5/5 (2)
7 nights | 32 miles/day
Guided from USD $ 2110
Bike tour in France
Rider Level: Active Electric bike tours
5/5 (2)

Rider Level: Active Electric bike tours

7 nights | 32 miles/day
Guided from USD $ 2110
Bike tour in France

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  • Dordogne Valley

    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.

    • Dordogne France (photo:nabihelboustani)
    • Dordogne France (photo:nataliaterskaya)
    • Provence France (photo:flvinhosprovence_shrimip) CC-BY-ND-2.0
    • Provence France (photo:flvinhosprovence_steak) CC-BY-ND-2.0
    • Rocamadour France (photo:joranquinten)
    • Provence France (photo:flvinhosprovence_white_wine) CC-BY-ND-2.0

    View more photos

    Highlights

    • Périgord Noir, the Dordogne valley
    • Spectacular medieval castles
    • Specialty traditional foods of the region
    • Lovely small villages
    • National Museum of Prehistory
    • Goufrre de Proumeyssac cave
    • Chateaux of Beynac, once the seat of Richard the Lionheart, and Castelnaud
    • Domme, key battleground in The Hundred Years War and The Wars of Religion
    • Rocamadour
    • Views across the Vézère and Beune valleys
    • Prehistoric fort at La Roque St Christophe, carved out of the limestone cliff

    Learn More

    Not sure which type of tour to book? Learn about the differences between guided and self-guided tours.

  • 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 tour programme. This delightful hotel sits on the banks of the river Beune just upstream from where the Beune joins the Vézère.

    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.

    Anyone who has time should consider a visit to the National Museum of Prehistory. It's rare that a 'National' musuem in France is not based in Paris. It's a clue about the importance of Les Eyzies in the world of Pre-history, and the museum is well worth it.
    Overnight in Les Eyzies

    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.

    Just before we reach Limeuil there is a small church, St Martin's Chapel. You may be familiar with story of the English King Henry 2nd, who carelessly asked some of his Knights, when referring to the famous cleric Thomas a Becket, 'Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?'

    The Knights promptly rid him of poor Thomas. Henry was widely villified for Thomas' death, and to atone, he built 3 churches, including the tiny St Martin's Chapel in Limeuil.

    In the afternoon we follow the Dordogne along quiet roads and pass the Châteaux of Beynac and Castelnaud facing each other across the Dordogne, as well as the Château des Milandes, home of Josephine Baker, a most extraordinary lady, caberet artiste, a wartime spy for Charles de Gaulle, and the only woman to speak alongside Martin Luther King on the day of his famous 'I have a dream' speech.

    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 Hostellerie Maleville you can meet the Maleville family. The food here is very traditional - a superb introduction to Dordogne cuisine- and Pascal is the 6th generation of Malevilles to run the hotel.
    Overnight in Beynac

    Day 3: Baynac – Calès
    We start by retracing our steps to the Castle of Castelnaud, which houses a museum of medieval warfare. Castelnaud and Beynac were always in opposition to each other, and although both beloinged to both the French and the English at different times, they were never on the same side!

    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 20 years!

    Today is the hardest day of the week. The swimming pool and sauna at Calès are welcome and well-deserved. We are in the middle of the limestone Causse, away from other tourists, and you will wonder how on earth a chef of the caliber of Olivier Loeuillet ended up in a hotel in this tiny village. Possibly the best food on any night of ANY of our tours, not just the Dordogne.
    Overnight in Calès

    Day 4: Rocamadour and the Gouffre de Padirac
    As we leave Calés this morning, down a simply breath-taking descent, notice how the landscape has changed from the lush farmland of yesterday to the arid limestone causses on the way to Rocamadour. At the base of the first descent is the ancient fortified mill of Cougnaguet. This enchanting pocket of French history gives us a fascinating insight into the lawlessness of this region during the 13th century.

    Leaving the mill, we can head across country on the old pilgrim’s way into Rocamadour, 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*** - worth a journey in itself - and it is unforgettable.

    The afternoon is easier than this morning's climb but you can make up for this if you choose to use the stairs rather than the elevator when we visit the Gouffre de Padirac, a massive cavern leading to an underground river with spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations. Another Michelin 3*** attraction, and although the staff are bad even by French standards of customer service, the Gouffre de Padirac is unmissable. The underground journey, including a boat trip along the river will last around an hour and you should ensure you have something warm to wear,

    By the time we emerge from the cave, it is usually late afternoon, and a 5-mile cycle ride brings us to the Relais de Castelnau in Loubressac. We're on the edge of the plateau here, looking right across the Dordogne valley from the lovely terrace.
    Overnight in Loubressac

    Day 5: Loubressac – Gluges
    There is an excellent downhill cycle ride into the village of Autoire and on the way here we should certainly stop at the overlook and admire the superb Cirque d’Autoire, a limestone horse-shoe dominating the valley. From Autoire we head across country into St Céré where, two Wednesdays each month, there is a great food market - 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 Carennac, rated by some as the most beautiful village on the Dordogne, and a great place for a picnic.

    After Carennac 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 ride with the disappointing exception of what always seems to me like a wholly unnecessary hill just before Gluges. But you’re not too far from a beer at journey’s end.
    Overnight in Gluges

    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. One look at the traffic queues in Sarlat will make you very happy you cycled here.

    Tonight we stroll into the labyrinthine old town to Les Jardins d'Harmonie for a meal that, on their best day, almost rivals Monday’s dinner in Calés. You can judge for yourselves.
    Overnight in Sarlat-la-Caneda

    Day 7: Sarlat – Les Eyzies
    This is the last day of our cycling holiday, so we've put in a ‘couple of hills’. Do you remember how we described Monday as ‘probably the hilliest day of the week’? Well, today is why we inserted the probably but it’ll be okay – Friday’s route is 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 its 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 at which point it was destroyed by the English. (Sorry everyone.)

    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 6 miles, and we have the chance to visit the National Prehistory Museum 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.
    Overnight in Les Eyzies

    Day 8: Departure

    Surface and terrain

    You will cycle paved roads an average of 32 miles each day. This route has some significant climbs and rolling hills.


    Hotels

    These are sample hotels and may vary by availability.

    The accommodations on this tour are 3-star hotels. Hotels have been personally selected by the tour operator based on long-standing relationships and local charm and ambience.

    Le Moulin de la Beune, Les Eyzies
    www.moulindelabeune.com

    Hostellerie Maleville, Beynac
    www.hostellerie-maleville.com

    Hotel Petit Relais, Payrac
    www.hotel-petitrelais.fr

    Relais de Castelnau, Loubressac
    www.relaisdecastelnau.com

    Domaines Les Falaises, Gluges
    domainelesfalaises.com

    Hotel de Compostelle, Sarlat-la-Caneda
    www.hotel-compostelle-sarlat.com

    Le Moulin de la Beaune, Les Eyzies
    www.moulindelabeune.com

    Interested in visiting other areas before or after your tour? Visit our hotels page to learn more about lodging options.


    How to get there

    Tour start and end
    Nearest airport: Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport or Paris airports
    Nearest train station: Les Eyzies de Tayac train station

    If you fly into Paris, you can connect to Les Eyzies through the Angouleme/Perigueux station. You may book transfers in advance; refer to Dates & Prices page for details.

    Tips on getting to and from your tour


    Dordogne Valley

     Tour Photos Dates & Prices 

  • Dates

    July 8, Aug 19, Sep 23, 2023

    Prices

    Tour package

    Per person, double occupancy US$2110
    Single use room (1 person/1 room) US$2570

    Bike Rentals

    E-bike US$150

    Transfer

    Traveling from London (per person, round trip) US$345
    Traveling from Paris (per person, round trip) US$250
    Bergerac airport (per person, round trip) US$265
    Angouleme train station (per person, round trip) US$130

    Included services

    • 7 nights hotel accommodation
    • Breakfast each morning and 7 evening meals
    • Luggage transfers, luggage tags
    • Route notes and maps
    • Emergency contact details
    • Tour guide that accompanies the group
    • Bike hire (Trek FX3), including fitting and setup
    • Welcome letter with details on hotels and restaurants
    • All routes available in GPS form
    • Cycling jersey

    Bike rentals

    Bikes available on this tour, and included in the tour cost (reserved in advance at the time of booking):

    • Hybrid touring bikes, Trek FX3 model

    Bikes available on this tour for an additional fee (reserved in advance at the time of booking):

    • Electrically-assisted bikes*

    *More about electrically-assisted bikes >

    Bikes come equipped with:

    • Helmets
    • Waterproof jackets and cycling jersey
    • Panniers
    • Water bottle
    • Basic repair kit

    Pedals:
    The bikes will have flat pedals. If you bring your own pedals, be sure to bring your own shoes.

    Helmets:
    Helmets are available on this tour. However, we recommend that you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene purposes.

    Bike Protection:
    Bike protection can be purchased at the time of booking. You can read more about that HERE.


    Tour Company


    Dordogne Valley

     Daily program Route Map 

  • Route Map

    Maps are for information purposes only and reflect typical routes between overnight locations. They may not reflect your actual route.


    Dordogne Valley

     Dates & Prices Tour Reviews 

    • Kscbythesea September 23, 2018

      Lots of riding, gorgeous scenery, simpatico group

      My husband and I both very much enjoyed this tour. He especially appreciated the riding and the food; I especially delighted in the charming villages and French countryside. We both loved our guide, Mike, who was a lot of fun. We also liked the other 8 cyclists in the group. Of the 10 cyclists in the group, 8 were in good shape and we all enjoyed the riding. The two that were not expecting the riding to be challenging did not enjoy the hilly days. BikeTours got it right: you can manage without being fit, but you won’t enjoy the hills very much. The hotels were charming. The food was amazing! Gourmet multi-couse dinners were included every night, and breakfasts were very good - the croissants always fresh. We will definitely look into taking another Chain Gang tour.

      What was the date of your tour?
      8 September 2018
      How many tours have you completed?
      1 other
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      Solo travelers, First-time bike tourists, Families with teens
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 5/5 Value
      • 5/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 4/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 5/5 Ease of navigation
      • 4/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 5/5 Route selection
      • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
    • 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.

      What was the date of your tour?
      8/7/17 -15/7/17
      How many tours have you completed?
      about 10
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      First-time bike tourists
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 4/5 Value
      • 4/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 4/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 5/5 Ease of navigation
      • 4/5 Tour documents
      • 4/5 Local tour company services
      • 4/5 Route selection
      • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)

    Dordogne Valley

     Route Map Book This Tour