Antarctica & Arctic
Cycle through France's dramatic river valleys, mediaeval villages and past fairytale chateaux.
a Destinations d > France > Dordogne Gastronomic Self-Guided Cycling
Eight nights accommodation, all breakfasts and 8 gastronomic dinners, all luggage transfers, route notes and maps and local bike hire (e-bike can be requested at no additional cost).
Selected dates on request from 11 May 2017 - 24 Sep 2017.
The Dordogne is set apart by its dramatic scenery characterised by steep sided river valleys and ancient villages. Pedalling along the banks of the Dordogne and Vezere rivers, this self-guided route meanders down quiet lanes, through ancient woodland, magical villages and uncovers hidden chateaux. As an area known for exquisite cuisine, this trip is filled with gastronomic meals giving you a taste of the best local delicacies, while the excellent hotels offer swimming pools, local charm and comfort allowing you to completely unwind at the end of each day.
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Taste gastronomic cuisine.
Cycle through dramatic scenery.
Stay in excellent hotels throughout your stay.
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If you have arranged to join the transfer we will pick you up from Souillac train station and take you to your hotel. Souillac is a bustling town, with an impressive Benedictine abbey, good shops and an excellent mechanical toy museum. It is considered the gateway to the Dordogne and our hotel is right in the centre if you fancy a wander and pre-dinner aperitif.
There are two ride options today. The easier of today's choices takes you west along the Dordogne Valley, with the possibility of a lunch stop at the fabulous Chateau de Fenelon - there's a fine collection of armour, arms and objets d'art dating from 15th to 18th Century. The alternative, more challenging route, takes you across the river via Carlux, and on through lovely wooded countryside to the little village of Ste Nathalene. Either way, you'll arrive at our hotel which is set in 3 acres of pine woods overlooking the Sarlat Valley. Ride Approx. 35km or 37km depending on the route chosen.
Today is a free day to relax and the setting of the hotel lends itself perfectly to this. Alternatively, we recommend taking a trip into Sarlat itself. The capital of the Perigord Noir and snugly nestled between the Dordogne and Vezere rivers, Sarlat is almost too pretty to be true. This was the old regional capital. The Vieux Quartier is an astonishingly beautiful jumble of widely varying architectural styles, and virtually all pre-17th Century. A self-guided historical audio walk is available from the tourist office, and there's a lively market on a Wednesday and Saturday. If you are feeling a little more energetic you could also cycle to Domme, a fantastically positioned bastide town set on the banks of the Dordogne against a backdrop of wooded hills, or La Roque-Gageac, spectacularly nestled within a cliff, with a vertical drop down to the Dordogne valley. Picturesque alleyways and a mix of simple farmers' dwellings alongside noble residences lead you to the village church built into the rock face. If these options take your fancy then the details are provided in the route notes. Optional Ride approx.33km
You have a choice of routes again today. You can either head west, cross country, through the rich green rolling countryside of the Perigord Nord to the village of Meyrals with its traditional Perigourdine houses. The alternative route takes you down to the Dordogne river taking in Beynac with its impressive fortified castle. It is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, its cobbled streets and squares are still home and workplace to many artisan and craftsmen, and there are lots of hidden galleries. The ride then continues along the banks of the river to St Cyprien, this lively village with its 12th Century abbey is a great lunch stop. Your final stretch takes you up through wooded glades and past the Roc de Cazelle troglodyte cave village and on to the prehistoric capital, Les Eyzies. Our hotel here is set in lovely tranquil gardens and has a private swimming pool. Ride Approx. 30 or 45km depending on the route chosen.
Les Eyzies is waiting to be explored and today you have the day off the bikes to make the most of this popular village. Set in the heart of Perigord, standing proudly between the imposing cliffs and the Vezere gorge, Les Eyzies receives over 600,000 visitors a year. Renowned for its gastronomy and prehistory, the village and the surrounding area offer a wealth of hidden caves, prehistoric art and archaeological treasures. The honeycombed shelters and caves transport you back in time to when men once lived and practised magic within the caves. If you choose to take the circular ride it will then take you through the magnificent Vezere Gorges and back via the Abri du Cap Blanc where you'll find the only remaining frieze of prehistoric sculptures in the world open to the public. Option Ride approx. 29km
This morning starts with a fabulous freewheel down to the Vezere river and on to visit La Roque St Christophe, containing five floors of caves in terraces. It is the oldest and largest cave site in western Europe, providing shelter over the centuries from marauding Vikings, persecuting Catholics in the Wars of Religion, to hiding places for the Marquis from occupying German forces in World War II. The ride will then continue onto the pretty village of St Leon with its charming 12th Century church and lovely riverside picnic spots. The afternoon then offers easy cycling to Auriac-du-Perigord where our hotel offers a warm welcome, wonderful food, a lovely pool and walled rose garden. It is a true hidden gem! Ride approx. 31km or 37km.
Today is free to explore the pretty mediaeval village of Montignac. We suggest wandering up to the ruined chateau, once a fortress owned by the counts of Perigord. There is little left of the actual building as it is said that locals used the stone to build their own houses, but the site offers fantastic views. It is then worth heading off to the nearby Lascaux II caves, ranked as the number one prehistoric site in Europe. Discovered in 1940 by four children looking for their dog, the caves display an amazing collection of more than 1500 cave paintings. What you visit now is a life size replica cave as the original was closed in 1963 to protect the 20,000 year old original. Once you have had a good look around you can return to the tranquility of the hotel, its gardens, shaded verandas, swimming pool and sun terrace which are perfect for relaxing and soaking up the summer sun. Option Ride approx. 16km
Your ride will head first via the tiny farming village of St-Amand-de-Coly with its impressive abbey and on through wooded glades to Salignac. From here, we recommend a short detour to the Manoir d'Eyrignac, its impressive 18th Century gardens are rated the best in France. The cycling is then lovely and flat through open country, past chestnut groves, maize fields and masses of sunflowers, perhaps stopping off at charming St Genies with its 14th Century chapel. Roll on through traditional Perigord villages such as Eyvignes and Eybenes, worth making a brief stop for the church and manor, before heading down into the Borreze valley. We will then return to Souillac. If you have time then you may wish to make a visit to Vieille Prune Distillery. Ride Approx. 49 or 56km depending on route chosen.
We have arranged for a transfer back to the train station. See the joining information for more details.
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