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France

Haute Dordogne

Guided Road Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$2,365 P.P.
France

Haute Dordogne

Guided Road Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$2,365 P.P.
BOOK NOW
The Dordogne region of southwest France has been attracting visitors for years and on this trip we offer the widest variety of rural French riding possible in a week long getaway! As well as cycling past classic Dordogne vineyards and over rolling green hills, this trip also takes us toward the Massif Centrale and visits the Auvergne, one of France’s most deeply rural and undiscovered regions. 
The Dordogne area, famous for its gentle rolling hills and medieval fortified towns, is a dramatic contrast with the more rugged landscaped of the Auvergne, and its chains of distinctive looking extinct volcanoes spotted in the second part of our journey. Along the way we will feast on the truffles of the Dordogne and the famous Cantal cheese of the Auvergne.
We begin our journey through wooded hills, with occasional glimpses of grandiose past châteaux hidden between the trees to the fertile Lot Valley. Lined with vineyards we follow the valley to Cahors, famous for its red wine and its ancient bridge. Joining the Cele River we explore the tranquil Parc Naturel de Quercy, staying overnight in the  medieval market town of Figeac.
As we head towards the Auvergne, vineyards and peaceful rivers are replaced by rolling hills and the sound of cowbells. In the middle of the journey we have shorter daily distances and engage our climbing legs as the route follows in the footsteps of the 2016 Tour de France up the Puy Mary (1,588m). The majestic vistas of the chain of extinct conical volcanic peaks and lush green valleys makes for a memorable day of riding.
Our journey returns westward through the little known Upper Dordogne region before we rejoin the Dordogne river valley. The tour features numerous scenic lunch spots for a Skedaddle style picnic along with carefully chosen accommodation offering delicious traditional cuisine. 

 

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Highlights

  • Sampling a glass of red in Cahors – home of Malbec
  • Winding your way along the dramatic Vallée du Célé
  • Cycling along to the sound of cowbells near Velzic
  • Conquering the Pas de Peyrol and drinking in the views
  • Rocamadour and the descent from its lofty heights
  • Marvelling at the Massif Centrale as you cycle through its distinctive landscapes

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Faultless service from start to finish! The guides went the extra mile to ensure everybody was smiling all of the time.

Alan, UK

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival: Bergerac Airport / Gare de Sarlat
Non Riding Day

The small city of Bergerac in the heart of the Dordogne has many flight options available. On arrival you will be met by your Skedaddle team for the short 90-minute transfer to the perfectly preserved Sarlat.

Sarlat is a bustling medieval town, its unique architecture is amongst the best preserved in France as it was the first town to attain World Heritage status. Narrow twisting alley ways open up into small secluded courtyards and at the centre a large open square is often filled with musicians and entertainers. It is a great place to relax with an ice-cream or stretch your legs in its meandering streets.

In the evening we will meet our fellow Skedaddlers over some local cuisine and to perhaps sample some of the wares produced in the local vineyards that surround the town and chat about the week ahead.


Day 2
Sarlat to Cahors
55 Miles / 88 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 794 Metres Approx.

Following a homely French breakfast your Skedaddle team will make sure everyone is set up and comfortable on their bikes and ready for our journey.

We start our ride along a delightful cycle path, sheltered by trees. We cross the Dordogne river for the first time on the old railway bridge and a short time later we cross on to some peaceful lanes that allow us to keep pace with the river and admire the small villages and walnut trees that line the route.

The afternoon ride is tranquil as we follow the meandering vineyard laden valley of the River Lot past the dramatically perched church at Albas and the small town of Luzech, with its ancient keep, squeezed between the neck of a meander.

Near the end of the day we arrive into Cahors over the 14th century Pont Valentre, one of the best preserved medieval bridges in France. Its three immaculately preserved towers were once guarded by portcullises, making the town a near impenetrable fortress. Thankfully today the town has a much more relaxed atmosphere. We will make our way to our riverside hotel before an evening stroll in the old town for dinner and perhaps to sample some of the local ‘vin rouge’ for which Cahors is famous.

Day 3
Cahors to Figeac
55 Miles / 88 Miles Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,250 Metres Approx.

Cahors is the capital of the old province of Quercy and is almost surrounded by the River Lot. The best way to appreciate the dramatic nature of the towns location is to get our legs turning to the top of Mont St Cyr. At only 266m above sea level it is a very modest mountain and the reward is a dramatic bird’s eye perspective of Cahors.

Our coffee break is in the beautiful village of Saint-Cirque-Lapopie, one of France’s Plus Beaux Village, precariously perched on a steep rock plinth 100m above the river. From the terrace of a café we are able to get the best view of this spectacularly well-preserved village.

Today’s route features rural riverside riding at its best. We spend the next 10km winding upstream with the River Lot below before entering the little known Parc Natural Regional de Quercy, a land of ancient gorges and forests where we spend most of the day.

In the afternoon we join the Vallée du Célé, where the road is squeezed between dramatic cliffs riddled with medieval fortified caves and the Célé River. Traffic is virtually non-existent as we wind along this peaceful valley through the beautiful village of St Suplice, guarded by its 12th century castle, the most photographed village on the Célé.

Our destination for the night is Figeac on the banks of the Célé river where we will head out for a meal in the remarkably unchanged medieval centre of this bustling market town.


Day 4
Figeac to Lac des Graves
51 Miles / 82 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,250 Metres Approx.

Today the vineyard clad valleys give way to rolling hills and the sound of cow bells.

Our morning begins by hugging the banks of the Célé to avoid the increasingly hilly terrain around us. We pass Bagnac-sur-Célé with its perfectly preserved medieval bridge, almost ‘de rigueur’ in this region but eventually we can avoid the hills no longer and just after the small town of Maurs we begin to climb. The gentle climb is a real pleasure as we wind our way through the woods alongside a lively stream.

We reach the high point of this morning at Roannes Saint Mary before descending into the busy town of Aurillac, where we begin our steady climb up the Jordanne river valley heading deeper into the rural Auvergne. Cows gaze at us from the road side; a reminder that this area is responsible for some of France’s finest cheeses such as Cantal.

The cowbells cheer us along the last stretch through small villages and we end our day at the Lac des Graves, an incredibly peaceful spot with stunning views across the lake to the mountains behind. Here, at the end of the valley, we are in a great position to conquer our challenge of the Puy Mary in the morning!

Day 5
Lac des Graves to St Privat
52 Miles / 84 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,530 Metres Approx.

We start the day with a gradual warm up along the valley floor before the ascent of the Puy Mary.

We tackle this famous Tour de France col from its easier side and today’s distance has been kept shorter to enable us to take in the majesty of our surroundings, and give our legs time to warm up.

The Puy Mary has featured many times in the Tour de France. The Puy Mary is often referred to as the name of the climb, but is correctly known as the Pas de Peyrol (1,588m). The Puy Mary refers to the volcano’s conical shape which rears its head dramatically above us at 1,783m.

The 12km of ascent is gentle, with sweeping bends and vistas of extinct volcanic mounds. The three greatest of these puys are Plomb du Cantal (1,855m), Puy Mary (1,787m) and Puy de Peyre-Arse (1,688m) with deep cut wooded valleys radiating out like spokes. With the col tackled in the morning we are free to enjoy a coffee at the top before we wind our way down past the Roc du Merle (1,647m) and enjoy a sweeping descent into the La Marron valley and lunch at St Martin Valmeroux.

Be sure to leave a little in the legs for the afternoon as the climbing is not over yet! We still need to make our way upwards through the village of St Eulalie following the Route de Fromage! We dip in and out of picturesque valleys to cross small streams and through the excellently preserved small town of Pleaux, complete with boulangeries and cafés, still the cornerstone of a every village.

Our resting place for the night, St Privat, sits in the Upper Dordogne area, a little visited corner of the Dordogne but with villages and scenery that more than rival other areas of the region.

Day 6
St Privat to Souillac
58 Miles / 94 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 900 Metres Approx.

If day 5 took us mostly up then as they say what goes up must come down! Day 6 takes us out of the Upper Dordogne region towards the Dordogne River as we roll 18km, mostly downwards, towards the small medieval town of Argentat, which is split in two by the Dordogne River.

We follow the Dordogne on its eastern side on quiet roads as we wind 20km along the Vallée de Dordogne to ‘Beaulieu sur Dordogne’, which lives up to its literal translation of ‘beautiful place on the Dordogne‘. We spend the majority of the rest of our day journeying alongside the river. The valley is interspersed by dramatically perched châteaux, positioned imposingly yet majestically above the river, such as the Château de Castelnau and the ancient village of Lubresac.

Our route continues alongside the southern banks of the Dordogne until crossing the river for a short section north of the river before arriving into Souillac, where we can relax and wander into the old town. It’s an interesting small town with a pretty medieval centre, site of the weekly market selling many of the cheeses from the Route du Fromage we cycled earlier in the trip.

Day 7
Souillac to Sarlat
49 Miles / 79 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,050 Metres Approx.

A slightly shorter final day allows us time to more thoroughly explore the medieval streets of Sarlat, but first we have the climb of Rocamadour to conquer. It is well worth the climb, as the village sits dramatically perched on the cliff side of an abrupt canyon wall, a truly outstanding and audacious location for a village. Since medieval times Rocmadour has been a key site for pilgrims drawn by the apparent healing powers of Rocmadour’s Black Madonna. If you are still feeling energetic, you can climb up the 223 steps to visit her (though perhaps not on your knees as the pilgrims would!).

We complete our journey alongside the Dordogne river, through the Route de Noix, a reference to the many Walnut trees and pause for our final picnic. We return to Sarlat via the picturesque and peaceful cycle path.

Day 8
Departure: Bergerac Airport / Gare de Bergerac
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

After a leisurely breakfast we transfer (90 minutes approx) to Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport (BGC) or the Gare de Sarlat for onwards journeys. Or maybe you may wish to stay and explore some more of the region and sample a few more glasses of its famous wines?

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The Cycling

Terrain

France is the spiritual home of road cycling, and as such you’ll find a warm and friendly welcome from the locals. During your cycling in the Haute Dordogne you’ll see all types of terrain that will include quiet country lanes, undulating riverside roads and challenging climbs such as Puy Mary / Pas de Peyrol.

Our route has been created with great care so as to balance the climbing and terrain with the daily mileages, to form a flowing journey through this beautiful region of France. Road surfaces in France are generally good although some of the more minor roads may include uneven sections, occasional potholes and gravel patches.

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Road Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 2 - 3: Gentle/Moderate

Average distances around 40 – 60 miles / 70-90 km

A moderately difficult tour

Slightly tougher than a Grade 2 but not as difficult as Grade 3

Occasional challenging climbs

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

You’re reasonably fit and ride frequently at weekends, sometimes staying on the bike for a number of hours at a time. You do enjoy an occasional challenge and quite happy climbing but you‘re unlikely to be found daydreaming about ticking off all the famous cols of the Tour de France. That said the prospect of tackling a semi-serious to serious mountain pass doesn’t fill you with dread. You enjoy the social aspect of cycling and look forward to the occasional coffee-stop as much as the riding itself.

You have good control of your bike and feel confident in your skills to ascend and descend safely. Whilst you find a full day in the saddle fulfilling, you’re not obsessed and as much as you are looking forward to the riding on your holiday, you’re also looking forward to a little local culture and cuisine. Grade 2-3 would be a good option for you.

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Guides made us ‘newbies’ feel comfortable from the beginning and we are now hopefully going to become Skedaddle regulars!

Susan, UK

Dates & Prices

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
04/07/2021
Return Date
11/07/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
$2,365.00
Start Date
08/08/2021
Return Date
15/08/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
$2,365.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Hotel accommodation (shared twin rooms)

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Full tour service including Skedaddle guides

D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid

E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers

F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Bergerac Airport (EGC) or train station transfer from Gare de Sarlat

G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Bergerac Airport EGC) or train station transfer to Gare de Sarlat

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Travel insurance

E) Single room (available if required)

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route

I) Airport and train station transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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The Essentials

Travel Options

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday. To join the airport transfer on arrival, you’ll need to arrive into Bergerac airport (EGC) before 15:00, for a 15:30 transfer.

At the end of the tour we will transfer the group back to Bergerac airport (EGC), with an estimated arrival time of 13:00 – please consider this when booking your return travel and allow enough time to check in for your chosen flight.

Please note – If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the above time windows there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

We will provide you with details of suitable flight schedules as the flight timetables become available. Please check with us before booking any flights, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to ensure your flights fit with our scheduled transfers.

Accommodation

Accommodation (shared twin or double rooms) will usually be en-suite in 2 and 3 star hotels, chambre d‘hôtes and local auberges. Our accommodation has all been hand-picked and chosen for their room and service quality, as well as their food quality and, of course, French charm.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire. These bikes are Scott Addict 20 or alternative brand equivalent, great bikes with good quality components. If you do decide to hire a bike we can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets when booking. The bikes come with flat pedals as standard, so if you prefer to ride with clip-in pedals please bring your own pedals along with you.

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