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Dordogne Gastronomic Cycling

from $3,049.00

Wonderful gastronomic meals, world-famous wines, fabulous historic sites and postcard-pretty villages are just a few of the highlights of this popular 8-night cycling tour. You’re usually close to the rivers too, so lots of swimming, plus all hotels have pools.

  • Reviews 31 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
All about the Dordogne Gastronomic Cycling.

The Dordogne is one of the largest and most picturesque areas in France. It is divided into two by the Dordogne River, which founded the historic frontier between France and England during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453). Along its banks you’ll find over a thousand castles steeped in legend and history, and witness to centuries of conquests and distinct cultures. Today, the rich and varied culture of this land is still here for you to discover. The towering strongholds of Beynac, Castelnaud, Domme and Montfort offer breath-taking views and your route also takes you to little-known chateaux hidden deep in the woods.
The cycling is undulating yet varied, and takes you along the banks of the Dordogne and Vezere rivers, through ancient woodlands and past pretty farmsteads. You’ll cycle through picturesque villages such as St Leon, where you’ll find one of the oldest Roman-style churches in the area, dating back to the C12, and on through Les Eyzies whose caves are among a series of decorated grottoes in the area that were collectively named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
From your hotel in Souillac, just a stone’s throw from the centre of town, to the stylish 4-star hotel in Les Eyzies, surrounded by picturesque gardens, everywhere you stay has been hand-picked, and includes its own swimming pool. As this part of France is famous for its cooking and the excellence of the ingredients, we’ve arranged particularly special evening meals throughout.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 8 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodations in a mix of *** and **** hotels
  • All breakfasts and 8 gastronomic dinners
  • Services of your local Headwater Representative
  • All luggage transfers
  • GPS Route directions and maps
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality hybrid bike rental
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels (inquire for prices and details)
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • E-Bike (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Tandems available (inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Enjoy gastronomic cuisine
  • Discover dramatic scenery
  • Visit historic, prehistoric and UNESCO sites
  • Stay in excellent hotels with pools
  1. Day 1 Day 1 Arrive in Souillac

    Souillac is a bustling town, with an impressive Benedictine abbey, good shops and an excellent mechanical toy museum. Our hotel, with swimming pool, is right in the centre if you fancy a wander and pre-dinner aperitif. (Staying at La Vieille Auberge, Half Board)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 Souillac to Sarlat 36km/23mi

    Today you head west along the Dordogne Valley, with the possibility of a lunch stop at the fabulous Chateau de Fenelon. There’s a fine collection of armour, arms and objets d’art dating from the C15 to the C18. Your route continues along the old, disused railway line before a climb to our 3 Star hotel, just outside Sarlat, in plenty of time to relax by the pool before dinner. (Staying at Hotel Meysset, Half Board)

  3. Day 3 Day 3 At Sarlat

    This was the old regional capital. The Vieux Quartier is an astonishingly beautiful jumble of widely varying architectural styles, and virtually all pre-C17. A self-guided historical audio walk is available from the tourist office, and there’s a lively market on a Wednesday and Saturday. If you are feeling a little more energetic you could also cycle to hilltop Domme, a fantastically positioned bastide town set on the banks of the Dordogne against a backdrop of wooded hills, or La Roque-Gageac, spectacularly nestled within a cliff, with a vertical drop down to the Dordogne Valley. If these options take your fancy then the details are provided in the route notes. (Staying at Hotel Meysset, Half Board)

  4. Day 4 Day 4 Sarlat to Les Eyzies 40km/25mi

    You head to the Dordogne taking in Beynac with its impressive fortified castle. Then it’s along the banks of the river to lively St-Cyprien, a good lunch stop. Your final stretch takes you up through wooded glades and past the Font-de-Gaume caves and on to the prehistoric capital, Les Eyzies. Our stylish 4-star hotel here is set in lovely tranquil gardens and has a private swimming pool. (Staying at Hotel Les Glycines, Half Board)

  5. Day 5 Day 5 At Les Eyzies

    The steep limestone cliffs surrounding the village are honeycombed with shelters and caves where prehistoric man once lived and practised magic. Our circular cycling route takes you through the magnificent Vezere Gorges and back via the Abri du Cap Blanc where you’ll find the only remaining frieze of prehistoric sculptures in the world open to the public. Or spend the day canoeing or kayaking down the gentle Vezere River. (Staying at Hotel Les Glycines, Half Board)

  6. Day 6 Day 6 Les Eyzies to Montignac 29km/18mi

    An initial climb today before a fabulous freewheel down to La Roque St-Christophe, the oldest and largest cave site in western Europe, then on to the pretty village of St Leon with its charming C12 church and lovely riverside picnic spots. You continue along the river to the mediaeval town of Montignac and the charming La Roseraie, your hotel for the next two nights. (Staying at La Roseraie, Half Board)

  7. Day 7 Day 7 At Montignac

    Montignac oozes charm and is well worth exploring. Perhaps wander up to the ruined chateau, before heading off to the nearby Lascaux caves complex, ranked as the number one prehistoric site in Europe. Discovered in 1940 by four children looking for their dog, the caves offer an amazing collection of paintings and are well worth a visit. Back at the hotel, the gardens and swimming pool are perfect for relaxing and soaking up the summer sun. (Staying at La Roseraie, Half Board)

  8. Day 8 Day 8 Montignac to Souillac 47km/29mi

    Starting out, you head first, via the tiny farming village of St-Amand-de-Coly (impressive abbey) and on through wooded glades, to Salignac. From here, we’d recommend a short detour to the Manoir d’Eyrignac whose impressive C18 gardens are rated the best in France. Then it’s lovely flat cycling through open country passing chestnut groves, maize fields and masses of sunflowers, perhaps stopping off at charming St-Genies with its C14 chapel. Roll through traditional Perigord villages such as Eyvignes and Eybenes (the church and manor are worth a stop), before heading down into the Borreze valley. Back in Souillac, time permitting, perhaps visit the Vieille Prune Distillery. (Staying at La Vieille Auberge, Half Board)

  9. Day 9 Day 9 Leave Souillac

    Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in France for children under 12. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own. Please see our Planning you holiday page for full details.

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Where you stay
La Vieille Auberge
La Vieille Auberge, a coach house from Napoleonic times, has been modernised to create a charming auberge in a quiet part of Souillac. The restaurant serves traditional regional specialities with a modern twist.
Hotel Meysset
This 3* traditional Perigord hotel, set in 3 acres of pine woods and gardens, enjoys an elevated position just 3kms above Sarlat. It offers complete tranquillity, wonderful food and fantastic views from its terrace over the surrounding valley. The cooking here is based on the wonderfully rich and gastronomic cuisine for which this region is famous. Expect to be offered house specialities such as magret de canard, foie gras and pommes de terre sarladaises – slices of potato sauteed in goose fat, with garlic, parsley and wild mushrooms: don’t come here if you’re counting the calories!
Hotel Les Glycines
This hotel is a real gem, run by the family Lombard, who have over the past 10 years carefully restored the building to its former grandeur. The hotel has a cosy bar, a modern bistrot and a light airy dining room which looks out onto the well kept gardens surrounding the swimming pool. All rooms have views of the courtyard and are en-suite with a bath, hairdryer and television. Upgrades to larger rooms overlooking the gardens are available on request.
Hotel le Centenaire
This hotel is just 200 yards from the Cro-Magnon Shelter and 400 yards from the National prehistoric Museum. Dating from 1964, it offers a heated, outdoor swimming pool and an on-site bar. Decorated in a classic style, the air-conditioned rooms at Hotel Le Centenaire feature a TV, minibar and free Wi-Fi access. Each one also provides an en suite bathroom, which is complete with a bath, a hairdryer and free toiletries. Buffet breakfast is served in the restaurant, on the terrace or in the comfort of guest rooms. You can also relax by the swimming pool with a drink from the bar before sampling gastronomic cuisine in the restaurant.
Hotel La Roseraie
Set in a lovely little square in the small town of Montignac you are guaranteed a warm welcome at La Roseraie. The hotel is a converted 19th century town house, and is beautifully decorated throughout, with each of the spacious, ensuite bedrooms showcasing a different design. The hotel takes its name from its 100 year old rose garden, which is part of the hotel’s huge gardens where you’ll also find the swimming pool and sun terrace – ideal for relaxing. The hotel also has a lounge area and library for guests’ use.
Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 8 dinners are included.

This is a gastronomic tour so the food is central to your experience. Meat and fish are a big part of the regional cuisine; but the hotels will do their best to cater for vegetarians.

The Dordogne has a rich cuisine based on ‘produits du terroir’ (locally grown produce). A typical first course would be ‘tourain’, an onion and garlic soup cooked in a broth with duck or goose fat, and ladled over slices of country bread and cheese. Paté, often duck or goose, is equally popular, as is foie gras. Main course specialties also include duck and goose, often served in light cream sauces and, in the autumn, fresh cepes. Duck or goose fat is also used for the accompanying pommes de terre sarladaises – slices of potato sauteed in goose fat, with garlic, parsley and wild mushrooms. Traditional desserts include tarte aux noix, and flognarde, a type of flan with fruit and liqueur. A local cheese that is worth tasting is Bleu des Causses, similar to Roquefort, as well as Rocamadour goat’s cheese. There are also some fantastic wines that come from the local area and a little further afield in Bordeaux that will accompany your meals perfectly.

Cycling Conditions
Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)
Average daily distance: 43km / 27 miles (this includes the longer routes and optional cycles)
No. of days cycling: 7 (including 3 optional rides)
Terrain and route: The suggested cycling mainly follows quiet tarmac roads with a few sections on dirt roads. The terrain is mainly undulating with some flat sections so a reasonable level of fitness is required.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. A representative will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 02/10/2019
4/5

Mr Hughes

A great holiday but it does have a few flaws!

Reviewed On 13/08/2019
5/5

Mrs Craft

We had a fantastic holiday mixing exercise with beautiful scenery, excellent food in a tranquil environment. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend a cycling holiday with Headwater.

Reviewed On 22/07/2019
5/5

Mrs Boyle

An excellent balance of cycling (some challenging hills!) sightseeing, eating and drinking with plenty of opportunity for relaxing as well.

Reviewed On 01/11/2018
5/5

Mr Quaddy

The briefing by the reps about the bikes and the Ride with GPS app was very good. The route notes were also useful. The bicycles were excellent. The ladies needed the electric bikes in the Dordogne because they had not done much cycling preparation beforehand. The meals at each hotel were very good. The country side was beautiful and there were many interesting sites to visit.

Reviewed On 07/09/2018
4/5

Mrs Stevens

Great easy cycling for the most part amongst beautiful countryside with interesting places to visit all along the way.

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