Day 1: Arrive Souillac
Souillac is a bustling town, with an impressive Benedictine abbey, good shops and an excellent mechanical toy museum. Our hotel, with swimming pool, is right in the centre if you fancy a wander and pre-dinner aperitif.
Day 2: Souillac to Sarlat 35km/22mi or 37km/23mi
The easier of today's choices takes you west along the Dordogne Valley, with the possibility of a lunch stop at the fabulous Cheteau de Fenelon - there's a fine collection of armour, arms and objets d'art dating from C15 to C18. The longer route is more challenging, taking 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 sss hotel which is set in 3 acres of pine woods overlooking the Sarlat Valley.
Day 3: At Sarlat
This was the old regional capital. The Vieux Quartieris an astonishingly beautiful jumble of widely varying architectural styles, and virtually all pre-17C. A self-guided historical audio walk is available from the tourist office, and there's a lively market on a Wednesday and Saturday. You could also cycle to Domme or La Roque-Gageac - we provide you with route notes.
Day 4: Sarlat to Les Eyzies 28km/17mi or 43km/27mi
You have a choice of routes again today. You either head west cross country through the rich green rolling countryside of the Perigord Nord to the village of Meyrals (traditional Perigourdine houses), or head down to the Dordogne taking in Beynac with its impressive fortified castle. Then along the banks of the river to lively St Cyprien - good 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.
Day 5: At Les Eyzies
The steep limestone cliffs surrounding the village are honeycombed with shelters and caves where prehistoric man once lived and practised magic. Our circular cycling route takes 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. Or spend the day canoeing or kayaking down the gentle Vezere River.
Day 6: Les Eyzies to Montignac 24km/15mi or 30km/19mi
A fabulous freewheel down to the Vezere river and on to visit La Roque St Christophe - the oldest and largest cave site in western Europe - and the pretty village of St Leon with its charming C12 church and lovely riverside picnic spots. An easy afternoon cycle to Montignac where Isabelle and Vincent Nourisson offer a warm welcome, wonderful food, lovely pool and walled rose garden. A true hidden gem!
Day 7: At Montignac
Explore the pretty mediaeval village, perhaps wandering up to the ruined chateau, before 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 offer an amazing collection of paintings and are well worth a visit. Back at the hotel, the gardens, shaded verandas, swimming pool and sun terrace are perfect for relaxing and soaking up the summer sun.
Day 8: Montignac to Souillac 48km/30mi or 55km/34mi
Starting out, you head first via the tiny farming village of St-Amand-de-Coly (impressive abbey) and on through wooded glades to Salignac. From here, we'd recommend a short detour to the Manoir d'Eyrignac whose impressive C18 gardens are rated the best in France. Then lovely flat cycling through open country passing chestnut groves, maize fields and masses of sunflowers, perhaps stopping off at charming St Geni's with it's C14 chapel. Roll through traditional Perigord villages such as Eyvignes and Eybenes (church and manor worth a stop), before heading down into the Borreze valley. Back in Souillac, if time, perhaps visit the Vieille Prune Distillery.
Day 9: Leave Souillac
You leave the hotel after breakfast