Tag Archives: Inn-to-Inn

Autumn 2016 Newsletter

NewLogLemonBalmCanoe100x100

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.

GRC_2015NewsletterFooter

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

Guest Blog: Day 3: A Paddle to Les Eyzies

Vézère Day 2: Troglodytes and Chapels

Another foggy and drizzly day to start – but then we lucked out and the sun peeked out every now and then in the afternoon!  We have to leave our wonderful host Roland this morning. After some interrogation he reveals he was born and brought up in Hong Kong but is of German descent.  His mother is here from Germany for a while and we see her working in the gardens.

We breakfast, pack the van and we are off for the canoe put-in spot right here in this little village where we stayed. We will paddle from St. Leon to Les Ezyies – a long day of paddling, but not hard at all.

a7 Our last day on the Vezere

Our second and last day on the Vézère

We stopped mid-morning at the La Roque St. Christophe (a city built into the side of the cliff where Cro-Magnon man lived and others followed up until the 1500’s).    It was fascinating to walk along this cliff and see all the makings of a real village built into the walls – safes (assumedly to keep the trading beads in?), slaughter, drying and curing areas, places for weapons, the kitchen, a church, the scaffolding that they built and a huge wheel powered by a man walking through it which helped raise rocks etc. in the rock quarry!    This village was part of a large communications set-up among villages all along the Vézère River – it took 6 minutes for the bugle sound to reach this village from the next nearest!  It was interesting just how much high tech knowledge these early people had!

g67 Our picnic lunch - in the sun!

Our picnic lunch – in the sun!

We floated and paddled, had our picnic on the banks of the river (different types of meats and cheeses, French breads, wonderful hot Dijon mustard, salad (with fresh radishes George bought for me!), Céléry salad, fruit and of course, dark chocolate!!

We passed by many more cliff dwellings and some houses used in present day that are built into the cliff walls.  We all rafted together down the river at one point and it was quite pleasant!

g69 That is more like it!!

Annie & Steve start sprinting. That is more like it!

b11 Interesting rock with holes

Interesting rock with holes

b12b Made it out!

Steve and Cheryl taking it easy

g60 Another building in the rocks

La Madeleine: a prehistoric rock shelter with a troglodyte 11th century Chapel & Castle

Tonight we dine in this cute little village of Les Eyzies – our hotel is right in the heart of the village and very cute – I have had the windows opened wide and watched the people in the square below me.

After we had a walk around the village which is only one block long, nestled in between the cliffs where more houses are built and the Vézère River. This town is in the middle of duck country – there are stores everywhere that sell Foie gras – would love to bring some home but was stopped at customs the last time I tried that!   Dinner was another gastronomic event with lots of wine, great food and conversation and certainly lots of laughs – fell into bed at 10:30pm!

Green River Canoes Back Book Cover

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

Guest Blog: Day 2: Vézère: Chateaux and Locks

On the Vézère with Chateaux and Locks

Another cool and overcast day with rain forecast at midday – but it will be our first day on the river – yea!  Some went for a walk with Steve at 6:30 but I opted out this morning – spent some time in the lounge checking e-mail as that is the only place I can get wi-fi.  I was not up for getting up at 6am! Breakfast was at 8am – typical European breakfast with cold cuts, cheese, cereal, yogurt, croissants, coffee and juice.  We were ready to leave the inn at 9:15am.

a1 Our inn

Our inn: the Relais de la Côte de Jor, St. Leon-sur-Vézère

After stowing dry bags and such in the van, Steve, Marlee, Ann and I took a path down to the village where we meet the canoes – about a 40 min walk.  Beautiful stone walls, summer houses awaiting their occupants, wildflowers, rows of walnut trees just starting to leaf out, white horses who came running to greet us – all part of the experience.  We gather paddles, life jackets and then follow the trailer with the canoes to the put-in spot.
From here we walked up to the town of Montignac where we grab coffee, or an éclair while the “Steves” do some errands.  Finally around 11:30 we are finally on the Vézère River!

c20 Finally - what we came here to do!!

Getting ready at Montignac on the Vézère river

I am paddling with Steve in the stern – I am lucky!  He is a wealth of information as we paddle the quiet river, sometimes with a few ripples, past verdant river banks, 10th century chateaux sitting high above us with ivy hanging down from the cliffs, waterfalls flowing rapidly, waddle tail birds, sandpipers, gray herons and 3 ancient 18th century locks that kept the river traffic running when there were dams on this river until the railways were built.

Steve (aka George – nicknamed by me as he called me Patty in the beginning of the trip!) prepared a delicious picnic lunch for us along the banks of the river – it was fun despite a light rain falling.  Here we also explored the sleepy little village of Sergeac, so quaint and lovely with blooming gardens and cozy looking French homes made of limestone.

c24 Cheryl paddles with Steve

Cheryl paddles with Steve

d30 Steve & I approach a small waterfall

Steve & I approach a small waterfall

Another 30 minute paddle in the rain brought us back to our village of St. Leon where we took out and climbed in the van for another adventure.

 

e41 One last look

One last look at the Chateau du Losse on the Vezere river

We stopped at the Rouffignac Caves – only 10 million years old!  These caves are all natural as they were found and contain so many interesting features.  We take a little train through the corridors of the cave with a guide speaking in French and occasionally in English for the 5 of us.  The further and further that we got into the caves, the more interesting it became.  20,000 years ago, bears inhabited these caves and made huge crater-like depressions in the floor rocks as they hibernated.  They also made many scratchings on the rock walls as when they awoke, they needed to trim their nails!

Deeper into the cave it became apparent that man had also inhabited this area – but 14,000 years ago.  There were many etchings on the walls of hippos, bison, woolly mammoth, big horn sheep, horses etc. In some places there was even some graffiti on the ceilings – these were done by “modern” visitors who were not aware of the prehistoric drawings further on in the caves. Some of the animal etchings were superimposed to make it seem like the animals were running and some were even pregnant.  It was hard to imagine in some of the areas where men had to actually lie on their backs due to the low ceiling to make these etchings. It was quite mind boggling to see these ancient etchings of another civilization!

g65 Toasting with pastis!

Toasting with pastis!

Back to our inn, time for a shower and then we are off to dinner at 7:20.  We ate in town again – a 5 minute drive by van.  My duck confit was absolutely delicious and we had laugh after laugh after laugh – a great group and great guides!  Per Steve 2 or “George”, we are going through the group dynamics of “Forming, Norming, Storming and Performing” – he was a psychiatric nurse at one time and has done much psychiatric counseling – guess we all need that!!  Ha! Ha! But whatever it is, the group is certainly working and we are having a great time and a lot of laughs!

Green River Canoes Back Book Cover

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

Guest Blog: Day 1: Arrival in the Perigord

A visit to Oradour-sur-Glane & the Château de Losse

Three of us had met our hosts, Steve & Steve, at the hotel in Limoges the night before and had got to know one another a little over a splendid dinner. We were all set for a nine-day canoe tour of the Perigord and Lot regions of France featuring 2 days on the Vézère river, 2 days on the Célé and then 3 days on the Dordogne. First of all we had to wait for the arrival of two further guests at Limoges Station at about midday: they were taking the train down from Paris.

After breakfast at the hotel the three guests already here, Cheryl, Paul & Patty, packed into the minibus and we drove the short distance out of town to visit the infamous site of Oradour-sur-Glane. “On 10 June 1944, the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in Haute-Vienne in then Nazi-occupied France was destroyed, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a Nazi Waffen-SS company. A new village was built nearby after the war, but French president Charles de Gaulle ordered the original maintained as a permanent memorial and museum.

Naturally it is a sober and thought provoking place to visit.

b11 Twisted bed frames and ovens

Twisted bed frames and ovens at Oradour-sur-Glane

After a coffee on the Railway Station concourse we met Marlee and Annie off the Paris train and soon we were on our way south for the drive to Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère. It took about 90 minutes.

c24...with Annie and Marlee on it!

Marlee and Annie arrive at Limoge station with Steve the porter!

On arrival we drove straight up the hill to our lodgings at the Relais de la Côte de Jor. Our host, Roland, wasn’t in, but he had left us the keys so that we could assign everyone their rooms and get the luggage unloaded. We would be here for the first two nights.

d30 View from my room to the pool

View from my room to the pool at the Relais de la Côte de Jor

We were then ready for a late lunch which we took on a patio table outside as the sun began to break through. It did not take long for a typical French repast to be set out. Nor to be demolished either!

d32 We are hungry!

Picnic lunch at the Relais de la Côte de Jor. We are hungry!

After that we still had time to do something and so decided to visit the Château de Losse. “The medieval fortress overlooks the Vézère river. In 1575 a Renaissance Hall was built within the stronghold. It is enclosed by curtain walls and surrounded by a deep ditch. Inside the fine décor and the exceptional period furnishings bear witness to the grand lifestyle of the Marquess of Jean II de Losse in the 16th century.

d39 Another view of the river

A view of the Vézère river from the Château de Losse

In the evening we walked down the hill (or some of us did – admiring some wild orchids along the way) to the centre of the village where we found the lovely Restaurant de la Poste. We had a splendid introductory meal for the whole team as we began to get to know one another.

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

Winter 2015/16 Newsletter

GRC_2015NewsletterHeaderNewLogLemonBalmCanoe100x100

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.

A3_2016_Poster_LakeTahoe

Canoeing in 2016

In the Perigord, Lot, Gard, Ardeche, and Tarn regions in France

In the Belgium Ardennes

In Kent, in the Garden of England

And in Vermont, USA

Hi from the Steves at Green River Canoes. Welcome to our Winter Newsletter where we summarise our Tours & Schedules for the 2016 season.

Now is the time to plan for those excursions to the warmth & beauty of next spring or summer and to look forward to the colours of next autumn & fall.

Our tours also touch on the culture of the places we visit and we make sure to spend time visiting Castles, Chateaux, and pretty villages & towns. In particular we visit the 30,000 year old cave paintings in these regions at Chauvet , Lascaux  & Pech Merle () for example as well as some of the more minor caves.

We also taste the regional specialities of the local cuisine and try the local wines too.

We will enjoy the scenery and wildlife as we idly paddle down these beautiful rivers and we’ll pay attention to the flowers in the meadows, the butterflies and dragonflies and the birds that accompany us down the river.

Subsequent posts will provide a description of each of our tours with information on our scheduled dates for the season. If you are a group of at least 4 then we will do our best to schedule any trip for any date of your choosing. Our shorter and longer trips have no fixed dates anyway so please enquire if you have dates in mind.

Our Tours to the Belgium Ardennes, the Tarn Gorge, the Garden of England and Vermont USA have an explorer 10% discount applied to them and all we need is four people to make a tour viable.

If you are impatient to see the details of our tours then you can access the full newsletter here. But the most recent dates and full descriptions of each tour can be found on our website.

GRC_2015NewsletterFooter