Day 1: Arriving in Sarlat (by train from Bordeaux or from Souillac) we will meet you at your first hotel, distribute the bikes and other equipment, then sit down and discuss your itinerary and other needs. The afternoon and evening is then yours to explore the medieval town of Sarlat.
Day 2: Sarlat to La Chapelle Aubareil – 40 km – 4 hills – 3 cafés. The first cycling day gives a fine taster for what's to come, paved and unpaved roads through quiet villages past stone roofed châteaux (St Vincent de Paluel, St Genies), walnut mills, along peaceful river valleys to your family run hotel in the woods. Your evening meal here is well worth the effort. If you take an extra day here, we will provide you with a circular ride that takes in the world famous Lascaux caves and the charming Château de Losse.
Day 3: La Chapelle Aubareil to Les Eyzies – 33/30km – 3/1 hills – 3/2 cafés. Today, you discover the Valley de Vézère with a choice of two very different routes into the land of prehistory.
Option 1: You cycle to the troglodyte village of La Roque St Christophe, a 300 m long gash in the cliff that has housed and protected its inhabitants for many thousands of years, Prehisto-park displaying typical scenes from the time of Cro-magnon, millions of years ago, the châteaux and churches of St Léon sur Vézère and much more.
Option 2: This is a more leisurely ride to a lunch-time swim in the lake at Tamnies, then past Abri de Cap Blanc (prehistoric shelters with sculptures), Château de Commarque (ruins of a once magnificent bandit château from the XII century).
At your destination, Les Eyzies has far too much to explore in just one day so if you were to plan some extra days in your itinerary, 2 more days here is a must. You could try the National Prehistory Museum, the Pole International de la Préhistoire, Pataud archaeological digs, Font de Gaume, Les Combarelles (prehistoric cavern), and in the cool of the evening try some local strolls around the village and valley or canoe on the Vézère or join one of our mountain bike guide rides.
Day 4: Les Eyzies to Beynac – 41km – 3 hills – 1 café. Returning to the medieval the Valley of the Dordogne, frontier land during the Hundred Year war between the French and the English. You enter the valley at Le Bugue and learn ye olde trades at the Village de Bournat or oggle at the amazing aquatic life at the Aquarium du Bugue.
Arriving at Beynac, a visit to the château will offer modern medieval furnishings, coolness especially welcome on hot days, and panoramic views of the Dordogne valley. Extra nights here will allow you to visit beyond Beynac. You could try La Roque Gageac and Castelnaud, both on the 'most beautiful villages in France' list, swing through the trees at St Vincent de Cosse, mountain biking in the Céou Valley, or paddling on the River Dordogne.
Day 5: Beynac to Sarlat – 55km – 8 hills – 4 café. This last day riding isn't just a limp back home as today you will discover the tranquil Valley du Céou, and sneak back into Sarlat along the through the back door. To visit en route: Château de Castelnaud, Domme, medieval Bastide town, its caverns, and ‘Le prison des Templiers’ (their inscriptions on the walls of this prison construct an emotional account of their false imprisonment by the king of France).
Panoramic view of Dordogne Valley. Soleil Plage (beach + café/bar). Château de Montfort. Visit Sarlat. A well preserved medieval town (markets: Saturday, Wednesday). The Lanterne des Morts, Place d’oies, Maison de la Boetie, numerous street side cafés and restaurants, wine/foie gras dégustation and shops.
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Europe France Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey
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