Bike Across France
Serene cycling through unspoiled southwestern France
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- Details for exact accommodations
- What to expect
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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.
- Discover four UNESCO World Heritage sites: Saint Emilion, Vezere Valley, Albi, and the Carcassonne fortress
- Truly discover the road less traveled in three regions: Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrenees and Languedoc-Roussillion
- Savor the wines of four major wine areas: Bordeaux, Bergerac, Cahors, Gaillac
- Learn about prehistoric sites of Cap Blanc and Medieval Castelnaud Castle in Dordogne
- Visit the town of Carcassonne and the museum of Toulouse-Lautrec
- Go on a tranquil canoe ride on the Dordogne river
What to Expect
TerrainRolling with a few climbs
MileageAverage Daily: 30 miles Total: 263/295 miles
ElevationAverage Daily: 3,402 ft Total: 27,222 ft
Once you have a trip confirmed, we will feed you a steady diet of additional pre-departure information that includes: How to train, prepare, pack and all the wonderful, inspirational and practical things you want and need to know before you go! Our Travel Advisors will be available to help plan your pre- and post-tour travel.
- Van support
- Expert, bilingual guides
- 4 guided visits: prehistoric site of Cap Blanc, Castelnaud Castle, the historical town of Carcassonne, and Albi historical center and cathedral
- Canoe ride on the Dordogne River
- 2 wine tastings
- Cycling clinics and one-on-one coaching
- Shuttle at the end of the tour
- Use of a carbon road bike equipped with a Garmin Edge Touring GPS
- Ciclismo jersey and water bottle
- Two water bottle holders
- Map holder on handlebars and a Garmin Edge GPS
- Handlebar bag
- Tire pump
- Combination bike lock
- Gel-padded saddle
- Choice of pedals
- Card with your tour leaders’ mobile phone numbers
- Pedal Options:
- Flat pedals
- Half-toe pedals (without straps)
- Toe cage pedals
What’s Not Included
- Optional: clipless pedals with shoes
- Optional: your own saddle
- All accommodations
- All breakfasts
- 2 lunches
- 6 dinners
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 lifestyle 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!
Fly IntoParis, France
Fly Out OfParis, France
Saint-Emilion Warm-Up Ride
Average Mileage11.7 miles
Elevation Gain472 ft
Riding TerrainFlat and rolling
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. Wireless internet is available throughout and all rooms have air conditioning.
Average Mileage57 miles
Elevation Gain3,100 ft
Riding TerrainRolling with a few climbs
The Chateau les Merles is a 4-star boutique hotel in southern France. Their charming castle estate is a stone’s throw from Bergerac and Bordeaux.
Average Mileage45/62 miles
Elevation Gain3,000/4,000 ft
Riding TerrainRolling with some 1-2 mile climbs—more climbs and descents on extra loop
Dordogne: Canoe trip
Chateau de Mercues
Average Mileage47/59 miles
Elevation Gain4,100/4,700 ft
Riding TerrainRolling with a few 2-3 mile climbs—more climbs and descents on extra loop
Feel like a queen or king and enjoy the elegant atmosphere of this historical building. Before dinner we enjoy a wine tasting and visit to the Chateau’s 21,500-square-foot cellar to experience the robust and full-bodied Cahors wine, featuring the Malbec grape that is grown here. (The hotel’s restaurant also boasts a Michelin-starred chef!)
Average Mileage45 miles
Elevation Gain4,000 ft
Riding TerrainRolling with a few climbs between 2 and 3 miles, with a final shuttle to the hotel
This family-run modern hotel is on a quiet street right near the old town center and is housed in an art deco building. The hotel offers chic rooms and suites alongside very friendly, professional service. The rooms are spacious with lots of personality and all are A/C equipped.
Average Mileage32/36 miles
Elevation Gain2,300/6,000 ft
Riding TerrainRolling with some 2-mile climbs—more elevation to gain on extra loop
Our very charming hotel is in the center of the lesser-known town of Castres, which is believed to have been founded in AD 647, possibly on the site of an old Roman fort (castrum). This is the fourth largest industrial center of the predominantly rural Midi-Pyrénées region. It’s also known for being the birthplace of the famous political leader Jean Jaures and home to the important Goya Museum of Spanish paintings.
Average Mileage53/57 miles
Elevation Gain4,050/4,950 ft
Riding TerrainOne 6-mile gradual climb and long descent
During your time in Carcassonne, you can choose to either relax in the beautiful 4-star Hotel Du Chateau Spa near the fortress or take a guided tour with a local guide through the ancient part of town. You can also sip a local pastis aperitif while savoring the spectacular view of this fortification perched on the hill, looming over the Canal du Midi. Tonight we have a farewell dinner at La Marquiere.