Surrounded by a 3-acre park, the Hotel Grand Barrail is a 4-star property that includes a full-service spa, steam room and sauna, as well as a seasonal outdoor pool.
The National Geographic Traveler award-winning addition to our “Bike Across” collection.
It’s time to discover a new world! The three regions of France, Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrenees and Languedoc-Roussillion in the southwest rival the best of Italy for its storied history, castles, lush green scenery, stone villages, excellent wines, ancient art, prehistoric sites, generous people, and hearty provincial cuisine. Explore it with us on this deliciously offbeat itinerary.
On this bike across journey, we cycle along country lanes and discover that every trail reveals a fantastic scene from traditional France: timeless villages of golden stone, hilltop castles shining like visions from a medieval tale, and towering oak forests where a knight on a white horse might not look out of place. The full cultural immersion in this corner of France is facilitated by the amazing enchanting towns visited and included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, like Saint-Emilion in Bordeaux area and Albi and Carcassonne. Bergerac zone and Sarlat represent another great surprise if you have never been in the area called “Perigord,” situated in the Dordogne Department.
The list of activities range from two wine tastings to a canoe ride on the Dordogne River. This tour has been beautifully tailored to peel back the layers of history, while savoring the gastronomy and the French life style in the southwest, all from the vantage point of our saddle to really feel immersed in the nature, looking for the right rhythm to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience in this unforgettable corner of Europe. Allez, allez les cyclistes!
Make this tour Private or for more information, call:800.866.7314
Today we meet in the lobby of our hotel at 12:30 pm for introductions and a light lunch, followed by a ride through the country farmlands and vineyards. Our route takes us through nearby villages and gives a good overview of the local terrain and ambiance. The Ancient Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion is an outstanding example of a historic vineyard landscape. Later, we have our first wine tasting at La Cave Dourthe nearby the hotel.
After breakfast our ride unfolds along famous vineyards and quiet landscapes and ends near Bergerac, a gem of well preserved historical homes and churches. Lunch is on your own in St Foy La Grande - there are many options.
The local appellation wines are among the top rated in the whole Bordeaux area, such as “Pecharmant” which in the local Occitan dialect means “nice hill.” Surely, we won’t miss a sip of this noble nectar during dinner.
Upon entering the heart of Périgord Noir after breakfast, a region famous for its walnut trees and truffles, you will undoubtedly marvel at its natural splendor and the castles which surround it. Today we ride in the Vézère Valley, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites of this area. We then visit Cap Blanc with the help of local guides. Our final destination today is Sarlat-la-Caneda, the charming capital of Périgord Noir and a perfect example of a well-preserved medieval town.
Sarlat is also famous for the local market which is held weekly on Wednesday and Saturday, which we visit after breakfast. On this tour we have been able to set dates that, in almost all our departures, happen to be in those days in Sarlat. Today we hop off our bikes for a tranquil, no-rapids canoe ride down the Dordogne River to see all that the region has to offer. Along the way, we see the stunning La Roque-Gageac. Lunch will be a picnic in the lovely park of Eco Musee de la Noix. After lunch we have a guided tour of Castelnaud Castle, which will give us insight into its historical significance.
Today’s ride leads us into the Quercy region in the department of Lot. This area is known for its authenticity, both in regards to its nature as well as its buildings and houses. We regroup at the scenic Domme, which offers a stunning view of the Dordogne River. Our ride then ends near the town of Cahors. Before dinner, we enjoy a wine tasting and visit to the Chateau’s 21,500-square-foot cellar!
Today we shuttle to the medieval town of Sant Antonin de Noble Val, where our ride begins. This route takes us through a quaint countryside, beautiful farmlands, and pastures of the area, and we cross the Gorge de l’Aveyron river. We continue our ride on a plateau through cultivated fields and farms, and through a quiet area, we head towards the historic town of Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the ancient capital of the Cathars.
After breakfast, we have a chance to enjoy and spend time in Albi. We have a guided tour of the town (cathedral and choir included) and then a visit to Toulouse Lautrec museum. Today you can also explore the narrow alleys in the oldest part of town or take photos of the amazing view over the river Tarn and the local houses built with stone and wood, characteristic of the town. Then we ride to Castres. This route winds its way through a variety of settings, from dense forests to pastures in the quiet and pristine Park of Haut Languedoc. We end the day with a cooking class in the evening with chef Damien at Comme a la Maison, an organic-vegetarian restaurant.
After breakfast we discover the forest of the black Mountain ( Montaigne Noire in French) on a spectacular 12-mile climb at about 4-6% average grade.
This is followed by a long descent, and the last part of the day will be a nice and enjoyable approach to our final destination, the town of Carcassonne.
The extra loop goes to Pic de Nore (~3,970 ft), with a challenging 7.5-mile climb (average 6.5% with 3 miles between 7 and 9%, maximum 11%).
It’s time to say au revoir! After breakfast, we have a shuttle that will take you to the Carcassonne train station to make your next connections or extend your stay in the area.