only later did we realise that this was not a good idea. We were kept awake all night by croaking frogs!
We drove back into town to find a restaurant and were lucky enough to discover a little place overlooking the river Dordogne. It had been a long day so we were pleased to crash out in the tents. I don’t think Steve was too happy though as his inflatable mattress thing malfunctioned and he ended up in the van. On top of that and the loudest frogs in the universe the night was interrupted by a massive thunderstorm.
So the next morning we were up early to pick up our guests from the Grand Hotel in Bordeaux (oooeee) and start our trip. Here’s a few photographs:
You can see more photographs here.
On the final day we returned our guests to Bordeaux and began our long drive back to Calais. We had decided to do this in two days and so made our way to Les Sables-d’Olonne which we were too tired to really appreciate. We did find a hotel finally and then had a surprisingly good dinner at a sea-food place on the sea-front.
I can’t remember much about the long drive on the last day except that we stopped off in a very pretty village in Brittany which may ave been Blain. A place worth returning too, not least because the bakery and cafe were lovely but also because a canal goes through here and it might be worth exploring a barge holiday in this area.