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Bicycle Tours Since 1972

Experience Plus - Bicycle Tours since 1972
Cycling the Dordogne Plus! the Vineyards of Bordeaux
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Bicycle Tours in France: Cycling the Dordogne Plus! the Vineyards of Bordeaux

The Dordogne River valley in Western France is one of the country's longest and most scenic. For 500 km, the Dordogne cuts through layers of limestone plateau and meanders from the woody hills of the Massif Central to the manicured Bordeaux wine vineyards. Our bike tour of the Dordogne takes you on some of the nicest cycling routes in Europe, with breathtaking views of medieval castles topping the hills at every bend in the river. Add visits to cave sculptures at Cap Blanc, two nights in St. Émilion, wine tastings and great food, and you have one of our all-time favorite bicycle tours.

***If this sounds great but you don't have time for the full 11 days, check out our Cycling the Dordogne, which features the first 7 days of this itinerary.***

Day 1: Arrive Brive-la-Gaillarde, France

Highlights: Renaissance Brive, sidewalk cafés, special introductory dinner

Arrive this afternoon in Brive-la-Gaillarde, just four hours by train from Paris. After we fit bicycles, you're free to explore this charming Renaissance town. This evening, we'll gather for a glass of wine and a welcome dinner together.

Lodging: La Truffe Noire

Day 2: Bicycle to Rocamadour

Highlights: Scenic cycling, visit Collonges-la-Rouge, Pilgrimage village of Rocamadour, goat cheese of Rocamadour

Cycle south this morning to the red sandstone village of Collonges-la-Rouge, a longtime haven for craftsmen and artisans. Enjoy a picnic or a café lunch there. Our final destination is Rocamadour, an age-old pilgrimage destination that takes your breath away as it seems to emerge miraculously from the sheer limestone cliffs of the cause de Gramat. Dinner together this evening, with a taste of Rocamadour's famous creamy, hand-made goat cheese. Distance: 72 km (45 miles).

Lodging: les Esclargies or Beau Site

Day 3: Bicycle loop ride to Padirac and to Carrenac

Highlights: Medieval Carennac, prehistoric caves of Padirac

We bicycle quiet country roads to the picturesque medieval town of Carennac this morning, stopping at the caves of Padirac on the way. Our exploration of Padirac begins with a 75-meter descent and culminates with a boat ride on one of the most spectacular underground rivers in the world. Along the way we'll discover stone tools dating back more than 50,000 years. After our exploration back in time we'll continue the ride to the picturesque medieval town of Carennac which is a perfect spot for lunch. We'll be back in Rocamadour tonight. Distance: 65 km (40 miles).

Lodging: les Esclargies or Beau Site

Day 4: Bicycle to 16th century Sarlat

Highlights: A goose farm, Souillac, a gorgeous ride along the Dordogne, and rails-to-trails path to Sarlat

We leave Rocamadour this morning for a short ride along country roads to encounter some "local flavor" in the form of geese. We will visit a local foie gras producer and you'll have a chance to taste this famous delicacy from the southwest. Then we enter walnut country --la route de la noix-- as we head for a stunning ride along the Dordogne River to S. Julien-de-Lampon. The last ten kilometers of the ride we'll be on a rails-to-trails path that takes us to our home for the next three days, Sarlat. We'll enjoy dinner together tonight. Distance: 57 km (35 miles).

Lodging: Hotel de Selves

Day 5: Rest day in Sarlat

Highlights: Regional market in Sarlat, 9th-century Benedictine abbey, optional bike ride

Today is a free day to enjoy the extraordinary regional market in Sarlat. The town was built around a 9th-century Benedictine abbey and today preserves a collection of 15th-century buildings - many constructed with golden sandstone - which gives it a unique character. If your legs are feeling strong and you want some scenic views we'll offer an optional bike ride this afternoon into the hilly backcountry of Sarlat where you'll also have the option of visiting the beautiful French style Eyrignac gardens. Distance, your choice: 40 km (25 miles).

Lodging: Hotel de Selves

Day 6: Loop ride from Sarlat and Canoe trip

Highlights: Bastide town of Domme, canoe trip, La Roque-Gageac, visit to Beynac Castle

For those who wish, we'll offer an early start and an optional ride to the 13th-century bastide town of Domme; for the rest, we begin the day with a leisurely ride back to the Dordogne River where we'll find our canoes for an easy float trip past La Roque-Gageac to Beynac Castle. This imposing castle, built during the 13th Century, was a French stronghold during the Hundred Years War. You can visit the castle, then we bicycle back to Sarlat. Dinner together. Distance: 37 km (23 miles) - plus about 12 km (7 miles) by canoe.

Lodging: Hotel de Selves

Day 7: Bicycle to Les Eyzies

Highlights: Guided tour of cave sculptures at Cap Blanc, visit to Prehistoric Museum

Today we bike to Les Eyzies, which rests at the confluence of the Vèzére and Beune rivers. We have reservations this afternoon to visit the cave at Cap Blanc, where you can view some of the biggest prehistoric cave sculptures in Europe still open to the public. If you want to expand your knowledge after the visit you can stop by the Prehistoric Museum in town and learn about our ancestors from 100,000 years ago. Alternatively, you can spend the rest of the afternoon simply relaxing at the hotel pool. Distance: 54 km (33 miles).

Lodging: Les Roches

Day 8: Bicycle to Bergerac

Highlights: Spectacular views of the Vèzére and Dordogne rivers, local vineyards, wine tasting at Monbazillac Chateau

Today our route follows the Vèzére to its confluence with the Dordogne river. We'll have some beautiful views of the river as we wind our way up and around one of its largest and most picturesque meanders. We pedal on to the Monbazillac Chateau, where you can visit the castle and enjoy a wine tasting. From there, we'll bicycle to medieval Bergerac. Once among the largest wine producers in France, Bergerac began shipping wine down the Dordogne to Britain as early as 1250 A.D. only to later be eclipsed by Bordeaux and its wines. Dinner together tonight. Distance: 72 km (45 miles).

Lodging: Hotel de France

Day 9: Bicycle to St. Émilion

Highlights: Quaint villages, Michel de Montaigne, Bordeaux vineyards

We will bike to St. Émilion today, home to some of France's oldest vineyards. On our way we'll pass through many small villages typical to the area that are linked by a patchwork of quiet country roads. Before reaching St Émilion we'll pedal by Chateau de Michel de Montaigne, one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance. You'll have the option of visiting his former residence and La Tour de Montaigne where he wrote his celebrated philosophical Essais. This afternoon there's time to explore the labyrinth streets of St. Émilion before dinner, which is on your own. Distance: 73 km (45 miles).

Lodging: Le Logis de Remparts

Day 10: St. Émilion Loop

Highlights: St. Émilion, scenic cycling through world renowned vineyards such as Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Bel Air, and Pomerol, plus an informative wine tasting

You will have lots to see and do today as we are in St Émilion for one more night. We'll offer a loop ride this morning through the surrounding vineyards and illustrious Bordeaux wine houses. Back in St Émilion this afternoon you'll have the opportunity to visit the impressive underground church, chapel, and catacombs before our wine tasting where you'll learn about wine making and more specifically about the St Émilion wines. We'll celebrate our final dinner together this evening. Distance: 35 km (22 miles).

Lodging: Le Logis de Remparts

Day 11: Tour ends in St. Émilion, France

Highlights: Bon Voyage!

You're on your own now, with Bordeaux and more castles and wineries close at hand. Have fun!
  • Highlights
    Cave paintings, 3 nights in Sarlat, Rocamadour, Côtes de Bergerac & St. Émilion, wine areas of Monbazillac, Collonges-la-Rouge, Gouffres of Padirac, medieval castles, beautiful landscapes
  • Includes
    "The Usual" plus... Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 11 days, 10 nights accommodation, 6 dinners with wine, two wine tastings & 10 breakfasts
  • Countries
    France
  • Begin/End
    Brive-la Gaillarde/St. Émilion
  • Arrive/Depart
    Paris: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or Orly Airport (ORY) / Bordeaux-Méringnac Airport (BOD)
  • Total Distance
    505 km (311 miles)
  • Daily Distance
    55 km (34 miles)
  • What to Expect
    Some of the best cycling routes in France through lush landscapes. World-renowned cuisine and well-preserved medieval villages.
  • Rating
    301
    Quiet roads over varied terrain; short, steep climbs from the river valley to limestone plateaus.
  • Notes
    If this sounds great but you don't have time for the full 11 days, check out our Cycling the Dordogne, which features the first 7 days of this itinerary.
  • Terms
Dates Price Single
Supplement*
Notes Next
Step
Sep 02 - 12, 2014 $4595 $650 Just Two Spaces Remain Book It
Jun 09 - 19, 2015 TBA TBA Book It
Sep 01 - 11, 2015 TBA TBA Book It
*We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
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Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.

Map Key

Green pinStart
Yellow pinCity (on route)
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Great job. Great tour leaders. Fun trip and good folks on the trip!
Annie I., Olympia, WA
A great bike tour through the scenic back roads in the Dordogne region - one of the most beautiful regions of France.
Richard T., New Britain, CT
Thanks for organizing a wonderful trip along the Dordogne. The daily rides were well planned, routed through interesting villages and at select times it was a thrill to be off the beaten path. It was as if I lived around the corner from where I was riding, and was taking the best bicycling route to get there (i.e., no cars and good riding surfaces).
Thomas V., Arlington, VA
This was the first Experience Plus tour I have taken. It was highly recommended by parents and friends. I believe the trip ranks up there with some of the best trips I have taken in my life. Really very, very enjoyable all around - great leaders, great route, exciting things along the way, good people on the tour, good food and GREAT weather, which I think was really important. I relaxed for the first time like I hadn't in six years, and could completely leave work behind. I would highly recommend this tour. Thank you!
Sarah V., Arlington, VA
The biking was great, the food/wind FABULOUS, but perhaps the most unforgettable experience was visiting the caves with the prehistoric paintings. What a treat.... something I'll remember on the long haul of life.
Kathy S., San Ramon, CA
Visiting the caves at Font de Gaumes was a spiritual experience and one I didn't think I would experience in my life.
Linda M., Livermore, CA
Scenery and routes were fabulous - small country lanes most of the time plus a couple of bike paths with lovely villages all along the way. The food and wines were equally fabulous - maybe the best we've had in 20 bike trips in Europe. I liked the canoe trip on the Dordogne and the trip to the cave paintings. So I've cheated and said way too many favorites
Virginia M., Bloomington, IN
We loved traveling on rural, non-traffic roads and having the arrow markings on the pavement.
Char W. & Paul R., Santa Cruz, CA
The trip was a fabulous experience from the moment we got on our bikes!Font de Gaume caves, learning about making walnut oil, the canoe trip down the Dordogne - total fun! The memories of this trip will get me through this next year, it was wonderful!
Robin J., Petoskey, MI
I've traveled with 2 other companies. Both are good, but don't have the great overall package of ExPlus. The chalked arrows are wonderful - I use the map only as a great way to think about the area or relive a fantastic experience. I love the information on the day sheets. The cave paintings were one of the things that attracted me to this trip. The experience was beyond even my already high expectations - and definite ExperiencePlus!Another great tour! I'm already looking for my next one.
John C., Reno, NV
The Dordogne region by bicycle is incredible.
Ann R.
Minneapolis, MN
Wonderful trip, the best tour leaders..another triumph!
Hathaway B.
Cushing, ME
ExperiencePlus! is by far the best tour company I have traveled with ... Besides the bicycling, my favorite was visiting the cave at Font de Gaume.
Elsie K.
Decorah, IA
Just a quick note to tell you that the tour leaders did an outstanding job during our recent trip to the Dordogne. It seemed that they were there every moment to take care of us, the bikes, and any other whims and restaurant experiences that we needed. The Dordogne trip was every bit as exciting as that which we took to Provence in 2003. However the canoe ride and the cave paintings added a new level of excitement that was different from previous trips. The canoe rides, the castle, and the restaurants were all outstanding and we look forward to our next trip with ExperiencePlus!
Richard C.
Austin, TX
The tour leaders were models for what every tour should strive for.
Tom S.
Salt Lake City, UT
[ My favorite experience was ] Touring the Font de Gaume, meals with our group, the French villages, cafe au lait/glace stops, Sarlat market ... [ My least favorite experience was ] having it end ... My mom and I took this tour and specifically chose the woman tour option since neither of us are very adventuresome on our own. We knew that being with a group of women we would never have to dine alone at lunch or when we were on our own for dinner. It was a fabulous experience and I would definitely consider a woman-only tour again. Our guides made the logistics seem effortless, especially when we all wanted to have lunch together.
Jean V.
Tomah, WI
ExperiencePlus! is by far the best tour company I have traveled with ... Besides the bicycling, my favorite was visiting the cave at Font de Gaume.
Elsie K.
Decorah, IA
Your skilled professional staff at home and in France is what sets your company above and apart from other tour operators. Thank you for making this one of the most enjoyable travel experiences we have ever had.
Tim & Patty K.
Denver, CO
Rick's pre-ride orientation was superior. Covering the basics was important, even for experienced riders. The timing of our stay in La Linde was fabulous; the folk festival was such a treat! Also, going to a wine tasting in St. Emilion was a highlight.
Gary & Linda C.
Los Gatos, CA
We pretty much agreed that this trip was probably one of the most spectacular we've taken, if not the most. The food and wine were superb. The scenery was awesome. How do you find these roads? They were like our own special little bike paths. Wonderful.
Richard & Joan P.
S. Glastonbury, CT