Local Walks – Le Canal de Lalinde, Dordogne, France

This is the first in a series of blogs on walks and/or cycling routes in and around the gite in Lanquais, or within a short drive.

While the river Dordogne is the prominent water course here, it is not easy to find a decent walkable stretch in this area.

However you can enjoy a number of walks along the Canal of Lalinde, which is a 15 kilometer long body of water running parallel to the Dordogne river, from the village of Mauzac in the East, through Sauveboeuf, Lalinde, Port-de-Couze, St Capraise-de-Lalinde, and ending in Tuilières in the West.

Canal de Lalinde

Foot bridge at Lalinde

About the Canal

It was built between 1837 and 1844, to allow transport of goods to Bergerac, avoiding the natural hazards (rocks and rapids), industrial buildings and traditional activities taking place along the river. There is a series of what are described as “spectacular and remarkable” locks, of which there are 9 in total. For those interested in historical buildings and architecture, there are 7 bridges and 5 lock-keepers’ cottages and dovecotes. A list of the notable historical buildings is provided at the end of the blog.

Walks and Cycle Routes

Most of the canal length is flanked by footpaths or minor roads, with bridges enabling circular walks of both short and longer distances.

Wider basins at St Capraise-de-Lalinde, Port de Couze, Lalinde and Mauzac provide tree-shaded picnic tables for walkers to pause and enjoy some refreshment.  The market town of Lalinde, mid-way along the canal, provides parking, shops, restaurants and bars.

My Walk – From Lalinde Eastwards

I enjoy this particular canal walk because it is set away from the main road, and the Dordogne itself is wide and interesting. Take the D703 eastbound out of Lalinde, over the canal bridge and park here. You can either walk back into Lalinde (West) for a 2 km circular walk, or head in the direction of Mauzac (East) for an 8 km circular walk, which is what I did.

The path here is exclusively for walkers and cyclists, set above the canal and lined with trees which provide welcome shade in the heat of summer. One safety note – If you let your dog off leash, just be aware of the short stretch where you are alongside the little used, but unfenced, railway line.

Here it is rural, yet magnificent, surrounded by hillsides and with the Dordogne river rolling past on the far side of the canal. Benches are provided at regular intervals for just sitting and watching.


During my walks, I encounter other walkers, usually with dog(s), and some cyclists, but it is rarely busy. Most people are very friendly, passing the time of day and, as is often the case when accompanied by a dog, asking about name, breed, age etc. Just be aware of the cyclists coming from behind if your dog is off leash and is in the chasing business …. I speak from personal experience!

Sauvebeouf to Mauzac

The first village along this part of the walk is Sauvebeouf, although the path bypasses the village itself. There is a bridge here, where you can cross and return to base if you want to shorten the walk. Otherwise, cross the bridge and continue along the pathway on the Southside of the canal, past the sprawling but uninteresting Detention Centre and on towards the imposing EDF barage, which provides electricity to towns and villages in the region.

Mauzac – Destination

Cross over the next bridge, and the pathway then widens out to the beautiful and serene basin at Mauzac which also features a magnificent railway bridge. Mauzac has a number of restaurants but if you wish to eat do check beforehand that they are open for the date and time of your visit. In the summer, it is highly advisable to book to ensure that you can be accommodated.

Canal de Lalinde

After you have explored the pretty village and enjoyed a rest watching the swans, you can choose to return on the other side of the canal if you wish.

I hope this gives you some insights to the walks along the canal and that you have a chance to check them out for yourself during your French holiday.

List of Historical Architecture

From upstream to downstream the manmade highlights are:
• the Mauzac site (lock, supply aqueduct and lock house)
• the aqueduct and overflow bridge of the Tuilerie de Villeneuve
• the Lalinde basin and its lock
• the Port-de-Couze basin
• the Borie-Basse lock at Baneuil
• the small canal bridge of Saint-Capraise-de-Lalinde
• the Saint-Capraise-de-Lalinde parking area
• the dry dock of Saint-Capraise-de-Lalinde (a place called Tuilières )
• the Tuilières site in Mouleydier (small basin, locks and Tuilières dam )

Mauzac Basin