France : The Dordogne

Dordogne Valleys & Villages Cycling

Trip code: C08DO 4.7 (41 reviews)

Self-guided cycling

8 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2
Moderate

8.0Kg CO2e

Headwater
Navigation App

Optional
e-bike hire

SUMMARY

  • Dramatic river valleys, medieval towns, fairytale chateaux, UNESCO Les Eyzies
  • Prehistoric sites including the impressive Lascaux II caves
  • Varied riverside cycling following the banks of the Vezere, Dordogne and Borreze rivers
  • Excellent hotels, all with pools

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • 8 nights accommodation
  • All continental breakfasts and 2 evening meals
  • Bike fitting and briefing at the start of your holiday
  • Headwater navigation app
  • Bike hire included
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

TRIP DESCRIPTION

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 undulating yet 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 12th century, 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.

Terrain

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.

See more of this trip on our Youtube channel - click here watch.

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DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

 

Day 1: Arrive in Souillac

Arrive at La Vieille Auberge. Explore the town before you decide on where to go for dinner.

You stay at La Vieille Auberge.

hotel details

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La Vieille Auberge, Souillac

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar


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.

Day 2: Souillac to Sarlat (36km/22.4mi)

Head west to visit its fine collection of armour and objets d'art. Then on to the Hotel Meysset in Sarlat where you'll stay for the next two nights with dinner included.

elevation

You stay at Hotel Meysset.

hotel details

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Hotel Meysset, Sarlat

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
AmEx
Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Tea/coffee


This 3 star traditional Perigord hotel, set in 3 acres of pine woods and gardens, enjoys an elevated position just 3kms above Sarlat. It offers complete tranquillity, wonderful food, an outdoor pool and fantastic views from its terrace over the surrounding valley.

The cooking here is based on the wonderfully rich and gastronomic cuisine for which this region is famous, so don't come here if you're counting the calories!

Room upgrades: Superior Room or Suite.
Suites are larger rooms suitable for families. Supplements are per person per night.

Day 3: At Sarlat

Explore Sarlat's stunning Old Town with its beautiful jumble of varying architectural styles. Alternatively, visit the bustling market on a Wednesday/Saturday or cycle to Domme or La Roque-Gageac.

elevation

Day 4: Sarlat to Les Eyzies (40km/24.9mi)

Head through the Perigord Nord via beynac and visit its hilltop fortified castle. Then it's on past traditional Perigoudine houses in Meyrals to Les Eyzies where you'll stay at the Hotel Les Glycines for the next two nights

elevation

You stay at Hotel Les Glycines.

hotel details

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Hotel Les Glycines, Les Eyzies

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Shops
Market
Bank
Cash machine
Mastercard
AmEx
Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Aircon
Safe


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.

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 Montignac (29km/18.0mi)

An initial climb today before a fabulous freewheel down to La Roque St-Christophe, the oldest and largest cave site in western Europe, then on to the pretty village of St Leon. Continue along the river to the medieval town of Montignac and the charming La Roseraie, your hotel for the next two nights.

elevation

You stay at Hotel La Roseraie.

hotel details

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Hotel La Roseraie, Montignac

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Market
Bank
Cash machine
Mastercard
AmEx
Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Aircon
Safe
Tea/coffee


Set in a lovely little square in the small town of Montignac you are guaranteed a warm welcome at La Roseraie. The hotel is a converted 19th century town house, and is beautifully decorated throughout, with each of the spacious, ensuite bedrooms showcasing a different design.

The hotel takes its name from its 100 year old rose garden, which is part of the hotel's huge gardens where you'll also find the swimming pool and sun terrace - ideal for relaxing.

The hotel also has a lounge area and library for guests' use.

Day 7: At Montignac

Montignac oozes charm and is well worth exploring. Perhaps wander up to the ruined chateau, before heading off to the nearby Lascaux caves complex, ranked as the number one prehistoric site in Europe. Back at the hotel, the gardens and swimming pool are perfect for relaxing and soaking up the summer sun.

elevation

Day 8: Montignac to Souillac (47km/29.2mi)

Discover the tiny farming village of St-Amand-de-Coly, then head out to Salignac. From here, we recommend a short detour to the Manoir d'Eyrignac, whose gardens are rated the best in France, before continuing to La Vieille Auberge for your final night.

elevation

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.

Extending your holiday

If you'd like to extend your trip with extra hotel nights we recommend: Hotel Le Senat, Paris; Hotel Pere Leon, Toulouse.

hotel details

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Hotel Le Senat , Paris

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Shops
Market
Bank
Cash machine
Mastercard
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon
Safe


The 4 star 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.

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Hotel Pere Leon, Toulouse

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Shops
Market
Bank
Cash machine
Mastercard
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon
Safe


The Hotel Pere Leon 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.

Room upgrades: Deluxe room.
The deluxe room is larger than the standard room.

Extra nights: Please contact us for details.

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE DATE

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These tour only prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £412.

These flight inclusive prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £412.

OPTIONAL UPGRADES
  • Flights from Heathrow to Toulouse with British Airways, then onward rail to the region.
  • Other flights, including regional departures
  • Alternative flights, including regional departures
  • Business/club/first class fares
  • Electric bikes
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels
TRAVEL DETAILS

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

Air-rail prices include our standard flights, onward rail and station transfers
Out: British Airways Heathrow to Toulouse then rail Toulouse to Souillac and transfer to hotel 10 minutes Return: Transfer to Souillac station 10 minutes then rail Souillac to Toulouse then British Airways Toulouse to Heathrow

Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Alternative Air Travel
Alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area, and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports. If you would like to use one of the many 'low cost' airlines, we can book these on your behalf. We can also book UK shuttles to connect with your onward flight, please call for details and prices.

Eurostar
We can also book connecting daily Eurostar services for customers preferring not to fly, from London and Ashford in Kent. Please call for details and prices.

Self drive
We can arrange various channel crossings for you. Please call for details and prices.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 01606 720199, use our live webchat (we open again 9am tomorrow) or email sales@headwater.com

Should you require overnight airport accommodation, airport parking or even a uniformed chauffeur to take your car from your departure terminal and park it for you, we can arrange this for you through Holiday Extras. You can book airport parking, airport hotels and executive lounges through their website or contact us for further details. Early booking is recommended to obtain the best availability and prices.

REVIEWS

We were very pleased that everyone we dealt with at Headwater, including its local representative, dealt speedily with any questions or requests that we had. In particular, Sergio worked so hard to find a holiday that met our requirements in terms of dates, flight times and our interests.

Carole Crutchfield, 27 May 2024

 

Wonderful trip, beautiful countryside and well thought out routes. We did not have e-bikes, which we might have enjoyed on a couple climbs, but we enjoyed the challenge and the accomplishment! Wildflowers were in bloom, with poppies everywhere. Amazing food at all locations. We did a different side trip than suggested one day, and I will share that as a potential option for this trip.

Stephanie Richards, 20 May 2024

 

This was our fifth Headwater cycling holiday and we really enjoyed it.

We did feel that the quality and facilities of the first (and last) hotel was well below that of the others and probably our only disappointment

Richard Heron, 28 Aug 2023

 

We enjoyed visits of castles, gardens, caves, small villages and country side while following an excellent road map. Electric bikes are a must because the road can be sometimes quite hilly !

Vincent Dumont, 12 Aug 2023

 

Very well organised with excellent hotels routes with apps and points of interest clearly indicated. Let Headwater take the stress out of planning for the perfect cycling holiday ! It's worth paying for !

Che Desai, 29 Jul 2023

 

sublime, the locations, itinerary, food, service and ease of the whole holiday was excellent. We were very lucky with the weather too- the recommendations of where to stop for coffee/ lunch very wise and welcome. End of May is glorious- the honeysuckle, fields of wild flowers, swift and house martins everywhere and so many lovely spots to stop and rest/ picnic. The velo vert route was lovely when we were able to use that too

WILSON, 22 May 2023

 

A beautiful area to cycle in and the Headwater electric bikes were brilliant. So comfortable and easy to use. The route was well planned; lots of interesting places to visit and just the right distances so that on hot days we could do most of the miles in the mornings.

Mr Bampfylde, 14 Jul 2022

 

Dordogne beautiful area to travel round can be very hilly in parts,local people very helpful

Mr Whittaker, 16 May 2022

 

Cycling hillier than expected, Lascaux caves a highlight, food at Les Glycines excellent, prefered new longer 25mile rather than 20mile trips with 2 days at one location, grateful for taxi for 2hour trip to Toulouse when train failed but strongly dislike single person supplement

Mr Francies, 1 May 2022

 

A great holiday but it does have a few flaws!

Mr Hughes, 2 Sep 2019

 

We had a fantastic holiday mixing exercise with beautiful scenery, excellent food in a tranquil environment. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend a cycling holiday with Headwater.

Mrs Craft, 1 Aug 2019

 

An excellent balance of cycling (some challenging hills!) sightseeing, eating and drinking with plenty of opportunity for relaxing as well.

Mrs Boyle, 4 Jul 2019

 

The briefing by the reps about the bikes and the Ride with GPS app was very good. The route notes were also useful. The bicycles were excellent. The ladies needed the electric bikes in the Dordogne because they had not done much cycling preparation beforehand. The meals at each hotel were very good. The countryside was beautiful and there were many interesting sites to visit.

Mr Quaddy, 24 Sep 2018

 

We had the best cycle briefing ever from Nick, the Headwater rep, who was friendly and professional. All the hotels were lovely to stay in with great food and beautiful swimming pools to relax in at the end of the day's cycling. We were warned about the steep climb at the end of day one and maybe, given the hilly nature of the Dordoigne area, we should have anticipated the hills. They were quite tough going in places. The GPS made finding the way easy .

On the down side, some of the rides were a bit dull. We cycled in Umbria last time and enjoyed it more; great architecture, villages and generally more fun. The French drivers all give you room when passing but pass at high speed and most of the cycling is on roads, not cycle paths.

I will save up for another Headwater holiday though but will spend a little more time looking at the area first. Lovely weather!!

Mrs Skinner, 6 Sep 2018

 

Lovely area, great hotels mostly, very enjoyable

Mr Thake, 21 Aug 2018

 

A lovely way to explore this beautiful and historic area of France while building up a good appetite for a classic french meal

Mr Rogers, 15 Aug 2018

 

We had a relaxing week in the Dordogne, with cycling and beautiful food every day. The routes, although appearing short, are very hilly in places and are not to be taken lightly. We really would recommend kayaking on this trip, as there were lots of opportunities alongside the cycling and it added a great extra dimension. There are lots of ancient monuments and castles to explore, but simply soaking up the medieval architecture is a treat in itself. In August, it was nearly 40 degrees so be prepared, and get the cycles done early, so you have time to relax. Try the local vin de noix, and all the lovely cheeses and meats. After all, you will cycle them off! And do NOT forget insect repellent!!

Mr Barlow, 5 Aug 2018

 

Great easy cycling for the most part amongst beautiful countryside with interesting places to visit all along the way.

Mrs Stevens, 25 May 2018

 

Most enjoyable holiday cycling through beautiful quiet countryside with stunning views. There were plenty places of interest from Chateaux to Caves. The food and accommodation was of a high standard. The Vielle Auberge in Souillac could have been more comfortable but we forgave it for the food.

After reading previous reviews, we hired electric bikes this year. This was a good decision as, although we still had plenty exercise, we enjoyed each days cycle without feeling terminally exhausted. We saw more as we always chose the longer route. It is a very hilly region and definitely a grade 2 cycling holiday.



Mrs Craig, 31 Aug 2017

 

Great cycling, fabulous food, quiet roads in a busy area, plenty of local places of interest, well done Headwater.

Mr Quick, 17 Aug 2017

 

Nice area though hillier than we expected when we booked. Well maintained bikes, though rather heavy. Good food. We were lucky that we had a cooler than average week for August.

Mr Millar, 13 Aug 2017

 

We like the Headwater cycling format to the extent that we cannot remember the number of holidays we have been on.

Mr Jenkinson, 14 Jun 2017

 

The Dordogne is a beautiful area. Good routes on quiet roads but testing hills! Accommodation is very good and the food lived up to the expectations as advertised. If anything the four course evening meal every night is too much but no doubt others will disagree! We felt the grading system was slightly underrated as at times the hills were testing given the very warm sunny days we enjoyed. Overall a lovely week in a lovely part of the world. Thank you

Mrs Pryor, 6 Jun 2017

 

Excellent holiday in a truly beautiful part of the Dordogne. Extremely comfortable hotels with some fantastic cycling and so many varied places to stop including villages, chateaus, gardens,caves etc which meant every day was a different experience. However, a word of caution. If you are not a reasonable cyclist consider an e bike or choose more direct routes between hotels which avoid some good hill climbs.

Mr Mcbrien, 11 May 2017

 

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!

Mrs Caruthers, 25 Aug 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

Mrs Colquhoun, 9 Jun 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!!

Mr Cleugh, 7 Jun 2016

 

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

Mr Gower, 21 Sep 2015

 

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

Mr Valentine, 25 Aug 2015

 

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

Mr Cumberlidge, 3 Aug 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 Carroll, 2 Jun 2015

 

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 Dietz, 4 Sep 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.

Mrs Culligan, 21 Jul 2014

 

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

Mr Otiv, 2 Jul 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 Mills, 2 Jun 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 feels 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 Grover, 21 May 2014

 

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 accumulation 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.



Mrs Love-Fordham, 23 Sep 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 Stewart, 23 Sep 2013

 

Very good. We have always enjoyed our Headwater holidays.

Ms Webster, 8 Sep 2013

 

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



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

Mrs Heller, 28 Aug 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.



Mr Higgins, 27 Aug 2013

 


Self-guided cycling

8 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2
Moderate

8.0Kg CO2e

Headwater
Navigation App

Optional
e-bike hire

8 nights from £1439

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE

Call: 01606 720199

 

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