Beynac village, Dordogne, France

Dordogne Gastronomic Self-Guided Cycling

9 days
from
$2,155 USD
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Traveller ratings
4 / 5 from 4 reviews >
Trip code: 
LHD
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided
Activity:
Food & Drink
Min age:
12
Group size:
1–6

Cycle through dramatic river valleys, mediaeval villages and past fairytale chateaux

The Dordogne is set apart by its dramatic scenery characterised by steep sided river valleys and ancient villages. Pedalling along the banks of the Dordogne and Vezere rivers, this self-guided route meanders down quiet lanes, through ancient woodland, magical villages and uncovers hidden chateaux. As an area known for exquisite cuisine, this trip is filled with gastronomic meals giving you a taste of the best local delicacies, while the excellent hotels offer swimming pools, local charm and comfort allowing you to completely unwind at the end of each day.

Highlights

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

Key information

  • 8 nights hotels, all rooms en suite
  • 7 days cycling (including 3 optional rides) with luggage transfers
  • 90% tarmac, 10% cycle tracks
  • Gently undulating throughout
  • Self-guided holiday. Min age 2 yrs.
  • E-bikes available on request

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 8 gastronomic dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All luggage transfers
  • Route notes and maps
  • Local bike hire (e-bike can be requested, subject to availability, please inquire for prices)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) Compulsory supplement from GBP328
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request)
Call us on
+82-(0)02-6320-4111
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

7

Pace:

Leisurely: 10-13km/6-8miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; mostly tarmac

Day by day breakdown
Day 235.0km/22.0miles
Day 333.0km/20.0miles
Day 445.0km/28.0miles
Day 529.0km/18.0miles
Day 637.0km/23.0miles
Day 732.0km/20.0miles
Day 856.0km/35.0miles
Beynac village, Dordogne, France

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Souillac
to
Souillac
  • Day 1

    Start Souillac.

    A transfer has been arranged to pick you up from Souillac train station and take you to your hotel (please see the joining information). Souillac is a bustling town, with an impressive Benedictine abbey, good shops and an excellent mechanical toy museum. It is considered the gateway to the Dordogne and our hotel is right in the centre if you fancy a wander and pre-dinner aperitif.
    Premium Hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Two ride options. The more challenging option goes via Chateau de Fenelon and Grolejac. Alternatively, ride via Carlux to Sarlat.

    There are two ride options today. The more challenging of today's choices takes you 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 15th to 18th Century. The alternative, easier route, takes you across the river via Carsac. Either way, you'll arrive at our hotel in Sarlat.

    Two 35km routes to choose from.
    Premium Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Free day to relax in Sarlat or enjoy an optional ride to Domme or La Roque-Gageac.

    Today is a free day to relax and the setting of the hotel lends itself perfectly to this. Alternatively, we recommend exploring the old regional capital of the Perigord Noir snugly nestled between the Dordogne and Vezere rivers, Sarlat is almost too pretty to be true. The Vieux Quartier is an astonishingly beautiful jumble of widely varying architectural styles, and virtually all pre-17th Century. 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 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. Picturesque alleyways and a mix of simple farmer dwellings alongside noble residences lead you to the village church built into the rock face. If these options take your fancy then the details are provided in the route notes.

    Optional ride approx. 33km or 38km depending on route chosen.
    Premium Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Two ride possibilities. Head through the rolling countryside of the Perigord Nord, or follow the Dordogne to Beynac; end the day in Les Eyzies.

    You have a choice of routes again today. You can either head west, through the rich green rolling countryside of the Perigord Nord to the village of Meyrals with its traditional Perigourdine houses. The alternative route takes you down to the Dordogne River taking in Beynac with its impressive fortified castle. It is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, its cobbled streets and squares are still home and workplace to many artisan and craftsmen, and there are lots of hidden galleries. The ride then continues along the banks of the river to St Cyprien, this lively village with its 12th Century abbey is a great lunch stop. Your final stretch takes you up through wooded glades and past the Roc de Cazelle troglodyte cave village and on to the prehistoric capital of Les Eyzies. Our hotel here is set in lovely tranquil gardens and has a private swimming pool.

    Cycle approx. 30km or 45km depending on the route chosen.
    Premium Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Free day in Les Eyzies; optional ride through the Vezere Gorges or spend the day canoeing or kayaking.

    Les Eyzies is waiting to be explored and today you have the day off the bikes to make the most of this popular village. Set in the heart of Perigord, standing proudly between the imposing cliffs and the Vezere Gorge, Les Eyzies receives over 600,000 visitors a year. Renowned for its gastronomy and prehistory, the village and the surrounding area offer a wealth of hidden caves, prehistoric art and archaeological treasures. The honeycombed shelters and caves transport you back in time to when men once lived and practised magic within the caves. If you choose to take the circular ride it will then take 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.

    Optional ride approx. 29km.
    Premium Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Cycle to La Roque St Christophe and the village of St Leon; end the ride in Auriac-du-Perigord.

    This morning starts with a fabulous freewheel down to the Vezere River and on to visit La Roque St Christophe, containing five floors of caves in terraces. It is the oldest and largest cave site in western Europe, providing shelter over the centuries from marauding Vikings, persecuting Catholics in the Wars of Religion, as well as hiding places for the Marquis from occupying German forces in World War II. The ride will then continue onto the pretty village of St Leon with its charming 12th Century church and lovely riverside picnic spots. You then leave the river valley to head through pleasant woodland to Auriac-du-Perigord, where you spend the next 2 nights in the beautiful Moulin de Mitou. It is a true hidden gem!

    Cycle approx. 31km or 37km depending on the route chosen.
    Premium Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Free day exploring Montignac, or ride to the Lascaux II caves.

    It’s an easy 5km ride into the pretty mediaeval town of Montignac, which is well worth exploring. We suggest wandering up to the ruined chateau, once a fortress owned by the counts of Perigord. There is little left of the actual building as it is said that locals used the stone to build their own houses, but the site offers fantastic views. It is then worth heading off to the nearby Lascaux II caves, ranked as the number one prehistoric site in Europe. Discovered in 1940 by four children looking for their dog, the caves display an amazing collection of more than 1500 cave paintings. What you visit now is a life size replica cave as the original was closed in 1963 to protect the 20,000 year old original. Once you have had a good look around you can return to the tranquility of the hotel, its gardens, shaded verandas, swimming pool and sun terrace which are perfect for relaxing and soaking up the summer sun. A further alternative cycling option takes you to Terrasson Lavilledieu and Les Jardins de l'Imaginaire - a one-of-a-kind site with 13 garden designs that take you through the history of gardens since the Roman period.

    Optional ride; up to 32km depending on the route chosen.
    Premium Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    Cycle back to Souillac via Salignac and the Manoir d'Eyrignac.

    Your ride will head first via the tiny farming village of St-Amand-de-Coly with its impressive abbey and on through wooded glades to Salignac. From here, we recommend a short detour to the Manoir d'Eyrignac, its impressive 18th Century gardens are rated the best in France. The cycling is then lovely and flat through open country, past chestnut groves, maize fields and masses of sunflowers, perhaps stopping off at charming St Genies with its 14th Century chapel. Roll on through traditional Perigord villages such as Eyvignes and Eybenes, worth making a brief stop for the church and manor, before heading down into the Borreze Valley. We will then return to Souillac. If you have time then you may wish to make a visit to Vieille Prune Distillery.

    Cycle approx. 47km or 56km depending on the route chosen.
    Premium Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 9

    End Souillac.

    We have arranged for a transfer back to the train station. See the joining information for more details.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

France

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

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 specialities 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.

Weather

Summers in the Dordogne are warm-hot with temperatures reaching 25-35 degrees Celcius. There may be occasional storms and showers, these are usually short but you should be prepared. Colder spells can also arrive and last a day or two. Temperatures in the early morning can still be quite mild, so it is a good idea to have an additional layer.

In spring and autumn the weather in the Dordogne is similar but milder, with temperatures around 22-28 degrees Celcius and with a greater chance of rain - especially in late spring.

Is this trip for you?

Cycling Conditions
Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/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.

Families
Self-guided cycling holidays are a perfect option for families as they offer the freedom for you to take your holiday at your own pace. You can stop as and when you want and need, at the cafes and restaurants that suit your family and the sites that interest you. Our local partner is able to offer child seats for children aged 2-4yrs and bikes for children aged 8 and above. These are all subject to availability, and therefore we ask that you enquire about these on booking. Please note due to the size of the bikes and distances required to cycle, this trip is not appropriate for children aged from 5-7yrs (who are too big for the child seats, but not big enough to ride the children’s bike). As a guide we have suggested that 2yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you. The daily distances are all published in the trip notes along with a description of each days cycling so you have a good idea of what to expect. However, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts. The principle idea is that these holidays can be as flexible as you like, with logistical support but no group or leader to dictate the daily activities. Please bear in mind the weather when choosing to book, temperatures can be very high in the middle of summer and the child seats provided do not have any shade. We therefore recommend going either earlier or later on in the season if you have young children.

Call us on
+82-(0)02-6320-4111
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

All hotels have been specially selected for their warm welcome, location and regional cuisine. On this trip we use 3 and 4-star hotels, including the stylish Hotel Les Glycines in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil. This hotel is run by the Lombard family who have lovingly restored the building to its former glory, with the addition of a cosy bar, modern bistrot and dining room which looks over the gardens. All the hotels have swimming pools and all rooms have en suite facilities.

Single Accommodation

All prices are based on 2 persons sharing, so if there is an odd number of people travelling in your party or you are travelling alone, there will be a compulsory single room. Please call our sales department for the latest prices and availability.

Call us on
+82-(0)02-6320-4111
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call us on
+82-(0)02-6320-4111
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2017
    Tilly Jensen

    CAUTION: This is a '4' level of difficulty and NOT a '2'; difficulty level grossly misrepresented

    We booked this trip to have some cycling time with our son who is a novice cyclist but fit. My husband and I are strong cyclists and have done trips with Exodus that are rated as a '4' and '3'; no difficulties with cycling experienced on those trips. However, this Dordogne trip starts off the first cycling day with grades of 5% to 10% and as high as 16%. The second day of cycling has two optional rides with the same thing and even as high as 20% showing on our Garmin. Our son was not here to train for the Tour de France ... the goal was to have some relaxing cycling ... this is NOT relaxing cycling. I confirmed with an Exodus agent that a trip rated as a '2' should be relatively flat terrain. When you are continuously experiencing elevation grades greater than 6%, it's a seriously challenging ride. We ride in the Canadian Rockies ... some great but tough rides there ... this Dordogne trip is as tough as our mountain rides in Canada but not as many kilometres. The difficulty rating of this ride has been totally misrepresented by Exodus. Had we known, we would have booked an ebike. We were unable to get an ebike because we didn't realize it was necessary until we had done a couple of days of cycling ... now they are unable to get us one ... so we're stuck sitting around doing nothing. BEWARE!!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When we realized that we will never book another trip with Exodus given the misrepresentation experienced on this trip ... and we've done more than 10 to date with them!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    No group leader; self-guided.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    BEWARE!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I should have noticed that there were no reviews more recent than August of 2015. Exodus likely has been pulling all the bad reviews. They'll likely pull this one even though they say they post all reviews!!! We know this trip has been booked by others because the reps who greeted us on the first day told us that was the case.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Mark Robertson

    Self Guided Gastronomic Dordogne Cycling trip

    A thoroughly enjoyable cycling trip with some superb food and especially at Les Glycines's restaurant where the service and accommodation were impeccable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Making it it the top of the hill in the mid afternoon heat after climbing up from Sarlat by grinding out the miles! The cave paintings at Lascaux 2 were stunning as the originals are over 17000 years old and cycling through the virtually traffics free country roads with the dappled sunlight over the chateaux.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Being self guided meant that he didn't have a leader which meant we had planets of time to confer while interpreting the route plan from Headwater. Both Claire & Keith ( the local reps) were both friendly and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We went in August when it was hot so do take plenty of water with you and stay hydrated as this is an undulating route with plenty of short sharp hills and the occasional long one! Do also remember that shops are often closed during the afternoon until about 16.00 so buy your provisions in plenty of time

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The fitter you are before the trip the more you'll enjoy it. This region attracts a lot of tourists and town centres
  • Reviewed July 2015
    Steven Gittens

    More hills than we expected

    Our week was particularly hot, as temperatures in the high 30's swept over France. This probably made the hills a bit more of a challenge, but they are achievable since the bikes are very good and have plenty of gears. We would recommend this holiday, the cycling distances are all less than 50k, taking us through stunning scenery and pretty villages. We were well briefed by the Headwater / Exodus staff and when we had a problem with the bike that needed assistance, they came to us within 10 minutes. The first hotel is without doubt disappointing, cramped and poor facilities. However the restaurant next door at La Veille Auberge is excellent. Les Glycines and Le Moulin de Mitou were fantastic with great pools, nice rooms and outstanding food. On our free day at Eyzies de Tayac we hired a canoe from just outside the hotel and paddled for 18k although other longer and shorter distances can be arranged.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Le Moulin de Mitou has a wonderful atmosphere. The owners are charming and speak very little English. We cycled both days and spent the afternoon by the lovely pool.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Clare and Keith were great. The briefing was spot on.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Expect the hills. On one day you start with 3k of gradual uphill. Cycle early if it is hot.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As previously said the first hotel disappoints, but not enough to take the shine of a great holiday. There is no air conditioning and I was able to use the one fan available at the hotel.
  • Reviewed October 2014
    Peter Griffin

    Dordogne gastronomic cycling trip

    A fantastic nine day trip through a beautiful section of the Dordogne, riding between hotels and visiting historic chateaus and towns along the way. The accommodation was excellent, the food was wonderful and the self-guided trip allows you to proceed at your own pace.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting the chateaus and picnicking alongside the Dordogne river in beautiful surrounds, browsing the farmers' markets, unwinding over dinner at the hotels which served excellent food and had great wine selections.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were on a self-guided trip, but Keith and co at Headwaters provided great support, taking our gear between hotels and thoroughly briefing us on the area and the bikes. They took good care of our luggage and had in-depth knowledge of the region

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Worth spending a day or two in Brive before starting the trip - beautiful little town and the Black Truffle is a great place to stay. There aren't many vineyards along this route, so unless you are going to Bergerac or elsewhere on the wine route, map out some side visits to vineyards in the region. Have lots of picnics, picking up local ingredients from charcuteries and boulangeries. The entry fee to the chateaus is worth it, particularly Chateau de Fenelon and Chateau de Losse. The ancient towns of Domme and La Roque Gageac are must-visit locations. The prehistoric heritage of the area is fascinating, but investigate the supposed attractions carefully online first - some of them are tacky theme parks. The exception is the Lascaux caves - an excellent site.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Useful to have someone assigned to map reading and ideally, a GPS device to keep track of your progress each day. Take the longer cycling options, which usually involve less elevation!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on +82-(0)02-6320-4111