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Les Eyzies, St.Cybranet, La Roque Gageac, Siorac-en-Perigord or Le Coux

Les Eyzies, St.Cybranet, La Roque Gageac, Siorac-en-Perigord or Le Coux

Sep 11th, 2015, 07:59 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,229
Les Eyzies, St.Cybranet, La Roque Gageac, Siorac-en-Perigord or Le Coux

We are intrigued by a bike trip in the Dordogne. I know, I know, I know that some of you are going to tell me we are nuts to even think about biking in the Dordogne. But, I am considering it and want some feedback since I am not looking at the typical itineraries or peak season. Posters here convinced us not to do a bike trip in western Ireland, and when we got there we were glad we didn't. So, I do listen.

Late planners that we are, we are thinking about maybe doing this next month--early October. From my reading I think this will be a beautiful time of year. I've been looking at lots of different tour options and have read quite a bit about the Dordogne. Frankly, some of the more popular places sound way too touristy to me. Maybe I am wrong though. But, I have to throw in here that we are people who did not like Carcassone and who found much more interesting small towns in Bavaria than the highly touted Rothenburg ob der Tauber. And, a lot of the most frequented places on the typical Dordogne tours sound way too hilly.

I found an agency that rents bikes and helps plan routes and arranges luggage transfers (we'd arrange our own lodging). I asked for advice on locations we could stay for a couple days each and ride some interesting day loops where it is not too hilly. These are the suggestions I got: Siorac-en-Perigord, Le Coux , or Belvès (if I want to be on the top of a hill) for the Dordogne Valley, Les Eyzies (for the Vézère Valley), and St.Cybranet or La Roque Gageac.

We are primarily wanting to do some biking on quieter roads in a charming area with a couple tourist sites available (they don't need to be the biggies). We like to stop and meander and take photos. We like interesting architecture, cute small towns (not necessarily touristy), interesting markets, a cafe where we could get a glass of wine and a snack, just observing everyday life, nature, canoeing etc.. We are not looking for tourist central, souvenir shops, restaurants aimed at tourists etc., and we do not intend to visit all of the usual tourist biggies. And, we are getting old so we don't need lots of action or jam-packed days. If we'd ride and take an excursion about 5-6 hours or so, we'd be happy just sitting around and relaxing the rest of the day. We are fine with being more off the typical beaten path. So, comments please. Thanks much.
julies is offline  
Sep 12th, 2015, 03:09 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Much of the area is quite hilly, with towns and chateaux especially located at the tops of hills since they were defensive positions in the continuing wars that endlessly swept the area.

The prehistoric sites are, if I recall correctly, mostly located along the river valleys so easier on a bike, though I never looked at how arduous it is getting from one river valley to the next.

I think that in late October you are not likely to be amongst tourist swarms except at the most popular prehistoric sites, and even then, "swarms" are relative. We never saw a living soul in Domme for example in mid-October. I should add here that these are not, with a very few exceptions, cute villages. They were built as fortresses, and it shows. They are noble but not cute.

It will be crisp in the morning and evening, perhaps with some frost, though the days are likely to be brilliant, unless it pours rain. What would you do then?

The days will be getting shorter, though you will have to look it up because I don't remember whether France is on summer time and when/if they give it up.

Many of the villages are very quiet places. Shops -- if any -- and cafes -- if any -- may be open limited hours, especially on Sundays. Carrying a picnic is never a bad idea, and you can always eat your picnic next day if you find somewhere wonderful for lunch. Towns, on the other hand, are usually quite lively except during siesta time and on Sundays and holidays.

Perigord is the foie gras capital of the world, and the food is heavy for some since it features all the parts of the duck that aren't the livers. Potatoes sarladaise (potatoes fried in duck fat) and salade des gesiers (salad with duck gizzards) make me drool, but not everyone is going to feel that way and in our experience non-regional food was fairly scarce outside the towns.

It's a very beautiful area, and if you can handle these issues, you will have a great time.
Ackislander is offline  
Sep 12th, 2015, 09:05 AM
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Thanks for the extensive reply. You have given me a lot to think about, and perhaps a cycling trip (especially in October) in the Dordogne is not for us. I too have thought about being stuck in some small village in the middle of nowhere (and, this is my perception of the area) if a long, rainy spell occurs.

As soon as I thought of this idea, I looked up daylight savings time in France. It ends Oct. 25, so we already know we would definitely have to schedule before that. And, I just looked at the website of a hotel I had heard about. It closes for the season on Oct. 10--perhaps another warning sign.

We'd be in food heaven because we adore duck, not gesiers though. So, that is not at all a concern.

Once again, thanks much.
julies is offline  
Sep 12th, 2015, 09:50 AM
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I don't think Les Eyzies has a reputation as a particular attractive town nor a place you want to base yourself. Of course it is near those ancient caves. Yes, there are bicycling routes all over Perigord, though.

Here, you can download that booklet on here showing you the routes http://www.dordogne-perigord-tourism...urisme-458.htm

You can see the towns you name on or near those routes (Siriac between 11 and 18), Le Coux (s of 11), Belves (18), St Cybranet (19), La Roque Gageac (19) and Eyzies (11). There are other places you could consider that are right on the routes and a bit bigger than some you name, like St Cyprien which probably won't have too many tourists at that time. But this may not be for you.

Here's a post of someone staying in the area who talks about biking to some extent in the area. http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...fit-for-us.cfm
Christina is offline  
Sep 13th, 2015, 04:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Reconsider gessiers.
They're quite tasty and welcome in a salad, and not AT ALL like chicken livers. I wish we could buy a pound at the grocery store here, so I could fry them up and freeze them for later incorporation in a salad.
tomboy is offline  
Sep 13th, 2015, 09:46 AM
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Christina-- Thanks for the helpful links. I am wondering if the bike shop perhaps suggested some of those towns to me as bases because they are not too difficult to reach on a bike.

tomboy--I might give that said a try now that you tell me they are not like chicken livers (something I can't stomach).
julies is offline  
Sep 13th, 2015, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 31
Hi Julies,
Might I toss out another suggestion -- I took a solo bike trip a few years ago in the Languedoc (end of May), and did sort of a hub and spoke type trip along the Canal du Midi. I cycled average of 40 miles a day, took long hike another day, visited Narbonne (lovely old market), and had a fabulous time. Path is flat, but in some cases more like mountain biking, with some rough terrain. I didn't have a car ... But would be easier if you did I suppose. PM me if this sounds interesting, and I'd be glad to share more details.
jayhawkx2 is offline  

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