Full of history and rural charm, it’s no surprise that the Dordogne Valley is a popular place for camping holidays. The river itself is at the heart of everything from the châteaux and medieval villages built on its banks to the subterranean cave systems carved out of the rock. The river helps to water fantastic local produce and provides a place for some of the best kayaking, fishing and wild swimming in France. To make the most of all this, you can’t beat a pitch on the riverbank. Choose yours from our selection of riverside campsites in the Dordogne Valley...
Pitches on the riverbank, canoes for hire, medieval villages and caves nearby... Camping La Champagne has got it all. Whatever it is that’s tempted you to consider camping in the Dordogne Valley, you’ll probably find it here. There are just 25 pitches at this small site along with three furnished safari tents and two mobile homes, all shaded by fruit and nut trees and set across terraces looking down on the river. Clean facilities, a boules pitch, ping-pong table, badminton court and a low-key cafe-bar complete the scene. It’s the perfect place for a quiet camping holiday surrounded by nature where days can be filled with hiking, canoeing, wild swimming and fishing.
Families looking for a more sociable place to pitch their tent near the river will love Camping Le Mondou. It’s a five-minute walk from the banks of the River Dore (one half of the Dordogne) and has a swimming pool, children’s play area, boules pitch, table tennis table and bikes for hire. There are organised activities to enjoy too: how about a guided canoe or cycle trip? Or the Tuesday-night boules tournament? There’s an on-site restaurant that’s open every day in the summer and more off-site eating options in the village of Saint-Julien-de-Lampon, a 15-minute walk away. There are 48 touring pitches for tents, campers and caravans alongside the site’s chalets. It’s big enough to be sociable and small enough to be friendly. Located at the heart of the Périgord Noir, it’s within driving distance of some of the Dordogne’s best-loved villages and towns, including Sarlat and Rocamadour.
If it’s just not camping without a campfire, try Camping La Chatonniere where there’s a communal campfire every couple of days. This well-kept, terraced site on the river bank has cabins, pre-pitched tents and some swish safari tents for glampers. Campervans and caravans are sent to the upper terraces but it’s classic campers who are in for a treat as the closest pitches to the river are reserved for tents only. With paddling, swimming and canoes to hire, this place offers Tom Sawyer-ish bliss – but with the added convenience of a daily bread delivery and a few basics for sale in the reception-shop! The modern facilities are clean and there’s table tennis, table football, boules, bikes and boats for hire. The campsite is within the Parc Naturel Regional Perigord-Limousin with the Castle of Jumilhac le Grand within walking distance.
Huttopia Beaulieu sur Dordogne
There’s no denying that Huttopia Beaulieu sur Dordogne is on the large side, but along with its 185 pitches and array of glamping options, it offers fantastic facilities. There’s a restaurant-bar (open in the school holidays), a heated swimming pool, children’s play area, boules, table tennis, volleyball court, canoes and kayaks for hire. There are also activities, like climbing and archery, in the summer holidays. Part of the Huttopia group, there is a professional sheen to this place but, like the rest of the company’s campsites, it gets the Cool Camping seal of approval thanks to Huttopia’s commitment to keeping things as natural as possible. And this site in particular also has a location that’s hard to beat. It’s on the river’s edge with the destination, medieval town of Beaulieu sur Dordogne just a stroll over a bridge away.
Moulin de Chaules
Moulin de Chaules is a great base from which to explore the central south-west of France. The Dordogne pilgrimage town of Rocamadour is an hour’s drive in one direction and the Auvergne region’s extinct volcanoes the same distance in the other. The site has also got a fair few attractions of its own. It’s on the edge of a little brook, next to a watermill and has the ruins of an old château next door. On site there’s a swimming pool, children’s play area, table tennis and a bar. There are 49 grassy pitches and a good range of glamping accommodation, including cabins and chalets, safari tents and a geo-desic dome.
The 120 pitches of Camping Le Capeyrou sit beneath the fortress of the Château de Beynac with the Dordogne river so close that you can wake up to hear it lapping on the banks. It’s an enchanting setting in the heart of the Périgord Noir. On site, you can swim in the pool, play volleyball and enjoy a drink in the bar while just off site you can explore the medieval buildings of Beynac-et-Cazenac – including that château of course. There’s also kayak hire and horse-riding opportunities nearby and the famous Lascaux caves are within easy driving distance.
By Amy Woodland, February 2020.