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  1. #1
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    Touring in France....need some route suggestions

    I will find myself in Bordeaux the first week of June....looking to tour for 2 weeks...any suggested routes starting from the bordeaux area or should i take a train and start somewhere else...advice welcome...

  2. #2
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    Bordeaux is a fine place to start. Here's a great itinerary I did a few years ago starting in Bordeaux:

    Bordeaux->St. Emilion (pretty village surrounded by valuable vineyards; the grapes were being harvested when we were there)

    St. Emilion->Bergerac (a visit to Monbazillac chateau/vineyard is worthwhile, just 7 km south of Bergerac, though a bit uphill)

    Bergerac->Beynac (lots of places to visit, Josephine Baker's chateau "les Milandes", medieval fortress of Beynac, walled town of Domme, pretty village la Roque-Gageac)
    A short detour north to the touristy but gorgeous Sarlat is worthwhile.

    Beynac or Sarlat->Martel, a pretty medieval village not overrun with tourists

    There are a number of superb sights a short distance south & east of Martel. The Gouffre de Padirac is a fantastic cave to visit. Rocomodour is very touristy but impressive. I found it more enjoyable to walk up & down the steps in the quiet evening after dark. Along this stretch of the Dordogne, there are a number of gorgeous villages, my favorite being Carennac. Other pretty places include Bretenoux, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, & St. Cere. You could easily spend several days visiting the diverse and outstanding sights here.

    From Rocomodour or St. Cere, cross a few manageable hills SE to Figeac, a very pretty town.

    Figeac->St.Cirq-lapopie, a stunning hillside village (going west down the Cele River until it meats the Lot, then a short distance up the lot to St. Cirq. En route, take a short detour from the Cele to the cave Pech-Merle).

    St. Cirq up the Lot river (eastward), then south to Najac (via Villefranche), an isolated village in a buckle of the Aveyron river, high about the river. I happened to see an excellent documentary film about this village a few months ago. Alternatively, you could continue down the Lot river to Cahors, another pretty town.

    Najac->Albi (via Cordes, another pretty medieval town). The landscape here looks very different from the Dordogne & Lot valleys.

    Albi->Castres (or head to nearby Toulouse if you need to get home)

    Castres->Carcassonne

    With the exception of the immediate vicinity of Bordeaux and Toulouse, you should be able to select wonderful quiet roads with little traffic. Personally, I prefer to use the IGN 1:100,000 maps, but the Michelin 1:200,000 maps are sufficient.

    I rode this with a friend about 8 years ago and we stayed in small, reasonably priced (2 star) hotels. We generally ate picnic lunches, but we ate superb dinners in restaurants each night. This region has some of the best cooking in France. PM me if you want names of specific hotels or restaurants. I have toured for years and years throughout the world, but this tour was as close to perfection as a tour can be. We began in mid-September and had perfect weather. I was back in the region last June and had pretty good weather then, too. If you are camping, there are loads of campgrounds.

  3. #3
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    Hi

    I did most of the tour suggested by Axolotl a couple of years ago and I highly recommend the route. the initial flat section out of Bordeaux wasn't so interesting, but the gorges and caves were something else. If you run a bit short of time take the train a short distance, bikes are free on the train

    Brian F.
    nzbicycletours.com

  4. #4
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    For the OP (asked for begin of June) it's too late, but here's another route suggestion. I just came back on Sunday from the following 4 weeks trip:

    We started in Royan (went there from Germany by train via Paris, Limoges), crossed the Gironde by the ferryboat, cycled then via Soulac, Pauillac, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers (cyclepath on a former railroad track from Bordeaux to Sauveterre), LaReole to Agen. Then following the Arrats valley - with sidetrips to the Gers valley (Lectoure, Auch) and to Boulogne s.G. - into the Pyrenees. From Luchon we did daytrips to Col de Peyresourde and Vallée de Lys. Then we continued via Toulouse and along the Canal Midi to Carcassonne. We camped near Carcassonne in Trèbes, from here trip into the Montagne Noires. Back home we took the train from Carcassonne via Toulouse and Paris.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian F
    Hi

    I did most of the tour suggested by Axolotl a couple of years ago and I highly recommend the route. the initial flat section out of Bordeaux wasn't so interesting, but the gorges and caves were something else. If you run a bit short of time take the train a short distance, bikes are free on the train

    Brian F.
    nzbicycletours.com
    Guess that's a popular route!! My wife and I did it as well, but continued past Caracassonne and further on. It is beautiful, but BEWARE THE CLIMB TO ROCAMADOUR - it's a killer, but you get to see a goose farm on the way up so you know where your foies gras comes from!

  6. #6
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    Riding in France is about as close to riding heaven as is possible. The food in those little country inns close to perfection. I ordered lamb with rosemary seasoning and aspargus one lunch and almost called home to put my house for sale and settle there forever

  7. #7
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    Gastronomic food, history, pre-history, beautiful scenery, and quiet roads, you can't go far wrong by coming to the Dordogne for a spot of cycling. I live in Castelnaud in the Dordogne and have owned a bike rental outfit there now for 5 years. We offer tour support services for independant travellers through the south west of France. Even if you are just passing through the region, go see our website and drop us a line. We may be able to help you out on your tour.
    Joel
    www.multitravel.co.uk

  8. #8
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    Perpignan to Biaritz is a perfect two week trip even at my smell-every-flower pace. That includes a dive into the not to be missed dixie cup which is Andorra. The ride is so intensely full of beauty and wonder that it would seem like the longest two weeks of your life.
    If I cannot be perfectly orthodox, let me at least be mundane.

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