Six nights; five days of cycling. French bicycle touring at its finest with flat and hilly options on quiet roads through lush river valleys and beautiful stone villages.
“… the holy grail of cycling trips for me! It left a smile on my face…” – Brian K.
“The caves, the castles, the villages perches added so much to the biking experience.” – Judy R.
WHY THIS TRIP?
- St. Emilion – a charming golden cobble stoned town, famous for macaroons and exceptional wines.
- The magnificent Montfort Castle
- Pech Merle Caves (based on availability)
Requiring moderate fitness levels, these cover terrain with hills and valleys, and tend to include distances of 50-80km (30-50mi.)/day cycling, or 3-6 hours of walking per day. Most Freewheeling Adventures fall into this category, and are suitable for most ability levels.
Relaxed riders enjoy level cycling with some van transfers. Advanced riders can stray from the riverbanks for the hilly options, and diversity of exploration. There is an abundance of fabulous cycling here!
- DAY 1: Introductions
- DAY 2: ~24 km, ~42 km, or ~70 km
- DAY 3: ~53 km
- DAY 4: ~68 km
- DAY 5: ~80 km
- DAY 6: ~70 km
- DAY 7: Transfer & Farewells
(Click image to enlarge)
Start: Bordeaux train station, 14:00, day one. TGV (high-speed train) from Paris CDG airport takes about 3½ hours.
Finish: Montauban train station, 10:00, day seven. TGV (high-speed train) to Paris CDG airport takes about 5 hours.
Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Rendez-vous and bike familiarization
Meet your guides in Bordeaux for a two hour van transfer to Tremolat. Optional pickups are available in nearby St. Emilion – a charming golden cobble stoned town, famous for macaroons and exceptional wines. At Tremolat you will become familiar with your bike rental equipment before dinner. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfasts)
Tremolat Loop: 3 options; ~24km, ~42km, or ~70km
Begin with a lovely bike ride from Le Bugue to the ancient and beautiful town of Limeuil at the confluence of the Dordogne and Vézère Rivers, then on to Les Eyzies de Tayac, home of troglodytes and cliff dwellers, both ancient and modern. You may be able to visit the famous Grotte de Font-de-Gaume with its awe-inspiring prehistoric paintings (it is frequently closed for conservation, and reservations not accepted). Return to Tremolat or Mauzac by bike for an exquisite lodging experience. You can opt to dine at your hotel or your guides will transfer you to nearby Limeuil for independent dining. BL
Tremolat to Domme ~52km
Cycle to pretty Vitrac and the clifftop village of Domme, via St. Cyprien and riverside Le Rocque Gageac, with its homes beneath and carved right into cliffs at the water’s edge. A visit to medieval Sarlat is optional. Rest in an exquisite hotel where every room has an eagle’s eye view of the river below, or a magnificent country estate. BL
Hotel de l’Esplanade, Domme
Domme to Rocamadour ~68km
Following the banks of the Dordogne River, you will bike to the fortified vertical town of Rocamadour. Stop at the magnificent Montfort Castle panoramically overlooking a bend in the river below. Stop in Souillac to see the amazing bas-relief carvings in the cathedral, and you may opt to visit Les Grottes de Lacave before finishing at your centrally located hotel where you’ll rest for the next two nights. BLD
Grand Hotel Beau Site, Rocamadour
Rocamadour Loop Ride 80km
Embark on a loop ride which cycles past La Gouffre de Padirac, a magnificent cave system partially explored by boat (this is an optional 2-3 hour excursion; ask for details when booking). You will then continue along to Loubressac and Carrenac, two of the most beautiful villages in France. Return via St. Sozy and Meyronne. These are all outstandingly charming villages surrounded by walnut estates, filled with beautiful old stone architecture steeped in historic charm, and an absolute joy to tour by bicycle. You can also join the pilgrims who come to the medieval village Rocamadour, where the Christian relic scholars believe is the body of Jesus’ friend Zacchaeus is housed. B
Rocamadour to Pech Merle Caves: ~45km or ~67km
Exceptionally quiet roads through rural countryside take you to the valleys of the Lot and Cele Rivers, where beautiful houses are perched on the sides of cliffs, and farmland abounds. Choose between a long or short riding option, both finishing at Pech Merle, a spectacular cave system showcasing prehistoric paintings which are over 29,000 years old. Finish with a transfer to the bridged city of Cahors. BLD
Chateau de Mercues, Cahors; or Le Mas de Laval, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie (self-guided)
Transfer to Montauban & Farewells
Following your breakfast you will be transferred to the train station in Montauban, about 45 minutes away. From the train station in Montauban there are frequent trains to Paris and other European destinations. B
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
Guided: C 5145 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners, Pech Merle cave admission, van and guide support, route instructions, maps, luggage handling, taxes.
Self-Guided: C 4655 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, route instructions, maps, inn to inn luggage transfers, on-call emergency support, taxes.
Single Occupancy: 1275
Aluminum Racing: na
Carbon Racing: 455
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
2022 Guided dates:
- Apr 24-30
- May 22-28
- Sep 25-Oct 1
2023 Guided dates:
- Apr 23-29
- May 21-27
- Sep 24-30
Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.
Interested in custom or private departures?
Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.
1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.
2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.
These river valleys have been populated for millennia, for very obvious reasons; their beauty and fertility are unsurpassed, and the profusion of châteaux suggests the passionate history of this coveted landscape. Cycling from one medieval village to another, you will marvel at how little things seem to have changed with the passage of time. Behind the lazy riverbanks and cliffside villages, chestnut and oak forests hide entrances to caves whose walls have been decorated by stone-age artists. Words fail to convey how moving seeing these 20,000 year-old paintings can be. Despite their age, they still display deep knowledge of the human condition. Starting near the confluence of the Dordogne and Vézère Rivers, you will cross from Rocamadour to the Célé and Lot Rivers, and finish near their confluence in St.Cirq-Lapopie. This bicycle tour stands out as being exceptional. The cycling is virtually perfect, on quiet and consistently beautiful routes. The lodging is so comfortable your toes will curl, and the culinary temptations will fuel you for each day’s interests and pleasures. If you dream of pampered cycling in France, this is the trip for you!