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The Way of St James - From Le Puy-en-Velay to Cahors
The Way of St James - From Le Puy-en-Velay to Cahors
hybrid :
e-bike :
Duration :
9 days
Comfort :
period:
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Code:
FRSB520
Nature Gastronomy Culture
From € 1.060
The Way of St James - From Le Puy-en-Velay to Cahors
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First section of the Via Podiensis

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Bike Tour: The Way of St James - From Le Puy-en-Velay to Cahors - 9 days

Cycle seven stages of the Way of St James in France, from the Haute Loire to Lot Valley. Delve into the past on the pilgrimage route to Santiago, a one-thousand-year-old journey historically done on foot or by donkey and -in recent times- by bike. Span diverse scenery, check sites off the ‘list of lovely villages’, and test your legs on this epic cycling route with a spiritual theme. The French Way, or Via Podensis, takes pilgrims from Le Puy en Velay to Cahors, a living museum of Romanesque art. Assorted steep climbs followed by quick descents make this an ideal trip for fit cyclists keen to experience an iconic time-tested route. Keep your energy up while tasting each village’s culinary specialities and relax at welcoming guesthouses and small hotels along The Way. 

Check out our video to discover the Way of St James: 

Route
Day 1: Arrival in Le Puy-en-Velay
Day 2: Le-Puy-en-Velay - Monistrol-d'Allier - Saugues
Day 3: Saugues - Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole - Aumont-Aubrac
Day 4: Aumont-Aubrac - Nasbinals - Estaing
Day 5: Estaing - Espeyrac - Conques
Day 6: Conques - Saint-Parthem - Figeac
Day 7: Figeac - Vallée du Célé - Bouziès
Day 8: Bouziès - Saint-Cirq-Lapopie - Cahors
Day 9: Departure from Cahors

Day 1:    Arrival in Le Puy-en-Velay

Arrival in Le Puy-en-Velay, capital of Haute-Loire, in the southeastern sector of the Massif Central. Take in the impressive volcanic scenery, where rocky peaks rise up from the valley floor. Starting point of the Via Podiensis and a major pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages, Le Puy boasts UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sights such as the Hôtel-Dieu and Romanesque Cathedral of Notre Dame. Get ready to ride and purchase a pilgrim’s passport to be stamped at stops on your journey.

Day 2:    Le-Puy-en-Velay - Monistrol-d'Allier - Saugues
46 km

Start cycling directly from the cathedral as you follow the pilgrimage route up out of Le Puy. Traverse the Monts du Velay among fields of green lentils, then glide down into the Haut-Allier Gorge. A scenic mosaic of landscapes unfolds as you ride across La Margeride Plateau. Conquer one last ascent just before Saugues, home to the mysterious man-eating Beast of Gévaudan and a yearly Wild Mushroom Fair. 

Challenge: 46km, 1050m ascent, 625m descent

Day 3:    Saugues - Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole - Aumont-Aubrac
44 km

Tremble at the terrible legend of the 18th-century Bête du Gévaudan and pause to take pictures of the English Tower, then roll off toward Truyère Valley. Crowning the highest point at St Roch Chapel, elevation 1300m, you’ll pedal past the hamlets of Le Rouget, St Alban-sur-Limagnole and Les Estrets. Your day of cycling ends in the very heart of Lozère, for centuries a key stop on the pilgrimage route.

Challenge: 44km, 800m ascent, 730m descent

Day 4:    Aumont-Aubrac - Nasbinals - Estaing
78 km

Take off and traverse pine groves to reach Aubrac Plateau, then hit higher terrain with panoramas as far as the eye can see. Just after the nomadic shepherds’ site of Nasbinals, you reach Col d'Aubrac, elevation 1340m, the highest point on the Way of St James! The lovely village of Aubrac signals the start of a long steep descent, nearly 30km leading to Saint Côme d’Olt, one of ‘Les plus belles villages de France’. Coast along on a relaxing flat stretch through Lot Valley and end your day in picturesque Estaing.

Challenge: 78km, 655m ascent, 1375m descent

Day 5:    Estaing - Espeyrac - Conques
36 km

Steel yourself for a short but tough stage, starting with the steep ascent up to Campuac. Once you catch your breath, continue riding to reach Espeyrac’s medieval castle in ruins. Stop in Sénergues to explore the Tour Carrée and yet another castle. Then revel in a spectacular descent on your way to Conques, a Romanesque gem and must-see on the Via Podiensis!

Challenge: 36km, 680m ascent, 440m descent

Day 6:    Conques - Saint-Parthem - Figeac
43 km

Set off on the Dourdou de Conques, pedalling pleasantly toward the River Lot. Sail along to Livinhac-le-Haut, then press uphill into the Célé Valley. The last bit is a steep ascent up to Figeac, a pretty pilgrim town packed with art and history. Set on the banks of the Célé, this lovely location saw the birth of Champollion, ‘Father of Egyptology’ and the first to decipher hieroglyphics.

Challenge: 43km, 430m ascent, 740m descent

Day 7:    Figeac - Vallée du Célé - Bouziès
54 km

Slide into secret Célé Valley and wind alongside the river, stopping at quintessential Quercy villages. Espagnac boasts ancient troglodyte dwellings and the lovely 13th-century church of Saint Sulpice, and Marcilhac will move you with its Benedictine Abbey in ruins. Next, Sauliac leads to Cabrerets and the prehistoric cave of Peche Merle. In Conduché you meet up with the River Lot and cruise across the bridge into Bouziès.

Challenge: 54km, 80m ascent, 150m descent

Day 8:    Bouziès - Saint-Cirq-Lapopie - Cahors
35 km

Your last day ... and what a ride we have in store! Leaving the cycling variant behind, you join hikers on the main pilgrimage route. Then you take off on a breath-taking stretch, cut right into the rock above the River Lot. Pause to rest in gorgeous Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, perched on a rocky outcropping, and check off another of France’s 'most beautiful villages'. Surge onward along a steep ascent with panoramic views, take a break in Aujols then pedal toward Flaujac-Poujols. A stunning 5-km descent leads to the medieval town of Cahors, your final destination.

Challenge: 35km, 540m ascent, 550m descent

Day 9:    Departure from Cahors

Your cycling trip comes to an end this morning after breakfast. An extra night(s) may be booked to extend your stay in Cahors, with its Valentré Bridge.

Accommodation

Accommodation has been carefully selected for its location, atmosphere and/or unique services.

We have chosen comfortable 2*/3* hotels or B&Bs, where all rooms are en-suite and breakfast is included every morning.

 

Dyke Hôtel** (Le Puy-en-Velay)
Dyke Hôtel** (Le Puy-en-Velay)
B&B La Flore (Saugues)
Hôtel Prunières (Aumont-Aubrac)
Auberge Saint Fleuret** (Estaing)
B&B Au Castellou (Conques)
Hôtel Le Quatorze*** (Figeac)
Hôtel Les Falaises*** (Bouziès)
Brit Hotel Le France*** (Cahors)
Bike rental

If you don’t bring your own, you can rent a bicycle from us. Our touring bikes are at least 21-speed gear. You can find all the information regarding our rental bikes below.

You will find your rental bikes waiting for you at your first hotel. The hotel reception staff will give you the keys for your bikes and direct you to the bicycle shed. All bikes are provided with chain locks. 
The frame and saddle height are set to your height, although you might want to adjust your saddle to be in the most comfortable position. We also recommend doing a first small test drive of couple of hundred meters to be comfortable with gears, brakes etc. If you have an issue with your bike, you can contact the service provider (name of bike rental in your reservation) directly. Or you can always call us on our emergency phone number.  

Instruction video hybrid bike and e-bike

Please note: Depending on the trip, different models apply

 

Our hybrid bikes have at least 21-gears with hand brakes. 

The hybrid bikes are very good quality. Depending the trip, different model apply: Scott, Giant, Trek, Koga, ...

 

Whenever there is a big difference in level of ability, experience the many benefits of an electric bike on your cycling holiday. An e-bike will help you keep up with your fellow cyclists and give you a gentle boost up hills. An e-bike makes a bike trip more achievable. The e-bikes have a small electric motor and battery, which can be charged at the hotels. You still have to pedal: it just makes pedaling much easier. Some experience with e-bikes is recommended, as the bikes accelerate faster and are heavier than regular bikes because of the electric motor.

The E-bikes are very good quality. Depending on the trip, different models apply: Scott, Giant, Trek, Koga, ...

 

For some trips, we can give you the possibility to rent a Racing bike, more details on request.

For some trips, we can give you the possibility to rent a Tandem bike, suitable for two adults only. More details on request.

For children who are at least 125 cm, we can also arrange bikes (these are 24”or 26” for children that are bigger than 140 cm). The child bikes come with at least 7-gears and hand brakes. The maximum body height for a child’s bike is 155 cm. 

Please note: for some tours, different models apply.

A tag-along bike is a good option for children between approx. 100 cm and 125 cm, as they can pedal themselves and at their own pace but don’t have to worry about other traffic.

The tag-along bikes cannot be rented for all our tours

Please note: depending the trip, different models apply.

Child trailers can be rented for a maximum of two children who are up to 100 cm (max. 35 KG in total).

Please note: for some tours, different models apply.

 

 

Bell

All our rental bikes come with a bell.


Brakes

All our adult bikes come with hand brakes. 


Childseat

For children older than 30 months (max. 22 kg) it is possible to rent a rear child seat. This is also possible with e-bikes.


GPS

For some tours, it is possible to rent a GPS device, more details on request.


Helmet

Helmets are not mandatory in France (if the cyclist is over 12 years old) but strongly recommended. The helmet is mandatory for children under 12 years. If you rent a bike with us, helmets are included. Please advise us, if you bring along your own.


Lights

All our rental bikes come with lights.


Locks

All our rental bikes come with a lock.


Pannier

All our rental bikes come with at least a rear pannier and a front card holder to put the roadbook/maps.


Pedals

The rental bikes come with regular pedals, so no click-in/SPD pedals. On request we are able to supply these pedals on certain trips. 
If you wish to bring your own click-in/SPD pedals, please let us know prior to booking too.


Quickrelease

All our bikes come with a quick release system, which makes it very easy to adjust the height of the saddle and the handle bars. 


Repairkit

There is one small puncture kit included, which can be found in the pannier. If a rental bike has another problem, we always advise you to go to a bike repair shop.


Saddle

Saddles can be adjusted in height.
Our saddles don’t come with a gel cover. If you usually cycle with this, we recommend you bring them with you.


Water bottles

French Bike Tours does not provide water bottles. We can also not guarantee that there are bottle holders on the bikes. You will always receive at least 1x pannier, so you can always store your water bottle in your pannier.


Article 1 Bike Rental Price

The bike rental price is determined by the rates mentioned on the French Bike Tours website at the time of the booking; or as subsequently agreed.

Article 2 Payment

a. The rental price and any other due sums regarding the rental agreement must be paid before the bike is handed over to you.

b. If, for whatever reason, you cannot make use of the bike(s) you have rented, French Bike Tours will not be held responsible for any resulting expenses or damage.

c. In the case of the article 2b, the client remains obliged to pay the full rental price and any other amounts mentioned in the invoice, in accordance with our General Terms and Conditions of Booking, unless the client can prove that his not being able to use the bike was the consequence of a defect that was already present at the beginning of the rental period.

Article 3 Rental Period

a. The rental period runs from the morning of the first cycling day (day 2) to the end of the holiday (last cycling day), as stated in the booking confirmation.

b. Extension of the rental period is possible only after approval by us and according to the (extension) rates as mentioned in article 1.

c. No refunds are possible after the rental period begins. If you return the bike(s) to us before the end of your holiday, the rental agreement will automatically be terminated and you will not get any of your money back.

d. At the end of the last cycling day of your holiday, the bike(s) must be returned to the hotel from where it was/they were issued, no later than the time stated in the booking confirmation.
If you book a one way tour tour you can leave the bike at the last hotel of the trip. 

e. If the bike(s) is /are not returned by the return time stated in the booking confirmation, we will continue to charge you rent until such time as the bike(s) is/are returned to us or is/are received by us. In the event of late return, the rates as mentioned in article 1 will continue to apply, plus a fine of €25 per day. We also reserve the right to demand payment for any costs and/or damages suffered by us due to late return of our rental bike(s).

f. Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, in the event of late return of our rental bikes, we reserve the right to dissolve the rental agreement without judicial intervention and immediately claim back our bicycles where ever they may be and from whomever has them. French Bike Tours also holds this right in the event that the client does not comply with any of the other conditions stated in this rental agreement.

Article 4 Improper Use

a. The bicycle(s) may only be used for its/their intended purpose and only by the cyclists listed in the rental agreement.

b. The bike(s) must be returned to us in the same (clean!) state in which you received it/them.

c. You must take excellent care of the bicycle(s), as if it/they were your own. You must take every precaution against damage, loss or theft.

d. The bicycle may not be used on the beach; or on sandy paths in the dunes unless a paved path is unavailable.

Article 5 Damage, Loss and Theft

The renter will be held responsible for damages to or loss of the bicycle(s) or parts of it, as well as bicycle keys and chains and locks, for such an amount as is determined by us according to standard market prices. You must understand that you are not insured for damage to the bicycle(s) or for any damages to third parties.

Article 6 Costs During the Rental Period

Any charges and taxes regarding the rental bicycle(s), such as fines and ferry tickets, are to be paid by you. You will also be required to pay all costs ensuing from the use of the bicycle(s) such as parking fees, maintenance and repairs. 

Practical info

8 Nights included

2/3* hotels and B&B's

Tourist tax included

Breakfasts and 5 Dinners included (not included in Le Puy, Figeac and Cahors)

Maps and tourist information on all the places of interest

24/7 Bilingual Emergency hotline

Luggage transport to your next accommodations. Luggage accepted per person: 1 suitcase or travel bag (13 kg maximum)

For time tables and further information check the website of SNCF or rome2rio for all French National trains (SNCF).

We strongly advise you to download the sncf mobile app prior to departure.

If you want to travel on a train with your bike, you can find more information via this link.

Parking information on request

GPS tracks are available on request

Arrival info

The closest airport is Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport.

Another option is to arrive at the Paris airports of Charles de Gaulle in the North or Orly in the South. Both are served by a number of scheduled and low cost airlines, and well-connected to Paris by metro or bus. From Paris you can take a train to Le Puy-en-Velay (via Saint-Etienne), see below.

You can get to Le Puy-en-Velay by train. At the end of your trip, you can take a train from Cahors. 

For timetables and further information check the website of SNCF or rome2rio for all French National trains (SNCF).

From Paris to Le Puy-en-Velay (approx. 6hrs - 540 km/336 mi). Access to driving itineraries on ViaMichelin.

You can also take the regular "Compostela" shuttle bus at the end of your trip, to reach a train station or travel back to the starting point (more information on request).

Reviews

23-08-2023

We rode our bikes through beautiful varied landscapes with lots of altimeters; We visited beautiful medieval villages and were able to meet and talk with other pilgrims on foot.

Marc R.

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