Things to do
Family & Friends
The Dordogne is extremely Child-Friendly with lots to do for all ages and interests - it's not all castles, chateaux and history! If you want to keep them happy and occupied there's a broad range of 'day-trip' things to do, some even suitable for the occasional wet day. There are a host of activities for all the family from indoor and outdoor water parks with jet skis and quad bikes to messing about on the rivers in kayaks, fishing or riverboat trips. Horse and mountain bike riding are also available close by whilst on the coast at Royan there's a spectacular beach which is only 90 minutes away.
Exploring the area as a couple or with friends makes La Maison Grange an ideal base. The gites are equidistant between Bordeaux and Cognac where you'll find all the famous vineyards and chateaux you can cope with! The area has wonderful fishing facilities on the local rivers and lakes all of which are close to La Maison Grange. The area is also very popular with birdwatchers and many species can be seen close to La Maison Grange.
Canoes, Kayaks & Mountain Bike Hire
Moulin de Parcoul - 5 minutes drive
On the outskirts of Parcoul on the bank of the river Dronne you'll find Parcoul 24 where you can hire canoes or kayaks. The organisers will take you up the river and drop you then you can make you own way back at your own pace. Open everyday from Easter.
VTT (mountain bikes) can also be hired from here.
Tel No: 05 53 90 79 73 / 06 25 17 02 78
Aubetere sur Dronne - 20 minutes drive
The Association of Nautical & Open Air Sports graduates and executives are at your disposal at this well organised and welcoming site for canoe & kayak hire. There is accompanied or unaccompanied hire and distances of 5,10,15 or up to 50kms available.
Tel No: 05 45 98 51 72
Brossac, Etang Vallier Resort - 25 minutes drive
Bike Hire available with family, couple and baby packages. Two adult bikes, two children's bikes, helmets & locks for 5 days - 150€
Tel No: 05 45 98 52 60
Le Massou, Bonnes - 15 minutes drive
Horses & ponies are available to suit all levels of riding experience. Hacks & walks into the beautiful surrounding countryside where the english speaking leaders will allow riders to make use of their individual riding skills. Booking essential. Closed Tuesday.
Tel No: 05 45 98 63 46
Water Parks & Lakes
Le Paradou Centre - 5 minutes walk
The Paradou is a chalet and caravan holiday complex and is a short walk from La Maison Grange. It offers a variety of family activities including crazy golf , trampolining, tennis and volleyball. The fresh water lake has a sandy beach with pedalos and toboggans with a water slide open from late July until the end of August. There is a separate lake for fishing. The complex has a bar and restaurant, has weekly music nights and is open to non residents.
Brossac Lakes - 25 minutes drive
These fresh water lakes offer a variety of water activities including jet skiing. There is a safe, man made beach and swimming. Facilities include a restaurant that overlooks the lakes. Another great day only 25 minutes from La Maison Grange.
Beau Vallon Montguyon - 30 minutes drive
This beautiful lagoon is found deep in the countryside outside Montguyon. It is an extremely child-friendly complex with large sandy beaches, adventure playground, nature walks around the lagoon and in the pine forests, snack bar & BBQ restaurant (see "Where to Eat" for more restaurant information). Pedalos and small boats are available for hire. Highly recommended for a great family day out.
La Jemayne Grand Etagne - 30 minutes drive
In the heart of the forest of de la Double, on the edge of Saint Aulaye, the lakes and leisure complex of Grand Jemaye can be found. The lakes are surrounded by sandy beaches (with lifeguards) providing a completely safe environment for children of all ages. The area comprises of protected, natural areas for walking and various leisure activities such as rock climbing, archery and mountain biking along with a fitness trail and seperate fishing area. There are a selection of snack-bars and a restaurant.
Jonzac Les Antillies - 45 minutes drive
Let yourself be seduced by one of the largest covered aquatic leisure parks in Europe. Laze under the canopy of 10 000 m2. while the kids enjoy the caribbian themed pools.
On the agenda: a walk in the tropical greenhouse, lounging on the sandy beach, break at the panoramic restaurant, relax in the gym, stop at the beauty institute ... and more ...
Caves & Chasms
The Dordogne region of France has literally hundreds of caves, many of them open for the public to visit. These caves (grottes in French) fall into two categories – caves that are famous for the prehistoric paintings they contain and caves that are more renowned for their rock formations – stalactites, stalagmites and other curious shapes formed by the effects of water over thousands of years.
Both types of cave are equally fascinating. It is not possible to view the cave paintings without feeling a strange connection with our ancestors that once stood in exactly the same place or to stand in one of the great underground caverns without being overawed by the beauty of the nature.
Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, Sireuil - 131kms, 2hrs drive
If prehistoric history interests you then what might seem like a long drive will be worth while. Discover an exceptional grouping of prehistoric sites at Les Eyzies-de-Tayac in the Dordogne, most of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Encounter Homo sapiens, the remains of his habitat, his daily activities and his art.
Les Grottes de Maxange, Mestreguiral - 140kms, 2hrs drive
Newly discovered in 2000, these caves at Le Buisson de Cadouin are now open to the public. Special focus has been given to the lighting of the formations of spectacular rock formations. These caves have several very unusual formations in addition to the stalactities and stalacmites - formed by capillary action rather than dripping water the curious formations twist and turn in all directions.
Grotte de Fonte de Gaume, Sireuil - 131 kms, 2hrs drive
This cave, just over 1km east of Les Eyzies on the D47 has a superb collection of prehistoric paintings. To protect the paintings, visitor numbers are limited and in peak season it's best to make a reservation before visiting.
Abri de Cap Blanc et du Poisson, Marquay - 143kms, 2hrs 10mins drive
L'Abri de Cap Blanc boasts one of the greatest masterpieces of upper Palaeolithic monumental sculpture still accessible to the public. The most commonly depicted is the horse of which one is over 2 meters long. Others feature bison and cervids. There is also a museum which gives an excellent overview of prehistoric man in this area.
Village Troglodytique de la Madeleine, Tursac - 136kms, 2hrs drive
This outstanding natural site has drawn people from prehistoric times to present day. A cave village built by prehistoric men is halfway up the cliff and the most remarkable 15th century Gothic chapel clings to the rock wall. Remains of the 13th century Petit-Marzac castle are on the plateau. A remarkable example of a dwelling place that has lasted through the ages. Open all year.
Castles & Chateaux
The whole of South West France is littered with Chateaux castles and religious buildings reflecting the regions turbulent past and wealth. Many are open to the public and their stories reflect the history of France and the fortunes of famous French families who built these impressive building to reflect their power and prestige. These are within easy reach of La Maison Grange and make for an interesting and educational day.