The Dordogne region of south-west France has been attracting visitors for years. On this exciting new road cycling holiday in France
, as well as cycling past classic Dordogne vineyards and over rolling green hills, this trip also takes us toward the Massif Centrale, visiting the Auvergne, one of France’s most deeply rural and undiscovered regions offering some of the widest variety of rural French riding possible in a week’s getaway!
This place to place ride takes us on a looping journey through the two contrasting regions of the Dordogne and the Auvergne, between the ancient untouristed areas of Quercy and Lot. Starting in the Southern Dordogne region at Monpazier, an almost perfectly preserved bastide (fortified town) built in 1284, we pedal past châteaux hidden in rolling wooded hills to the fertile Lot river valley.
Continuing along the vineyard filled valley to Cahors, almost as famous for its red wine as it is for its ancient bridge, we follow the Cele River through the relatively undiscovered Parc Naturel de Quercy to the medieval market town of Figeac.
As we head towards the Auvergne, vineyards and riverside routes are replaced by rolling hills and cowbells. In the middle of the journey we have shorter daily distances and engage our climbing legs as the route follows in the footsteps of the 2008 Tour de France up the Puy Mary (1,588m). The majestic vistas of the chain of extinct conical volcanic peaks and lush green valleys make the Southern Auvergne distinctive and the climb very worthwhile.
Our journey then returns westward through the little known Upper Dordogne region down to the Dordogne river valley, passing châteaux which overlook the river, as well as visiting the dramatically perched village of Rocamadour and the untouristed narrow lanes of Souillac, before returning to Monpazier to celebrate our achievements with a drop of the local red.
Although our route explores rural France, it is simple to get to thanks to the wide variety of flight options to and from Bergerac. The holiday features numerous scenic lunch spots for a Skedaddle style picnic along with carefully chosen accommodation, from hotels with pools, for the obligatory ‘apres velo’ dip, to local auberges offering delicious traditional cuisine.
So whether you are relatively new to road cycling and looking to bag a few climbs and ride through rolling landscapes, or you’re a more seasoned rider and want some quintessential yet dramatic French riding, without the high altitude, this is the trip for you.
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