Tag Archives: Célé

Yoga & Canoe Poster

6 Day Yoga & Canoe Retreat

 

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Spectacular cliffs on the Célé river, Lot France

Combined Yoga & Canoeing Vacation

New for the 2017 season we are introducing this tour which brings Yoga sessions to one of our favourite canoeing tours on the Célé river in the Lot region of the south of France.

It is a 5 Night, 6 Day tour which combines morning and early evening yoga sessions with gentle and relaxing paddling down the beautiful Célé river.

Our instructor, Elizabeth Reed is an Inner Axis yoga teacher, focusing on breath work and non-competitive movement to increase well being, strength, flexibility and relaxation. On this tour she concentrates on general well being; specific postures relating to issues identified by individual participants and postures for warming up and preparing for paddling. It is suitable for beginners or those with some experience of yoga.

Elizabeth is a fun and knowledgeable teacher who focuses on learning and enjoyment, with tips and techniques you can take away and use to benefit your health in a number of ways.

We will explore the little known Célé valley by both canoe and foot and visit its beautiful villages and see its wonderful wildflowers & butterflies & dragonflies. We will also visit the famous cave paintings at Pech Merle.

A brief description of the tour is given below but more details, including dates, prices, maps and photographs can be found on our Yoga & Canoe Retreat web page.

Riverside Yoga Position

A Riverside Yoga Position

Benefits of Inner Axis

In physical terms Inner Axis Yoga has positive effects on back ache, stiffness, blood pressure, diabetes,  and balance. It can further aid the digestive system, and your strength, flexibility, posture and gait. The concentration on controlled breathing aids asthma and other breathing related difficulties. In general it helps towards a leaner and more toned body.

From a mental and emotional point of view Inner Axis Yoga provides a calmer mind, with less anxiety, which is more resilient to stress and life issues. It overcomes a depressive and negative mind set which contributes towards better sleep and gives an improved ability to relax and focus. This in turn instills greater personal confidence.

In social and spiritual terms Inner Axis Yoga builds community spirit, dispels resentments and old patterns which prevent happiness, promotes being your best self in relationship to yourself and others, and fosters gratitude & enjoyment of life.

Lot, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

The Abbey in the village of St. Cirq Lapopie, Lot, France

Features of Inner Axis

Inner Axis is jargon free, taught in simple, clear and concise language and does not use Sanskrit terms.

Inner Axis teaches a variety of breathing exercises and correct breathing techniques, which are scientifically recognised to have a hugely beneficial impact on health and well being.

Inner Axis uses slow and safe yoga movements that are adaptable to your physical needs and condition whatever your age or your level of fitness. It uses props such as blocks, straps, bolsters etc to facilitate faster development.

The focus of Inner Axis is on healthy alignment and the explanation & reasoning behind the methods used.

Inner Axis uses mindfulness and inspiring visualisations.

Inner Axis is non-competitive and fosters an attitude of kindness to yourself and others.

Inner Axis is for everyone who desires inner health as well as physical health, no matter what religion or ideological beliefs they may hold.

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

On the ‘English Trail, in the Célé valley, Lot, France

Tour Includes

  • A Trail & River Guide whilst on the river & trail
  • A Fully Trained Yoga instructor
  • Full minibus support throughout, to transport us to & from the river and transfers to and from our departure point (local Railway Station or Local airport).
  • Includes all accommodation in a local farmhouse
  • Includes all breakfasts, lunches and evening meals
  • All necessary equipment for Canoeing the remote valley and stream of the Cele
  • An opportunity to hike along the route of the Way of St. James
  • Join your guides for a pre-breakfast walk
  • Visit the ancient cave paintings at Pech Merle
  • See the beautiful villages of Marcilhac, Espignac, Cabrerets and St. Cirq Lapopie
Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Family fun on the Célé river, Lot France

Tour Description

Everyday of the tour will be book-ended by a yoga session. The friends of the Célé organisation have arranged that the river is set aside for fishing before 11am and for canoeing thereafter. We will use these morning hours for our Yoga sessions, often by the riverside, and for short walks.

Yoga and canoeing through the gentle waters of the Célé are the perfect companions to bring the mind into the body, to refine our awareness and deepen mindfulness. This tour teaches you techniques that can be practiced and used in the hurly-burly of our everyday lives.

After our day on the river we will have time for another yoga session, or you may relax if you prefer. Our accommodation has a small swimming-pool but we can also wild-swim if we wish too. Evening strolls are also possible.

When we are on the river or trail you will be accompanied on the river by an experienced river guide who will make sure you see all the interesting places along the way. If necessary we can provide top-up/reminder paddling lessons if it’s a while since you paddled, or indeed if you have never paddled before.

The rivers are easy paddling and suitable for inexperienced paddlers. The emphasis on this trip is to enjoy the rich history and natural history of the region from the unique viewpoint of the river.

Cave paintings at Pech Merle, at Cabrerets on the Cele river, Lot, France

Cave paintings at Pech Merle, at Cabrerets on the Cele river, Lot, France

We shall enjoy lazy days meandering down the river and take our time to enjoy all that we see along the way and taking the time to visit many of them as we go. We will certainly visit the world famous caves at Pech Merle and see the ancient cave paintings.

Everyday we will stop for a fabulous picnic lunch and in the evenings we will enjoy a home-made dinner in the farmhouse where we are staying. We will take dinner out one evening too.

The Célé is a small winding stream that flows down a steep sided valley into the Lot. On the way it passes through several small and picturesque villages such as Espignac, Marciilhac, Sauliac and Cabrerets.

Along the same valley a long-distance trail winds its way. Sometimes besides the river but mostly up high along the valley’s edge. This is the GR651 which is a small deviation off the famous GR65 more commonly known as the ‘Way of St. James’ or the ‘Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle’.

In an adjacent valley flows the Lot river with the famous cliff-hanging village of St. Cirq Lapopie.

We will explore the dramatic scenery as the river winds its way through a deep limestone valley stopping at pretty villages along the way. We will watch the birds along the riverbank: herons, kingfishers, wagtails, dippers and various hawks and admire the glittering colourful damselflies and dragonflies.

For those so inclined we will have a pre-breakfast walk and before we start canoeing each day we will have our yoga session. If we have the time and inclination we will also explore the trails along the causse above the valley and find dolmens left by ancient man. We will see plenty of colourful butterflies in the meadows and in the season plenty of wildflowers too, including some exotic orchids, like the Lizard and Bee Orchids.

The Célé valley is a quiet and largely undiscovered small valley and we shall probably have the river all to ourselves. If it is warm enough we can find some beautiful spots for wild swimming.

Our evenings will be spent discussing our day over a family style evening meal with plenty of opportunity to make the conversation flow.

Yoga & Canoe Poster

Autumn 2016 Newsletter

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Hand-crafted and Fully Guided Canoe Trips that combine the pleasures of paddling down tranquil rivers with an insight into the history and natural history of the region whilst we enjoy the local cuisine and stay in small Inns and B&Bs as we make our way gently downstream in beautiful & dramatic countryside.

A Green River Canoes Poster: http://goo.gl/GRZBSF © Steven R House 2014

Autumn Canoeing

On the Vézère, the Dordogne and the Célé rivers in France

You still have time to enjoy a late holiday break to the South of France with us. September & October are great months for paddling, and of course these are wonderful places to canoe in the Autumn.

It is still warm: very often it is still warm enough to swim in the rivers. We have the  7 Days in the Perigord and the 6 Days on the Cele trip. Or you can push both trips together for our 12 Days 3 Rivers tour. The rivers are quiet: we are often the only people on the river, and of course the châteaux and castles and restaurants and wines are as fabulous as ever.

The tours include visiting the 25,000 year old cave paintings in these regions at Lascaux & Pech Merle, and we can fit in visits to other caves if we wish: Castel Merle, Rouffignac and Font de Gaume for example.

The number of châteaux we canoe past is almost too numerous to mention: the Losse, Belcayre and Clérans on the Vézère, the castles at Montfort, Castelnaud and Beynac as well as the châteaux of Marqueyssac, Fayrac and Milandes on the Dordogne and also the Devil’s Castle and the Chateau Cabrerets on the Célé.

We also visit and stay in numerous pretty villages – Les Plus Beaux Villages de France – which include Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Beynac-et-Cazenac, La Roque-Gageac and Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. With a little bit of effort we can also visit Domme, Cardaillac and Saint-Amand-de-Coly. These are all tiny country villages in stunning settings. We will also visit the regional town of Sarlat-la-Canéda, preferably on market day.

But, of course, rivers are our main focus and the scenery and wildlife are just as stunning in this season and we will have the bonus of autumn colours.

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Admiring the cliffs on the Célé river, Lot France

6 Day Célé Tour

A 5 Night, 6 Day tour in which  we spend three days paddling the Célé river and a day hiking a section of the Way of St. James. We also visit the cave paintings at Pech Merle. An extra day can be added if we wish to paddle on the Lot river for a day or we can swap the hike day for a paddle day.

On this tour we will stay in a farmhouse above the Célé for the whole tour. This will save us packing & moving on every night. Every day is but a short drive to the river. Not even 20 minutes drive. Our host Richard & Helen will prepare lovely home-made meals for us and we will enjoy the conviviality of their home.

We will rendezvous with our canoes on the first day and then keep them for the three days it will take us to paddle down to the confluence of the Lot river. We will picnic along the way for lunch and stop at the pretty villages along the route. We will also have ample time for little walks & hikes here & there.

Full tour details are here. The brochure is here.

The Chateau de Belcayre on the River Vezere, Perigord, France

The Chateau de Belcayre on the River Vezere, Perigord, France

7 Day Perigord Tour

A 6 Night, 7 Day tour in which we canoe down the Vézère & Dordogne rivers with visits to caves to see 25,000 year-old paintings, troglodyte dwellings along the river, huge castles and beautiful chateaux.

On this tour we spend two days paddling down the Vézère river and 3 days paddling down the Dordogne river.

The Vézère valley is famous for being the ‘valley of man’. Almost 200 sites of Neanderthal and CroMagnon antiquity have been found here. We will see and explore some of them, including the renowned Painted Caves at Lascaux. But the Vézère is also beautiful for other reasons, including fabulous chateaux, stunning scenery and wildlife.

The Dordogne river is  famous for its more recent history, the 11th and 12th Century for example, which are represented by the huge castles we shall pass, which are reminders of the 100 Years War between France & England. We shall paddle past these as well as numerous smaller chateaux  built for more peaceful times. We shall have plenty of time for visiting some of these as well as the stunning villages along the way.

Full tour details are here. The brochure is here.

Beynac on the Dordogne river, France

Beynac on the Dordogne river, France

12 Day 3 Rivers Tour

An 11 Night, 12 Day tour in which we canoe down the Vézère, the Célé & Dordogne rivers by combining the 6 and 7 Day tours above.

Full tour details are here. The brochure is here.

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Guest Blog: Day 5: Célé: Caves & Chutes

Day 2 on the Célé: Down to Cabrerets

Today dawned early for those of us who decided to follow Steve on a 1 ½ hour hike at 6:30 am.  We hiked 4 miles as the sun rose and found an ancient dolmen where chieftains would have been buried with their worldly goods thousands and thousands of years ago.  We checked out the beautiful fields around us, the wildflowers and orchids that Steve loves to find (found several monkey orchids here along with a sleeping butterfly)!  Nearing the inn, we also found a shrew in the middle of the road – had never seen one!  He was dead…..

a1 Today we are out at 6-30 AM for a 4 mi hike

An early morning walk on the Causses above the Célé river

After breakfast of wonderful breads, yogurt, fruit and coffee, we are off at 9am to visit the caves at Pech Merle, near the Lot River.  We had a guided tour through this ancient cave containing stalactites, stalagmites, 70 different representations of animals from spotted horses, bison, mammoths, aurochs, horses, etc.   Paintings were done in black or red using coal or a magnesium oxide and spots were made by blowing the paint from their mouths.  We found ancient footsteps preserved in the calcium carbonate along with pearls made from the cascading waters.  It was a moist environment in the cave and all of us found it difficult to breathe – we are assuming from low oxygen levels.  As fascinating as it was, it was nice to be out in the fresh air after an hour!

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The famous spotted horse cave painting at Pech Merle

Next we drove through another old village near the river – these villages are alive with bright spring flowers against the backdrops of yellow limestone and sometimes crumbling structures of old abbeys, churches etc.  Most of the houses seem well preserved, although many are still shuttered for the season.  Getting to the river at Marcilhac, we are ready for our paddle down to Cabrerets after a stop for coffee and a Danish.  I was teamed with Annie for the morning paddle – Marlee, Annie and I have been switching off to paddle with Steve.

c27 Another delicous picnic prepared by George-Steve!

Another delicious picnic prepared by George/Steve at Sauliac-sur-Célé!

We paddled to a beautiful spot along the river – “George, our driver, shopper, picnic maker, always seems to find a great spot with a picnic table and such for a wonderful lunch spread.  Marlee and I have the afternoon paddle together.

d30 We have some very wet and cold paddlers!

After a small accident (and wild swimming) a tow is in order!

There have been a couple of water chutes that some have gone through – I skipped the first one – those in the bow of the boat got VERY wet!  Marlee and Steve did the second one – and I have it all recorded!  We had an unfortunate incident near the end of the paddle – Patty and Paul managed to dunk in the river – got tangled up in a big overhanging branch along the bank.  All was well and retrieved – but not sure how Paul’s camera fared….

d37 Having a great time - smile Steve!!

Steve, Annie and Marlee at St. Cirq Lapopie

On the way home, we stopped at beautiful old village called St Cirq Lapopie that Steve sometimes stays in and walked the cobble-stoned streets – wish we had been able to spend more time there!  Patty and Paul were waiting in the van staying warm.

e43 Beautiful flowers

Flowers and rooftops at St. Cirq Lapopie

We returned to the inn around 6pm– it has been a long day!  Dinner is at 7:30, again beginning with an aperitif before of walnut wine (homemade of course!).  A young couple has joined us – they are from Germany and are hiking for 5 days – approximately 12-15 miles a day with a donkey carrying their belongings.  They will stay in hostels along the way.  Another rousing dinner of a traditional English pork stew and baked apples & ice cream for dessert.  Bed felt wonderful at 10:30!

Green River Canoes Back Book Cover

Details of this tour can be found here: Green River Canoes 12 Days 3 Rivers

Guest Blog: Day 4: Célé: Stream & Weirs

A day on the Célé: Espagnac & Marcilhac

a6 So peaceful...

Starting off on the Célé river from St. Eulalie

We awake to sunny skies – so nice!  After a wonderful breakfast at the hotel, we are off on a 20 minute drive to our next river adventure – the Célé.  This river is actually a small winding stream that flows down a steep sided valley into the Lot. It is a place that few tourists visit and we do have the river to ourselves.  Our paddle today is from St. Eulalie to Marchilhac.  We put in and only go a short distance before stopping in the village of Espagnac to check out the beautiful flowers that are blooming and some ancient ruins of an old monastery.  The bearded iris and roses are just beautiful.

b13 Beautiful!

Flowers and steps at St. Eulalie Espagnac

Back on the river and we are in for some adventures.  The Célé is very narrow and is running fast.  My long ago learned canoe skills are being tested!  We do have to navigate three weirs along the river – rock areas that sometimes have to be portaged around.

b15 I am paddling with Annie

Annie leads the way on the Célé

The first one we ran right over without a problem – it was a little like running a very short rapid.  Next we had to come down a roller area to the side of the weir – we made it fine but Paul and Patty got somewhat hung up – must be all the great French food!  The last one was just a log and we went right over that.  Guess we are lucky that the river is running so high!

c20 Patty & Paul negotiating one of the weirs on this river

Patty & Paul negotiating one of the weirs on the Célé river

The scenery along the river was stunning – green colors everywhere with tree branches hanging over the river, herons flying ahead of us from one place to another, wag tail birds flitting about and cuckoos singing high in the trees.  We had planned to stop at a small café in town on the way to the farm where we are staying for a beer, but it was closed.

c29 Another view

La Métairie Basse: our lodgings for two nights

We finally wound our way up the hill to where we will stay for the next two nights.  It is a wonderful farmhouse in the middle of the countryside and we will be eating all our meals here, prepared by our hosts Helen and Richard.  This place (originally built in 1809) was converted 15 years ago from a complete ruin into a B & B – something you would see the likes of on an episode of International House Hunters on HGTV!  This couple came from England in search of a better life and are soon getting ready to retire.

d35 Our dinner - salmon in pastry puff - yum!!

Richard bakes a Salmon en Croûte for dinner

Richard cooked a delicious salmon in pastry main course, plus we had an aperitif, appetizer, green beans, various cheeses and a banana pudding for dessert.  Time for bed so we can go for the 6:30am hike!

Green River Canoes Back Book Cover

Details of this tour can be found here: Green River Canoes 12 Days 3 Rivers

6 Days on the Célé

GRC_2015NewsletterHeader

Canoeing the Célé  & Lot rivers

This is a 5 Night, 6 Day trip in which  we spend three days paddling the Célé river and a day hiking a section of the Way of St. James. We also visit the cave paintings at Pech Merle. An extra day can be added if we wish to paddle on the Lot river for a day.

On this trip we will stay in a farmhouse above the Célé for the whole trip. This will save us packing & moving on every night. Every day is but a short drive to the river. Not even 20 minutes. Our host Richard & Helen will prepare lovely home-made meals for us and we will enjoy the conviviality of their home.

We will rendezvous with our canoes on the first day and then keep them for the three days it will take us to paddle down to the confluence of the Lot river. We will picnic along the way for lunch and stop at the pretty villages along the route. We will also have ample time for little walks & hikes here & there.

Full trip details are here. Brochure here.

These are our scheduled dates for this season, but if you are a group of 4 or more you can choose your own dates and we will do our best to fit you in.

Cele6Days

Here are some images from the tour.

A Green River Canoes Poster: http://goo.gl/GRZBSF © Steven R House 2014

GRC_2015NewsletterFooter

Take Me To The River

A Series of 12 Posters

A Green River Canoes Poster: http://goo.gl/GRZBSF © Steven R House 2014

A sequence of posters using the same background, road, minibus and trailer used to depict our journey to the river. The flat style is used because the elements are drawn on Photoshop in preparation for animating.

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Starting with a simple depiction of rolling hills and woods.

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And travelling past a big city on the way to the countryside.

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And somehow crossing a mysterious desert.

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Before passing a river with cafes and cliffs.

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Until finally reaching our first river as we cross a wonderful viaduct.

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Next we cross the famous Millau Viaduct and the Tarn river.

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Before reaching the Pont D’Arc on the Ardeche river.

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And then the Tarn Gorge.

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And another gorge which strangely has the Bixby Creek bridge over it.

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And we reach the castle at Beynac on the Dordogne river.

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Before reaching a rather generic countryside and Suspension bridge.

Time to get on the water I should think.

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

A Trip to the Célé in July 2015, Part 6

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

On a hike above Cabrerets and the Célé river, Lot, France

A Lazy Day by the River

Our last day in the Célé valley. And what to do? Not too much is the general consensus, certainly no stiff 20 mile hikes. How about a leisurely day hanging out by the river sitting in the sun and swimming?

So after breakfast we decide we’ll have a walk anyway and go and visit a local Dolmen (I’m confident we can find this one) and then a slow walk down the hill to the Célé valley and the village of Cabrerets. The bakery in the village is our target.

We set off around the back of the farmhouse at Métairie Basse and bushwacked our way until we came out onto an old shepherds trail on top of the Causse. The trail undulated a little bit as it wound its way through the scrubby woodland and through some old gates. Different paths seemed to break off in every direction but Leonardo and I had been this way earlier in the week and knew the way.

The trail stumbled down a rocky path and reached another cross-roads. Up the other side where the trail became more grassy. This is where we had chased some butterflies the other day. A few butterflies were about now, but we were ignoring all the Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers and looking our for the blues. We found a couple of different types too, including Tiuquoise Blues and Chalk-hill Blues.

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

The Bertaminis on a Dolmen on the Causse de Quercy above Cabrerets, Lot, France

Eventually we reached the large cross-roads on the very top of the causse. Tucked away in some undergrowth was the Dolment. A Stone Age burial site, perhaps 5,000 to 8,000 years old.

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

On a hike above Cabrerets and the Célé river, Lot, France

Our path from here swept in a huge downward arc and we dawdled on down. A group of young hikers passed us. They must have been camping in the wild somewhere. The boys ran off down the trail ahead of us and we meandered down until we came almost to the village. We could look down onto the river where we were paddling the other day, see the troglodyte buildings lodged into the cliff and the Devil’s Castle which looked quite small in the daylight.

As we approached the bridge we learnt something of the history of the village from the information board, and how the village was badly flooded a 100 years ago, and this bridge was built.

We walked through the village, past the Hotel de Grotte, where we have stayed in the past, and which is looking quite smart these days. Eventually we reached the bakery and cafe opposite the old flour mill and settled down for some coffee and cakes. A second breakfast.

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Black-eyed sheep under the Chateau in Cabrerets, Lot, France

Whilst we were sitting underneath the Chateau enjoying the sunshine a flock of sheep were driven past us. Of course the shepherd had a Quad bike with which he was leading the sheep, but he did also have a sheepdog bringing up the rear. The local sheep have curious black eye patches. The Panda look.

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Kids and dogs, mucking about at the ford on the Célé river, Lot, France

And then the rest of the day kind of disappeared. We drove back up to the picnic site at Sauliac and spent a couple of hours mucking about by the river and having lunch and then we went back up to the ford and mucked around there for a couple of hours too. A couple of local boys, with a dog, were playing around in the river as well and a lot of fun was had splashing around and throwing sticks. The adults of course just lazed around in the sun.

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Looking across the Célé valley to Sauliac, Lot, France

Before we knew it the afternoon was wearing on and we hopped back into the minibus for the drive back up to the farmhouse and another flop by the pool. But before that we decided to jump out of the minibus at the top of the climb and admire the view over Sauliac and walk the last two kilometres back to the farm.

How did this happen? We’ve arrived at our last night in the Célé valley. Richard & Helen provided a lovely dinner as always and we had a splendid last evening with speeches (you’re kidding) and toasts (of course) and copious amounts of wine. A massive thanks all round to everyone for a lovely holiday.

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Leonardo, Marco, Kate, Federico and Steve at the ford on the river Célé, Lot, France