Three years ago I met Scott while I was cycling in Las Terrazas in Cuba. We ended up riding together to Vinales and Pinar del Rio, in what turned out to be one of the best legs of my trip.

Being used to traveling alone on a bicycle, I have to admit that when you find a good travel partner, you end up having so much more fun  -  and taking much better pictures.


Therefore, I was very excited when Scott agreed to join me in France, for another cycling adventure in Dordogne.

Despite the cold weather of the days before our start, we ended up having ideal cycling conditions (no traffic, sunny weather and a pleasant, cool breeze). And the Dordogne is amazing!!



  



After renting two trekking bikes in Bordeaux, we took a train to Bergerac. Being used to ride on mountain bikes, the big wheels and high handlebar felt a bit odd (like a contemporary version of Monsieur Hulot), but touring bikes have their advantages (they are fast, have very comfortable handles and allow you to fully take in the surrounding landscape).


We spent ten days cycling at a comfortable pace around the Périgord Noir, sipping in the stunning variety of this region: farms, well-tended countryside, forests, castles, ancient monasteries, medieval villages and prehistoric caves.

We rode along two of the most picturesque rivers in France (the Dordogne and the Vezère), for once without hurrying through, but taking the time to enjoy the sleepiness of this beautiful region during low season.




Bergerac to Sarlat



Arrival in Bergerac and beginning of the adventure




Getting lost in the fields, trying to find an alternative route



... every detour has its reward: in this case, an abandoned castle



The Dordogne



The Dordogne at Couze




We continue along the “Chemins de Halage”







Camping in Cadouin



Cadouin is on the Camino de Compostela



Twelfth Century Cadouin Abbey



Discussing our route with an American lady who lives here



This orchard looks like the perfect place...



... for an extended lunch break! (we’ll have plenty of those during this trip)



Scott’s Japanese guitalele proved a good cycling companion



Approaching Beynac-et-Cazenac



Crossing the Dordogne at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle



Strolling around Beynac


   



The view of the Dordogne Valley from Beynac Castle is quite stunning...



... as is the view from Domme!


Overlooking the Dordogne at Domme, at sunset




Another great camping spot...



...makes it hard to leave the next morning!



This friendly cat distracted me from my morning yoga practice...




Passing La Roque Gageac







Another detour into the fields on the way to Sarlat



Hmmm...we might have to go back to the main road after all



Arrival in Sarlat, the capital of the Perigord Noir


   

The main square and the huge doors of the covered market





   

The wonders of modern technology: checking e-mails and the weather forecast in a picturesque courtyard in Sarlat





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Cycling the Périgord Noir (Dordogne)


17-27 May 2010