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Dordogne Valley: Between the Dordogne and Lot Rivers

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  • 7 nights | 32 miles/day
  • Difficulty Level: 3
  • Guided from: USD1910
  • Self-guided from: USD1350
  • View Dates

Tours using road, hybrid or touring bikes:

  1. Mostly flat
  2. Flat with some gentle slopes
  3. Rolling, hilly terrain
  4. Some long and/or steep climbs
  5. Extensive climbing

Tours using mountain bikes:

  1. Mostly flat, wide trails
  2. Some gentle slopes, wide trails
  3. Rolling, hilly terrain and/or narrow trails
  4. Some long and/or steep climbs and/or technical trails
  5. Extensive climbing and/or highly technical trails
  1. Variety: Choose from more than 200 tours offered by local operators in 35 countries.
  2. Advice: Our informed advisors help you choose the trip that's right for you.
  3. Lower cost: You pay local tour company prices—less than what big American companies charge.
  4. Great exchange rates: Pay low rates thanks to the millions of dollars in foreign currency we buy each year.
  5. Convenience: We handle the full booking and payment process.
  6. Support: We’re your advocates from initial planning through final pedal stroke.

Tour description

The most beautiful part of the Dordogne valley is the Périgord Noir, where our Dordogne cycling tour is based. As well as some of the world's most famous prehistoric sites, the Dordogne was the crucible of The Hundred Years War and boasts spectacular medieval castles.

It's also very beautiful, from lush green valleys to the arid limestone causses on the plateau between the Dordogne and Lot rivers. Throw in a distinctive traditional cuisine largely based on duck and goose, but also featuring truffles and walnuts.

The Dordogne cycling holiday is quite hilly, nothing too brutal, but a bit of training in advance wouldn't do any harm.

Daily program

Day 1: Arrival in Dordogne
However you decide to travel, we arrive in the Dordogne at Les Eyzies on Saturday evening. We stay at Le Moulin de la Beune, one of the highlights of our entire tour programme where Goerge Soulié specialises in gourmet food from the region. This delightful hotel sits on the banks of the river Beune just upstream from where the Beune joins the Vézère, and the Soulié family really look after us.

Les Eyzies is a small village of 900 people, but it styles itself the Capital of Prehistory - and with some justification.

As well as the National Museum of Prehistory, Les Eyzies boasts the settlement of Cro Magnon, where the first example of homo sapiens, or thinking man, was discovered. Nearby is the oldest sculpture in the world, a 20,000 year-old fish at the Abri de Poisson, and the Font de Gaume, site of some of the most important cave-paintings in the world.

The paintings of Bison and Deer at Font de Gaume are the only polychromatic paintings still open to the public anywhere in the world, and visits are strictly limited. Thanks to Mme Soulié we can visit if we want to, and I recommend that you do. Locals believe they will close these caves soon, so it is a special honour to be able to visit.

Day 2: Beynac – Previous Owners Include Richard The Lionheart
Time to get on your bike. Today we follow the Vézère to Limeuil where it meets the Dordogne. Limeuil is a beautiful bastide town, and where the rivers meet is a great place for a swim.

This morning we can visit the Goufrre de Proumeyssac. This cave was uninhabited, and lies up a pretty impressive hill. Not everybody visits, but everybody should.

In the afternoon we follow the Dordogne along quiet roads and pass the Châteaux of Beynac and Castelnaud facing each other across the Dordogne. Fans of Josephine Baker can visit her old home at the Château des Milandes.

We finish the day at Beynac, a picturesque village beside the Dordogne dominated by its castle set on a cliff 500 feet above. The castle was once the seat of a certain Richard The Lionheart and is well worth a look. You can reach it by an absurdly steep path called the Basketmakers path - but not very quickly, and I dare say not very often if you can help it.

At the top, though, there is the chance to see the biggest keys you're ever likely to see.

At the Hostellerie Maleville you can meet the Maleville family. The food here is very traditional - a superb introduction - and you'll have the chance to admire Madame's extraordinary Beehive hairdo.

Day 3: Baynac – Payrac
Today we pass La Roque Gageac, an amazing town built into the side of a cliff beside the Dordogne, rated as the third site in France and originally built as a prehistoric fort. We also get our first shot at a decent hill on the way up to Domme.

Domme sits 450 feet above the Dordogne and has famous panoramic views of the river. Known as the 'Acropolis of the Périgord', Domme was a key battleground in both The Hundred Years War and The wars of Religion.

It is still surrounded by a medieval wall, and is one of the best preserved of all the Bastidetowns. It was used to imprison the Knights Templar in the 14th century, and on top of all this is the site of some interesting limestone caves.

From Domme to Payrac we go cross-country on tiny roads and see barely a soul. We pass Domme-Sarlat airport - but don't bank on seeing any airplanes, I've seen about five in eight years.

We also pass an ostrich and emu farm that sells foie gras - but not ostrich foie Gras unfortunately - and several million tobacco plants. Today is a short day - 25 miles - but the hardest day of the week. The swimming pool and sauna at Payrac are welcome and well-deserved.

Day 4: Rocamadour and the Gouffre de Padirac
Today we leave behind the lush valleys and climb onto the limestone causses on the way to Rocamadour. The terrain is a real contrast of arid volcanic plateau, and Rocamadour is one of the most spectacular towns in France, clinging to the side of a cliff hundreds of feet above the Alzou Gorge. The town developed around the site of a 13th century hermitage, and is now ranked as the second site in France. Michelin gave Rocamadour 3-star, and it is unforgettable.

The afternoon is easier than this morning's climb, and we have the chance to visit the Gouffre de Padirac, a massive cavern leading to an underground river and spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations. Another Michelin 3-star attraction, and although the staff are bad even by French standards of customer service, the Gouffre de Padirac is unmissable.

By now it is usually early evening, and a 5-mile cycle ride brings us to the Hotel Lou Cantou in Loubressac, and the tender mercies of the Cayrousse family. Loubressac sits on the edge of the Causses, and we get beautiful views across both the Dordogne and Bavé valleys.

Day 5: Loubressac – Gluges
There is an excellent downhill cycle ride into the small town of St Céré, and two Wednesdays each month there is a great food market here - great for picnic fodder. Out of St Céré we pass the huge and ruined castle at Castelnau and arrive back at the Dordogne. We follow the Dordogne downstream to Carrenac, rated by some as the most beautiful village on the Dordogne, and a great place for a picnic.

After Carrenac the road twists and turns as it follows the Dordogne, we cross the river a couple of times and pass the spot where the underground river from the Gouffre de Padirac enters the Dordogne. We pass several minor châteaux on our way to Gluges, where the pool catches the late afternoon sun and offers a perfect end to the day.

Although we cycle more than 30 miles today, it is the easiest 30 miles you're ever likely to see. Just get a decent shove from Loubressac and steer round the corners.

Day 6: Gluges – Sarlat-la-Caneda
This stretch of the Dordogne cuts right through the limestone causses offering spectacular gorges and cliffs. Our route criss-crosses the river using back-roads to avoid some unseemly hills, but nearly everybody misses the first stretch altogether, opting to canoe downstream to Pinsac. This stretch of the river is home to kingfishers and herons.

After lunch we follow tiny backroads from Souillac to Sarlat-la-Caneda, entering the town on a cycle path built on a disused railway.

Our hotel is the Renoir, close to the heart of 'Vieux Sarlat'. Sarlat is so well preserved that it also rates 3-star from Michelin. During this week you could be forgiven for imagining that Michelin give 3-star away like confetti. But if you look at their guidebooks for other regions, you can see that there are hardly any sites awarded 3-star. It is just that the Dordogne valley really is that good.

Tonight we enjoy probably the finest gourmet food of the week - and certainly the finest desserts - at Les Quatres Saison.

Day 7: Sarlat – Les Eyzies
This is the last day of our cycling holiday, so we've put in a couple of hills - including the hardest of the week - just to show you how fit you've become. Once we leave Sarlat we turn onto tiny country roads that lead to the hilltop town of Marquay and beautiful views across the Vézère and Beune valleys.

Descending to the Vézère we've arrived back in prehistory territory. We pass the Abri de Cap Blanc with it's sculptures on the way to the amazing prehistoric fort at La Roque St Christophe. This village was carved out of overhanging galleries in a 900 metre limestone cliff. It was continuously inhabited from 50,000 BC until the 16th century.

There are records of the settlement in Roman accounts - although they never managed to capture it - and also in 16th century government record in Paris where details of the fireplaces were kept to levy 'hearth taxes'. This place is incredible - for me the most amazing site we visit all week. You can identify the church, rings cut in the roofs to hang food, and even safes and water stores.

Les Eyzies is another 5 miles, and we may have the chance to visit le Font de Gaume to round off a real prehistory day. Sadly, this is the end of our cycling holiday in the Dordogne, and we have definitely earned a beer or several sat at Le Moulin de la Beune on the banks of the Beune.

Day 8: Departure

Dates

Jun 9, Jul 7, Aug 4, Sep 8, 2018

Prices

Tour package
Per person, double occupancy
USD1910
Single room surcharge (1 person/1 room)
USD470
Bike Rentals
E-bike
USD75
Transfer
Bergerac airport, per person
USD215
Angouleme train station, per person
USD120
Traveling from Paris, per person
USD250
Traveling from London, per person
USD345

Dates

Daily: May 1-Sep 22, 2018

Prices

Tour package
Per person, double occupancy
USD1350
Single room surcharge (1 person/1 room)
USD470
Solo traveler surcharge (includes single room surcharge)
USD795
Bike Rentals
E-bike
USD75
Transfer
Bergerac airport, per person
USD215
Perigueux train station, per person
USD120
Traveling from Paris, per person
USD250
Traveling from London, per person
USD345
Please note: Instead of operating bicycle tours ourselves, BikeTours.com represents local bicycle tour operators around the world. Review the tour operator's information and terms below, then submit your booking request through BikeTours.com. The primary benefits of booking your tour through BikeTours.com include:
  • Lower cost: You pay local tour company prices—less than what big American companies charge
  • Variety: Choose from more than 200 tours offered by local operators in 35 countries.
  • Advice: Our informed advisors help you choose the trip that's right for you.
  • Great exchange rates: Pay low rates thanks to the millions of dollars in foreign currency we buy each year. Or pay in euros!
  • Convenience: We handle the full booking and payment process.
  • Support: We’re your advocates from initial planning through final pedal stroke.
Contact us with any questions about booking and paying for your tour through BikeTours.com. We look forward to serving you!

The Chain Gang Cycle Tours Booking Conditions
All bookings are made and accepted in accordance with the terms set out in these conditions.

If you cancel your booking

If you, or any member of your party, find it necessary to cancel a booking once it has been confirmed, you may transfer the reservation to another suitable person. A new booking form must be completed, and a charge of £80 per person will be made to cover the administration costs invoiced. You should note that the travel element of the cycling holiday may not be transferable. Cancellation will become effective upon receipt of written notification from you, and the following cancellation charges will be due:

  • More than 42 days before departure date Deposit only
  • Between 28 and 42 days before departure date 40% of total
  • Between 21 and 28 days before departure date 50% of total
  • Between 14 and 20 days before departure date 70% of total
  • Between 1 and 13 days before departure date 90% of total
  • On or after the departure date 100%

If you alter your booking
If you find it necessary to make a significant alteration to your booking (e.g. transfer the date of your biking holiday or change the travel arrangements) once the booking has been confirmed by the tour operator, the company will do its best to accommodate your changes, which must be specified in writing. However, we reserve the right to apply the cancellation charges set out below if the amendment is made within 8 weeks of departure. If, after the bike tour commences you decide to change your bike tour in any way (e.g. change accommodation or duration of stay) you are effectively altering the contract. The tour operator cannot accept liability for any loss, damage or additional expense and no refund will be made.

If we alter your booking
In the event of any significant alteration to the published itinerary of any of our bike tours prior to departure you will be notified as soon as possible. If you find the alterations unacceptable you may transfer to another bike tour. We will then pay you compensation of £20 per person for any inconvenience caused unless the reason for the alteration is force majeure, defined as unusual or unforeseen circumstances beyond the Company’s control, the consequences of which could not have been avoided by the Company, even with the exercise if all due care. Alternatively, you may cancel your reservation and receive a full refund of your deposit and any sum that you have paid to the tour operator, which shall constitute a full settlement.

If we cancel your booking
If we find it necessary to cancel a booking we will make every effort to offer a suitable alternative bike tour. If this is not acceptable we will refund your deposit and any other sum you have paid to the tour operator which shall constitute a full Settlement. You will also receive compensation of £20 per person for any inconvenience caused if the cancellation is made within 8 weeks of departure unless the minimum number of persons upon which the trip is costed (8) fail to make bookings (in which case you will be informed 4 weeks before the departure of the trip) or for reasons of force majeure.

The tour operator reserves the right to cancel, without any obligation to refund or make alternative arrangements, where the customer fails to make payment or otherwise the client’s behaviour brings the bike tour to an end.

The tour operator also reserves the right to decline to accept, or to retain, any person as a client if their conduct is disruptive and affecting the enjoyment of other participants of the bike tour, and we shall be under no liability for any costs incurred by such a person as a result of us doing so.

Accommodation
The cost of each trip is based upon accommodation in twin-bedded rooms. Those requesting single rooms will be charged a single room supplement, and should be aware that single rooms are of limited availability, and when they are not, double rooms used for single occupancy may sometimes be of an inferior standard. In paying a single room supplement you are almost inevitably ensuring privacy rather than comfort. However, in the event of a single traveller who has requested a shared room receiving a single room, no supplement will be charged. The nature of accommodation and cuisine on each bike tour is described in the itinerary. Reservations are accepted on the understanding that, whilst each hotel is usually among the most characteristic and comfortable available, you are fully aware that limitations imposed by the itineraries make it inevitable that the character, and sometimes the standard, of accommodation and cuisine may vary from place to place, and that in some circumstances accommodation may be in a hotel other than that featured in the itinerary.

Price of the trip
We guarantee that the price of your holiday will not be subject to any surcharges once a booking has been confirmed, except as a result of government action, a drop in the Sterling exchange rate, or an increase in air fares. Even in this case we will absorb the equivalent of 2% of the holiday price, excluding insurance. Should the increase be in excess of 10% you will be entitled to cancel your bike tour and receive a full refund of all monies paid, excepting any payment made to us for insurance or amendment fees. Should you decide to cancel you must exercise this right within 14 days of the date shown on the surcharge invoice. Holiday costs are based on the mid-rate of exchange for the Euro offered by Barclays Bank Plc on October 10 2013. Rate £1: €1.1792.

Eurostar Times and Schedules
We endeavor to ensure that all information regarding train times and prices is accurate at the time of going to press, but we reserve the right to alter the detailed arrangements for each trip. We act only as agents for the train companies and their licensed agents, and are subject to the standard terms and conditions offered by these companies and the laws of the countries in which they operate.

Health and Fitness
Bookings are accepted on the understanding that all persons traveling are normally in good health. If this is in doubt the Booking Form must be accompanied by a doctor’s certificate stating that it is entirely safe for you to go on the particular holiday you have chosen.

Passport, Visa, Health and Insurance Requirements
For UK residents traveling to the countries in which we operate, a full British passport is a requirement of entry. There are no recommended or compulsory health formalities for the countries we visit. It is a European Union requirement that anybody booking a ‘package’ holiday must have appropriate travel and health insurance, and if this is not arranged by the tour operator you will be required to present evidence of appropriate insurance before commencement of your holiday. Insurance cover can also be provided for residents of Europe under the BritSure policy offered by All Seasons Underwriting Agencies Ltd. Please ask for details.

The full schedule of benefits is set out below and this conforms with EC law concerning adequate travel insurance as a condition of booking for Tour Operators.

Type of Cover Maximum Cover

A. Loss of deposit, Cancellation, Curtailment Final invoice cost

B. Medical expenses £5,000,000

C. Hospital benefits £1,000

D. Personal accident £15,000

E. Personal luggage and money £1,750

F. Delayed/missed departure £100/£1,000

G. Legal expenses £15,000

H. Personal liability £2,000,000

Full details of the terms and conditions of insurance cover are available on request. This insurance policy is arranged by NJ Heritage Partnership Limited, and the policy is taken out with NJ Heritage Partnership Limited, not with the tour operator. The above summary of cover relates to residents of the UK only.

Full details of the terms and conditions of insurance cover are available on request.

Liability
Please note that the tour operator cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage to your luggage or personal property, nor for any other loss, damage, inconvenience, delay, illness, fatal or other injury suffered by you as a result of making a reservation with us, unless it can be shown that the company is in breach of its contractual and legal duty. In the event of you accepting any payment from the tour operator, where it involves responsibility of a third party, this will be made on condition that you assign your rights to us to claim in your place, and fully cooperate if we wish to enforce those rights.

Complaints
Any complaints should be communicated to the Company’s representative as soon as it arises. Failure to notify our representative at the time, providing the Company with an opportunity to rectify the cause of the complaint, may result in your loss of any legal rights in respect of the particular matter. If the issue is not resolved, then the complaint should be made in writing to the tour operator at the Company address within 28 days of the end of your trip. This contract is governed by English law and is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.

All photos used by permission. ©The Chain Gang

Ratings

Ratings Snapshot

  • 5 Star 1
  • 4 Star 0
  • 3 Star 0
  • 2 Star 0
  • 1 Star 0

Average Ratings

  • Overall

    5

  • Difficulty level (Actual vs. expected) 3
  • Value 4
  • Included meals 4
  • Bikes & equipment 5
  • Hotels or boat 4
  • Scenery 5
  • Ease of navigation 5
  • Tour documents 4
  • Local tour company services 4
  • Route selection 4
  • Guides (if applicable) 5

Reviews

Tony July 16, 2017

Tour for all ages

I really enjoyed the way we were all so well loked after along the trip. The accommodation was great, the meals delicious, the rides were well organised, and the tour leader Bernard, was perfect for the mixed group of riders that we had. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to take part in the tour.