Cycling the Dordogne Plus! the Vineyards of Bordeaux

  • Itinerary Summary

    Western France's Dordogne River flows nearly 500 kilometers from the volcanic Massif Central region through deep gorges, steep cliffs, fertile farmland and famed vineyards to its mouth in the Bay of Biscay near Bordeaux. Our route traces the river's descent from Brive-la-Gaillarde to St. Émilion by way of some of the nicest cycling routes and most hospitable hosts in Europe. 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 6 nights of this itinerary.***

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    1. 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.

      Distance: Test Ride. Meals: D

      Lodging: La Truffe Noire.

    2. 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). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Beau Site

    3. 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: 64 km (40 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Beau Site

    4. 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.

      Distance: 57 km (35 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Au Grand Hotel de Sarlat

    5. 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 we'll offer an optional bike ride this afternoon into the hilly backcountry of Sarlat where you'll enjoy amazing views over the Dordogne River from Domme, and a chance to visit the medieval castle of Castelnaud.

      Distance: 44 km (27 miles), your choice. Meals: B

      Lodging: Au Grand Hotel de Sarlat

    6. 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.

      Distance: 26 km (16 miles) - plus about 12 km (7 miles) by canoe. Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Au Grand Hotel de Sarlat

    7. Day 7: Bicycle to Les Eyzies

      Highlights: Guided tour of Lascaux II, visit to Prehistoric Museum

      Today we bike to Les Eyzies, which rests at the confluence of the Vèzére and Beune rivers. Our first stop will be at Lascaux II, where we will enjoy a guided visit of this exemplary replica of the prehistoric Lascaux cave. 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, spend the rest of the afternoon simply relaxing at the hotel pool.

      Distance: 67 km (42 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Les Roches

    8. Day 8: Bicycle to Saint Nexans

      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 our quaint manor hotel in Saint Nexans.

      Distance: 76 km (47 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: La Chartreuse de Bignac

    9. 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.

      Distance: 77 km (48 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Le Logis de Remparts. August 29, 2017 departure will be at the Palais Cardinal.

    10. 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: 36 km (22 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Le Logis de Remparts. August 29, 2017 departure will be at the Palais Cardinal.

    11. 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!

      Meals: B

    • Highlights

      Lascaux II, 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

      Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 11 days, 10 nights accommodation; 6 dinners with wine, two wine tastings and 10 breakfasts; Lascaux II; guided visit of underground St Emilion; wine tasting plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

      Brive-la Gaillarde or Cahors (August 29) / St. Émilion
    • Arrive/Depart

      Paris: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or Orly Airport (ORY) / Bordeaux-Méringnac Airport (BOD), Paris (CDG)
    • Total Distance

      505 km (311 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      Average mileage per riding day 55 km (34 miles)
    • Rating

      301 Quiet roads over varied terrain; short, steep climbs from the river valley to limestone plateaus.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes
    Sep 25-Oct 5, 2017 USD$4900 USD$650 Sold Out! Wait List Available. Book it
    May 29-Jun 8, 2018 USD$4950 USD$650 Book by November 15th and save $200 Book it
    Sep 12-22, 2018 USD$4950 USD$650 Book by November 15th and save $200 Book it
    Oct 2-12, 2018 USD$4950 USD$650 Guarantee to Go! Book by November 15th and save $200 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 private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

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    • French Rail Map

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    • Helpful web sites about France

      Here is a list of URLs compiled by our staff to help you plan your travels to France.

    • Meals on Your Bicycle Tour

      Information on how meals work on ExperiencePlus! Bicycle tours

    • Norie Quintos Cycles the Dordgone

      Norie Quintos is an Editor at Large at Nat Geo Travel Media, as well as a content strategist advising destinations and travel companies. She joined us to bicycle through the Dordogne in 2015.

    • Paola's Travels with the Queen of France

      Read about Eleonor of Aquitaine and why this is owner/founder Paola Malpezzi Price's favorite tour.

    • Cave of Forgotten Dreams

      NPR's Kenneth Turan reviews this 2011 3-D film by Werner Herzog that features the recently discovered Chauvet Caves in southern France.

    • Joe Friel - Cycling past 50

      This book contains a wealth of information for the over fifty rider who wants to take charge of the aging process and become a better cyclist at the same time.

    • Pre-tour training

      ExperiencePlus! has contracted with national fitness expert Joe Friel to create customized, day by day, training programs to ensure you are ready for your biking tour.

    • Restaurant Basics in France

      Ordering, meal times, and customs at the restaurant in France

    • Small Hotels in Paris

      Travel and Leisure recommends affordable small hotels in Paris. Enjoy one pre or post-tour!

    • Traveler June Wheeler's Blog

      June and her husband Peter did the Dordogne ride in September 2015 and blogged about their experiences.

    • Wine & Cheese Pairing Chart

      Our friends at Wine Inquirer have put together a great chart to help you figure out what to serve with the wine you enjoyed on tour!

    • Fabulous scenery, small well-preserved villages, nice quiet roads, fresh air! Keep up the great experiences!

      David S., Voorhees, NJ
    • Amazing. Beautiful routes, scenery,food, and people throughout trip. Canoe trip along Dordogne with castles overlooking was a great bonus. Chartreuse de Bignac was one of the nicest places I have ever stayed at. Tour leaders were all great.

      Norm H., Hammonton, NJ
    • You guys are great!

      Kay E., Seattle, WA
    • Great scenery, fabulous food and good hard riding. The entire tour was exceptional. I think you do a fantastic job. We always recommend you to any friends interested in a tour. We will definitely do a tour next year. Thank you for a well run organization.

      Dede M., Sonora, CA
    • Cycling through stunning French countryside scenery, inviting limestone architecture, castles and medieval fortresses on hilltops in the distance, delightful picturesque towns with blooming window boxes, aromas of honeysuckle, area of the 116 year war with England, while following fun chalk arrows and faces on the roadside, enjoying delectable duck, duck, duck and imbibing fantastic wine, wine wine. A delight for all the senses. We are super happy we found ExperiencePlus! We are already planning our next cycling adventure for 2017.

      Joan M., Redwood City, CA
    • Breathtaking! Wonderful food. I have already encouraged a couple of friends to go. We really had a great time! Thank you, ExperiencePlus!!

      Lori S., Edinburg, TX
    • Fantastic. Amazing riding on scenic back roads with very few cars.

      Brian B and Sue A., Santa Rosa, CA
    • We very much enjoyed this tour. We are still in awe over the beauty of Dordogne. We are also glad that we did the Bordeaux extension. That was a great finale to a wonderful tour.

      Mary Ann D., Pleasanton, CA
    • This is the best vacation I''ve ever had. There were many varied activities in addition to the fantastic bike routes such as: the country bread baker, the canoe trip and picnic on the Dordogne, the towns we visited, the chateaus we visited, the prehistoric sites we visited, wine tastings, the best food I''ve had in my life, etc. that all taken together created a 10 day favorite experience for me. It was a perfect blend of activities.

      Ken P., Fort Collins, CO
    • One of the reasons we like ExperiencePlus! so much is that these things have been so carefully considered and finely tuned. The hotels are a perfect balance...great cultural flavor, and nice without being over-the-top/cookie cutter and culturally neutral. Everything we hear from those who have traveled with other companies convinces us we were lucky enough to find the best match for our expectations with our first bike tour. We are now looking forward to planning our fourth with ExperiencePlus!. Thank you for everything.

      John M., Colorado Springs, CO
    • Best vacation of my life.

      Timothy C., Portland, OR
    • 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

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