Dordogne Valley Bike Trips

Bordeaux & the Dordogne Bike Trips

On this page, you will find...

If you would like to see a map of our different French routes, it is here.
And, for a comparison of our Dordogne Valley route with our other French trips, see here.



Picturebook scenery, turbulent history, and the ultimate hedonistic gastronomy combine in a river valley that today is an exercise in harmony.  From cavemen to merlot, religious wars to roast duck with sour cherries, the caressing of the senses is constant.

Fortified castles look down from hilltops – or maybe you do, watching the lazy bends of the river stretch before you in the summer haze. 

Towns and bridges harmoneously blend into the hills, built as they are of the same stone. 

Flocks of silky geese surround idyllic farm houses.  Picnic tables nestle in bends in the river.

Our ride follows the Dordogne from the wine towns of Libourne and St-Emilion to the national monument that is Sarlat and the abbey town of Souillac, detouring up the Vézère Valley on the way, for a look at Lascaux and the fortified abbey at St-Amand-de-Coly.


The following trips visit the Dordogne Valley:

Roman Roads of France & Italy (4 weeks)
Visits France (Bordeaux & the Dordogne, the Cévennes, Provence), and Italy (Tuscany)

Tour de France (3 weeks)
Visits Bordeaux & the Dordogne plus two other French regions

Rivers & Canyons (2 weeks)
Visits Bordeaux & the Dordogne followed by the Cévennes

Harvest Time on the Red Wine Roads (2 weeks)
Couples Southern Burgundy with Bordeaux & the Dordogne, for a harvest season ride in the world’s most famous red wine regions

France & Italy Trips (2 weeks)
Visits Bordeaux & the Dordogne and one region in Italy
— 2017 departures do not include the Dordogne

Bordeaux & the Dordogne follows this itinerary exclusively
Departure dates and prices are in the “Facts & Figures” table, below

Our Cycle Trips

Overview Map
of the places we stage trips


Departure Calendar
of our scheduled trips


Trips by Length / Title


 
 
 
 
 
or...
Short Trips from Paris
 

What's Included
...
...in the Trip Cost


Additional Services...
...which you can add to your trip.


Other Trips We Offer

 

Day-by-Day Itinerary:
  Bordeaux & the Dordogne
Day of the Week
Description
Typical distances, in km
Saturday
Access Packagesubscribers, and riders connecting from another of our trips:
TRAIN to LIBOURNE
If arriving by plane, start by stretching back to your former height.  Then head to our office to dump luggage, pick up train tickets, say “Hi....”  Blink a few times at the busy city, and then catch the train to Libourne, a wine-shipping town just north of Bordeaux.   A pleasant, 180 mph journey on France’s famous T.G.V.

Everyone:
TRIP MEETING, WARM-UP CYCLE in the VINEYARDS
Your trip Coordinator, and your bike, meet you at the Libourne station.  Off across the vineyards with whomever arrived by your train, on the short cycle to St-Emilion.  Since the whole group has not reliably assembled this evening, one of the route’s two independent dinners is usually scheduled for tonight (but we have a favorite wine bar we often go to...).
15 k
Sunday
VINEYARDS of ST-EMILION and POMEROL
Adjust to the bikes at your own pace.  Wend your way past the famous wine properties of the region - Cheval Blanc, Petrus, and the rest.  Neighboring Pomerol is only a few kilometers away.  The possibilities are endless.

Get lost on teeny roads with no cars in sight and nothing but manicured vineyards and an occasional café on the horizon.  Perhaps end up back in St-Emilion later that day... perhaps.  Actually, getting home is a good idea, if only to leave yourself time for the splendid church, hollowed out of a large rock.  Or for a glass of the local grape juice on the pretty town square before dinner.
20 - 60 k
Monday
BATTLEFIELDS and FORTRESSES
More vineyards, more small villages, still no cars:  vacation.  The roads roll a bit and you can find a real hill or two if you don’t watch out (note to non-French speakers... towns with “Mont” as part of the name are on the tops of the things).

Today’s route takes us through Castillon-la-Bataille, where the 100 Years’ War came to an end, and the British retreated to 500 years of overcooked vegetables....  Dig for battle souvenirs, or just wander through the beautiful French market that Castillon hosts on Monday mornings, and gawk at the odd things you can still buy in rural France.  When lunch time rolls around, join the market workers in the local bar for some
escargots bordelais (snails in red wine).  Or don't.

We cross the Dordogne river and follow it to Ste-Foy-la-Grande, a quirky “bastide:”  an old fortress town and Protestant stronghold during the Wars of Religion, layed out on a grid pattern.  Bike lots of kilometers, eat heavy food, drink great red wine... fun French stuff!  Night finds us further upriver, for a 2-night stop.

Half
Baggage 
60 k
Tuesday
FOIS GRAS and TRUFFLES
Today we pick up tell-tale signs that we are in the Perigord.  Like what?  Geese, looking rather fat (fat is “gras” in French - does that give you a hint?) and funny fungi....  You’re in foie gras and truffle land.

Visit the regional capital, Bergerac, whose famous son Cyrano is, ahem, well-remembered.  Climb to Monbazillac, to visit the castle, and perhaps to taste the sweet and luscious local wine (it will resemble a Sauternes from just to the south - but at half the price).  This cool, white, almost-liqueur crowns a meal.  If the weather is hot, swimming opportunities abound.  As much or as little biking as you please today, since your bed tonight is the same one you woke up in.

Half
Baggage 
0 - 75 k
Wednesday
RIVERSIDE BIKING, CRO-MAGNON CAVES
Limestone cliffs hollowed out by long-vanished streams create beautiful outcroppings overlooking the river, which loops lazily back and forth in the valley so long ago hollowed out. As the vines thin out, we replace them with cavemen, or at least with caves.  Prehistoric ones, where our ancestors hung out several million or billion or whatever years ago.

Trémolat offers a glorious view of the river.  Limeuil is one of the “prettiest villages in France” (self-proclaimed).  Le Bugue offers an aquarium, and more caves, and mini golf... not really niche marketers.  Set out early if you wish to go spelunking in Les Eyzies and its environs.  Long routes with hills are available to keep you busy if you’d rather push yourself on the bike.
65 k
Thursday
LES EYZIES - SARLAT
A long, challenging day full of scenery and hills if that is what you want; a short, easy ride for those trying to look like the local geese; and a middle choice for those who can't quite decide.  Swimming holes if it’s hot, cozy cafés if it's not... a day full of attractive choices.

Beautiful ocher cliffs stretch your neck upwards as you bike the deep valleys of the Vézère Valley.  Woods, cliffs, potters and artisans using the regional clay, more flocks of geese... it’s a France few know, and the ride offers us a new view of this diverse country.  The Lascaux caves and the amazing church at St.-Amand-de-Coly are available to those looking for the cultural quarter hour.

We end up in Sarlat, one of France’s most harmoneous ensembles.  The whole town is a national historical monument!

Half Baggage
25 - 75 k
Friday
SARLAT LOOP
Take a day off the bikes to explore the old town.  André Malreaux had the idea of saving it as a living witness to the middle ages, and we are awfully glad that he did.

Or, without paniers, go down to the river to visit a collection of the region’s most interesting towns, all far older than you are.  Visit ancient La Roque-Gageac, and pretty Beynac.  Climb up to fortified Domme, a prize possession in the religious wars of yore.  Trade the bike for a kayak on the Dordogne, and use the paddles to splash your fellow bikers.  Lycra dries quickly.

Half Baggage
30 - 75 k
Saturday
SARLAT - SOUILLAC
Our last day in the valley:  ride down to the river following an old railroad grade, and then along the water to Souillac.  Castles line the water, and when they don’t it’s because the imposing white cliffs are towering over the road.

Souillac is a pretty town for a quick explore:  lots of flower boxes and odd trees, and a famous and beautiful abbey.

Half Baggage

For those whose ride ends with our Dordogne route, the trip disbands on arrival in Souillac.  Riders continuing to the Cévennes barely notice:  you have 60 k still to go!  Riders headed elsewhere (with us) will generally board a midday train to their next trip.  “Access Packages” include the train outta’ here, and the hotel night in Paris while you wait for your flight.  You can alternatively spend it in Souillac, or in nearby Rocamadour, if you prefer.
30 k
Sunday
TRAVEL DAY
Those flying from Paris head out to the airport (snif).

Bordeaux & the Dordogne — Facts & Figures
2017 Dates
Baggage Services Offered**
(optional)
Difficulty of the Ride
Sept. 9 - 16
$2,195 US
$2,850 C
1,795€
Daily, Half
Easy to Moderate

There are climbs out of the valley on the short days, and flat days are long.  But shortcuts are on offer.  Extra work abounds, in the form of distance or hills, should you be in the market for a challenge.
* Prices in $ and € do not include precisely the same things.  Click here for details.

Prices of Optional Extras (links lead to explanations)
Currency
$ prices include
the bike.
See here for information on bringing your own.
** At least 4 riders must subscribe to a given baggage service for it to operate.  The services listed are those currently offered on the departure in question.  Services which appear in bold already have at least 3 subscribers (so, one more would ensure their operation).
Daily
Half
$US
$310
$170
$410
$C
$398
$220
$530
€uros
290€
158€
379€
195€

Reaching & Leaving Your Trip:  General Information on Access Packages
Specific information on reaching your trip’s start in... Libourne
Specific information on departing from your trip’s end... Souillac