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 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.
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. (Staying at La Vieille Auberge, Half Board)
Today you head 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. Your route continues along the old, disused railway line before a climb to our 3 Star hotel, just outside Sarlat, in plenty of time to relax by the pool before dinner. (Staying at Hotel Meysset, Half Board)
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. If you are feeling a little more energetic you could also cycle to hilltop Domme, a fantastically positioned bastide town set on the banks of the Dordogne against a backdrop of wooded hills, or La Roque-Gageac, spectacularly nestled within a cliff, with a vertical drop down to the Dordogne Valley. If these options take your fancy then the details are provided in the route notes. (Staying at Hotel Meysset, Half Board)
You head 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 Font-de-Gaume caves 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. (Staying at Hotel Les Glycines, Half Board)
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. (Staying at Hotel Les Glycines, Half Board)
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 with its charming C12 church and lovely riverside picnic spots. You continue along the river to the mediaeval town of Montignac and the charming La Roseraie, your hotel for the next two nights. (Staying at La Roseraie, Half Board)
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. 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 and swimming pool are perfect for relaxing and soaking up the summer sun. (Staying at La Roseraie, Half Board)
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. (Staying at La Vieille Auberge, Half Board)
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.
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. 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.
NEARBY:La Vieille Auberge, a coach house from Napoleonic times, has been modernised to create a charming auberge in a quiet part of Souillac.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
NEARBY:This 3* 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 and fantastic views from its terrace over the surrounding valley.
Room upgrades: Superior Room or Suite.
Suites are larger rooms suitable for families. Supplements are per person per night.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
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.
Room upgrades: Charme Room, Junior Suite or Lodges.
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.
Find out more on the hotel website.
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.
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.
Room upgrades: Comfort room or Prestige Room.
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.
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.
Room upgrades: Deluxe room.
The deluxe room is larger than the standard room.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
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.
Transfers included from Souillac train station at 16:30 Mon-Thurs & Sat, 15:18 Fri and 18:34 Sun and back to Souillac train station at 11:00 Mon-Sat & 08:00 Sun.
Please call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or email email@example.com to arrange connecting flights.
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 an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
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 country side was beautiful and there were many interesting sites to visit.
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!!
Lovely area, great hotels mostly, very enjoyable
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!!
A lovely way to explore this beautiful and historic area of France while building up a good appetite for a classic french meal
Great easy cycling for the most part amongst beautiful countryside with interesting places to visit all along the way.
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.
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.
Great cycling, fabulous food, quiet roads in a busy area, plenty of local places of interest, well done Headwater.
We like the Headwater cycling format to the extent that we cannot remember the number of holidays we have been on.
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
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.
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!
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!!
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
An excellent way to see the countryside without the stress of organising all your own itinerary.
Excellent routes, great hotels, fabulous countryside, lots to see and good food to fuel your journey!
Extremely enjoyable, well organised and busy with an excellent mix of quiet countryside cycling and fascinating places to see and visit.
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.
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.
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.
A very rewarding type of holiday. A very good way to get insight into a particular region.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Very good. We have always enjoyed our Headwater holidays.
1. Be prepared for one disappointing hotel amongst the other gems
2. If cycling, some training beforehand will enhance your holiday
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.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday. Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.
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Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed rep.
Every two days from 19th Apr 2019 to 16th Oct 2019, for 8 nights.
All continental breakfasts and gastronomic evening meals
It is possible to hire electric bikes for this holiday at a supplement of £130 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.
Transfers included from Souillac train station at 16:30 Mon-Thurs & Sat, 15:18 Fri and 18:34 Sun and back to Souillac train station at 11:00 Mon-Sat & 08:00 Sun.
Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Dordogne Gastronomic Cycling. Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 to discuss your requirements in more detail.
We've been creating high-quality relaxed activity holidays since 1985 and our wealth of experience means we're able to build the perfect tailor-made tour for you. Our 'Gold Trusted' rating on Feefo, the independent review site, underlines our exceptional levels of customer service, and our ATOL bonding and ABTA membership guarantees your holiday is safe with us.