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Haute Dordogne Guided Road Cycling Holiday
The Dordogne region of southwest France has been attracting visitors for years and on this trip you are offered the widest variety of rural French riding possible in a week-long getaway! As well as cycling past classic Dordogne vineyards and over rolling green hills, this trip also takes you toward the Massif Centrale and visits the Auvergne, one of France’s most deeply rural and undiscovered regions. The tour runs to/from Bergerac.
- CategoryRoad Cycling
- TypeFully Guided
- Duration8 days
- Culture LevelFamiliar
- Skill Level3 - Intermediate
- Activity Level3 - Active
- Elevation3 - Intermediate
- Distance320 miles
- Avg. Daily Distance52.8 miles
The Dordogne area, famous for its gentle rolling hills and medieval fortified towns, is a dramatic contrast with the more rugged landscaped of the Auvergne, and its chains of distinctive looking extinct volcanoes spotted in the second part of your journey. Along the way, you will feast on the truffles of the Dordogne and the famous Cantal cheese of the Auvergne.
The French tend to refer to this area not as “La Dordogne” but as “Le Périgord“, and in France, the area is most famous for its stunning scenery and gourmet delights. This trip explores the lesser-visited areas of the Dordogne where the hills get higher and the valleys gets deeper. For the majority of your time here, the cycling route will take you through a delightful and undulating countryside. The exception to this is the cycling day around Mandailles St Julien and St Privat which is significantly hillier.
The region is rich in oak forests and amongst the highlights are the village of Rocamadour, perched up and down a steep cliff face overlooking the valley of the Ouysse and the beautiful small city of Cahors, famous for its medieval streets and its 14th century bridge, the Pont de Valentré.
You will begin the journey through wooded hills, with occasional glimpses of grandiose past châteaux hidden between the trees to the fertile Lot Valley. Lined with vineyards you will follow the valley to Cahors, famous for its red wine and its ancient bridge. Joining the Cele River you will explore the tranquil Parc Naturel de Quercy, staying overnight in the medieval market town of Figeac.
As you head towards the Auvergne, vineyards and peaceful rivers are replaced by rolling hills and the sound of cowbells. In the middle of the journey, you will have shorter daily distances and engage your climbing legs as the route follows in the footsteps of the 2016 Tour de France up the Puy Mary (1,588m/5209ft). The majestic vistas of the chain of extinct conical volcanic peaks and lush green valleys make for a memorable day of riding.
The journey returns westward through the little known Upper Dordogne region before rejoining the Dordogne river valley. This holiday features numerous scenic lunch spots for a picnic along with carefully chosen accommodation offering delicious traditional cuisine.