Canoeing is hugely popular in the Dordogne, especially in summer, when the Vézère and Dordogne rivers are shallow and slow-flowing – ideal for beginners. There are rental outlets at just about every twist in both rivers. Although it’s possible to rent one-person kayaks or two-person canoes by the hour, it’s best to take at least a half-day or longer (some outfits offer up to a week’s rental), and simply cruise downstream. The company you book through will either take you to your departure point or send a minibus to pick you up from your final destination. Prices vary according to what’s on offer; expect to pay around €17–25 per person per day. Most places function daily in July and August, on demand in May, June and September, depending on the weather, and are closed the rest of the year. All companies must provide life jackets (gilets) and teach you basic safety procedures, most importantly how to capsize and get out safely. You must be able to swim.

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