Our suggestions for some attractions to visit...
Explore a Village/Town/Périgueux
Visit a Castle
Visit a Cave
Experience a French Market
Our suggestions for some activities to visit...
Go Canoeing or Kayaking
Try a Cable Water Park!!!
Go take a Hike!
Money to burn? Why not try Hot Air Ballooning
Visit a Water Park in Dordogne
There are many mixed use water parks in Dordogne. They are often referred to as ‘Plans d’eau’, ‘Étang’ or ‘Base de Loisirs’. The water parks detailed here are ones that we have visited several times and have picked for their different features and facilities. Our two favorite larger Étangs are located in La Jemaye and Rouffiac. Update: As of January 2017 La Jemaye was merged into the new commune La Jemaye-Ponteyraud.
Le Grand Étang de la Jemaye
Features and facilities
Located to the west of Périgueux is ‘Le Grand Étang de la Jemaye’. It features very large parking areas, silver sands beach, swimming surveillance, poste de Secours (Red Cross), welcome cabin with tourist information, two children’s play areas (each for different age groups), water activities, shop, nature center, fishing and beautiful scenic walks.
For eating and drinking there is a gastronomic restaurant/bar with dining terrace, two cafés serving reasonably priced (I really despise being a captive customer) meals, snacks, beverages and ice creams. There are lots of shady picnic spots, many with tables, scattered amongst the grand pine trees.
- Overall a very picturesque water park with nice walking routes.
- It had free use of canoes/kayaks when we last visited in summer 2018.
- It has all the facilities you would need.
- Reasonably priced restaurant and two cafes.
- Lots of places to relax, sun bathe and picnic etc.
- It can get quite busy in peak season, especially after lunch, so arrive early to get a good spot.
- Try to avoid going on a Saturday or Sunday.
- Leave the gîte at about 10 am and arrive for around 11 am. This should allow you to park quite close to the front (so you do not have far to walk with your picnic and beach stuff).
- In summer we freeze several bottles of mineral water for drinking as it melts and they also double up as ice packs for keeping our picnic nice and cool!
- Take sun hats if bathing on the sandy beach.
- We have large beach towels available to borrow if required.
Take the main road D6089 towards Périgueux direction, pick up the FREE section of the motorway A89/E70 at St-Laurent-sur-Manoire (Junction 16) and pull of at St-Astier (Junction 14). From St-Astier take the main road and head towards St-Andre-de-Double. You should then find plenty of signs directing you to the Étang.
Other things to see and/or do in the area
- St-Astier is a nice riverside village worthy of a visit.
- Market day is on Thursday morning.
- On a Thursday evening, in July and August, the restaurants around ‘Place d’Eglise’ get together to organise a concert that you can listen to whilst you dine alfresco.
- For lovely picnic spots stroll down to the rivers edge where you will find benches with attractive views over the river and an old stone bridge. Cross over the river and you can get some great views of the village.
- Explore the streets and in particular ‘rue de la Fontaine’ and ‘Place Gambetta’.
The water park can be visited at anytime of the year, however, certain facilities may be closed, so visit the official website www.dordogne.fr for more information and up-to-date opening times.
Base de Loisirs de Rouffiac
Features and facilities
Located to the north east of Périgueux is the ‘Base de Loisirs de Rouffiac’, which is also another very large mixed use water park of approximately 40 ha. It has a parking area, large silver sands beach, swimming surveillance, poste de secours (red cross), welcome cabin with tourist information, very funky children’s play area, fishing, walks and lots of activities such as the Aerial Adventure Park, Cable Water Park, Mountain Biking, Canoes and Pedal Boats.
For eating and drinking there is a Restaurant/Bar and a Café serving meals, snacks, beverages and ice creams. We visited out of season so it was closed, so I am not able to comment on the quality of food on offer or the pricing etc. There are lots of lovely places to picnic, but we chose the car park for convenience!
- This is probably the ultimate choice in Dordogne for water park activities, in particular the ‘Cable Water Park’ section, which is fascinating to watch if you don’t fancy giving it a try!
- It is an attractive water park with some lovely scenic walks. However, in my personal opinion I do not find it as attractive as Le Grand Étang de la Jemaye.
- Due to its large size it is less prone to over crowding in peak season.
- The children’s play area is a very funky creation.
- If you want to picnic on the sandy beach, it can be a bit of a hike from the car park, especially if you are carrying a heavy coolbox or a lot of picnic/beach gear etc.
- As above with the exception of the parking tip.
From the gîte, take the back roads to Fossemagne, where you will pick up the main road D6089. Turn left and continue until you pass thorough Thenon, Azerat and then arrive at La Bachellerie where you should change roads on to the D704. Continue along the D704 until you reach Malavaud, where you will change roads on to the D80. Continue along the D80 until you reach Chalard. From here you should then find signs directing you to the Base de Loisirs de Rouffiac.
Other things to see and/or do in the area
- En route is the charming village of Hautefort, where there are some trendy restaurants and shops. You are unlikely to miss the very very imposing hilltop ‘Chateau de Hautefort’.
- Just a few miles west of Hautefort is ‘Grotte de Tourtoirac’, where you can cool off for a bit!
- Not far from Rouffiac lake you can visit ‘Les Papeteries de Vaux’, previously a forge dating from the 17th century and converted into a paper mill in 1861. There is a 1 hour guided tour and children over 3 years old can take part in the workshops and learn how to make paper.
Base de Loisirs de Rouffiac can be visited at anytime of the year, however, certain facilities may be closed, so visit the official website https://www.rouffiac-loisirs.com for more information and up-to-date opening times.
In our opinion ‘Le Grand Étang de la Jemaye’ is a more picturesque Étang with a close walk to the beach. Where as ‘Base de Loisirs de Rouffiac’ has a much longer walk to the beach, but has far more water activities to participate in, or alternatively watch other people fail at ;-). In particular is the ‘Cable Water Park’ where people stand or kneel on a small surf board and are pulled around the waters surface on a type of ski cable lift, where they do various ariel stunts and jump off of ramps.