Bike Across France

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.

Art, History and Scenery Collide in this Ultimate Bicycle Tour.

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!

Highlights

  • 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 historical town of Carcassonne and the museum of Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi
  • Tranquil canoe ride on the Dordogne river

Trip Details

Price
$5,795
Single Supplement
$900
Length
9 days / 8 nights
Level
Intermediate
Total Mileage
263 miles
Daily Average
38 miles
Terrain
Rolling with a few climbs
Start/End Locations
Saint-Emilion/Carcassonne
Trip Dates
05/26/18 - 06/03/18
06/09/18 - 06/17/18
06/23/18 - 07/01/18
07/21/18 - 07/29/18
08/11/18 - 08/19/18
09/08/18 - 09/16/18
09/22/18 - 09/30/18

Make this tour Private or for more information, call:

800.866.7314

Itinerary

Saint-Emilion warm- up ride

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.

Bergerac area

After breakfast our ride unfolds along famous vineyards and quiet landscapes and ends near Bergerac, a gem of well preserved historical homes and churches. 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.

Sarlat and Cap Blanc

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.

Dordogne: Canoe trip

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.

Chateau de Mercues

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!

Albi

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. After lunch, we continue our ride and the Tarn River winds its way through a quiet area as we head towards the historic town of Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the ancient capital of the Cathars.

Castres

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.

Carcassonne

After breakfast we discover the forest of the black Mount on a spectacular climb, followed by a breathtaking view of the Pyrenees in the distance en route to our final destination: the town of Carcassonne. The second part of the ride is a gradual climb to Pradelles through the circuit of the “Montagne Noire”. Tonight we have a farewell dinner at La Marquiere.

Au Revoir!

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.

What's Included

Trip Planning

  • Use of a carbon road bike equipped with a Garmin Edge Touring GPS
  • Informative tour leaders throughout the program
  • Ciclismo jersey and water bottle
  • Shuttle at the end of the tour

On The Tour

  • Van support
  • 3 guided visits: prehistoric site of Cap Blanc, Castelnaud Castle and the historical town of Carcassonne
  • Canoe ride on the Dordogne River
  • 2 wine tastings
  • Daily cycling clinics and one-on-one coaching

Accomodations & Meals

  • All accommodations
  • All breakfasts
  • 2 lunches
  • 7 dinners

Meet the Guides