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8 Days Bordeaux and the Dordogne Bike Trip in France
This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences

This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences


(No availability) 8 Days Bordeaux and the Dordogne Bike Trip in France

Saint-Émilion, Les Coteaux de Dordogne, Arrondissement of Libourne, Gironde, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Scenic France Bike Trip

Join the bike tour which follows a scenic route through the Bordeaux region and the Dordogne Valley. Cycle through towns and past bridges which meld into the hills, built as they are of the same stone. Flocks of silky geese surround idyllic farmhouses, and picnic tables nestle in bends in the river. With this package, you can experience the harmonious combination of picture-book scenery, a turbulent history, and the ultimate hedonistic gastronomy all in a single tour.

Key information

  • Trip type: Guided
  • Lodging: Point to point
  • Terrain: Variable - hills and flat cycling on asphalt roads
  • Difficulty level: Moderate (Cyclist needs to have a good level of fitness, the terrain is mostly hilly or unpaved but they will ride on flat terrain sometime, 31-45 miles per day)
  • Total distance: 245 - 380 kilometers / 152 - 236 miles
  • Type of bike: Road bike

Highlights

  • Ride along the Dordogne River
  • Pass the famous Pomerol vineyard
  • Perigord and Sarlat exploration on a bike
  • Visits to Cro-Magnon caves and medieval fortresses on offer
  • Service of a friendly coordinator
  • Daily breakfast and 5 dinners
  • 7 nights' accommodation
  • Transport within the trip

Styles


7 days with instruction
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Accommodation

During the tour, you will be accommodated in various hotels. Virtually, all of the hotel rooms include private facilities. For the first two nights, you will stay in Saint-Emilion. Your third and fourth nights will be spent in Sainte-Foy-la-Grande. On the fifth night, you will stay in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil and the two following nights in Sarlat-la-Canéda.

If you are traveling alone and do not wish to pay extra for a single room, you are not assigned a roommate, but rather share with different people (of approximately the same gender) at different stops. Couples, or friends traveling together, are guaranteed a double or twin room. If you are requesting a room for two people, be sure to indicate on your application whether you wish a room with a double bed (a double room), or a room with two single beds (a twin room).

All triple rooms are guaranteed to be with private bath, at no additional cost. If you request a triple, and the hotel’s configuration means that none is available and a single plus a twin will be assigned instead. Blue Marble Travel only accepts adequately spacious triple rooms, not doubles with a cot stuffed into the only open floor space.

Program

Saturday: Train to Libourne (15 kilometers)

If arriving by plane, start by stretching back to your former height. Then head to Blue Marble Travel office to dump your luggage, pick up train tickets, say “hi”, and blink a few times at the busy city, and then catch the train to Libourne, a wine-shipping town just north of Bordeaux. It is a pleasant, 180 meters per hour journey on France’s famous TGV.

Once you have arrived, there will be a trip meeting and a warm-up cycle in the vineyards. Your trip coordinator and your bike meet you at the Libourne train station. Off across the vineyards with whoever arrived by your train, on the short cycle to Saint-Emilion. Since the whole group has not reliably assembled this evening, one of the route’s two independent dinners is usually scheduled for tonight (but Blue Marble Travel has a favorite wine bar they often go to).

Sunday: Vineyards of Saint-Emilion to Pomerol (20 - 60 kilometers)

Adjust to the bikes at your own pace. Wend your way past the famous wine properties of the region - Cheval Blanc, Petrus, and the rest. Neighboring Pomerol is only a few kilometers away. The possibilities are endless. Get lost on teeny roads with no cars in sight and nothing but manicured vineyards and an occasional café on the horizon. Perhaps end up back in Saint-Emilion later that day. Actually, getting home is a good idea, if only to leave yourself time for visiting a splendid church, hollowed out of a large rock, or for a glass of the local grape juice on the pretty town square before dinner.

Monday: Battlefields and fortresses (60 kilometers)

More vineyards, more small villages, and still no cars are the definition of vacation. The roads roll a bit and you can find a real hill or two if you don’t watch out (note to non-French speakers: towns with “mont” as part of the name are on the tops of the things).

Today’s route takes you through Castillon-la-Bataille, where the 100 Years’ War came to an end, and the British retreated to 500 years of overcooked vegetables. Dig for battle souvenirs, or just wander through the beautiful French market that Castillon hosts on Monday mornings, and gawk at the odd things you can still buy in rural France. When lunchtime rolls around, join the market workers in the local bar for some escargots bordelaise (snails in red wine) or don't.

You will cross the Dordogne River and follow it to Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, a quirky “bastide” an old fortress town and Protestant stronghold during the Wars of Religion, laid out on a grid pattern. Bike lots of kilometers, eat heavy food and drink great red wine. It’s fun French stuff! Night finds you further upriver, for a two-night stop.

Tuesday: Fois gras and truffles (0 - 75 kilometers)

Today, you will pick up the tell-tale signs telling that you are now in the Perigord, like geese which are looking rather fat (fat is “gras” in French) and funny fungi. You are now in the foie gras and truffle land! You will visit the regional capital, Bergerac, whose famous son, Cyrano, is well-remembered.

Climb to Monbazillac to visit the castle and perhaps to taste the sweet and luscious local wine (it will resemble a Sauternes from just to the south - but at half the price). This cool, white, almost-saint-liqueur crowns a meal. If the weather is hot, swimming opportunities abound. As much or as little biking as you please today, since your bed tonight is the same one you woke up in.

Wednesday: Riverside biking and Cro-Magnon caves (0 - 75 kilometers)

Limestone cliffs hollowed out by long-vanished streams create beautiful outcroppings overlooking the river, which loops lazily back and forth in the valley so long ago hollowed out. As the vines thin out, they were replaced by cavemen or at least with caves, the prehistoric ones where the ancestors hung out several million or billion or whatever years ago.

Trémolat offers a glorious view of the river. Limeuil is one of the “prettiest villages in France” (self-proclaimed). Le Bugue offers an aquarium, and more caves, and a mini-golf, not really niche marketers. Set out early if you wish to go spelunking in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil and its environs. Long routes with hills are available to keep you busy if you’d rather push yourself on the bike.

Thursday: Les Eyzies to Sarlat (25 - 75 kilometers)

A long, challenging day full of scenery and hills if that is what you want; a short, easy ride for those trying to look like the local geese and a middle choice for those who can't quite decide. Swimming holes if it’s hot or cozy cafés if it's not. It’s a day full of attractive choices. Beautiful ocher cliffs stretch your neck upwards as you bike the deep valleys of the Vézère Valley.

There will be woods, cliffs, potters, and artisans using the regional clay and more flocks of geese. It’s a France few know and the ride offers you a new view of this diverse country. The Lascaux caves and the amazing church at Saint-Amand-de-Coly are available to those looking for the cultural quarter hour. You will end up in Sarlat, one of France’s most harmonious ensembles. The whole town is a national historical monument!

Friday: Sarlat loop (30 - 75 kilometers)

Take a day off the bikes to explore the old town. André Malraux had the idea of saving it as a living witness to the middle ages, and Blue Marble Travel is awfully glad that he did. Or, without the panniers, go down to the river to visit a collection of the region’s most interesting towns, all far older than you are. Visit ancient La Roque-Gageac and pretty Beynac-et-Cazenac. Climb up to fortified Domme, a prize possession in the religious wars of yore. Trade the bike for a kayak on the Dordogne, and use the paddles to splash your fellow bikers. Lycra dries quickly.

Saturday: Sarlat to Souillac (30 kilometers)

This is your last day in the valley: ride down to the river following an old railroad grade, and then along the water to Souillac. Castles line the water and when they don’t it’s because the imposing white cliffs are towering over the road. Souillac is a pretty town for a quick exploration as there are lots of flower boxes and odd trees, and a famous and beautiful abbey. For those whose ride ends with this Dordogne route, the trip disbands on arrival in Souillac.

Difficulty of the ride

There are climbs out of the valley on the short days and flat days are long. But shortcuts are on offer. Extra work abounds, in the form of distance or hills, should you be in the market for a challenge.

Training for the ride

Blue Marble Travel’s trips are carefully designed to ensure that a normally fit person will be able to complete the daily route without undue strain. If you bike some, you’ll be fine. If you exercise regularly, but don’t bike, you should try to go on at least one reasonably long ride (25 miles / 40 kilometers) in the two weeks before your trip.

This is partly to ensure that you actually know how to ride: if you have trouble in traffic or with the gears, then more intensive practice is a good idea. But it is mostly to break in your posterior. If you give yourself a sore saddle in the week before the trip, you will fully recover (that is, be able to sit down without discomfort) by the trip start, and yet hold on to some of the resistance you built up on your long ride. Don't harbor too many illusions, though: your seat will be sore on the third and fifth days of your trip.

If you have done nothing but guzzle beer and watch TV since you were 12, then you’ll initially be exhausted in the evenings (and your seat will be sore). You should probably avoid trips whose first week is “challenging” and going out for a walk from time to time between now and the trip departure might be a good idea.

Location

This ride follows the Dordogne from the wine towns of Libourne and Saint-Emilion to the national monument that is Sarlat and the abbey town of Souillac, detouring up the Vézère Valley on the way, for a look at Lascaux and the fortified abbey at Saint-Amand-de-Coly.

Food

Breakfast (continental) is included during the trip. It is generally taken at the hotel. Most dinners are also included. You are on your own for dinner (and its expense) two nights per trip week. Included dinners may be taken in a group or you may dine on your own or in smaller "sub-groups", with suggestions offered by your trip coordinator. On nights when you prefer one of these latter options, funds will be distributed sufficiently to permit a wide selection of restaurants. Beverages at dinner are not included.

Your meals are special events and a focus of this trip, especially in the Latin European countries. Choices are never lacking and Blue Marble Travels prides themselves on their ability to showcase local cuisines, often different from Anglo tradition. Picky eaters, or those with diets which exclude food types or groups, may find this focus tiresome. And since special diets are rare in Latin Europe, your hosts may be surprised by them.

Complex dishes may contain some food you wish to avoid, hidden as a seasoning. Chefs who take pride in their creations are not only unwilling (or unable) to remove the offending ingredient, but can be unwilling to even discuss the recipe. Fortunately, the unusual flexibility of Blue Marble Travel's meal program allows you to retreat to a pizza place if the cultural experience becomes oppressive.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • A visit to the ancient La Roque-Gageac and pretty Beynac-et-Cazenac
  • Climb up to fortified Domme
  • Local wine tasting
  • Mini-golf
  • Swimming
  • Visits to the Le Bugue's aquarium and caves

What's included

  • 5 days of cycling in the Dordogne regions
  • Service of a friendly coordinator
  • Transport within the trip
  • 7 nights' accommodation
  • Daily breakfast and 5 dinners

What's not included

  • Air / rail fares to and from the trip
  • Baggage transfer (daily: 290 EUR; half-day: 160 EUR)
  • Travel to and from the trip
  • Private sightseeing
  • Lunch
  • Beverages at dinner
  • Items of a personal nature

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD).

Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD) is the closest airport which offers intra-European flights. At this writing, Ryanair serves Bordeaux, Bergerac, Poitiers, Limoges Toulouse, and Brive (in order of convenience), all less than two hours from Libourne by train.

If you are coming from North America, Blue Marble Travel can help you find a reasonably-priced air ticket from your departure city and back to it at the end. Blue Marble Travel even offers airfare price guarantees to riders on their trips.

If you are coming from Britain, Blue Marble Travel can help you book discounted Eurostar tickets from and back to London, along with connecting trains on the continent. Blue Marble Travel's Eurostar tickets for British riders are generally the lowest cost available for any given flexibility / class of service.

Arrival by train

Schedules for all routes can be consulted on the Rail Europe website. Libourne is a minor stop in Paris - Bordeaux mainline. Mainline trains also run from across the south of France to Bordeaux, a 30-minute trip from Libourne by frequent local train.

The train service is at least hourly from Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD) or Bergerac-Roumanière Airport (EGC) and every two hours on all other routes. Journey times range from one to two hours. Two trains from Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD) to Libourne run per hour and the trip time is 30 minutes.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
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