Overview of our Cro Magnon Cycling Holiday in France
From the culinary capital of Lyon to the wine mecca of Bordeaux this tour meshes remarkable pre-historic sites with a gastronomic odyssey across southern France. This is our only single country Epic but is also defined by a remarkable diversity of cuisine, landscapes, and history along the route.
Our Cro Magnon bike trip through France takes us on a journey into prehistory as we join the dots between the cave art of Cro Magnon. Cro-Magnon refers to the population of early Homo sapiens dating from the Upper Paleolithic Period (c. 40,000 to c. 10,000 years ago) in Europe and provides the primary focus for this tour. We start at the Chauvet cave in the Ardeche region; its painting has been carbon-dated to 32,000 years ago. From here we head south along the Rhone River and through Provence and the Languedoc as we head to the ‘capital’ of prehistory – Les Eyzies-de-Tayac in the Dordogne. It was here that Édouard Lartet discovered the five archaeological layers in a shallow cave that demonstrated the evolutionary path of mankind. Rouffignac with it’s mammoth, Font de Gaume and Cap Blanc are just three of the amazing cave sites that we’ll visit here. If you would prefer a cycling tour with a broader focus, you may prefer to browse our range of European Cycling Tours or perhaps head further afield to our Cycling Tours in the US.
We then cycle westwards to perhaps the best-known cave site at Lascaux (images from which are shown below). Discovered by four teenagers in 1940, this site is considered by many to be the most impressive example of pre-historic cave art. The original cave is now closed to the public due to the damaging impact of carbon dioxide in human breath but the replica that is situated on the same site is a wonderful representation in its own right.
Further highlights of this cycling holiday in France include a meeting with Monsieur Begouen who owns the Grotte des 3 Frères and a visit to the Gargas cave that is otherwise known as the ‘Hands Cave’. Our trip specialist – Vincent Reboul – has spent years planning this tour and has a network of contacts at all of these cave sites that adds an extra immersive dimension to the tour experience.
Cro Magnon Bike Tour Highlights
• Savour the culinary credentials of the exciting city of Lyon
• Cycle down the majestic Rhone Valley
• View the amazing figurative images of the Chauvet cave
• Canoe through the spectacular Gorges de l’Ardèche
• Cross the wild and enchanting Cevennes region
• Discover the gigantic spotted horses of the Pech Merle cave
• Explore Saint-Cirq-Lapopie – one of France’s ‘most beautiful villages’.
• Savour the amazing Wednesday market in Sarlat
• Visit the extraordinary replica of the Lascaux cave
• Stay in the enchanting town of Bergerac
• Sample the delights of the wonderful Monbazillac wine
• View the remarkable Gargas cave which is known as the ‘hands cave’
• Cycle the road less travelled through the Dordogne region
• Celebrate the end of our tour in St Emilion and Bordeaux
Cro Magnon Bike Tour Dates 2023
|Stage||Start Date||End Date||Days||Cost (Euros)|
|The Epic: Lyon to Bordeaux||13th May||29th May||17 Days / 16 Nights||€8,410|
All tours and individual stages are available as a custom tour for your group – contact us for details.
- Accommodation in our carefully selected hotels
- Meals – hotel breakfasts, snacks en route and pre/post-ride nutrition, lunches including the famed Ride and Seek picnics, multi course group dinners with a focus on the local cuisine.*NB we include occasional independent lunches & dinners to break up the week
- Ride and Seek jersey
- Garmin 1030 use with all routes preloaded
- Ride and Seek water bottle
- Kit laundry service once a week
- Passionate, experienced and knowledgeable guides always on hand to help
- Alcoholic beverages
- Bike hire
- Pre & post tour accommodation
- Single supplement – Our prices are based on twin/double occupancy. If you wish to have your own room then a supplement of €1040 is applicable.
- To reserve a place on a stage of this tour we ask for a deposit of €1000 (or your local currency equivalent). We also accept payment in GB£ and AU$. The final invoice will include any applicable single supplements and bike hire costs.
Cro Magnon Bike Tour Accommodation
We carefully select the places where we stay based on their personality and the hospitality of our hosts. We look to strike a balance between centrally located abodes in the towns we visit and the tranquillity that nature offers when we are in the French countryside. See below for some of the accommodation options on our Cro Magnon tour.
Hôtel Le Belvédère, Vallon Pont d’Arc
A haven of peace of tranquillity in the heart of the spectacular Gorges de l’Ardèche this abode is a great spot to explore the area and discover the amazing Chauvet cave site. The culinary skills of the hotel chef are a bit special too.
Hôtel-Spa le Saint-Cirq
Facing the village of Saint Cirq Lapopie which is on the list of France’s ‘most beautiful villages’ this hotel is a perfect base for a 2-night stay. Immersed in nature but within easy walking distance of the village, the wonderful spa facilities are the icing on the cake.
Hotel Montaigne, Sarlat
Perfectly situated to explore the medieval heart of the enchanting town of Sarlat this recently renovated hotel is a great spot for our stay in the heart of the Dordogne. With our tour set up so we can visit the iconic Wednesday market, we are delighted to have this hotel on the itinerary.
Hôtel Le Cro-Magnon, Les Eyzies
Besides having the perfect name for the tour this hotel, run by our friends Jan and Ruud, has long been the best option for exploring the pre-historic highlights to be found around Les Eyzies. The hotel restaurant is also a destination in its own right too.
Aux Ducs de Sienne, Saint Emilion
This boutique hotel is inspired by Tuscan charm and is situated in the heart of the quaint village of Montagne. Its gastronomic restaurant and proximity to Saint Emilion make this the perfect destination to begin the celebrations for the end of our tour.
Cro Magnon Bike Tour History
Cro-Magnon is the name of a place in France where several prehistoric skeletons were found in 1868. The place in question was Les Eyzies de Tayac where we spend two nights on our tour and is commonly referred to as the capital of pre-history.
The Cro-Magnon type of prehistoric human appears to have been heavily built and fairly tall compared with the Neanderthals. The forehead was straight, with only slight ridges over the eyes, the skull long and narrow, the face short and wide and the brain large. It appears that early Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals were closely related. Cro-Magnons seem to have evolved in Africa about 120 000 years ago and spread to western Asia by 90 000 – 100 000 years ago.
They lived at the same time as the Neanderthals. European Cro-Magnon people became widespread during the Upper Palaeolithic, about 30 000 – 35 000 years ago. Compared to the Neanderthals they had a more advanced culture. They made different kinds of tools such as blade tools, scrapers (including some made for smoothing and scraping leather), and fine bone tools. They lived in caves and under rock overhangs, although they may have built stone huts.
Cro-Magnon people buried their dead like the Neanderthals, and probably had a religion: their art may have had magical or religious meaning. Cro-Magnons were the first people to carve, and sculpted engravings and statuettes of humans and animals have been found. In France and Spain, they painted different kinds of animals on the walls of their caves. They also decorated tools and weapons showing that they liked art for decoration as well as for religious reasons.
It is not known for certain when Cro-Magnons became extinct, but they probably were gradually absorbed into modern humans. Individuals with some Cro-Magnon characteristics have been found in the Mesolithic Period (8000 to 5000 BC) and the Neolithic Period (5000 to 2000 BC). Interestingly It is said that when the Canary Islands were found by the Spaniards early in the 15th century, they found people who are thought to have been of Cro-Magnon origin.
Tour at a Glance
The Epic – Lyon to Bordeaux Dates: 13th – 29th May 2023
Number of days: 17 days
Number of stages: 1
The Epic – Lyon to Bordeaux
Dates: 13th – 29th May 2023