Backroad Discovery – Provence, Languedoc, Dordogne & Bordeaux self-guided cycling holidays.
PROVENCE is a fascinating mix of vineyards and Mediterranean cuisine, olive & essential oils including lavender, medieval hilltop & fishing villages, Papal & Roman towns, mountain ranges & ochre quarries and a brilliant light that attracted (and still does) so many artists. Long hot summers make it a very popular destination.
- Drome Provençal – 5 nights. Moderate-plus terrain. Circular route cycling from Grignan with taxi transfers from and back to Montelimar railway station. Highlights include the roses and chateau of Grignan, the terraced garden at La Garde Adhemar, Cote de Rhone vineyards and medieval Nyons; renowned for its olive oil.
- Luberon – 8 nights. Strenuous terrain. Circular route cycling from Cavaillon; following the River Durance to Cadenet, then through the foothills of the Alps to Manosque and Forcalquier and returning via lavender fields, Apt and Menerbes.
LANGUEDOC runs from Toulouse to the Mediterranean and is renowned for its long hot summers, modestly priced wine, cassoulet, seafood and Carcassonne. It has a somewhat bloody history, with invasions by the Romans, the Visigoths and the Saracens, peaking in the 13th century with the brutal crusades against the Cathars . Today it is a delightful cycling destination with sun-baked villages, markets and gentle terrain.
- Canal du Midi – 4 or 6 nights. Easy-moderate terrain. Linear route cycling from Toulouse to Agde. Highlights include La Cité at Carcassonne, Narbonne for its cathedral and market, numerous wine cellars, the canal with a remarkable flight of 9 locks at Fonserannes, and the Mediterranean beaches around Agde.
DORDOGNE is famous for its pre-historic sites and cave paintings, such as Font-de-Gaume and Lascaux, but it also boasts a diverse landscape of fertile valleys and dry, rocky plateaux, picturesque cliff-clinging villages, medieval castles and a multitude of gardens. It’s a popular holiday area, but its hilly terrain makes it a more demanding cycling destination.
- Bordeaux to Sarlat – 5 nights. Moderate-strenuous terrain. Linear route cycling from Bordeaux through the Entre Deux Mers, St Emilion and Bergerac vineyards to Sarlat. Highlights include St Emilion, the caves and caverns of the Vezere Valley, the paintings at Lascaux Il, the gardens at La Roque Gageac and the medieval village of Sarlat.
- Cliffs & Grottos – 7 nights. Moderate-strenuous terrain. Circular route cycling from Souillac with the option of extra nights in Les Eyzies and/or Sarlat. Highlights include Rocamadour, the gardens at La Roque Gageac and Marqueyssac, the castle of Beynac et Cazenac, the paintings at Lascaux II and the charming medieval village of Sarlat.
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