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France Self Guided Biking / Dordogne
Tour Dates: April – October

Our Dordogne Bike Tours are Self Guided Bike tours that offer the best in a French cycling vacation: history, castles, beautiful vistas, quiet country roads, and world-renowned cuisine and wine. The Dordogne is thought by many to be the most beautiful river in France. You’ll also explore the Vézère River valley, famous for prehistoric sites, including caves and troglodyte dwellings. The prehistoric sites, such as Lascaux cave, (which is inscribed on the World Heritage List), testify to millenniums of human history and are exceptional in both quality and quantity.

2016 Price: €1500 Euros per person, based on double occupancy for group of 2 people.

€1250 Euros per person (Double Occupancy) for a group of 4 or more people.

Price Includes:
  • 7 nights lodging in 2 and 3 star B & B’s
  • 4 dinners
  • 7 breakfasts
  • luggage transport
  • Detailed maps and route suggestions
  • Suggestions for where to eat and side trips to take
  • Emergency support
Price does not include:

Airfare, airport-hotel transfers, hybrid rental bike – €80 Euros or carbon road bike rental – €150 Euros, 3 dinners, lunches, alcoholic beverages.

“The route through Dordogne was perfectly suited to us and everyone else in the group. Not too long, too hilly, too flat. Scenery, accommodations and food did not disappoint. They were great. We just had a blast!” ~ Denise H. (Bike Tour of Dordogne, France)

Tour Difficulty

On a daily basis you will experience some flat sections and several sections that are rolling to hilly. Daily distances average 50 km per day.

  • Difficulty: Moderately Hilly
  • Road Conditions: Smooth & Paved
  • Recommended Bike: Hybrid or Road

Tour Highlights

  • Castles and fortresses
  • Prehistoric sites, such as Lascaux cave
  • Historical sites
  • Old stone-built houses
  • Troglodyte houses built onto the cliff

Tour Overview

Some of the most charming villages of France are found in the Dordogne region. The opulent Dordogne valley is rich with countless grandiose and spectacular sites such as castles and fortresses, villages built into the cliff and caves with amazing rock formations. Our route will take you through beautiful and varied scenery along country roads built generations ago. Here, every step takes you to a visible trace of human history. You will follow pilgrimage routes, drawn during the 12th and the 13th centuries, riding from centuries old stone-built houses to villages from the Middle Ages, and from shepherds huts – unchanged from prehistoric times – to troglodyte houses built onto the cliff.

Tour Map

Tour Video

The tour below averages 50 km/day.

Day 1 - Arrival in Gourdon

You will meet in Gourdon, a very nice village. Short drive to your accommodations in a very nice ancient house. Our French partner will fit you on your rental bikes and go over all of the maps and road book information for your tour.Your lodging is a very nice country inn in Gourdon.

Day 2 - Gurdon to Sarlat

Ride down the Dordogne valley. Among other beautiful sites, the Fenelon castle can be visited, the Montfort lookout and castle, the banks of the Dordogne. Night at a very nice hotel overlooking the Dordogne river. Night in the splendid medieval town of Sarlat.

Day 3 - Sarlat to Les Eyzies

Indeed the route may be called “the Castle Route” as the density of awesome castles is incredible! Some are splendid residences, others are fortified castles and even fortresses facing each other! It is possible to visit several of these castles or fortresses. One of them accommodates a museum dedicated to Josephine Becker. Another one features a splendid garden with an extraordinary view of the surroundings. You will be also able to discover beautiful villages with troglodyte houses, built into the cliff! The route will lead you to Les Eyzies , capital of prehistoric times in Europe. Lodging in the town of Les Eyzies along the river

Day 4 - Les Eyzies to Condat

The Vézère valley is a remarkable route both for the beauty of the countryside and for its fascinating prehistoric sites (Lascaux painted caves, prehistoric villages, traces of the Cro-magnon and the Neanderthal humans from the prehistoric times). Night in a lovely estate in Condat.

Day 5 - Condat to Cales

Riding along beautiful country side. Castles from the 12th and the 17th (renaissance) centuries, very nice villages. Night at a lovely country inn in Cales.

Day 6 - Ride from Cales to Canennac, Day 7 - Carennac Loop Ride

The upper part of the Dordogne valley. Although this section is curiously not very well known, it is composed of numerous treasures : medieval villages, scenery, Lacave cave & castle, fortified villages, a castle which is one of the largest fortress in the south of France. In the valley, Saint-Cere is protected by the high towers of Saint-laurent-les-tours, that are now home of Jean Lurcat painter museum. And also the Montal renaissance castle and ancient villages …and the awesome Rocamadour! 2 nights lodging in Carennac.

Day 8 - Departure

“Au revoir”, after a great breakfast. Your tour ends with a transfer to the Souillac train station.

Trip Logistics

Your trip begins in Gourdon and ends in Souillac. Both towns are on the train line from Paris to Toulouse (several trains a day). They also are on the highway from Paris to Toulouse. We can also arrange transportation from/to Toulouse airport.

Who comes on a Nichols Expeditions bike tour?

Folks who enjoy our tours tend to be a spirited mix of singles and couples of ALL ages, from all corners of the US and a few international locations as well. Many have accompanied us on numerous tours in the past. Most folks are recreational riders and all seem to share the common bond of an active lifestyle, an appreciation for the outdoors and a love for fun. We will gladly supply references if you wish to speak with someone who has recently been on this trip.

Train Schedules

Check out European Train Schedules. If you are bringing a bike on the train, you will need to ask at the train station which trains have space for your bike box. You do not need to make advance train reservations.

Baggage

Two simple words – TRAVEL LIGHT! To avoid loosing luggage (that may contain irreplaceable clothing, personal items and medications) and to prepare you for the reality of European hotels (many have narrow stairways and do not have elevators), we urge you to limit your luggage to 2 items. We suggest the following: a carry-on size suitcase or duffel (a legal carry-on sized wheeled suitcase is perfect) and a small personal bag (like a small daypack or shoulder bag). You will be able to bring these 2 items as carry-ons on all international and domestic flights, insuring that your luggage will arrive with you!

Travel Delays

Nichols Expeditions is not responsible for any costs you may incur due to delays with transportation (airline or other), weather, road conditions, government intervention, sickness or other contingencies we are unable to control. For international flights, arrive at least 2 hours prior to departure (check with your air carrier for their requirements) and allow ample time between connecting flights. If you miss your flight and you need a special shuttle to meet up with the group, you will be responsible for the cost.

Passport

You must have a current passport. Make sure your PASSPORT DOES NOT EXPIRE WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF THE COMPLETION OF YOUR TOUR. These requirements do vary from country to country, but just to be safe, we recommend going by the 6 month standard, because it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry when it comes to international travel!

Additional hotel lodging

We can make additional hotel lodging reservations for you at our first night’s hotel. Just let us know in advance.

Money

The currency of France is the Euro. You will need Euros for beverages, shopping, snacks, and tips for hotel staff. We suggest exchanging a minimum of €200 EUR (more if you like to shop and sample the local wine and ice cream).

Cash & Credit Cards

For cash, bring new bills with no tears. You can exchange money at any airport when you arrive. For credit cards, we recommend bringing 2 or more Visa or Mastercards in case you have trouble with one. There are ATM machines in all of the towns on the tour. To use your credit/debit cards in an ATM machine, each card will need a PIN#. Be sure to activate the PIN# and check that it works BEFORE you begin your travels. We also suggest contacting your credit card company prior to your trip to inform them of the countries where you will be traveling and the dates. ALSO - it's a good idea to be familiar with the fees charged by your debit and credit card companies (foreign transaction fees, ATM fees, etc.) We do NOT recommend bringing Travelers Checks because some places do not accept them, exchange rates vary widely and they require a bank to exchange them.

Tipping

We suggest 10% for exceptional service in restaurants (most restaurants include a service charge) and a small amount for baggage and taxi service.

Language

It is not necessary to be able to speak French to get along in France, but it can be lots of fun. A small dictionary and some creative sign language should get you to the start of the trip without too much trouble. Many people at the airport and train stations do speak English.

Rental Bikes

We have good quality, lightweight, hybrid-style bikes with flat handlebars. The bikes are equipped with low gears, good tires, a rear rack, panniers, a water bottle cage, water bottle, bike lock, repair tools, tube and bike pump. The pedals on the rental bikes are flat pedals without toe clips and straps.

Personal Bicycle Equipment

Toe Clips & Straps

If you want toe clips and straps on your pedals, just let us know in advance.

Clipless Pedals

For your own personal safety, you must be comfortable riding, stopping and starting in traffic and on hills. Riding in Europe is fun, but it is probably NOT the best place for your first experiment with clipless pedals. If you are experienced using clipless pedals, bring them if you wish and make sure to bring your bike shoes with the correct cleats.

Bike Shoes

Simply put, a properly fit bike shoe will increase your pedaling efficiency and reduce foot fatigue. For bicycle touring, we recommend either a mountain bike or touring style shoe rather than a racing shoe. These styles have a slight amount of flex to make walking easier and, if you use clipless pedals, your cleat will be recessed for safer, quieter walking. Also, if you have custom footbeds or orthotics, try them in your bike shoes.

Travel Insurance

To protect yourself against life’s uncertainties, we highly recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy!

Learn more about the Travel Insurance.

About Dordogne

Dordogne is a department in southwestern France, with its prefecture in Périgueux. The department is located in the region of Aquitaine between the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees, and is named after the great Dordogne river that runs through it.~ Wikipedia

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