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Dordogne Gastronomic Cycling

Dordogne Gastronomic Cycling

Dordogne Gastronomic Cycling

  • Dramatic river valleys, mediaeval towns, fairytale chateaux, UNESCO Les Eyzies
  • Prehistoric sites including the impressive Lascaux II caves
  • Varied riverside cycling following the banks of the Vezere, Dordogne, Beaune and Borreze rivers
  • Special gastronomic menus; world-famous wine discoveries
  • Excellent hotels, all with pools
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided cycling
  • Duration8 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From $2155
  • Holiday details
  • Departs Every two days from 11 May '17 to 24 Sep '17
  • All continental breakfast and gastronomic evening meals included
  • Managed locally by Headwater employed representative
  • Sustainability rating: 82%
  • Headwater wine service
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • High quality bikes provided
  • Optional electric bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels


We're here to help

If you've any questions about this holiday call to our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 , or email sales@headwater.com

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 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.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive at 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.

Day 2 - Souillac to Sarlat 35km/22mi

You have two options today. The first, more challenging option, 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 the C15 to the C18. The second, easier option, takes you across the river towards Carlux, along the old, disused railway line. Whichever option you choose, you'll arrive at our 3 Star hotel in the centre of Sarlat.

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. You could also cycle to Domme or La Roque-Gageac; we provide you with route notes.

Day 4 - Sarlat to Les Eyzies 30km/19mi or 45km/28.5mi

You have a choice of routes again today. You either head west, cross country, through the rich, green rolling countryside of the Perigord Nord to the village of Meyrals (traditional Perigourdine houses), or head down 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 Roc de Cazelle troglodyte cave village 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.

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.

Day 6 - Les Eyzies to Auriac-du-Perigord 31km/19.5mi or 37km/23.5mi

A fabulous freewheel down to the Vezere River and on to visit 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 leave the river valley to head through woodland until you reach the beautiful Moulin de Mitou, your hotel for the next two nights.

Day 7 - At Auriac-du-Perigord

It's an easy 5km ride into the pretty, mediaeval town of Montignac, which is well worth exploring. Perhaps wander up to the ruined chateau, before 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 offer an amazing collection of paintings and are well worth a visit. Back at the hotel, the gardens, shaded verandas, swimming pool and sun terrace are perfect for relaxing and soaking up the summer sun.

Day 8 - Auriac-du-Perigord to Souillac 47km/29mi or 56km/35mi

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.

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.

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.

If you'd like to keep your bikes with you for any extra nights we can arrange this for you for just £25 per adult per day. Please contact us on 1-800-567-6286 for further details.

La Vieille Auberge, Souillac (***)

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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.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Dates Double Single
01/05/2017 - 24/09/2017 £86 £106

All prices shown above are valid from 08/03/2017. Prices are per person per night on a half board. Bike hire is not included in the above prices.

Hotel Le Renoir, Sarlat (***)

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Le Renoir features an outdoor swimming pool, free WiFi and comfortable, elegant accommodation situated just 500 yards from the historic centre of the picturesque town of Sarlat, in the heart of Périgord.

The spacious guest rooms are equipped with modern facilities, including satellite TV, a minibar and an en suite bathroom. Some have air conditioning, and rooms for families are available. In the warmer months, enjoy a refreshing drink by the swimming pool or lie in the sun on a relaxing sun lounger. Hotel Le Renoir is ideally situated to enjoy the best parts of town. Stroll through beautiful cobbled streets and look around the lovely shops.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Dates Junior Suite
01/05/2017 - 30/09/2017 £18

All prices shown above are valid from 09/03/2017. Prices are per person per night based on 2 sharing.

Dates Double Single
01/05/2017 - 12/07/2017 £73 £128
13/07/2017 - 15/09/2017 £91 £155
16/09/2017 - 30/09/2017 £73 £128

All prices shown above are valid from 09/03/2017. Prices are per person per night on a B&B basis. Bike hire is not included in the above prices.

Hotel Les Glycines, Les Eyzies (****)

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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.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Dates Charme Room Junior Suite Ecolodge Room
11/05/2017 - 24/09/2017 £34 £56 £62

All prices shown above are valid from 09/03/2017. All prices shown above are per person per night, based on 2 people sharing. Please note that all the upgraded rooms can be booked for sole occupancy, please call for prices.

Charme room is a larger room (22m2 ca.) with views over the hotel gardens and pool area.

Junior Suite is a larger room (42m2 ca.) with seating area and views over the hotel gardens and pool area. Junior Suites also have a minibar and bathrobes in the room.

The Ecolodges are independent apartment rooms with private terrace over the hotel gardens and pool area. The Ecolodges are larger than a standard room and have got a minibar and bathrobes.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Hotel Le Moulin de Mitou, Auriac-du-Périgord (3 star)

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Located in the Aquitane countryside just outside the village of Auriac-du-Périgord and only 5 km from Montignac is Le Moulin De Mitou. Originally a mill, the property has only recently been converted into a charming hotel and has been allowed to retain many of the building’s original features. The hotel’s interior displays antique furniture and exposed wooden beams giving the whole property a rustic-chic feel. The picture is completed with an outdoor swimming pool, sauna and hot tub, a superb restaurant serving modern and traditional cuisine, and a terrace on which breakfast and dinner can be taken in the summer.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Dates Superior room with balcony
11/05/2017 - 24/09/2017 £14

All prices shown above are valid from 01/12/2016. Prices are per person per night. Superior rooms are larger and have got a balcony.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Hotel le Centenaire , Les Eyzies (***)

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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.

Find out more on the hotel website.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Extending your stay

If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.

Hôtel Père Léon, Toulouse (***)

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The Hôtel Père Léon is ideally situated just a short walk from the historic centre of Toulouse, with the main sights just a short walk away. Just 50 metres from the metro, there is easy access to the rest of the city. The hotel is in Place Esquirol, a bustling, lively square and in close proximity to many bars and restaurants.

The hotel itself has a modern contemporary feel, which has been recently renovated. The ensuite rooms have soundproof windows and all mod cons. Breakfast is a buffet affair with a good choice of French staples, and a hot section.

The hotel has its own bistro restaurant with seats outside where you can enjoy a drink or dinner.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Dates Deluxe
01/05/2017 - 31/10/2017 £12

All prices shown above are valid from 27/03/2017. Supplement is per person per night based on 2 adults sharing. The deluxe room is larger than the standard room.

Dates Double/Twin room Single room
01/05/2017 - 14/07/2017 £62 £96
15/07/2017 - 31/08/2017 £58 £84
01/09/2017 - 31/10/2017 £62 £96

All prices shown above are valid from 27/03/2017. Prices are per person per night on B&B basis.
Prices 01/05/2017-14/07/2017 and 01/09/2017-31/10/2017 are for stays Monday-Thursdays. For stays Friday-Sunday in this period prices are £48pppn in a double and £74pppn in a single. Bike hire is not included in the above prices.

Hotel Le Senat , Paris (4)

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The 4* Le Senat is simply stunning! There are just 41 rooms, all stylishly furnished and a couple of suites with terraces, if you really fancy splashing out! All have satellite television, mini bar, air-conditioning, safe and hairdryer, plus Internet access.

The hotel has its own small bar - adorned with photographs of eminent artists, being in the heart of the artists' quarter - plus a reading room with complimentary internet access.

Breakfast is taken in the basement, where you'll find a copious buffet of viennoiseries, cereals, fruit salad, ham, cheese, bread, yoghurt, bacon, eggs, sausage, fruit juices, tea or coffee. If you prefer, you can have a continental breakfast served to your room at no extra charge.

Le Senat is perfectly located on a quiet side street just a stone's throw away from the Luxembourg Gardens and metro, and a five-minute walk from the vibrant Latin quarter, where you'll find a plethora of restaurants to suit all budgets.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Dates Deluxe double
01/01/2017 - 31/12/2017 £26

All prices shown above are valid from 03/04/2017. Supplements are per person per night based on 2 sharing. Deluxe rooms are larger with a sitting area. Some also have a small terrace.

Dates Superior double/twin Superior for single use
09/03/2017 - 03/01/2017 £98 £178
04/04/2017 - 15/05/2017 £106 £196
16/05/2017 - 19/05/2017 £158 £300
20/05/2017 - 18/06/2017 £126 £236
19/06/2017 - 25/06/2017 £158 £300
26/06/2017 - 15/07/2017 £126 £236
16/07/2017 - 04/09/2017 £94 £182
05/09/2017 - 18/09/2017 £126 £236
19/09/2017 - 21/09/2017 £160 £316
22/09/2017 - 25/09/2017 £126 £236
26/09/2017 - 04/10/2017 £160 £316
05/10/2017 - 31/10/2017 £126 £2236

All prices shown above are valid from 03/04/2017. Prices are per person per night including breakfast. Bike hire is not included in the above prices.

Travel

Transfers included from Souillac train station at 16:43 Mon-Thurs & Sat, 15:30 Fri and 15:29 Sun and back to Souillac train station at 13:20 Mon-Fri, 12:15 Sun and back to Brive at 11:15 Sat.

Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email info@breakaway-adventures.com to arrange connecting flights.

Reviews

Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.


Mrs Caruthers
14/09/2016

If you like being outdoors and lots of exercise, this is a perfect balance to stay active and work up an appetite to indulge in the gastronomy and wine. Compared to the South East of England the lack of traffic and potholes is wonderful!


Mr Cleugh
14/07/2016

This was our first trip with Headwater (recommended by our New Zealand travel agent) and we are very pleased with our choice and will definitely look at another cycling trip in the future- most likely in France. We were particularly impressed with by the friendliness of all the hotel staff we encountered - and their helpfulness!!


Mrs Colquhoun
29/06/2016

This was not our best holiday with Headwater the weather in the Dordonge was just awful and we had to contend with a train strike none of which Headwater could have done anything about. We dried out on the last three days in Sete which was lovely. Electric bikes are wonderful


Mr Gower
04/10/2015

An excellent way to see the countryside without the stress of organising all your own itinerary.


Mr Valentine
12/09/2015

Excellent routes, great hotels, fabulous countryside, lots to see and good food to fuel your journey!


Mrs Raynor
07/09/2015

Excellent holiday. Good hotels, food & service. Wonderful countryside. Cycling challenging at times. We cycle regularly in the UK. One party member cycles four times a week with a club. Our feeling is that the cycling rating was 'moderate' by the club member's judgement but somewhat more than moderate for the rest of the party. We all struggled on some of the hills. Whilst all being of reasonable fitness the extra weight of the cycles compared with our road bikes and the higher temperatures made it extra challenging. Perhaps this should be emphasised in your holiday description.


Mr Cumberlidge
14/08/2015

Extremely enjoyable, well organised and busy with an excellent mix of quiet countryside cycling and fascinating places to see and visit.


Mrs Pattison
20/07/2015

We were two couples of mixed ability cycling wise and most of us found the terrain challenging particularly with an average temperature of over 35 degrees! After a hot (41 degrees) and hilly last part of the first day we rang Keith, our rep, to enquire about ebikes!! Headwater very kindly sanctioned the supply of three ebikes from Day 3 and we are eternally grateful for this as it really made the rest of our holiday. I would urge non regular cyclists to consider this option particularly in high... read more summer as there are some serious hills and the longer routes take in some beautiful places that would be a shame to miss. The sting was taken out of each day but with the pleasure of cycling still there - I am now a convert!

As for the holiday in general - overall we had a fantastic time - what a lovely region with beautiful villages. I would have no hesitation recommending it to anyone. The hotels were varied in location, comfort and cuisine but this made for greater interest and variety. There have been previous comments about Hotel Le Quercy which is fairly basic in comfort level - this was particularly noticeable when so hot with no fans or aircon, however for one night we did not feel too perturbed by it. This was also completely forgotten after having eaten at the allocated restaurant, La Vieille Auberge. We all felt the food and service in this establishment knocked spots off all the other places we stayed, wow!

Hotel Meysset was delightful as were the staff. It's only drawback was the distance to the lovely town of Sarlat, partly compensated by the view from the restaurant terrace. Shame we had to choose between a lovely cycling day trip and a leisurely walk around town! Too hot to do both with that hill!!

Les Glycines was our major disappointment - clearly a top restaurant with a snobbery and pretentiousness to match. The rooms were lovely and comfortable (with aircon - bliss!), there is a lovely garden and the town is on the doorstep to walk to which for us was a relief! The second night we enjoyed pre and post dinner drinks in town plus a pre dinner pizza (!) from lovely local restaurants with charming staff. Sadly we found the waiting staff and management aloof, uncaring and almost rude. The drinks are horribly expensive - top London prices - but when not matched by good service then you begrudge paying them. We paid €13 for a SMALL gin and tonic and the wine was also outrageous. The food was generally good and largely beautifully presented as you would expect - one menu was more nouveau than the other leaving us a little less than full! Some surprises we felt let it down but overall it was the service that let it down the most.

Finally, the charming Le Moulin de Mitou. Again another contrast. A bit isolated and quirky but none the less for it. Not sure how it got into the Relais de Silence as the road is quite busy but with aircon and double glazing this was not an issue for sleeping. Lovely food - more rustic French country cooking maybe but lovely flavours and well presented. We ate very well here!

We were all agreed at the end though that we could not wait to get back to La Vieille Auberge for one last meal and it lived up to our memories and expectations - an excellent way to end a wonderful holiday. Thank you Headwater. Claire (Sussex)


Mrs Tomlin
19/07/2015

Unfortunately we had a bad start to our holiday. On Sunday 28th June our train from Toulouse to Souillac was cancelled and we had a hot( 37 C) and weary ( left home at 4am for our flight) wait in Toulouse for 4 hours before finally arriving at Souillac. Rather than a relief the hotel room at the Hotel Le Quercy,was disappointing, small, hot and tired. We were revived by our evening meal, but we do not think this hotel gives a good impression at the start of the holiday it is certainly not the s... read moretandard of hotel that we would expect from Headwater. The pool area and outlook is rather drab and while we appreciate that the temperatures were abnormally high for early July the rooms really need air conditioning or at least room fans in hot temperatures as it is uncomfortable to sleep. It is not of the same standard as the other hotels on the holiday. We were dreading returning to this hotel room at the end of the week, although staff were very pleasant and evening meals were good.  The subsequent hotels were much improved and overall the cycling journeys were enjoyable. There is one section involving a gravel path which is almost impossible to cycle on, so an alternative route maybe a better option. The holiday did deliver on gastronomy , wonderful scenery and plenty of options for visits to places of interest. We realise we experienced a heatwave in the Dordogne as we were cycling in 42C on some days. Therefore the hill to Hotel de Meysset was particularly challenging and almost put us off for the rest of the week. Sometimes it felt like an endurance test but we were very grateful for the comfort of the middle hotels , delightful pools and air conditioning. The bikes were of good quality and the journey instructions were easy to follow. Our reps, Keith and Claire were on hand when needed, In all, the beginning and end accommodation was poor and spoils the whole experience.


Mrs Bowring
19/07/2015

As always with Headwater we had a fabulous holiday. However this year (and the reason two of the hotels scored poor on the comfort front) two of the hotels did not have air conditioning - I appreciate it was unusually warm but surely July in that region is usually hot. It made the rooms totally unpleasant and almost impossible to sleep. I would add though if Hotel Meysett had air con it would move to an excellent (all other areas were just lovely). The same however could not be said for the first and last hotels - these just did not match up to the overall standards of the rest of the holiday.


Mrs Carroll
13/06/2015

Fantastic holiday all round. Accommodation, food, service etc all excellent if a little bit variable. The cycle routes were well planned and took us through some lovely areas. Would definitely recommend an e-bike for anyone who is not a regular cyclist or accustomed to hill work. The food was very good all round if a little heavy on the gourmet- we will not want to see any more frois gras or duck for a long time! The one exception is the bistro at Hotel Pere Leon - best avoided and easily done with the plethora of good alternatives in Toulouse.


Mrs Dietz
26/09/2014

We especially appreciated the well-chosen routes through beautiful countryside on little roads with little traffic. A highlight is the long downhills we enjoyed from ridges to river level.


Mrs Culligan
04/08/2014

Thoroughly enjoyed our holiday the excellent hotels and food were welcome relief at the end of a challenging day's cycling. Beautiful countryside and villages to visit on route.


Mr Otiv
14/07/2014

A very rewarding type of holiday. A very good way to get insight into a particular region.


Mrs Mills
22/06/2014

This was a fantastic hotel. The best hotel was in montignac, however the worst eating experience was in motignac at the terrace restaurant next to the building site of lascaux 4. In our opinion you should consider foregoing the 'gastronomic title' for one night and let your customers eat at one of the many riverside restaurants and save the taxi fare and let them upgrade their meal with the difference.


Mrs Grover
05/06/2014

This must have been 15th Headwater holiday for me and I have no complains about any of them. My late husband and I have used two other companies in the past (one in Germany and one in France) but always came back to Headwater. The formula is excellent (rest day between cycling or walking), the hotels are always good and very often really excellent. The reps are very helpful. You know someone else has done the background work researching for suitable roads to cycle and hotels to stay, yet it feel... read mores like an adventure as you have to find your way from one hotel to the other. I have recommended Headwater for several of my friends looking for active holidays and hope I will do many more myself in the future.


Mrs Stewart
21/10/2013

This was a really excellent holiday despite the cycling being a little harder than expected. The food throughout was outstanding. Keith and Claire were friendly and helpful giving excellent advice and support.


Mrs Love-Fordham
06/10/2013

The holiday was terrific. Lots of wonderful villages, castles, and caves. The biking routes were well planned and very enjoyable. This was our third Headwater Holiday and all of them have been phenomenal. The food was great too, The trip notes were excellent. The bikes were very good bikes. The holiday was not exactly leisurely. If one does just the trips on travel days, it still would not be leisurely due to many tough hills. If you do the optional trips on 'lay over days,' the accumulat... read moreion can be quite exhausting. However, many of the really great things to see are on 'layover days' - so resting on these days is not really an option. Personally, we enjoyed the level, but agree with others that the level needs to be at least moderate. I would rate this trip as moderate to challenging. The good news is that even if you are not an active cyclist, you can always hop off your bike and push it to the top of the difficult hills - pushing is not as difficult as it might sound. And once you get to the top, it is worth the effort for long rides with great views on quiet roads. The sights Headwater recommends in the notes are perfect! The Headwater reps (Keith and Claire) were very helpful and went out of their way for us.


Ms Webster
21/09/2013

Very good. We have always enjoyed our Headwater holidays.


Mrs Duckworth
11/09/2013

We thought this was an excellent holiday, and overall very good value. As last year, your office staff were at all times friendly, welcoming and helpful.



Accommodation: Hotel Le Quercy was disappointing. Spartan. Small rooms with irritatingly small double beds. On arrival, the bedrooms stank of stale cigarette smoke (thought smoking was illegal – but I suppose it is France). The rooms may have been clean, but the smell of cigarettes is off-putting. No air-conditioning. ... read more The restaurant down the road was OK-ish but we were seated in the secondary dining room which was noisy and crowded with a Danish Coach Tour. The staff promised that we would be in the real dining room thereafter, but we were not. The food was OK-ish too, but the ambience of the secondary dining room was too redolent of school to allow the meal to be enjoyable. We dreaded the return to Le Quercy.



The other three hotels were very good. The food at all three was of an excellent standard.



Bicycles: There were robust, safe and in excellent condition. The gears were well-indexed, and appropriate for the routes chosen.



The cycling itself was thoroughly enjoyable. The routes were well chosen. The scenery was stunning. We loved it.



The reps: Claire was incredibly helpful and friendly throughout. Keith was helpful in setting up the bikes for us, in particular in helping to fit a saddle that one of us brought. He was less helpful on return. We arrived back at Hotel Le Quercy earlier than expected, and went out for a walk. When we returned, Keith had, without asking, put our bikes away so there was no option to use them in the late afternoon had we wanted to. Also – infuriatingly – he had taken it upon himself to remove the saddlebags from the bikes, and had tipped our personal belongings into a large black rubbish bag. We didn’t like that. We wanted to chat and pass on information about the cycling (how good it was, how good the equipment was) but, as others have commented, he was not interested. He was not overtly unfriendly, but clearly did not want to engage, and soon disappeared. A shame.



The grading of the routes. This must be a nightmare for you. It is inevitable that, covering a reasonable distance, the routes cannot all be flat. There must be variation. Furthermore, a gentle slope to some is a nightmare to others. How can you give an objective assessment to meet all needs? Our group of six (age range 58 to 63) had a complete range of cycling ability from three keen regular cyclists (A,B,C) with high end road bikes at home, two occasional cyclists (D,E) and one person (F) who rarely cycles. Our most experienced cyclist, A, had done Lands End/John o’ Groats (LEJOG) a few weeks before the holiday. But, whatever our relative abilities, we all enjoyed the holiday. E and F had to push their bikes up a number of hills, and were slow. They were not bothered by this. A and B never pushed. C did once. The daily total mileage is not great and could easily have been done by lunchtime if necessary. Indeed, most of the routes could be walked in a day (albeit a long one), so there was plenty of time for cyclists of all abilities.



We have seen the comment on 2/8/2013 and, whilst we do not entirely agree with it, or the spirit of it, it is correct to say that the Dordogne holiday is not, within the ordinary sense of the word, ‘leisurely’. Whilst 120 miles in seven days is well within the reach of a ‘regular’ cyclist or even an ‘occasional’ cyclist, some of the ascents were disproportionately demanding. The ride up to Hotel Mysatt was challenging coming on the first day, but at least there was a clear warning about this both in the route notes and from Claire. Later on, the ride up to Domme was similarly challenging (Wow! Wasn’t it worth the pedalling though!) but, once again, we had been warned. In fact, there were challenges every day. The most demanding climb of all – steeper than the ride up to Hotel Mysatt - was the Day 5 ‘at Les Eyzies’ steep road up to Sireuil. Even our LEJOG cyclist nearly stalled on this one. But it was only 1K, and the three of our number who walked most of it did so in less than fifteen minutes. A pleasant walk, and worth it, because once up to the village, the scenery was beautiful. We suspect, however, that many might give up before getting to the top as there was no warning as to the length of the hill.



We conclude therefore that the ‘difficulty’ grading of your holidays needs attention. We did the Alsace wine trail holiday last year which was also classed as ‘leisurely’. Compared to the Dordogne, however, it was a free-wheel. The Dordogne should be upgraded to ‘moderate’. Furthermore, we would give a warning that all but the fittest cyclists can expect to be pushing their bikes for a few hundred yards on some days.



If we were to compare it to a French skiing holiday, which we often did, we would class this as a predominantly Red Route holiday, with some Blues and occasional Blacks. Alsace was a Blue Run holiday. But, whichever colour run you prefer, it is good to have the occasional challenge.



Overall, though, to repeat, an excellent and thoroughly enjoyable holiday, and all being well we will be back next year.






Mrs Heller
10/09/2013

1. Be prepared for one disappointing hotel amongst the other gems



2. If cycling, some training beforehand will enhance your holiday


Mr Higgins
09/09/2013

The Dordogne is a beautiful area for cycling, but be aware this is a hilly route. The benefit is that the cycling works off all the wonderful food you will be presented with at the hotels.

The hotels, with the exception of Le Quercy are first class,but the food is excellent at all.


Mrs Sautter
02/08/2013

We climbed 11,000 feet and cycled over 120 miles in 35' C !!! That was not what we expected for a relaxing holiday aimed at occasional cyclists!! Luckily we were all regular cyclists with as much mental strength as physical! In your brochure you say it is leisurely with a few steep hills. The Hotel Mysatt is at the top of a hill which is fine for a one off and great view but every journey had hills that went on and on. We found it very difficult to get extra water as villages were very fe... read morew and far between.



We will not be using Headwater again despite having had a good holiday as will not trust their descriptions. Honestly the cycling was so hard it made us laugh as it was such a joke! Keith kept his head very low. Didn't even bother to ask how it went when he came to collect the bikes. Guess he knew how hard it had been!!


Mr Davey
07/08/2012

Really enjoyed the holiday. If possible would go later in the season when not so hot.


Ms Robson
07/07/2012

Excellent as expected based on the last 11 . The route planning was excellent including the off day excursions. The detours from the main roads were lovely and well documented.


Ms Howard
16/06/2012

One of the most enjoyable holidays we've ever had.

Dates and prices

The prices quoted below for each individual departure supercede those published in our current brochures. Air prices are subject to change and are shown for guide purposes only. Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information.

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Holiday details

Children
Please contact us for child prices.

Holiday type
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed rep.

Departures
Every two days from 11th May 2017 to 24th Sep 2017, for 8 nights.

Meals
All continental breakfast and gastronomic evening meals included

Electric bikes
It is possible to hire electric bikes for this holiday at a supplement of £50 per person. As these are available on a first come first served basis, we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment. Please call us for further details.

Tailor-made travel

Tour only
Transfers included from Souillac train station at 16:43 Mon-Thurs & Sat, 15:30 Fri and 15:29 Sun and back to Souillac train station at 13:20 Mon-Fri, 12:15 Sun and back to Brive at 11:15 Sat.

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