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Tours

Bordeaux to Geneva – 2019/20

£1,845.00£1,865.00

TOUR REF: FC91 / FC20
TYPE:
 Road Cycling
LEVEL: Regular
DATES: 
06 July – 20 July 2019
04 July – 19 July 2020
DURATION: 15 days / 14 nights (12 days cycling)
ACCOMMODATION LEVEL: Standard/High

Clear
    • 300 £
    • 60 £
    • 60 £

Bordeaux to Geneva

A French ‘side-to-side’ taking you all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the shores of Lake Geneva along incredibly quiet roads and with breathtaking scenery. There are gentle starts and finishes along the banks of the Dordogne and Rhone, and some hills in the middle as we clip the northern Massif Central.

There are many lovely countries in which to cycle but it is difficult to beat France and this trip takes us through the very best that France has to offer.  This is a beautiful, gentle-paced tour starting on the Atlantic coast a little west of Bordeaux and finishing on the shores of Lake Geneva.  Along the way we will experience an ever changing landscape, with almost every day offering something new. 

Whether you like the natural beauty of the countryside or picturesque villages and chateaux every day will be a treat!

We start riding on the Atlantic coast in Arcachon and after an incredibly flat 2 days across the coastal plain we meet the Dordogne just west of Bergerac and follow it’s meanderings into central France.  Eventually we must turn a little north and the middle portion of the ride is hillier as we skirt the Massif Central before descending to the banks of the Rhone for the final few days.  

Our route makes extensive use of extremely minor roads and is largely traffic free, though we try and visit towns of some substance for refreshment and overnight stops. Where available we utilise cycle routes/paths and along the Rhone we exploit the Via Rhona cycle path wherever possible.
 
Although the route does include some significant climbs it is suitable for all moderately fit cyclists and the hilliest days are also the shortest.  Daily riding distances are between 40 and 60 with an average of 52.

If you would like to read other people’s comments on our holidays then check out the Customer Comments page.

 

Itinerary:

Day 0 – Arrive in Bordeaux
Although billed as ‘Bordeaux to Geneva’ this is also a ‘side-to-side’ trip so from Bordeaux airport we transfer you to the coastal town of Arcachon, some 40 miles away, where we spend our first night.

Day 1 – Arcachon to Langon – 56 miles
A wonderfully easy start to the trip with hardly a hill all day.  Our route out of Arcachon is greatly helped by an excellent network of cycle paths and lanes before heading across the quiet plains and woodlands of the Landres de Gascogne natural park.  We rest for the night in the small but busy town of Langon.

Day 2 – Langon to Bergerac – 55 Miles
A mixed day.  For the first two thirds of the day we ride through vineyard country, gently rolling with a different outlook around every bend.  In the early afternoon we reach the Dordogne at Ste-Foy-le-Grande and turn to follow its banks as far Bergerac.

Day 3 – Bergerac to La Roque-Cageac – 55 Miles
Today is spent entirely on the banks of the Dordogne, crossing and re-crossing on bridges of all shapes and sizes.  Our route uses many very minor roads and is largely traffic free but with some reasonable climbs as the road occasionally rises up the sides of the valley.  There are many splendid old villages and more than a few chateaux along the way.  Our night is spent in La Roque-Cageac, a stunning medieval village rising from the edge of the river up the surrounding cliffs.

Day 4 – La Roque-Gageac to Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne – 53 miles
A wonderful day hugging the banks of the Dordogne. This is a particularly scenic stretch with beautiful villages, spectacular chateaux and some of the quietest roads one can imagine.  Our route even takes us past sites of archaeological interest such as Lacave with its grotto and ‘Prehistologia’.  A few small climbs in the afternoon indicate that we are approaching the Massif Central and we spend the night in Beaulieu-sur-Dorgogne.

Day 5 – Beaulieu to Mauriac – 49 miles
The Dordogne starts to cut more deeply into the approaching hills but for the morning we continue to enjoy reasonably flat riding, with yet another change of scenery, with tree-lined roads and steep valley walls to one side and the river to the other.  In the afternoon there are two reasonably stiff climbs past the hydro-electric dams of Chastang and L’Aigle.  Our destination is Mauriac, a bustling town in the foothills of the Massif Centrale.

Day 6 – Mauriac to Murat – 38 miles
So far every day has been different and today is no exception.  We now leave the Dordogne and must climb up and over Puy Mary (which occasionally features as a category 2 Tour de France climb). After a long gentle climb up the valley there are a few stiff kilometres to the top where fantastic views, a cosy restaurant  and the prospect of a scream down the other side are the rewards.  Although it is a hilly day, it is very short to compensate.   We spend the night (and the following day) in Murat in the southern Auvergne.

Day 7 – Rest Day in Murat

Day 8 – Murat to Langeac – 46 Miles
After a day to rest and explore it is back in the saddle for yet another new type of terrain.  We are amongst hills all day but the route is surprisingly flat with only one modest climb.  Initially we ride through wide upland plains with views resembling the Yorkshire moors to St Flour.  From here we begin working our way along steep sided valleys with beautiful views and an occasional chateau that appears out of nowhere.   We finish in Langeac, an unexceptional town but mainly only in comparison with our previous stops

Day 9 – Langeac to St. Agreve – 60 Miles
A very pretty start awaits us along the Allier valley before we must bear left, briefly climbing on our way to Le Puy En Valey, a large town with a magnificent medieval centre and spectacular statues and monuments perched on towering rock formations.  From here the terrain is rolling, with one long climb, taking us to about 3500 feet where we will remain for the next  day or so.  We spend the night in St Agreve in the northern Ardeche.

Day 10 – St. Agreve to Tournon-sur-Rhone- 49 Miles
A rolling day across the high plains but with more down than up.  We pass through no major towns but many small villages where a rest, a coffee or a meal can be taken. Shortly before the end of the day we shed some 2000 feet in one glorious plunge to the Rhone valley where  we start to head north.

The ViaRhona is an ambitious project to link Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean by an unbroken cycle path along the banks of the Rhone.  Although far from complete, many sections are now open and we use this path wherever possible as we head to Geneva, starting with a short section to our day’s destination – Tournon-Sur-Rhone.

Day 11 – Tournon to La Cote St. Andre – 45 miles
A wonderfully flat day.  To start the day we head north using several sections of the ViaRhona but eventually we turn east, away from the river, to avoid the sprawl of Lyon.  The rest of the day is spent crossing  the rich farmlands of the Rhone valley.  We spend the night in La Cote St. Andre.

Day 12 – La Cote St. Andre to Belley- 52 miles
Our day starts with a short stiff climb and the rest of the morning is rolling before we rejoin the  river and enjoy more quiet flat miles along the ViaRhona.  By now we can catch glimpses of the Alps, though mercifully from a safe distance.  

Day 13 – Belley to geneva- 55 miles
Our last day begins along the ViaRhona though, frustratingly, there are unfinished sections requiring a return to roads in places.  The going is generally very flat, though as we approach Switzerland we must squeeze through a gap in the hills at Bellegarde requiring some climbing.  We pass into Switzerland without so much as a sign and start the final stage to Lake Geneva.  As we approach the city we must use more major roads but the Swiss cycle paths are, naturally, superbly efficient.  We finish on the shores of the lake, a perfect backdrop for a small celebration before heading the final mile or so to our hotel.

Day 14 – Depart Geneva
Geneva airport is just a short transfer away from your hotel.

Price includes: 

Hotel accommodation
Breakfasts
Vehicle support
Services of leader/mechanic
Local transfers
Route information.

Price does not include:

Lunches or evening meals
Snacks or drinks required during the day
Travel to Bordeaux/from Geneva
Cost of any optional excursions, entrance fees etc.

Holiday details:

The Country: France is perhaps the ideal destination for a cycling holiday. The country has a very varied landscape; there are high snow capped peaks, rich green dairy pastures, vast acres of vineyards, limestone cliffs and deep rocky gorges, as well as huge areas of forest, and one of the largest wetlands in Europe. Although it is three times the size of the UK the population of the two countries is more or less the same, and France remains relatively rural, with a wealth of quiet minor roads linking peaceful villages and hamlets.

The Tour: This is a Fully Supported cycling holiday with a leader/mechanic and support vehicle to carry all the luggage and provide any necessary assistance. The holiday is designed to offer you the challenge of riding the breadth of the country, while at the same time taking you through the great variety of scenery that France has to offer. The riding distance is about 600 miles.

The first few days are mostly flat as we cross the coastal plain and then follow the meanderings of the Dordogne.  The central portion of the ride is hillier and there are several significant climbs, through gradients are generally reasonable. 

For the last few days we follow the Rhone and the riding is generally very flat.

The average daily distance is 52 miles, and there is one rest day in Murat.

Accommodation & Food: This holiday is hotel-based.  Accommodation will generally be graded 2* – 3* or similar, offering clean and comfortable rooms. Single people travelling alone will be booked into a twin bedded room with another person of the same sex – unless the additional single supplement has been paid. We book rooms with en-suite facilities where available, but this cannot always be guaranteed. Breakfast is provided at the accommodation and most hotels also have a restaurant attached for an evening meal, or there is at least one other restaurant nearby.  Note that French breakfast is continental and may comprise little more than coffee, bread jam and pastries..

Start: The holiday starts in Bordeaux and we will collect guests from the airport for transfer to the hotel (provided your flight arrives no later than 6pm).  Flights to Bordeaux are currently operated by several carriers.  Note: The cost of the outbound flight is not included in the price of the holiday.  You must book the flight yourself (or make your own alternative arrangements).

Finish: The holiday ends in Geneva, from where there is a good choice of carriers.  Transport will be provided to Geneva airport. Note: The cost of the return flight is not included in the price of the holiday. You must book the flight yourself (or make your own alternative arrangements).

Cycle Transport:  If required, and for an additional fee, we can also arrange for your cycle to be transported to the start at Bordeaux and/or to return your bike from Geneva to anywhere in the UK.

Documents: You require a passport to visit France. Nationals of some other countries also require a Visa. Non EU passport holders should check with the nearest French Embassy. You are also required to have travel insurance for the duration of the holiday and you will be required to provide evidence of a suitable travel insurance policy. 

Bikes: All types of cycle are suitable for the trip. The most important thing is that the bike functions properly and that you are comfortable riding it. However you should make sure that your bike has suitable gears as parts of the route are hilly, with some quite long climbs. Most people will require a cycle with a triple chainset. If you are riding a mountain bike then you should fit it with narrow ‘slick’ tyres.  You should also make sure that you are able to carry some spare food and clothing with you on the bike.

Get In Touch

If you have any questions about any of our trips, please call us on 0800 002 9559 or send us a message below.