Traveller Tale: Beautiful Cycling Days in the Dordogne

Cyclists taking a break in the Dordogne walnut groves | Rob Mills
Cyclists taking a break in the Dordogne walnut groves | Rob Mills

Traveller Tale: Beautiful Cycling Days in the Dordogne

Ferne-Marie and her three friends chose the Dordogne, in France, for their first cycling holiday and they had an absolutely fabulous experience. 
Read on to discover all the incredible sights and sounds of the Dordogne that they experienced while on the Highlights of the Dordogne by Bike tour.
Cycling through the forests of the Dordogne |  <i>Rob Mills</i>
This was my first bike tour and what a beautiful adventure it was! 
We are a group of four good friends and though one of us was an experienced cyclist, we all chose e-bikes for our self guided tour of the Dordogne. 
The region is quite magical with storybook castles to visit and many "belle villages", delicious food and wine, rolling green hills laced with sparkling rivers. 
It's also famous for its foie gras, fromage de chevre, walnuts, chesnuts and truffles. Though I'm not a fan of fois gras. 
La Roque Gageac, Dordogne |  <i>Tourism d' Aquitaine</i>
Highlights were Day 1 from Souillac to Sarlat. In superb weather, beautiful blue sky and 33 degrees we cycled along quiet country roads, along the Route de la Noix (Nut Route). After a mid morning coffee stop at Saint - Julien - de - Lampon, we reached a dedicated bike cycle path at Grolejac. 
Spinning along the bike path above a tiny village, one of us smelt coffee and food. We cycled down and found a great pub restaurant dining on an excellent lunch and avoiding the house speciality, salad de gezier (geese gizzards). 
The bike path ended on the outskirts of Sarlat, with very busy roads, round abouts and traffic, a little scary for a novice cyclist. I fell onto some gravel skinning my knee and shin and hurting my pride. A visit to a local pharmacy using my French language skills and my leg was all patched up. 
Cycling near Sarlat |  <i>Rob Mills</i>
Day 2 was also a fabulous ride up to the Castle of Domme. 
Although in the morning when we were leaving Sarlat, I found it very heavy going as I had no power from my battery. We called the help line and got a call back from the French team and after going through a checklist, the problem was solved and I was back in the saddle with full battery power, which was much needed on the steep climb up to Domme. 
Cycling out of Domme |  <i>Rob Mills</i>
We arrived at Domme just before midday. The restaurants were just about to open and we enjoyed another delicious lunch and wine at a table overlooking the stunning views of the valley and river below. After leaving Domme we enjoyed free-wheeling down the steep hillside and a ride to the "belle village" of Le Roc de Gagneau. 
While there were many restaurants and bars open, they would only serve a full meal, so we left le Roc de Gagneau thirsty with a long steep ride back to Sarlat. Thank God for e-bikes and our bottles of water! 
View of the Dordogne Valley from Domme |  <i>Rob Mills</i>
Another highlight was the next day's ride through rolling green hills to Chateau de Beynac, a medieval castle perched majestically above the Dordogne river. The ride continued to Les Eyzies taking us down dirt tracks between maize fields. 
Due to forecast rain on Day 4, two of us rested in our very comfortable hotel in Les Eyzies, whilst two rode out to visit one of the pre-historic caves. Visits to these caves need to pre-booked and our friendly host at the Hotel Cro Magnon booked the tickets, the day we arrived. 
Chateau de Belcastel, Dordogne
For me the best day was Day 5, cycling in quiet, pretty countryside, past the amazing troglodyte Roque St Christophe.
 We stopped for a coffee and cake overlooking the rock and river. A picnic lunch by the river in another belle village, Saint - Leon-sur Vezere and a visit to Chateau de Losse before we cycled to our hotel in Montignac. That evening the weather was perfect and we walked into Montignac for a dinner overlooking the river Vezere. 
Beautiful local foods at this day market in Sarlat |  <i>Jon Millen</i>
The final day is the longest ride at 50km. While we had coffee and enjoyed the Sunday markets in Saint-Genies, when we arrived at the main town it was still too early for cafes and restaurants to serve lunch, so we pushed on. As it was Sunday, most places we rode through were closed and my battery died a couple of kilometres outside Souillac. 

Ferne-Marie's Top Advice for Cycling in the Dordogne 

  • Adjustable gel bike seats and padded bike shorts are invaluable (your bottom will thank you!).
  • Phone the friendly staff at the first hotel in Souillac to pre-book a taxi pick up from the train station. It's a reasonable walk, especially if you have a lot of luggage. 
  • Water bottles and a rain jacket are also necessary.
  • Practice riding on the roads in traffic, if you are a novice cyclist, like me. 
  • Because our phone had been stolen in Paris, we did not have GPS and relied on paper maps. Overall directions were good, but trying to find the correct routes out of Sarlat were a little difficult. 
  • Cafes and restaurants are not open for lunch every day and only for a few hours in the French countryside, so pack a picnic. Check the trip notes carefully!
Picnic at Chateau Fenelon, Dordogne |  <i>Rob Mills</i>

A huge merci beau coup to Ferne-Marie for sharing her Traveller Tale from Dordogne!

If you would like to experience this gorgeous cycling region for yourself view UTracks' comprehensive tours below.

> View the Highlights of the Dordogne self-guided cycle
> View all active holidays in the Dordogne
> View all active holidays in France

Is exploring the Dordogne region on your bucket list, or have you already experienced the area? Let us know in the comment section below.

Dordogne, Cycling the Dordogne, Cycling France, Cycling the Dordogne Review, France Cycling Holiday Review, France

Comment (0)

Your comment will be visible after the administrator's approval.

b i u quote

Save Comment
Join Newsletter
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ADS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Adventures South"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Adventure South</div>
Adventure South NZ is unrivalled in their geographic coverage, originality and overall quality of adventures holidays in New Zealand. Choose from walking, cycling, winter or multi-activity holidays, on either the North or South Island.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/AWH.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Walking Holidays"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Walking Holidays</div>
Australian Walking Holidays specialises in small group guided walking adventures. Since 1982 we have been guiding small groups of travellers on Australia's finest walks across our tropical, coastal or red centre landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GCT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Canadian Trails"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Canadian Trails</div>
Great Canadian Trails specialises in active holidays in Canada. With both guided and supported self-guided options available, our unique itineraries draw upon some of Canada's most inspiring parks, trails and landscapes from coast to coast.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/HUM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Humac Challenge"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Huma Charity Challenge</div>
Huma enables those with adventurous spirits to challenge themselves and make a difference for a cause close to their heart. Travel, fundraise and meet life-long friends on one of Huma's meaningful and unique challenges around the world.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TAS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Tasmania Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Tasmanian Expeditions</div>
Tasmanian Expeditions is the most experienced operator of treks and adventure travel holidays in Tasmania. We own and operate the most comprehensive range of adventure holidays available across Tasmania's varied landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/UTX-new.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Utracks"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>UTracks</div>
UTracks are the active European holiday specialists. Whether you prefer cycling or walking, 2-star or 4-star, small groups or self guided, land, river or sea – UTracks can help you to explore Europe exactly the way you want.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WYA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Expeditions Schools"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Expeditions Schools</div>
World Expeditions Schools is our specialist division dedicated to organising tailor made overseas school group adventures. Specialists in Service Learning projects, choose from more destinations than any other school group provider.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/YOM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Yomads"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Yomads</div>
Yomads offers adventures for the 20s and 30s on six continents. Designed as a way to bring young and likeminded travellers together, Yomads caters to those interested in lightly structured and active trips that allow freedom to roam and explore.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ACT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Cycle Tours"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Cycle Tours</div>
Australian Cycle Tours specialises in high quality self guided and guided cycling experiences in a selection of the most beautiful regions in Australia.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WEX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Expeditions</div>
The pioneers of original, worldwide adventure travel holidays since 1975
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TJX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Trail Journeys"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Trail Journeys</div>
Self-guided cycling experts on New Zealand's Otago Rail Trail and more
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/BMAC.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Blue Mountains Adventure Company"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Blue Mountains Adventure Company</div>
The original Blue Mountains canyoning, hiking, climbing and abseiling experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GWNZ.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Walks of New Zealand"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Walks of New Zealand</div>
Explore New Zealand's most spectacular wilderness regions with the self-guided hiking experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/NAA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="North America Active"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>North America Active</div>
USA Canada hiking & cycling tour specialists, choose from self-guided or guided trips