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Paris to Dordogne travel?

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My husband and I are planning a trip to France and Italy. We plan to fly to Paris, spend a few days there, and then we would love to go to someplace like the Dordogne. However, we aren't sure the best way to get there because from what Google says, it looks like it's almost 6 hours drive to get to places we want to explore like the Jardins de Marqueyssac and the Chateau de Beynac. So here are our questions:
1) Is there someplace near Paris where you can go outside of the city to explore castles, bike and canoe/kayak on a river that would be comparable to the Dordogne??
2) If not, is it worth the trip to explore those castles and canoe around the Dordogne River?
3) What's the best way to get there from Paris? We were thinking of taking a flight or train from Paris to Bergerac, but then we would still need transportation to get from there to where we want to stay and explore near the Jardins de Marqueyssac and the Chateau de Beynac. Renting a car after paying for train or plane tickets seems like it would get expensive, wouldn't it?
4) We have driven around the US Virgin Islands where they still drive on the left side of the road, but other than that, our driving experience has only been in the States. Since we aren't familiar with French roads and driving laws, is it feasible for us to rent a car and drive from Paris to the sites in the Dordogne like the Jardins de Marqueyssac and the Chateau de Beynac? Maybe it's not a big deal, we have just never driven in France before.
Thank you so much for your advice!!! : )

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