Tour the Loire with cycle expert Harvey Downard
Summer is a great time to break out the cycle, and there's a bounty of sun soaked landscapes to explore in neighbouring Europe. We sent intrepid cycli...Read more
With fabulous food and wine, beautiful landscapes, meandering valleys and ancient villages galore, Bordeaux has a lot to offer as a cycling destination.
This tour offers a pleasingly varied ride - from easy pedalling along the beautiful Garonne river and canal, to exploring the lush valleys and vineyards of the Dordogne. Charming medieval villages are dotted along the route offering plenty to see (and lots of tasty lunch options), leading eventually to the lovely town of Saint Emilion. Enjoy wonderful regional cuisine everywhere you go - paired, of course, with a myriad of fabulous Bordeaux wines.
We love: cycling along the Garonne canal under the avenue of Plane Trees and macaroons from Saint Emilion
• Delicious restaurant meals each night
• Bed and breakfast accommodation
• Expert on the spot support
• Luggage carried between your hotels
• Fully serviced touring bikes
• 100% financial security through ABTA and ATOL
This tour is operated by our preferred local partner
SUGGESTED 7 NIGHT TOUR
DAY 1 Arrive at Bordeaux. Transfer to our base hotel in Saint Macaire. We suggest a stroll around this ancient river port. The charming medieval streets are narrow and dotted with beautiful old houses. In the arcaded square you'll find more stunning renaissance homes adorned with mullioned windows.
DAY 2 Saint Macaire. After breakfast you’ll be equipped with your bicycle. We suggest cycling up the Garonne valley to Castets-en-Dorthe where you can enjoy an easy, idllyic ride along the canal path. You could stop at La Reole for lunch, or you may prefer the canalside restaurant at Castets. Alternatively, cross the Garonne and follow back-roads to reach Preignac and Sauternes village, where you can sample liquoreux wines before cycling back through shady woodland. You’ll have ample time for a refreshing dip in the hotel’s plunge pool before dinner.
DAY 3 Saint Macaire to Duras. Today the route leads to Gironde-sur-Dropt before heading up the valley past a couple of fortified mills on the way to Monsegur. The ancient walls of this bastide are still visible, making for a fascinating stroll after a generous lunch at Les Acacias, a typical ‘café ourvier’ where the wine is served in jugs and portions are huge. With a pleasingly full belly, it’s only another 10km to Duras. (24 miles/38km)
DAY 4 Duras and surrounding area. You will venture further into the valley still today, arriving for lunch in Eymet, another bastide vacated by the English at the end of the 100 years war. Return along the valley floor, enjoying fabulous views at the Ducal château on the way, before dining in the market square.
DAY 5 Duras to Saint Radegonde. Meandering through a landscape of vines and plum orchards, you’ll happen upon the ancient, unspoilt farming villages of Blasimon and Pellegrue. Take a dip in Blasimon’s freshwater lake before cycling to your next hotel in the Dordogne valley - once the frontline area between warring monarchs, but now just a wonderfully peaceful landscape with great cycling routes. (27 miles/44km)
DAY 6 Saint Radegonde. Enjoy riverside cycling today, meandering up stream to St Foy Le Grande where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch in the arcaded market square. From here you can cross to the north bank to reach historical Montcaret before returning to the river at Castillon La Bataille.
DAY 7 Saint Radegonde to Saint Emilion. Today you’ll head west to St Jean de Blaignac, then continue to Cabara and Branne. We suggest cycling all the way to St Emilion before stopping for lunch, as there’s so much to see and do here - with great dining options and delicious Saint Emilion Grand Cru to try, too. Arriving at your last hotel situated at the top of the town, relax with a dip in the pool or drinks in the garden before a final well-deserved, delicious gourmet dinner. (25 miles/40km)
DAY 8 We say “Au Revoir” after your final hearty breakfast.
A fine selection of hotels to choose from
Crafted from the ruins of a magnificent 18th century château, following a great deal of careful restoration, the hotel now stands as a striking landmark against a backdrop of spectacular vineyards and woodland. The beautiful pool area offers particularly good views and is a great place to recuperate after a day in the saddle.
Built into a renovated convent, the Hostellerie des Ducs is walking distance away from the château and town square of the beautiful small village of Duras. You can enjoy fine dining in the hotel restaurant, with good value menus and well-priced local wines.
Right in the heart of medieval St-Macaire, a picturesque town that sits between the vines and the ocean, this hotel is a magnificent, renovated 16th century mansion, decked out with oak furniture, terracotta floors and tastefully modern décor. We recommend a dip in the pool before dining alfresco in the town.
Founded in 1878 and passed down from generation to generation, this hotel offers a warm welcome for weary travellers. It’s beautiful garden and enticing pool are a particular highlight, along with the excellent adjoining restaurant and warm, friendly staff.
A stunning location, impeccable grounds and stylish rooms make this hotel a real highlight for any itinerary. Tucked away up a quiet street in the UNESCO world heritage site of St Emilion, the amount of space, particularly the gardens and pool, are a pleasant surprise upon arrival. The breakfast are highly touted too.
May to September
|Group/Period||7 nights May - Sep|
|Child (7-12)||On request|
All prices per person, based on two people sharing and two nights per hotel. Includes breakfast, gourmet evening meal, bikes and equipment and luggage transfers unless otherwise stated. Travel not included. Single room supplement: £60 per night. E-bike supplement: £18 per day.
Ask any French person and they'll confirm it: Bordeaux is known throughout France for its wonderful wine. When it comes to the smoothest, the fruiti...Read more