The Castles of the Dordogne Valley by bike

Beynac et Cazenac
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The Castles of the Do ...

Are you coming on holiday to Périgord with your bike and would you like to take a beautiful day trip to see the prettiest villages and castles of the Dordogne Valley ? Follow us, we offer you a very nice and easy route ... For experienced cyclists, we will inform you of detours that climb a little more, for novices, think about renting electric bikes. Whatever your two wheels , the road is beautiful and the stages between the castles, the breaks at the restaurants , the stops at breathtaking viewpoints , will be your leitmotif ...

The cycling route in the Dordogne valley

Here is the itinerary, click to view it on google map, do not hesitate to modify it to adjust it according to your physical condition! The basic route translates into around forty kilometers , with 450m of elevation gain . Without breaks, it can be done in 2h30 , but I advise you to do it in one day of cycling , taking the time to admire, to stroll, to make turns and detours!

To plan our road bike (or mountain bike) rides we use the free Kamoot application , I recommend it because it allows you to prepare beautiful outings by selecting points of interest, added collaboratively by users. You can control your height difference and then send your route to a smartphone, to be used as a GPS (with voice guidance, very practical!).

At the start: Park in the car park next to the Town Hall of Saint-Vincent de Cosse , it is free and made for people who go on hikes.

>> We suggest a shorter walk from this place, to explore the Port d'Envaux , 5kms to do with the family on small roads without too much traffic.

Steps :

  • Beynac
  • La Roque Gageac
  • Vitrac (and possibly as far as Monfort )
  • Domme
  • Saint-Cybranet and possibly Daglan
  • Castelnaud-la Chapelle (and possibly return via the Château des Milandes)

Remember to bring a gourd to refuel you with water. Equip yourself with a helmet , it is essential, especially in season because the roads of the Dordogne Valley are very busy. Install reflectors and flashing lights in front of and behind your bike, so that all road users can see it. Remember to bring locks if you want to stop and ride without risk for your bikes.

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HelmetVelo Dordogne Valley

This is not a route for children , it is a ride for adults who know how to travel on the road, because some sections of the departmental roads are frequented by trucks, which can drive at full speed. If you want to enjoy a nice bike ride with the children in the region, go for a walk on the Voie Verte du Céou, from Castelnaud. Click to read my article on this subject.


Beynac by bike

Leaving from Saint-Vincent de Cosse , you quickly arrive in Beynac . On the road, just after the start is the Château de Monrecour , a 15th century castle, restored in a neo-renaissance style at the beginning of the 20th century. This former agricultural estate is now a *** hotel with a restaurant, in the heart of a 12 hectare park. Do not hesitate to go there, they offer a lunch formula for less than 20 €, perfect for spending a delicious moment in a privileged setting.

The Castle of MonrecourThe Castle of Monrecour
The Castle of Monrecour

Beynac-et-Cezenac is classified among The Most Beautiful Villages of France . It is a medieval hilltop village , with a listed 12th century castle, restored and accessible to visitors . It is installed at the top of an impressive rocky promontory . From the terraces of the castle , you benefit from an exceptional view over the entire Dordogne valley . From the parking lot at the bottom of the village, climb by bike along the route taken by the tourist buses. You access, by a country detour, to the highest point of the village. Park your bikes and stroll through the narrow streets paved with stones , between charming blond stone houses . Observe the roofs , some of them are in Périgord lauze , a traditional material that is difficult to use but extremely durable. Have a coffee on a terrace in the sun, in the upper part of the village or going down to the edge of the Dordogne. You can also take Gabarre rides in Beynac , from the village port. If you have a little room in your bag, go into the small shops to appreciate the craftsmanship of the traders and taste local products , sweet treats… The Château de Beynac is open for visits with audio guide, at your pace. It is an impressive medieval fortress ! The interior is understated and you might recognize some of the rooms, as the castle was the host of several famous film shoots . You will be amazed by the kitchen, which was sized to feast on dozens of guests ...

Before getting back on the bikes, go and see the view of the Calvary, which is after the cemetery, it is one of the most beautiful views in the department ...


The village of Beynac below
The village of Beynac, you have to go up there to enjoy the best!
Beynac bicycleChateau ed Beynac
The Château de Beynac deserves ...
BeynacBeynac view
The view from the castle terrace (before entering)
Calvary view beynac
The view from Beynac's Calvary, it would be a shame to miss it, wouldn't it? (in summer on the photo!)

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From Beynac to La Roque Gageac by bike

We continue our route, go down from Beynac to the port (by another path, look at the map) and continue towards La Roque Gageac . The road is busy , but it is beautiful. The coating is pleasant, you just have to keep your right. You will go along the valley and turn right towards Castelnaud at the first big crossroads.
Look up (not too much though…) to see the sketches of the Jardin de Marqueyssac on your left. I recommend you visit these gardens on another day , as they are large and require several hours of available time to stroll. Today we're driving, right? Make a detour for a few minutes, to admire the view from the terrace at the entrance to Marqueyssac (without entering), because on the departmental road, there is no secure point allowing you to stop. a photo.

On your right, you see the Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle dominating the landscape, on its rock overlooking the Dordogne, we will come back to it later. Continue towards La Roque Gageac, you will catch up with the river on your right.

You enter one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France , it is also one of the most popular and appreciated by tourists in the Dordogne ! La Roque Gageac is a unique place , which at first glance seems small, but that's because it is nestled on the side of a limestone cliff. Park the bikes and explore the steep alleys on foot. Do you have a feeling of exoticism? The exposure of the village and its architecture give it a microclimate , conducive to the development of a whole range of exuberant plants : bamboos, palm trees, grasses with a graceful harbor… Visit the Bambouseraie , it's free ! Stop for coffee or lunch in this unusual environment. Stroll through the alleys, enter the shops, admire the church, the manor of Tarde and continue to Fort de la Roque Gageac , recently opened to visitors. It rises to 40m high, a breathtaking view awaits you (entrance fee). Come back to the port, treat yourself to an artisan ice cream and book for a fantastic ride in Gabarre . It lasts 45 minutes, note somewhere to come back for a delicious descent of the Dordogne by canoe / kayak (remember, today we are rolling!).

Roque Gageac Cycling
We leave Beynac and we arrive at La Roque Gageac
port roque gageac
The port of roque Gageac
Fort view
The exuberance of the vegetation and the view from the Fort


From La Roque Gageac to Vitrac

Most of this section takes place on a pretty little country road , surrounded by fields, with a beautiful view over the valley. It's pleasant, bucolic, it does not climb too much! Our goal is to reach the Port of Vitrac , we will take a break at the edge of the Dordogne and then continue towards Domme.

Alternative route : When you arrive in Vitrac, you can turn right to cross the bridge or continue for 5 km to make a detour to Montfort . It is a pretty hamlet , picturesque and very quiet . There is a grassed esplanade from which to take a nice stroll along the Dordogne , by the fishermen's path . Continue in the direction of Carsac, to reach a superb viewpoint on the cingle de Montfort , the Dordogne makes a loop (a meander) at this point, with the Château de Montfort in the background, it's charming! There is no bridge, to join our route, retrace your steps by taking the road that follows the valley (follow the bicycle route signs), it is pleasant along the walnut trees, with a view of the cliffs of limestone on the other side of the Dordogne. This loop adds 10km and 80m of elevation gain to the complete ride.


Small country roads
MonfortMonfort
Montfort, a beautiful walk and the discovery of its castle
Vitrac
Vitrac beach


From Vitrac to Domme, it climbs, courage!

Here we are at the first difficulty of this course. We will reach the belvedere of the Dordogne : Domme . Also listed among the Most Beautiful Villages of France, Domme is a steep medieval royal bastide . When you get to the top, you will be proud of yourself, because you will see Le Château de Beynac in the distance, this is where you come from, bravo! Come on, take heart, when you leave Vitrac you take a small road in the middle of the fields , which then climbs slowly, but surely, towards Domme. “ All to the left ”, as cyclists say, take your time and everything will be fine. Once in Domme, continue by bike to the top of the village, passing through the sumptuous Porte des Tours . It is a former Templar prison , ask for a guided tour to see the graffiti carved by the soldier monks on the walls… In Domme, I recommend that you take a lunch break , there are many delicious restaurants . You can also simply buy local products in a shop and compose a picnic to enjoy on the esplanade after the church. The majestic panorama will leave you speechless ... Eat light, because then we have to leave! If you have a little time, you can visit the caves of Domme , under the tourist office and don't forget to bring back a bottle of the famous Vin de Domme .

On the way to Domme, from Vitrac, it seems far away but it will be fine

The Porte de la Tour, which signals the arrival and ascent of the village by bike (not in summer, there is too much uphill!)
Domme
The superb view from the esplanade


From Domme to Castelnaud-La-Chapelle

Starting from Domme, our goal is to go down to the Valley , if possible by another route. We then set off towards Saint-Cybranet , to connect with the Voie Verte du Céou . First, you have to go down to Cénac , then, to reach Saint-Cybranet, you have to cross a hill. Two options:

  • Either you climb the hill and then descend to the greenway. Allow 30 minutes, 7km and 110m of elevation gain. It is not a big hill, it goes up gradually, like that of Domme.
  • Either you go around the hill , connecting with the Céou greenway higher up, in Daglan . Allow 1 hour, 17km and 50m of elevation gain. If you have time, it's nice because Daglan is a very pretty 14th century medieval village, which can be easily visited on foot. Stop off at the edge of the Céou and its blue waters, in summer you can swim, it's really idyllic.

Anyway, here you are on the Voie Verte du Céou. It crosses drowned trees, sometimes you walk along the river, the panorama is clear, it's really pleasant. The village of Saint-Cybranet is fun to cross, but beware of the cars ! Local residents use this portion.

When you arrive at the Maisoneuve campsite, you start to see the castle of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle in the distance! Continue to the large car park which is the start of the cycle path.


Daglan, a pleasant stopover on the banks of the Céou
Céou
The blue waters of the Céou in Saint-Cybranet and the arrival towards Castelnaud

Castelnaud-la-Chapelle and return to Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse

Here we are at the last stage of our day of cycling in the Dordogne Valley . Castelnaud-la-Chapelle is a real journey through time. Also classified, you guessed it, among The Most Beautiful Villages of France. The set dates from the 12th century and the highlight of the show is the Castle, perched at an altitude of 300m. Theater of many wars, including the Albigensian crusade, the Hundred Years War, it is not surprising that the Museum of the War in the Middle Ages is erected there. The visit is free, with an information booklet. You wander from room to room and in summer, many activities take place there, with costumed guides and the operation of war machines and lifting. You will have to come back because you will surely not have time to visit it at the end of your cycling day. Do not forget to come back to see the ecomuseum of La Noix , a stone's throw away, which promises you a cultural and tasty dive into the sacred little fruit of the Dordogne: the walnut !

To get back to your vehicle, you can cross the bridge and retrieve the road you took on the outward journey, passing through Roque Gageac, Beynac and finally Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse. Allow 20 minutes of pedaling for about 6km.

Alternative route : If you are not tired, you can return by road to the Château des Milandes . You then go along the Dordogne, with beautiful viewpoints, then you connect with Le Port d'Envaux on the other side of Sait-Vincent de Cosse, but as there is no bridge, you have to continue to at Allas and cross at this point, then return by a small road along the railway, to Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse! Allow 16km and an hour of driving (with 100m of fairly steep vertical drop, you have to be sure you have enough remaining strength!)

EcomuseumCastelnaud
The Noix ecomuseum and Castelnaud castle in the distance

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Here we are at the end of a beautiful sporting day in the Dordogne Valley . You have crossed a beautiful part of the most beautiful villages that make up this sector, in a few turns of the pedals!

If you opted for the basic route, you have driven 42 kilometers. If you have taken the turns and detours that I have suggested, you have completed almost 80km. Anyway, you have well deserved a beautiful evening of rest with the good products of Périgord! Treat yourself and don't forget the camera before leaving, to immortalize this beautiful journey!


Did you like our report? Find more on the BLOG. We are also on Instagram @guideduperigord and you can follow us on the Facebook page of the Guide du Périgord .


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