When we visited France in 2019, we really struggled to find places to take Lucas. We are so used to having the SatNav and google suggesting places to us in the UK. The number of times, I followed my SatNav to what it said would be a park, to find myself in woodland with nothing there! Where we live now, we are on the border of the Dordogne and Charante so I have compiled a list of places we have been to or days out around the North Dordogne region that I have been told about that I would like to visit one day.
Days out around the North Dordogne
Underground Church of St Jean, Aubeterre-Sur-Dronne
Situated in the lower part of the village, the Underground Church of St Jean, also known as the Monolithic church, Eglise Monolithique, or the troglodyte church, is breathtaking. The church has been carved out of the rock, and the inside is enormous. The height reaches up to 20 meters at its highest. The Monolithic Church of Aubeterre-Sur-Dronne is the tallest in the world. Lucas loves exploring it!
Des Tourbieres de Vendoire
One of our favourite places is Des Tourbieres de Vendoire which translates as The Boglands of Vendoire. It doesn’t sound very appealing, but this place is beautiful. Situated at the bottom of the Lizonne Valley it is an array of peat bogs of international interest with amazing diversified fauna and flora.
Brantome Police Horses
Brantôme Police Horses provides care and rehabilitation for many horses and ponies alongside donkeys, dogs, cats, sheep, goats and chickens. They offer guided tours of their horses, filling you in on everyone’s stories, followed by a traditional cream tea served on the lawn.
We visited Mareuil chateau last year and there was a young lady who gave us a tour, she was fab and did the tour in French and English. We saw artefacts from different periods of the chateau including official documents signed by Napoleon. In one of the rooms, there were old games set up for people to play whilst they visited and also lots of games set up on the lawn which we all enjoyed playing. It was a really interesting tour that I would definitely recommend if you are in the area.
Laser and Escape room Perigueux
I haven’t been and the website doesn’t tell us much but I think for laser quest there are 500 m² multi-levels. It looks like there’s are arcade games to play and also an escape room. In teams of 3 to 6 players, you will have 60 minutes to solve a series of puzzles and get out of the room in which you are locked in time.
Go Karting Piegut
There are 4 karting tracks at Karting Du Perigord. Suitable for children and adults from 7 years old. There are various karts and tracks, dependent on the age of the driver.
Rock Climbing Perigueux
Located in Perigueux, Antipode offers rock climbing walls in their sports centre. There is a climbing surface of 500 m², 150 blocks spread over 7 levels of difficulty with a monthly renewal of the passages. The climbing area is fully equipped with thick landing mats for maximum safety. The room is air-conditioned and suitable for children from 4 years old and adults. There is a cafe serving organic tea, coffee, hot chocolate and fruit juices.
Another one of the ideas to consider for days out around the North Dordogne is tree climbing. There are various great courses to go to. Some of them are:
Accro ‘Parc Périgord Vert Aventures is located in the north of Périgord, on the edge of the Nouailles pond in the Dordogne. There are various courses allowing you to tree climb and zip line your way through the park. Their courses are intended for people of all ages from 3 years old. Each course has its colour depending on the level: green, blue and red with heights between 3 and 9 metres. You can also hire a pedalo to go across the lake. There is a restaurant on site.
Accro Parc De Soyaux has various tree climbing routes depending on age and ability. We have visited and they measured the children to decide which course they could use so it was based on height, rather than age. They were also allowed to go around the course as many times as they liked. At the climbing area, there was also a bouncy castle the children could use included in the price and a cafe serving drinks and ice creams. They also have a mini-golf course, play park and a laser game area.
Arbor Parc in Saint Aulaye offers its tree-climbing courses with a zip line right on the beach of Saint-Aulaye, in the Périgord Vert. On lovely little islands, they are suitable for the whole family. Children can participate from 3 years old. No risk of stalling, since the courses are all equipped with a continuous lifeline. There is also a maxi zip line!
AccroZarbes in Laveyssière. For all ages from 3 years upwards. A sequence of 140 elements: scramble nets, suspended bridges, walkways, zip-lines, Tarzan swings, the “flying-skate”, the “Kamikaze-toboggan”. Work your way along the 3 hours of activity on 11 circuits, set amongst oak and pine trees, progress independently and at your own pace. Spend more time in the forest to discover the Pedal Ponies.
You can also go tree climbing at Poltrot which I mention further down.
Animal Park La Tour-Blanche
A little over 15 hectares, there are farm animals, forest animals and birds of prey at Le Parc Sauvage. They have feeding demonstrations and birds of prey demonstrations daily.
Arabian horses in Mareuil
Enjoy an afternoon tea at Les Deux Abbesses with an introduction to the horse: its evolution, its senses, its abilities and the needs of its species. Then the discovery of Arab thoroughbreds developing in natural conditions: meet them, touch them… Moving among Bedouin horses is an experience comparable to swimming with dolphins.
There are plenty of places you can go canoeing on days out around the North Dordogne; including Poltrot, Aubeterre-Sur-Dronne, Brantome and Renamon.
Snook Bowl Palace have 10 bowling alleys. For the little ones, they have light balls as well as launch pads. In addition, all of their tracks are equipped with “automatic bumpers” thus preventing the ball from going into the gutters. In the evening they have “Cosmic Bowling” with a fluorescent atmosphere and light shows.
Trampoline Park Perigueux
Fly Arena in Boulazac has 800 m² of trampoline area. There are 7 different jump zones to have fun while jumping, whether you are a beginner or an expert, big or small! You can bounce, play basketball, dodgeball, walk the wall or beams and play in the foam pit.
Caves in Brantome
We have visited the caves a few times now and Lucas loves it. It is the only cave in Perigord to have original prehistoric paintings and natural concretions. The Grotte Villars is one of Perigord’s largest underground networks with, up until today, about 13 km of explored ground. The underground river has dug enormous rooms linked to each other by passages. The infiltration waters have created fantastic natural scenery. During the guided tour, you can admire the impressive flows of calcite and fine stalactites, pools, translucent draperies and countless stalagmites.
Each vélorail can accommodate 5 people and if you have a baby, you can use their car seat. Pedal along an old railway with the route taking about 2 hours. I haven’t been here yet but will definitely be taking Lucas at some point.
Somewhere we visit on a regular basis on days out around the North Dordogne is Poltrot which is actually situated in the Charente department. They have a tree climbing course suitable for children and adults from 7 years old. There is a large maze to go around which has 2 courses you can follow, one where you look for water animals on signs and one where you look for forest animals on signs. If you find them all, the children will be given a little Poltrot badge at the end. There is a small beach area where you can paddle in the river and play on the sand or grass areas. There is also a play park which Lucas loves as it is like an obstacle course for him to climb through. You can take a picnic or use the restaurant on site.
Lac Jemaye has a nice beach area to relax and play. You can swim in the lake and also take part in some watersports activities. There are a couple of restaurants. You can play beach volleyball on a separate volleyball court and there are 2 children’s play areas for different age ranges.
There are some lovely river beaches including Poltrot, Lisle, Saint-Aulaye, Aubeterre-Sur-Dronne, Saint Estephe and Renamon.
Mini Golf Saint Paul Lizonne
An 18 hole mini-golf course, there are plenty of shaded areas as you go round as well as tables and chairs if you want to take your own snacks and rest along the way. It’s a very pretty area full of flowers and the course is well maintained. They also sell drinks and ice creams.
Soft play centres
You can’t go wrong with soft play centres! That’s why I had to include them in a post about days out around the North Dordogne.
Wakari in Perigueux is a 900m² indoor soft play area for 0 to 12 years old children. One zone reserved for the youngest ones (up to 6 years old): Ball pits, slides, ramps, for climbing and sliding, boxing bags, foam geometric shapes, trampoline, raised football pitch and a large Lego blocks construction area. One zone for children from 4 to 12 years old: 100 m² soft play area with many raised levels, a 4 lane ‘wave’ slide, climbing tower, black room, zip lines, balls pits, monkey bridge, roundabout, maze, raised multi-sports pitch. There is also a small mini karting area.
Toboggan et Cie in Angouleme is an indoor soft play area for children 1 to 12 years old. There is a section for children 1 to 3 and another section for children 3 to 12 years old. There are tubular structures, trampolines, slides, monkey bridges. Also, ball pools and giant Lego, a disco room and a toboggan run. When we went last year, they had an outside area open too for the children to play with water and drive cars around.
The Comic Museum, Angouleme
The Musée de la bande dessinée is a collection of more than 8,000 original drawings and over 110,000 magazines and comic books. The collection includes all the great names from Hergé who created Tintin and René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, the two men behind Asterix, as well as Elzie Segar who created Popeye. There are also comprehensive sections, devoted to American comic strips, including Peanuts and Marvel Comics. Children can also create their own comic book, which is a lot of fun and quite a hit with kids.
In the heart of Périgord, Bordeilles chateau will charm the art and history lover. Two châteaux, from different periods (Middle Ages and Renaissance), built on a rocky terrace enhanced by a rampart overlooking the Dronne. Discover rich furniture from the Renaissance château. Site classified Historical Monument and Major Site of Aquitaine.
Les Jardins Du Coq
Les Jardins du Coq are located between South Charente and Dordogne Périgord, near Aubeterre sur Dronne. They extend over 2 hectares in harmony with nature while respecting the environment and biodiversity. The walk begins with the rooms of greenery and the themed gardens then gradually opens towards a natural space and the lavender field to finally arrive towards the wild part near the pond and the wood of La Paloma. The museum presents private collections in an atmosphere reminiscent of 19th century cabinets of curiosities.
If you are thinking of travelling South West France or live here, check out my Facebook group Family days out South West France
What do you think of this list of days out around the North Dordogne? Have you visited any of them? Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!