Argentat-sur-Dordogne is situated on the Dordogne River in the department of Correze, in France.
From Manosque we set out at 5am to avoid the summer traffic on the road. With a few stops on the way we arrived to our hotel for the week in the afternoon. We stayed at the Résidence Les Belles Rives. It is a beautiful setting alongside the River Dordogne. Great also for the small kids as there is an indoor and outdoor play area. There is also a protected outdoor pool which I am always concerned about but was reassured as it is secured by a gate. The Residence is self catering and is fully equipped, so you can stock up on some food from the local nearby supermarket or outdoor markets.
There are many activities to do in this beautiful region especially for older children and adults. You can go canyoning, canoeing down the Dordogne, visit caves. As we have a 3 year old and 2 year old we stuck to the small kid friendly activities.
Day 1 started in the swimming pool as our kids love the water. We then took a little walk along the river route (there is a direct access from the hotel) to the city centre. The riverside is stunning, you can stop for an ice-cream (but avoid the food on the riverside cafes). We made the mistake of having a ‘very chewy’ crepe!! In the evening back at the residence the kids played in the park whilst we organised our next few days over an aperitif.
Day 2 we got up early in the morning we did a guided tour of the city centre, it is always nice to do a tour with a local who loves his city and usually they tell you a few stories that you wouldn’t know otherwise. In the afternoon we visited Beaulieu Sur Dordogne, a lovely little village with cute cobbled streets. We also booked a boat tour on the ‘garbare’, a traditional boat. This was a 1.5 hour boat tour where the French guide tells you the history of the region ‘basse Correze’. There is a English printed version which you can read if you don’t understand French.
To our surprise as we finished our boat tour, there was a local market with local producers selling their products. People explained to us that every Monday in the summer, people get together, buy some local products, for example wine, meat, cheese and jam and eat by the riverside with live music. We also loved the fact that we could buy some meat from the market and cook it directly on the bbq installed by the local community. Such a great idea and we all had a great time eating and chatting away with the locals. The kids had an absolute blast.
Day 3 was all about taking it easy, no plans; just having fun with the kids in the swimming pool and playing games. I have a habit of packing so many activities in the day and am learning slowly that sometimes you just need a day where you don’t have any plans.
Day 4 we went to see Curemonte, which is a medieval city, (noted as one of the most beautiful villages in France), here you can see one of the oldest churches and castles of the region. We made it just on time for our 3 hour guided visit of the forest (free in July and August). Our mistake was we forgot we have toddlers who had no nap and an ice-cream just before. As soon as we got there Andy decided to excercise his vocal chords in the silent forest. Others on the tour were not impressed! and we had a sudden feeling of being unwanted. So we decided to let them do their tour in silence, whilst we opted for our own private tour of the forest. On the way back to Argentat we went to a local night market with live music. In the summer these are quite common and a nice way to end the evening.
We made our way to the The Gouffre de Padirac, an amazing cave which is 103 metres down by lift or stairs. Once down in the cave there is a short boat trip; which the kids absolutely loved. There is also a tour in the caves where you see the ‘pendeloque’, a huge 60 metre stalacite. We thoroughly enjoyed spending our morning at the cave, a great fun day out. On the way back to our residence we stopped by the ‘maison de abeilles’. Here the kids were quite excited to see the bees and taste some of the local ‘pain de epice’; lots of different flavours. In the evening we did a little tour of Rocamadour, where you can walk around the historical monuments.
Time to leave but just before Den wanted to do a drone video of the ‘Tour de Merle’, these are the ruins of a castle from the 12 and 15th century. We then made our way back home, absolutely wonderful and beautiful trip where we all had a chance to discover something new, relax and spend time all together as a family. Definitely recommend this trip in the summer.