Cycling in Correze & The Auvergne

Discovering the Massif Central with Correze Cycling Holidays

Many cyclists have not thought to go cycling in Correze & the Auvergne. The Correze region thought little known, offers great scenic and challenging cycling terrain.  It is located in the foothills to the west of the Massif Central and is intersected by the gorges of the Upper Dordogne and Vezere rivers, a true paradise for your cycling holiday in France.

The Corrèze Plateau

Cycling Holiday in France

Our base at Chateauret is in the middle of the beautiful ‘Pays de Tulle’ plateau is at an altitude of 525m (1700 ft.).  The plateau extends towards the Dordogne valley to the south, and the Massif Central mountains to the east. There are lots of beautiful lakes and villages to explore with cafes for coffee and lunch breaks. These include La Roche Canillac, Aubazine, Gimel les Cascades and Beynat.

We often descend off the plateau to visit Tulle, the capital of Corrèze with it’s medieval centre.  The terrain is best described as undulating with some smaller climbs (1-3km), but there are some routes which are much flatter if you want an easier ride.  Look out for the famous Limousin Beef cattle that have made the area famous for it’s quality beef. Cycling Holiday in France

The Dordogne River and Lot

An easy 45 minute cycle from our base will take you down off the plateau to the upper Dordogne river and the beautiful towns of Argentat (a favourite coffee stop) and Beaulieu Sur Dordogne. There a is stunning ride along the river from Argentat cycling through Walnut groves to Beaulieu. Here you will find many good restaurants for lunch as well as the beautiful architecture.

There is more great riding in the valley with the possibility to add some climbs and descents for more enthusiastic cyclists. The climb home also be done in our mini bus. .

For riders who don’t want to be restricted just to cycling in Correze & the Auvergne,  day rides can be arranged (with a 45m drive in the mini bus) a little further afield to visit towns such as Carennac and UNESCO listed Rocamadour in the Lot.

The Upper Dordogne Gorges

The Dordogne and its many tributaries dissect the granite plateau to the east of the base at Espagnac. These natural wonders provide some spectacular cycling in and out of the forested gorges. Particularly special is the descent down to the Pont du Chambon which is an old cast iron suspension bridge. The routes that pass over the huge hydro electric dams known as  the ‘Barrage du Chastang’ and the ‘Barrage de L’Aigle’, are truly spectacular.

Watch out for Buzzards, Red Kites and Booted Eagles that soar over the steep and wooded valleys. There are many beautiful climbs and descents anywhere between 3 and 8km and averaging 5 to 8% which will provide an exhilarating days cycling in Correze. Cycling Holiday in France

The Monedieres Montains and Millevaches National Park

This area to the north of us feels very different in character from the immediate area around our base, even though you are still cycling in Correze. It is characterised by lakes and rivers  between forested rolling mountains, that climb to an altitude of just below 1000 m (3,300 ft) at the top of Mt Bessou. Millevaches means the plateau of a thousand streams and has nothing to do with cows!

This is a cyclist’s paradise with smooth and very quiet roads passing through sleepy hamlets. Although it can feel rather wild and isolated there are still many charming villages where it’s possible to take a coffee or some lunch. A trip up to the viewing point at the Suc au May is a very popular ride. There you will find spectacular views over to the Auvergne mountains and the surrounding departments.Cycling Holiday in France

The Mountains of The Massif Central

The Cantal and Auvergne mountains provide some of the most challenging cycling in our region. These green volcanic mountains are spectacularly different from anything in the Alps or Pyrenees. The highest Col is the Pas de Peyrol at 1589m ( 5,213ft) which has been a Tour de France favourite for many years along with the climbs up to the ski resorts of Super besse and Le Lioran.

There are many testing climbs in the mountains that will satisfy most cyclists. There are also some routes we have researched that can be enjoyed by relative beginners. Our most popular route takes in the famous classic Tour climb of  the Puy Mary. It ends up at the beautiful medieval town of Salers which is classified as a ‘plus beau village de France’ (most beautiful villages in France). There are two separate mountain ranges which are accessible by a 1 to 1¼ hrs drive from our base.