LA BLANQUETTE GÎTES & GLAMPING

Self-catering holiday rentals in the Dordogne Valley. Gîtes and glamping nestled in 12 acres of woodland only 5km away from Sarlat-La-Canéda

Tag: Dordogne (Page 1 of 2)

Electric Bike Hire

Electric Bike Hire

Electric Bike Hire

If you would like to explore this beautiful part of France on two wheels but want to take it a little bit easy then our electric bikes are for you!

The bikes charge up on the downhills and then use the energy to give you a boost on the uphill and the flat.

As well as the nearby traffic-free Voie-Verte, there are many stunning routes around the beautiful towns and countryside of this part of France taking in a chateau or two. Or why not head to the banks of the Dordogne for a relaxing picnic in the sunshine. We can advise on routes.

The bike hire rates below include: a helmet, inner tube replacement kit, tool kit, pump and lock. One handlebar bag/a pair of panniers will be provided per group.

If you prefer conventional bikes, check out our standard bike hire here.

Contact jas@la-blanquette.com for further info!

ELECTRIC BIKE HIRE RATES

Electric Bike Hire Half a day (up to 4 hours) €30

Full day €35 (additional days charged at €30 per day)

Packed Lunch

Delicious and fresh packed lunch supplied with your bike. An example lunch consists of (per person): sandwich, piece of fruit, crisps, bar of chocolate and a soft drink. €10 per person

Château de Castelnaud

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Having not already done so, as our godson and his brother were visiting we took the opportunity to go to the Château de Castelnaud, a perfect recommendation for younger visitors. Out of season the queues were a lot less busy too!

It’s a great afternoon, especially for younger tourists (and middle-aged boys!) This mediaeval fortress displays the art of warfare in the Middle Ages. There is a private collection of arms and armours inside; outside, you will find reconstructions of war machines, siege catapults all the actual size that the original ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ would have been! It really is a fantastic array of gory instruments of warfare, perfect for our younger students of ‘horrible histories’!

From the ramparts you will see the river winding through the Dordogne valley, and magnificent views of the châteaux of Beynac and Marqueyssac and the medieval village of La Roque-Gageac.

According to the website (which can be found here : Château de Castelnaud) the castle attracts more than 250,000 visitors a year, so we recommend an early visit in the morning or early afternoon (when everyone is lunching!) during the months of July and August. The village has many great restaurants, both on the banks of the Dordogne and half way up the short walk to the castle itself.

Another good idea (as the bridge at Castelnaud is a pickup point for our canoe trips) is to add an extra few hours on to your canoe paddle to visit the castle prior to your collection.

Photoworkshops – Digital Photography Courses in France

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Nik recently spent two days on a photography workshop with Ian and Fenella Jackson of Photoworkshops, Aquitaine.

Nik spent her time learning about various aspects of photography to enhance the marketing of La Blanquette on one of their ‘Photography and Photoshop Day Courses for Gîte, Chambre d’Hôte and Hotel Owners

Areas covered by the workshop included a good mix of how to get the most of your camera equipment by learning new technical skills and gaining a deeper understanding of aspects such as exposure, lighting, colour balance, depth of field and perspective as well as learning how to enhance the images following capture.

Each day included visits to local markets and pretty medieval towns nearby in order to put into practice what has been learnt, and also studio time focussing on other useful skills for chambre d’hôte and hotel owners such as food photography.

The workshops are run in Ian and Fenella’s home in the beautiful South West France, (40km from Bergerac, 16km from Eymet – about 1 3/4 hours drive from La Blanquette) and they are wonderful and welcoming hosts.

Photoworkshops run different types and lengths of courses depending on what the student wants to achieve, including a Tour de France workshop, as it routes past their doorstep this year!

For more information visit their website and Facebook page :

photoworkshops.co.uk

Market Days in the Dordogne

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When visiting the region a trip to a local market is not to be missed. Many regional products are available such as great cheeses and great wines which we can recommend, as well as the more typical Périgordine fare like truffles, walnuts and foie-gras. The markets are bigger in the Summer months but they can get particularly busy with tourists during July and August.

Markets can be found in the area on the following days :

  • Monday : Beynac (Jun-Sep), Les Eyzies (Apr-Oct), Montignac (Jul-Aug), Périgueux
  • Tuesday : Cénac, Le Bugue, Salignac (Apr-Sep), Périgueux
  • Wednesday : Sarlat, Bergerac, Cadouin, Montignac, Périgueux, Siorac, Hautefort, Ste. Nathalene (Jul-Aug)
  • Thursday : Domme, Lalinde, Meyrals (Summer), St Julien de Lampon, Terrasson, Périgueux
  • Friday : Le Buisson, La Roque Gageac (May-Sep), Périgueuex
  • Saturday : Sarlat, Belves, Bergerac, Le Bugue, Montignac, Périguex, Gourdon
  • Sunday : Calviac (Jun-Aug), Carsac (Jun-Sep), Daglan, Marquay (Jul-Aug), Rouffignac, St-Cyprien, St-Genies

Jardins d’Eau

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Located in Saint Rome, just outside Carsac, in the direction of Gourdon (it’s well signposted) are the pretty Water Gardens.

The gardens slope down towards the Dordogne and we visited on a very hot day, fortunately the gardens are quite compact so not too much walking down and up hill was involved in the heat!

The gardens consist of many beautifully linked pools and ponds, some artificially created but all containing some amazing specimens of flora and fauna. The colours on show were breathtaking, and photographs do not do them justice!

Dogs are admitted on leads, and the whippets were particularly interested in the frogs and tadpoles that were abundant in the water!

There is a small gift shop where thankfully cold drinks were available. A short walk outside you can access the Dordogne itself so the hounds were able to have a dip and cool off too! The gardens didn’t take a great amount of time to visit so can be paired with an excursion elsewhere.

More details can be found on the Jardins d’Eau website.

La Roque Gageac

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Just South of Sarlat past Vitrac on the banks of the Dordogne is the beautiful village of La Roque Gageac.

At the foot of a south-facing cliff, on a good day basked in sunshine, the creamy stone houses with their “lauze” stone slab or brown-tiled roofs are mirrored in the waters of the River Dordogne. The Westward drive towards La Roque Gageac really is breathtaking.

As you approach you can’t miss the troglodytic fort built in the cliff face that overlooks exotic gardens and the park. There are many small boutiques, restaurants and cafes, as well as the famous ‘Gabarre’ boat tours which can be taken from the quayside.

There are many short ‘boucles’ or walking tours around small cobbled paths of the village to enjoy all it has to offer, or it’s nice just to relax in one of the pavement cafes and watch the world go by. A visit to the village should not be missed.

The Royal Bastide – Domme

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The streets of Domme are a well-trodden path for tourists and visitors to the region, but it is one of the places we really enjoy returning to. Historically the site was a medieval village which had to defend itself against numerous invaders, hence in 1281 a new royal ‘bastide’ or fortified town was built : Domme.

From its clifftop vantage point, the medieval fortress town overlooks the Dordogne valley, offering an exceptional panoramic view.

Although we have not yet tried it, beneath the bastide of Domme is the largest natural cave in the Périgord Noir, featuring colonnades, stalactites and stalagmites. The entrance way is located inside the 17th century town hall and beyond are about 450 metres of grottos. As we haven’t been down into the Grotte yet we will report back once we have visited. (We always get distracted by a pichet of wine at one of the cafes!)

There are some great cafes and restaurants from which you can enjoy the views, either across the valley or of the pretty bastide buildings themselves, and there are many shops selling traditional crafts and produce. There is always something new to see and experience whenever we go to Domme.

If you park in the car park outside the town walls and don’t fancy the walk up the hill, take the Domme Express which is the little tourist train which circuits the town. Also note, we always avoid the car park outside the walls and drive up into the bastide itself, where there is another small car park at the top of the hill near to the panoramic viewpoint. Even when Domme is busy with visitors there almost always seems to be a space.

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Canoe Hire at La Blanquette

Canoeing the Dordogne

Canoeing the Dordogne

A day spent paddling a canoe along the Dordogne is idyllic and the differing views from the base of the river valley are breathtaking. The team here at La Blanquette are now delighted to be able to offer canoe hire. Our trips cater for up to eight people and can be specially tailored with full transportation service. This means you do not have to drive to the river to get your canoes, we pick you up and take you there! This allows you to enjoy your canoeing without taking your own vehicle and also allows you to relax on the riverbank with a glass of wine or two after your exertions!

Our canoes are deluxe Old Town Saranac  canoes designed for three people, with fully fitted seats (with back padding) for the paddlers. We also provide waterproof containers and coolboxes for your use free of charge. Life vests are also provided.

Additionally we now have single person kayaks for hire.

CANOE HIRE RATES

We have various routes for you to decide upon ranging from €20 per person for up to 15km, €25 per person for up to 26km. (Kayaks are €10 extra per person).

This includes transportation to and from your accommodation.

The above rates are for guests staying at La Blanquette, there is an additional charge for pickup/dropoff at locations in and around Sarlat.

Contact jas@la-blanquette.com for further info!

Transport down to the river!

Transport down to the river!

A Trip on a Gabarre

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If you don’t fancy canoeing your way down the Dordogne, why not take a trip on one of the ‘Gabarres’ that are berthed at Beynac or La Roque Gageac?

Gabarres are the traditional flat-bottomed boats that used to transport produce and materials up and down the length of the Dordogne. Now you will find them providing visitors with a sedate way of enjoying the scenery from the river while also sharing a lot of the history of the area and the stories of those that lived and worked on the river.

There are several companies that operate on the river, and we did a tour with ‘Caminade’. Audio options were in many languages and on a hot day we were glad we were able to take cold drinks on-board with us. The tour lasted about 90 minutes and we learned a lot about local history and the environment of the Périgord. Definitely a trip to recommend if you have time to stop off for a few hours at Beynac or La Roque Gageac.

La Voie Verte – cycle route

Cycling the Voie Verte

Cycling the Voie Verte

La Voie Verte, or ‘Green Lane’ cycle route, is a great project that has developed almost 25km of cycle path largely along the banks of the Dordogne.

Between Sarlat and Cazoulès, with a detour through Groléjac, the route  has been put together using pathways along a disused railway. Travelling along the route you will discover the titanic effort by railway workers to carve their way through the rocks and the soil to build the old Perigord railway.

The route is a relaxing one on mostly level ground ideal for exploring the area at a leisurely pace!

Click here for the map/guide which also shows some great circuits around the Dordogne and Périgord Noir area.

If you’d like to explore the route, we offer cycle hire with full delivery and collection service!

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