Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Chateau of Beynac
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Highlights

  • Pedalling through iconic and ancient Périgord landscapes
  • Visiting the Lascaux Caves, said to be the prehistoric equivalent to the Sistine Chapel
  • Standing in awe of the Roque St Christophe rising 1km above the Dordogne River
  • Wandering the medieval cobbled streets of charming Sarlat la Canéda
  • Experiencing the best examples of prehistoric caves and settlements anywhere in the world
  • Viewing golden limestone and fortified villages and immense chateaux
  • Sitting in a café in Les Eyzies sampling fois gras and truffles

France’s Dordogne region is one of Europe’s most beautiful valleys and where you will find many great examples of pre-historic cave art and dwellings. Cycle through distinctive limestone villages and the undulating countryside, whilst pausing to visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the incredibly vibrant cave paintings of Font de Gaume.

The French call the Dordogne by its ancient name of Périgord and this cycling tour is concentrated in the Périgord Noir. This region is characterised by its amazing history, the dark oak forests of the Vézère Valley, its chateaux-studded countryside and unrivalled gastronomy. On this cycling tour you will experience the very best that this region has to offer.

Begin in the handsome market town of Souillac, strategically placed on the confluence of two rivers. Spend two nights in medieval Sarlat la Canéda, a wonderful base for exploration and stroll down its medieval cobbled streets. A rest day may be spent here or take a great cycle to La Roque-Gageac; a village tucked underneath cliffs next to the Dordogne River.

Les Eyzies is a town famous for its trogolodyte cave dwellings, prehistoric cave paintings and is located in the Vézère Valley, where you will discover some 150 archaeological sites. Explore Les Eyzies on a rest day or take a loop cycle through the surrounding area, to the 12th century Chateau of Le Commarque and see newly-discovered noblemen’s houses. Their remains were buried by vegetation for over 350 years and lie in an area of untouched beauty.

A visit to the Dordogne would not be complete without a visit to Roque St Christophe. This spectacular limestone edifice which is over 1km long was an enormous troglodyte dwelling and inhabited until as recently as the 18th century. Complete your cycling loop of classic Dordogne landscapes back in Souillac, your point of origin.

This self-guided cycling tour in the Dordogne includes seven nights accommodation in 2* and 3* hotels, 7 breakfasts, baggage transfers, maps, route notes and a comprehensive information pack.

DAY 1: Arrive in Souillac

Today you will arrive in the bustling old quarter of Souillac, a town of understated charm. Strategically placed since pre-Roman times on the confluence of the Borrèze and Dordogne Rivers, it is worthwhile to arrive early if you can and explore the old quarter and magnificent 11th century Romanesque church. Your hotel tonight has a pool so you can relax and unwind here.


Overnight: Vieille Auberge***, Souillac


This former coaching inn from the Napoleonic era is located in a quiet area with the majority of the 22 rooms boasting a balcony overlooking either the pool or the village. The rooms are al well-equipped with free WiFi and modern amenities.


DAY 2: Cycle Souillac to Sarlat le Canéda

You first day of cycling takes you beside the Dordogne River and along a cyclable piste, visiting Chateau Fenelon, set on a rocky promontory and an important stronghold in the Cathar Wars of the 12th and 13th centuries. Also pass through the pretty village of Carsac.


Your destination today is Sarlat la Canéda, said to have been inhabited since Gallo-Roman times.


Cycle: 37km


Overnight: Hotel La Couleuvrine**, Sarlat la Canéda


Rooms in this hotel are located in the defence tower of Sarlat le Canéda and are individually decorated. This property has two restaurants and the rooms have all modern comforts.


DAY 3: Rest day in Sarlat la Canéda or optional cycle to via La Roque-Gageac

Today you can either take a rest day in Sarlat Le Canéda in order to explore and take it easy, or you can opt to take a fascinating loop ride through the surrounding area.


Sarlat la Canéda is a beautiful little city and capital of the Périgord Noir. Feel like you have really stepped back in time as you wander down its medieval cobbled streets. The town grew up around the Benedictine Abbey and is popular today because of its medieval and Renaissance architecture.


If you choose to cycle you will take a trail that leads you along pretty country lanes to the bastide town of Domme and to the town of La Roque-Gageac which is neatly tucked beneath the cliffs next to the Dordogne River.


Cycle: 33km


Overnight: Hotel La Couleuvrine**, Sarlat la Canéda


DAY 4: Cycle Sarlat la Canéda to Les Eyzies via Beynac

Say au revoir to Sarlat and cycle through rolling countryside to visit the medieval Chateau of Beynac, perched on top of a limestone cliff and one of the best preserved in the region. The delightful town of St Cyprien is also en route and perhaps you would like to take a break here and have lunch in an outdoor café on the square?


Upon leaving behind the Dordogne River you will be heading for the Vézère Valley and the cliffs of Les Eyzies, world-renowned as a centre for pre-history.


Cycle: 28km


Overnight: Hotel Le Cro-Magnon***, Les Eyzies


Leaning against the cliffs in Les Eyzies this 15-room hotel is the epitome of Périgord charm. Filled with antique furniture, you can be sure of a warm and friendly welcome. The rooms are spacious and the restaurant serves seasonal dishes that change daily.


DAY 5: Rest day in Les Eyzies or optional cycle via Font de Gaume

You may opt to have a rest day in order to spend time in Les Eyzies, or you can take a very interesting cycle ride. If you get an early start, you can do both!


On the edge of Les Eyzies (and on your optional cycle route) is the Font de Gaume, a grotto that contains pre-historic cave paintings and a World UNESCO Heritage Site.


You cycle route today takes you to Chateau de Commarque, built in the 12th century and surrounded by an area of untouched beauty. Also on today’s cycle route are troglodyte caves, a Roman chapel, a knights’ tower and noblemen’s houses, recently discovered under 350 years of overgrown vegetation, all carved into the cliff. You will also want to visit Abri du Cap Blanc another UNESCO pre-historic site that features a carved frieze of animals and a Cro-Magnon tomb which is 15,000 years old. The site is only one of its kind that is still open to the public.


Cycle: 29km


Overnight: Hotel Le Cro-Magnon***, Les Eyzies


DAY 6: Les Eyzies to Montignac via Roque St Christophe

Your route today takes you along the Vézère Valley and beneath the towering limestone cliffs of Roque St Christophe, an enormous troglodyte site inhabited from pre-historic times until as recently as the 18th century. The whole complex is over 1km long and it is well-worth spending time here to explore.


Continue on via the Romanesque church of St Leon before arriving in Montignac, a town with a turbulent history through the ages.


Cycle: 30km


Overnight: Hotel Le Lascaux***, Montignac


Hotel Le Lascaux is located only 1km from the famed Lascaux Caves and it features a pretty, private garden, a restaurant with an outdoor terrace and elegantly decorated guest rooms. With free Wifi, walk-in showers and a delicious buffet breakfast freshly prepared each morning, your stay here will be delightful.


DAY 7: Cycle Montignac to Souillac via the Lascaux Caves

Today’s ride brings you to the Lascaux Caves, France’s most famous prehistoric cave paintings. They were discovered in 1940 by four boys who were searching for their lost dog. The paintings here are renowned for their amazing artistry with a 600-strong menagerie of animal figures, such as bison, mammoths, reindeer and horses.


Also en route to Souillac you can visit the golden limestone village of St Geniès and a 13th century convent in Salignac. Enjoy your final evening in Souillac where you may celebrate your cycling achievements and your stay in this beautiful region of France with a glass or two of Bergerac!


Cycle: 48km


Overnight: Vieille Auberge***, Souillac


DAY 8: Onward travel

The tour finishes after breakfast. From Souillac you can make your onward journeys.


Accommodation


Your 8 day, 7 night self-guided cycling tour includes 7 nights in a combination of 2 and 3* hotels all located in iconic towns or villages of the Dordogne.   



Alternate accommodation


During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.



Single Rooms


If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo travellers can also travel on this tour with an additional supplement.



Meals


Breakfast is included at your hotel each morning. You can buy your lunch in local shops or markets and it is easy to find local restaurants on the evenings, or you may dine at your hotel.



Baggage Transfer


When you are cycling between accommodation your main bag will be transferred. We ask that you limit your luggage for transfer to one bag of up to 20kg.

How to Book

This trip is available to start any day of the week between April and October.  To make a provisional reservation select "Book". Option & Extension prices will be displayed as part of the booking process.


Because every tour we book is unique availability changes from day to day and our booking process works as follows:



  • You provisionally book the tour/s you are interested in on your preferred dates and pay a 20% deposit online or by phone.

  • We confirm availability and book all your accommodation and options and send final confirmation as soon as everything is confirmed (max 5 working days).

  • If we are unable to accommodate you on your confirmed dates/tour or an alternative of your choice your deposit is fully refunded.

Time of Year

Dordogne summers are hot and sunny, where temperatures of 35 to 39 degrees celsius are common. It would be best to start early to miss the heat of midday and avoid possible thunderstorms in the afternoon.


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo travellers can also travel on this tour with an additional supplement.


Meals

Breakfast is included at your hotel each morning. You can buy your lunch in local shops or markets and it is easy to find local restaurants on the evenings, or you may dine at your hotel.


Baggage Transfer

When you are cycling between accommodation your main bag will be transferred. We ask that you limit your luggage for transfer to one bag of up to 20kg.


Grade & Terrain

You will need to have a fairly good fitness level to fully enjoy this trip as it does involve some steep climbs. However the distances per day are not too long so you will have plenty of time for stops along the way to visit all the amazing sights. There is also the option to take rest days in Sarlat la Canéda and Les Eyzies if you wish. You will be cycling along quiet country lanes. This tour is rated moderate.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The route is well signposted and way marked and your info pack along with maps will be suffice for directions to your each destination.  There will be the occasional other cyclist around in case you are looking for help. A detailed information pack including route notes, local information and maps will be included in the trip.


Bike Hire


Bike hire is available as an optional extra. The Orbea hybrid bikes have an aluminium frame and 24 Shimano gears. All rental bikes come with a luggage rack and 2 rear panniers, 1 handlebar bag with holder, a water bottle holder, 1 lock, 1 pump and repair kit with inner tube.



Complete bike speculations are listed in your information pack.



Helmet rental is not included. If you wish to rent a helmet they are available at the bike hire company located near the first hotel.



Question


Answer


Brand


Orbea


Bike Type


Hybrid


Frame
types


gents, ladies


Sizes


17, 19, 21, 23 in / 44, 48, 52, 58 cm


Front
suspension


yes


Stand


yes


Mud guards


yes


Luggage
rack Rear/Front


Yes/no


Paniers


Yes


Handle bar
Bag/ map holder


Yes/yes


Bottle
holder/Water bottle


yes


Computer
meter


No


Interchangeable
pedals


TBA


Front gear
set


3


Back gear
set


8


Brakes


V-brake


Helmet
included


No (can be hired from supplier, 2€
per day)


Puncture
repair kit


Yes


Spare
inner tubes/ how many


Yes/1


Pump


Yes


Lock


Yes

 

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sun screen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking/cycling gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

Getting to/from Souillac

By Air: There are a few different airports to choose from. It is possible to fly into either Toulouse, Brive, or Bordeaux Airports. There is a railway station in Souillac and you can take trains from both Toulouse, Bordeaux and Brive. The SNCF website will give you times and schedules. If you fly into Brive Airport the easiest way of reaching Souillac is to take a taxi. The cost is around €50 and it takes approximately 30 minutes.


By Car: Ferry from Portsmouth to Caen. Then drive to Souillac (approximately 5-6 hours). You can park your car in Souillac either in an open car park opposite the hotel or in the secure hotel car park (for approximately €6 per night).


Included

  • 7 Nights accommodation in 2* and 3* hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts & 1 Dinner
  • Baggage transfers
  • A detailed information pack, route notes and maps
  • Organisational assistance and backup from our area manager in France and our team in the office

Excluded

  • Travel to/from Souillac
  • Lunch and Dinner
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Equipment

Extras

  • Single room supplement
  • Bike hire
  • Extra nights

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