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Cycling tour the Dolce Via

Cycling along the converted former railway of historical Vivarais
  • Duration 8 days
  • Activity Biking
  • Holiday among adults
  • Theme rivers and canals, countryside
795€

Information : Cycling tour the Dolce Via

  • Comfort
  • Difficulty
  • Note No note
  • Roadbooks French / English / German

Presentation

This trip is really the Dolce Vi(t)a in the Ardèche! The holiday begins along the bed of the former railway track - now actually known as the "Dolce via" - which once linked Lamastre to Le Cheylard through the mountains of the Ardèche. Then after switching valleys, the ride continues along the Eyrieux river, wild and picturesque. By carefully choosing your start date you'll be able to go from Tournon to Lamastre by the little train of the Vivarais (see details below.)
The former railway tracks, mostly disused since 1968, have become simple trails. However, many remarkable civil engineering works dating from the railway era still remain, and the scenery is nothing short of spectacular. Biking along through this little-known yet magnificent countryside, you'll see the distinctive valleys of the Boutières - part of the mountains of the Ardèche - from a whole new perspective.
The itinerary is relatively gentle and suitable for cycletourists, but as some of the paths are not tarmacked we recommend the use of country bikes with wider-section tyres.
 

You'll love

  • being able to hire an electric-assist bike!
  • the train transfer from Tournon to Lamastre along the fabulous historic railway of the Vivarais
  • biking along former railways now transformed into cycle touring routes
  • discovering a very authentic Ardeche that the average tourist seldom sees

Program : Cycling tour the Dolce Via

  • D1 Arrival in Tournon

    Things to see :
    The Rhône Valley. Wines of the Côtes du Rhône: Hermitage and Croze Hermitage.

    Dinner and night in a 3 star hotel.

  • D2 Ride from Lamastre to Saint Cierge sous le Cheylard

    Tuesdays and Sundays:
    ride to station at Saint-Jean-de-Muzols (6km).
    transfer aboard little train of the Vivarais to Lamastre (trip 1hr45).
    On other days: taxi transfer from Tournon to Lamastre.
    19km stage with total uphill 390m (level 2/5). Around 2hrs45.
    From Lamastre you continue on your way along the former railway, transformed into a walking and cycling path called "La Dolce Via".

    You'll enjoy seeing fine typical old Ardèche farms and railway engineering features that still impress today!

    Dinner and night at the inn.

  • D3 Around St Cierge sous Le Cheylard

    45,5 km with total uphill 790 metres. Level 3/5. Duration about 4hrs.
    Things to see :
    A superb circuit with wonderful views. First you follow the former railtrack along the banks of the river Eyrieux. Gaining height progressively, you move into fine countryside made up of small fields and orchards.
    Between Saint Agrève and Saint Jean de Roure, your eyes will light on a splendid panorama: the Massif Central with its cone-shaped summits (slumbering volcanoes...)

    Dinner and night at the hostelry.

  • D4 From St Cierge to Silhac

    31,1 km with total uphill 450 metres. Level 3/5. Duration about 2hrs45.
    The morning is free time in the town of Le Cheylard. The church, the castle and (on Wednesdays) the market are worth a good look. You may like to visit the "Arche des Métiers" the "Ark of trades"- industry science and technology as you have perhaps never seen them - in the centre of Le Cheylard. (You will have received a token you can use for this visit.)
    In the afternoon you cycle to your B+B situated on a remarkable site in the mountains of the Ardèche, by following the river downstream. You'll see several watermills with millraces supplied by the river.

    And you might like to enjoy a dip in the pool at Beauvène (open July and August).

    Evening meal and night in 3 'épis' B+B in a former mill.

  • D5 Around Silhac

    48,6 km with total uphill 700 metres. Level 3/5. Duration about 4hrs30.
    Today you go up to the plateau of Mézilhac. From there you can admire splendid views over the extinct volcanoes of Mont Mézenc and Le Gerbier des Joncs, both in the Massif Central mountain range. In fine weather you can see Mont Ventoux 150 km away and even the distant Mont Blanc.

    Cycling is along tarmacked roads, but you see few other people, just some sheep, goats and a handful of hamlets with 20 or so inhabitants...

    Evening meal and night in 3 'épis' B+B in the former mill.

  • D6 From Silhac to Charmes

    43,9 km with total uphill 230 metres. Level 3/5. Duration around 4hrs30.
    Today you follow the Eyrieux down to get back on the former railtrack. The hills melt away progressively as you approach the Rhône Valley.
    Maybe you can be tempted to take a refreshing dip in the river beneath one of the old romanesque bridges?
    Remarkable chestnut forests and abundant orchards prosper in the fertile ground - mouthwatering!

    Dinner and night in 3 star hotel with haute cuisine!

  • D7 From Charmes to Tournon

    42 km with total uphill 630 metres. Level 3/5. Duration about 4hrs30.
    This ride back to Tournon is certainly the most demanding. It's also the most varied in terms of landscape, views and ups-and-downs! You really have to take care along the way as there are lots of crossroads and turns. The climb by the former tramway trail and the ride down to Tournon are among the most enjoyable and exhilarating of the entire day.

    Dinner and night at the first hotel you stayed at.

  • D8 Departure

    Departure after breakfast.

Tariffs high season

From July to August, departure everyday

In a triple room

Adult : 795 €
Junior (12-17) : 795 €
Baby (0 - 1) : 80 €

In double room

Adult : 835 €
Junior (12 - 17) :  835 €
Baby (0 - 1) : 80 €

In a single room

1015 €

Solo traveller

1130 €

Tariffs low season

From April to June and from september to october, departure everyday

In a triple room

Adult : 755 €
Junior (12-17) : 755 €
Baby (0-1) : 80 €

In double room

Adult :  795 €
Junior (12 - 17) : 795 €
Baby (0 - 1) : 80 €

In a single room

975 €

Solo traveller

1090 €

What's included?

  • Half board accommodation
  • 3 star hotels, 3 'épis' hostelries and guest houses.
  • Detailed roadbook and routemarked maps are provided.
  • Logistical and technical assistance.
  • Baggage transfers.
  • Transfer Tournon to Lamastre by taxi or by steam train*

* travel on tuesday, sunday from 1/04 to 31/10
on tuesday, thursday, sunday from 1/05 to 15/09
on tuesday, wednesday, thursday, sunday from 15/07 to 31/08

Optional

  • Picnics for the whole trip from :
    • Adult or junior : 72 €
  • Bike rental from :
    • Bike for adult or junior : 100 €
    • Bike cart for child : 60 €
    • Child seat : 10 €
    • Electric power bike rental for adult or junior: 180 €

What's not included ?

  • Parking for the duration of your holiday
  • Beverage and extra
  • Return transfer from Home to the first accomodation
  • Facultative cancellation and rapatriation insurance

Characteristics of circuits

  • Cycle holiday without guide.
  • Daily stages between 17 and 60 kms, from 2 to 5hrs cycling at your own pace.
  • Daily uphill between zero and 750 metres.
  • Altitudes: between 100 and 1,100 metres.
  • Most of the time you are on tarmacked roads or earth tracks.
  • Bike required: country bike (all-purpose).

Organisation

These outings are much more about relaxed exploration than athletic performance. Your baggage is transported by us between overnight stops; your roadbook will guide you from beginning to end, and we provide the logistical and technical support necessary.

On longer holidays you change accommodation every other day, which gives you the chance to better explore your surroundings or simply take your time and relax...

Accommodation is in either 2 or 3 star/"épis" guest houses or hotels chosen for their atmosphere, warm welcome, environmental and architectural setting.
N.B : the accommodation described above is given as an indication and may have to be modified according to availability at the moment when final reservation is confirmed.

Holiday includes half board. Picnics are extra and may be ordered at reservation.

Access

By car

Highway A7 exit 13 Tournon sur Rhône

By air

Marseille-Provence airport or Lyon St-Exupéry airport (LYS)

By train

Valence-ville railway station then by coach to Tournon-sur-Rhône

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