£2,475.00 per person*
($3,341.25 USD or $4,801.50 AUD)
£495.00 single room supplement
15th Aug to 21st Aug 2021
19th Jun to 25th Jun 2022
“Dear Ruth, Carole and I recently returned from our Dordogne Tour and wanted to let you know that we really enjoyed the trip – even better than lasts year's tour in Provence, though it too was heavenly. The Dordogne tour was in all respects PERFECT!"
-- Eva, Pearland, TX USA
Prehistoric art at Lascaux and Les Eyzies
Join us for this cycling tour in France. All you have to do is pedal
Pickups are from Brive-la-Gaillarde
Return to Souillac
Pick ups are from Brive-la-Gaillard station (direct trains from Paris Austerlitz and Toulouse). By arrangement we can also collect Brive airport.
Return are to Souillac station (direct trains to Paris Austerlitz and Toulouse).
For the recreational cyclist who feels comfortable riding between 40 km and 60 km a day. The terrain can vary between flat, rolling and climbs of a few kilometers in length. This type of tour would be ideal for someone who has a good level of cycling fitness and who enjoys riding for riding’s sake!View Gallery
The Dordogne is a region immersed in the past. The caves of Lascaux are home to some of the finest examples of pre-historic art and the area is dotted with Cro-magnon caves and settlements. The area, known to the French as the Périgord, changed hands between England and France several times during the hundred years war resulting in the building of many bastides or fortified villages. The village of Rocamadour was an important waypoint for pilgrims making the long journey to Santiago de Compostella and there are many fine medieval churches along the route of our Dordogne cycling tour.
In addition to this wealth of history the area is blessed by its stunning landscapes of rivers and cliffs, hills and fields of sunflowers and tobacco. The medieval villages are built from golden limestone with the steeply pitched roofs typical of the region. The rich countryside is reflected in the cuisine of the region, famous for its duck and goose dishes, including the celebrated fois gras, its truffles and its cheeses. The area also has its own wine appellations, from the light and fruity Bergerac and Pecharmont in the north to the dark and powerful Cahors in the south.
Our itinerary has been created to show off the best of this varied and fascinating region. The rugged countryside is reflected in the itinerary, but the route of the Dordogne cycling tour has been designed to ensure that each day’s riding will be manageable (and rewarding!) for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.
*All itineraries are samples and may slightly differ*
Transfers are from Brive-la-Gaillarde. Our hotel in Aubas overlooks fields of deer and sheep running down to the River Vézère and here we make sure everybody is fitted with their bikes; a limbering up ride will take us to the village of Montignac, with buildings dating from the fourteenth century, and the new visitor centre housing the fantastic Lascaux Caves exhibition, where cave art representing the prehistoric civilisation of 15,000–20,000 years ago is hauntingly displayed in a new high-tech installation. Afterwards we head back to the hotel where a quick swim in the pool before dinner might be enticing. Dinner is at the hotel where we will look forward to the week ahead.
Our first full day in the saddle takes into the heart of prehistoric Perigord. The road leads along the River Vézère, past the magnificent Château de Losse to the pretty village of Saint-Léon, a fitting place to stop for a coffee. The next stop on our journey is Roque St-Christophe, a fascinating site of dwellings carved from the cliff face dating back to Roman times and beyond. After lunch we follow the River Vézère as it meanders downstream towards its confluence with the Dordogne.
A little climbing brings us to the village of Meyrals and thence to our secluded farmhouse hotel in the Dordogne countryside. You are treated to a home cooked meal tonight from our lovely welcoming hosts!
Total distance: 47km
Today is one of the busier days on our Dordogne cycling tour! We descend to the river Dordogne at the pretty town of Saint-Cyprien, with its 12th C Abbey-Church. Crossing the Dordogne, we stay on the south side of the river, following the Dordogne to a visit of Chateau des Milandes ( former home to Josephine Baker, the chateau’s most famous resident). Francois de Caumont, original owner of the castle, had the chateau des Milandes built in the 15th century for his young wife, who found his original 12th century Chateau Castelnaud rather cold and unwelcoming, (Nothing to do with the English who had control of the castle in the Hundred years war.!) Time permitting, after leaving Chateau Milandes you can make the comparison yourself to make the steep climb to the Castelnaud. From its battlements you can gaze across the river to the Chateau de Beynac, its French-held counterpart., standing on a cliff overlooking the village — the castle is protected by the 150 metre sheer drop to the river below. After a breathtaking descent, we climb to visit the bastide town of Domme. The hill-top bastides were built during the 100 Years War as fortified strongholds, built in a grid pattern around a central square. Many of them changed hands several times from English to French control and back again.
In the afternoon we cross back to the north, following rolling backroads into the regional capital, the stunning town of Sarlat. One of the best-preserved medieval centres in France, the golden limestone used for the buildings gives the town a wonderfully warm atmosphere. We stay either 1km outside of town or in town depending on the time of the year.
Total distance: 40-44km
Tonight we are staying in Sarlat again, so there is no need to pack up. There are 2 options today. One can stay in Sarlat and head back to the hotel at their leisure or take a short ride back to the Dordogne and enjoy a canoe trip downstream, passing through the beautiful town of la Roque Gageac and floating by the chateaux of Castelnaud and Beynac (which has been used as a backdrop to many movies set in medieval times, including Chocolat! ) After canoeing, depending on timing we can either take the short route back to Sarlat or a longer route through Beynac. We dine in town again tonight.
Total distance 36km
We leave Sarlat taking advantage of the network of reclaimed railway track now turned into smooth traffic free cycleways. We then cross the river to pick up some un-trafficked roads on the south side of the river, heading upstream to the market town of Souillac for lunch by the Romanesque Abbey-Church. The remarkable carvings on the church are well-worth a closer look, and a stop for coffee. A few kilometres after Souillac we reach Lacave. At Lacave we leave the river and head south, climbing through dramatic countryside to our overnight stop at Rocamadour. This spectacular village on the River Alzou has been a place of pilgrimage since the 10th Century, and above the town in the hillside is the Cité Réligeuse, where there are seven chapels.
Total distance: 54km
On our last day of the cycling tour we descend from the limestone plateau on which Rocamadour sits, and arrive at one of the highlights of the tour, the Gouffre de Padirac, a 75m chasm leading to a river flowing 103m underground. The underground journey is taken by boat and on foot. After descending to the river at the fabulous village of Carrenac, a UNESCO listed site, we rejoin the valley of the Dordogne and turn West towards our final destination in the village of Lacave, where our stunning hotel awaits with an enticing swimming pool and a spectacular gourmet restaurant!
Total distance: 47km
Breakfast at the hotel is a hearty affair, and there is a chance to swap e-mail contacts before we make our way home. Returns are to Souillac for direct trains to Paris.
Not all cycle vacations are the same. Compare what is included in a French Cycling Holidays bike tour:
We try to include as much as we can within the price, while keeping things as flexible as possible. With the explosion of low cost airlines and the easy access to the TGV rail system from the UK, we believe that it is more economical and convenient for customers to arrange their own travel to the region. Links to the airlines and railway companies can be found in frequently asked questions.
We provide the transfers to and from the local airports and the nearest TGV stations, and other locations by arrangement. If you have driven down, we arrange secure parking for your car and return you to it after the tour.
We stay in very comfortable hotels, mostly 3*, occasionally 4*, and very occasionally superior 2* hotels which we choose if they have charm and comfort above their rating. All rooms have en-suite shower or bath facilities.
We select our hotels for their character as well as their facilities, and avoid chains in favour of independent privately run hotels.
Prices are based on two sharing in twin or double rooms. Singles are available on request. Where possible, we choose hotels with swimming pools as there is nothing quite like a dip after a day in the saddle!
It is sometimes necessary to change accommodation for reasons of room availability, minor adjustments to the route or upgrading the hotels. We will always endeavour to use hotels of an equal or higher level of comfort/facilities to those shown – please contact us to check for the most up-to-date information regarding your particular tour.
All evening meals are included, and we carefully select the restaurants for cuisine and ambience, and favour those with a strong regional flavour.
All meals include a starter, main course and dessert, some will have an additional cheese course. We are happy to arrange for our restaurants to cater for specific dietary requirements and allergies etc. Fine wine (or soft drink alternative) with all evening meals and coffee to follow.
We do not include lunch, as the costing of these is beyond our control, but where route and weather allow we organise picnics; these feature copious salads, cold meats, cheeses, crusty bread, fruits, etc, and a choice of drinks; we ask for a contribution for the costs of the consumables, which usually works out at 10 or 11 euros per person per picnic. Where route or weather does not allow a picnic, we recommend suitable cafés and bistros.
We provide lightweight alloy framed Trek ‘hybrid’ touring bicycles with 27 indexed gears, our guides will generally be on hand to fix punctures and minor mechanical problems and carry pump, tubes etc.
For carrying the items you might need during the day (camera, wallet, windbreaker etc.) we fit a capacious handlebar bag which also features a large map pocket. These clip on and off the bike in a flash so that you can always take your valuables with you when off the bike.
The bikes are meticulously maintained and we keep a wide range of sizes; female specific saddles are also available. We do not provide helmets automatically, as we find people prefer their own if they want to wear one, and sizing and fit is quite personal; however we always have helmets available for use. We also carry rain-capes should they be required (but hopefully not!).
For nearly all of our tours an e-bike - electrically assisted bicycle - is an extra-cost option. These bikes apply a 'multiplier' to the level of input provided by the rider, the level of assistance can be adjusted for the terrain. This can be useful if members of your party have very different levels of bike-fitness and experience, as hills that look daunting suddenly become easy with an e-bike.
Please contact us for details.
There will be two guides on every tour; one cycling with the group and one in the minibus which will follow the group. The bus carries all luggage not required for the day's ride and will always be available for anyone at any point during the day. If for instance you want to take a day off the bike, or if a particular day seems a little hard, the bus will take you for as long or as little as you wish it to.
Everybody is provided with detailed route maps for each day, and both guides are easily contactable by mobile phone. The guides are enthusiastic experts on the local area and will be able to sort out any problems or special requests that you might have.
A simply stunning hotel set in grounds with pool and tennis court, parts of the Château date from the 13th Century. A gourmet restaurant complements this gem, a perfect setting to round off the tour.
An ancient farm complex has been painstakingly restored to provide an oasis of calm in the rolling hills of the Dordogne. A very different kind of hotel experience, after a dip in the infinity pool you will be welcomed by Michel and Josiane for a home cooked dinner made with regional specialities.
A typical perigourdine chartreuse (manor house) has been transformed into a beautiful hotel, set in extensive wooded grounds, minutes away from the hustle and bustle of medieval Sarlat. The 4* Moussidière has all modern amenities like wi-fi and air conditioning whilst keeping the charm of its old stonework. A swimming pool is a pleasant bonus in the heat of the summer.
An authentic 4 star establishment situated in the heart of the old town. Located at the entrance of the medieval city with its listed monuments, markets and shops, numerous restaurants, street shows and performances.
The Beau Site was formerly the Capitanerie of the Knights of Malta in the later middle ages. Now it is a charming 3 star hotel, retaining all the history of its ancient walls. In the heart of Rocamadour, the hotel’s stunningly situated restaurant overlooks the Alzou gorge where the local specialities of Quercy lamb and Rocamadour goats cheese feature highly on the menu.
Set in a stunning location on the River Ouysse, this charming 3 star hotel is the perfect place to start our tour. Starting life as a medieval farmhouse, space has been reclaimed from the cliffs overlooking the river to create a wonderful inn. With a swimming pool for hot days, it's crowning glory is its Michelin starred restaurant!
Below we answer all the most common questions that you might ask before choosing a French Cycling Holidays cycling tour. If you have any further questions then please get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.
Anybody who is reasonably active should be able to take part and enjoy our cycling tours in France.
The tours have different levels of physical exertion — whilst the Loire Valley tours and Bordeaux tour are easy going; the Normandy, Provence Roman Heritage, and Burgundy tours are a little more strenuous, whilst and the Provence Lubéron, Dordogne and Languedoc tours require a reasonable level of fitness.
For nearly all of our cycling tours an e-bike - electrically assisted bicycle - is an extra-cost option. These bikes apply a 'multiplier' to the level of input provided by the rider, the level of assistance can be adjusted for the terrain. This can be useful if there are members of your party have very different levels of bike-fitness and experience, as hills that look daunting suddenly become easy with an e-bike. Contact us via the contact page if you would like more details.
The Sports tours are aimed at enthusiast cyclists who might want to bring their own road bikes. However, the rides are not races and there is no time limit - and there is always the minibus if things get too tough!
We would nevertheless recommend that anyone who has not taken any regular exercise for some time to consult their doctor before considering any activity based holiday. Bear in mind that a little regular riding before coming on a cycling vacation will always be a benefit to the experience.
We pick up and drop off from the nearest international airports and TGV/railway stations to the start of each tour. (We can drop at a nearer airport or station by arrangement if more convenient for you and logistically possible). This gives everyone the option of making their way by the most economical or convenient means. The major options are:
Ryanair flies into following airports:
Nimes (for the Provence tours and Languedoc tours; Ryanair also fly out of Beziers and Montpellier for the Languedoc tour); Bergerac (for the Bordeaux tour), Dinard for the Normandy tour, Grenoble for Alpine trips and Pau (for the Classic Cols tour)
Ryanair operates out of Liverpool, London Stansted and London Luton Airports amongst others.
Easyjet flies into Montpellier (for the Provence tours) and out of Bordeaux (for the Bordeaux tour); it flys into Geneva and Lyon for Alpine tours and also out of Nice for the Alpine Raid.
British Airways prices can be reasonable if booked in advance — BA fly into Bordeaux for train transfers to Bergerac (Bordeaux tour), and Marseilles (Provence tours).
If we do not pick up from the airport itself, we will advise on rail connections from the airport to our pick-up points.
The TGV can be an exceptionally quick way of reaching many French destinations from the UK and from Paris for those flying from overseas or UK regions.
The Eurostar SNCF (French National Railways) TGV websites may be useful. As a guide, London St Pancras to Avignon via TGV takes approximately 6½ hours; Tours takes 4 hours. From Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, the point of arrival for most intercontinental flights, Tours is 1½ hours by TGV, Avignon (for Provence) just over 3 hours.
Brive-la-Gaillarde is 4 hours from Paris by rail for the Dordogne tour. We are more than happy to advise on rail options — please contact us. Internet sales from the French SNCF site ( www.voyages-sncf.com sites are possible but are in French; the approved agency for the US and Canada is RailEurope ; however we are happy to advise and help with the French website.
This may be a good choice if your French Cycling Holiday is part of a longer stay. We will arrange secure parking for your car at or near our first hotel, and return you to your car at the end of the trip. (Note - this service may not be available on certain long distance sports tours - please check with us). The major ferry and crossing companies from the UK are Eurotunnel, P&O, Brittany Ferries, LD Lines, Speedferries and SeaFrance.
If it is more convenient for you to hire a car Europcar in our experience have the best rates for rentals where the drop-off is at a different location to the pickup.
However you choose to travel, we are very happy to help you sort out your itinerary.
Pedals are obviously fairly important on a cycling tour! We stock the following kinds:
Flat – i.e. no special cleats or grips, these pedals can be used with any kind of footwear. If you do not regularly use special pedals or cycling shoes, we recommend standard trainers/sneakers to wear while riding.
SPD/flat – we also have pedals with one side flat and one side an SPD cleat. This is the standard Shimano SPD compatible system; two bolts and the small cleat pictured on the shoe with the yellow sole. These cleats are ideal for cycling tours as the cleat is usually recessed into the bottom of the shoe. The pedals are visible to the right of the picture.
Flats with cages – we have a small number of flat pedals with cages & straps – again if you are not used to this, we wouldn’t recommend starting a tour with them!
Other – we do NOT stock any other pedal systems. If you use any other kind of pedal, you are very welcome to bring your own and our guides can fit them to your bike for the week. However, we would advise against racing-style pedals such as the Look Keo, Shimano SPD-SL or similar, as these tend to have a large, protruding cleat on the sole of the shoe which makes walking around visits or lunch stops (or even nipping into a public toilet!) quite uncomfortable and dangerous. Sports tours are a little different as there are much longer days and less off-the-bike walking – a choice is ultimately up to you though!
We are happy for anyone to bring their own bikes. However, the budget airlines charge around £50 each way and packing and carriage can be a hassle. Our Trek bikes are of a high standard, and our customers usually express pleasant surprise at the quality of the machines, so it might be a better option to bring your saddle and/or pedals which we will be very happy to fit. In any case there will always be a backup bike should you have a mechanical problem. Please feel free to call us for advice on bike transportation.
The main thing that people who are not regular distance cyclists worry about is a sore behind. This is not as is popularly thought due to too-hard saddles, but friction between skin and garments. This is why professional cyclists wear skin-tight lycra shorts with padded inserts. Many people feel a bit self-conscious in this sort of gear and your local cycle shop will have a range of padded undershorts which can be worn under normal clothing, or regularly styled shorts with sewn-in padded liners. Otherwise, lightweight comfortable clothing (tee-shirts, shorts, trainers) is ideal, with something warmer like a fleece just in case. As we will be dining well, you might like to take something presentable (but not formal — no-one on a French Cycling Holiday stands on ceremony!) for the evening meal.
As well as being an active holiday, sampling the best that France has to offer, we believe that our trips should be an opportunity to meet people and make new friends. Our groups are limited to a maximum of 16, which is the largest number that we can give a personal service to, and a minimum of 6 people, which we feel is the number needed to achieve a group spirit. If we cannot achieve this number, we may cancel the tour giving a minimum of five weeks notice.
We time our tours so that the weather should be ideal for cycling for each tour. For that reason we have our Provence and Languedoc tours in the late spring and early autumn, rather than in high summer when it can be too hot to cycle comfortably after 10 a.m. The Loire Valley, Dordogne, Bordeaux and Burgundy tours are more temperate, which is why we concentrate these tours in July and August. We cannot guarantee the weather, but it would be very unlucky to have more than one wet day on any of the tours.
There is no specific upper age limit — the only constraint is a reasonable level of fitness. Children between 10 and 16 are welcome as part of family groups. We do not recommend these tours for children under 10.
We require all participants to have travel insurance with full medical cover. It is part of the conditions of our tours that participant should provide evidence of suitable cover. If you have any questions about the cover required please contact us for advice.
In accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Tours Regulations 1992” customers of French Cycling Holidays Limited will be indemnified in respect of their net ascertained financial loss sustained arising from the cancellation or curtailment of the declared trip travel arrangements arising solely from the event of the financial failure of French Cycling Holidays Limited.
This insurance has been arranged by Towergate Chapman Stevens through Hiscox Insurance Company Limited.
"This is our second holiday with FCH, outstanding! A brilliant experience, from a cycling, cultural, culinary and social perspective”
Mike & Julie, Australia , August 2019
“A great cycling tour – we were challenged athletically, immersed in French culture, exposed to great natural beauty, endless ancient architecture, and learned about a deep, rich history.”
John, Burr Ridge, Illinois
“Clive and Craig could not have been more professional and accommodating. They each displayed good humor and friendliness throughout the trip. Clive even taught me how to count to 100 in French! Merci!”
Lindsay, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
“Wonderful – thank you for such professionalism and support. Everything was as smooth as could be; when we needed water, our bottles were filled, when we arrived at hotels, our luggage was waiting. All sightseeing tours were incredible. But the very best thing, by far – the delicious picnic lunches with beautiful people, incredible scenery, and unbelievably good food.”
Susan, Burr Ridge, Illinois
“Our trip was unforgettable in such a good way. Graeme and Janice were so poitive, energetic and knowledgeable. Even when it rained we still had an amazing time riding the town; they made us feel comfortable, informed and always gave us choices and backup plans. We highly recommend this tour and our guides – thank you!”
Mark and Kathleen Embry, Austin, Texas
“All the hotels were beautifully chosen; the food was nice, the bikes were comfortable and we were kept updated on the schedule. Janice & Graham were fantastic.”
Kim Babcock, Cochrane, Alberta, Canada