With a 4 ½ hour train ride from the Austerliz train station in Paris to Souillac, some feel that Dordogne is far-away place that requires too much valuable vacation time to reach… Well think twice!
It would be a shame to overlook this amazing cycling destination. Taking a train from Paris is not the only way to get to Dordogne. With new air service from some European hubs to the Brive airport and better service from the Toulouse airport, now travelers have more time-saving options than ever!
Introduction to Souillac in Dordogne
At the Western edge of the department of Lot, many travelers tend to bypass this charming city as they head directly into the heart of Dordogne. However they are missing what is often considered the gateway to “Perigord Noir” and the Dordogne Valley, making it the perfect starting town for our cycling tours.
Situated on the small Borrèze River very near the larger Dordogne River, the medieval town developed around the 12th century Abbey Sainte-Marie. The town originally had an impressive defensive wall with five entrances and while the wall and much of the Abbey were destroyed during the religious wars, the beautiful Abbey and adjoining monastery were restored by 17th century Benedictine monks. Today you will be able to find many medieval remnants, and unlike the popular neighboring town of Sarlat, Souillac is a less frequented tourist destination giving it a more authentic atmosphere. Even with the hordes of tourists that flock to the most popular town in Dordogne, Sarlat is a true French gem and deserves to be enjoyed.
- Flying to Toulouse is an excellent choice.
The Toulouse airport is serviced by all major European airlines from major hubs such as Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, and London. For more information on the airlines servicing Toulouse, make sure to visit the airport’s website.
From Toulouse there are several direct trains every day that take around 2 hours to arrive in Souillac. You may view train schedules at Voyages-SNCF. To find out how you can travel with your bikes, you may read our post about traveling with a bike on French trains or flying with your bike.
To get to the departing train station “Matabiau” in Toulouse from the airport, simply take the shuttle “Tisseo”. For 5 euros, this shuttle runs every twenty minutes and will take you to Matabiau in about 40 minutes. You may view more information about this service on the airport’s website or on Tisseo, Toulouse’s public transportation website.
- Fly into Brive
Considering that it takes only 30 minutes to drive to Souillac from Brive, flying to the Brive airport is a highly recommended alternative!…if you have the option.
The Brive airport is serviced with regular flights by Airlinair from Paris, Cityjet from London and Amsterdam, and coming in April 2013 Ryanair from Maastricht. To get from the Brive airport to Souillac, private transfers are available for around 40 euros for 2 people one-way, and after you book a cycle tour in Dordogne with us we can arrange this transfer for you.
- Train from Bordeaux or Paris
If you are considering spending some time in the Southwest of France, flying to Bordeaux will allow you to explore its world-renown estates and reputed gastronomy before getting on a train to Souillac or Sarlat. Trains to the Dordogne Valley from either Bordeaux or Paris take more than 4 hours (around 4 and a half from Paris to Souillac and around 5 from Bordeaux to Souillac). You can find information for times and prices on your travel dates at Voyages-SNCF or TGV-Europe (in English).
Whatever your choice, the reward is huge… you’ll explore an area that is like no place else: medieval castles, prehistoric caves, quiet roads, and so much more… all contributing to make your stay a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
• Trains throughout France http://www.voyages-sncf.com/ (French)
• Toulouse Airport http://www.toulouse.aeroport.fr/en
• Toulouse Public Transportation http://www.tisseo.fr/en/home
• Brive Airport http://www.aeroport-brive-vallee-dordogne.com/en
• Paris Airport http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/ADP/en-GB/Passagers/Home/
• Paris Public Transportation http://www.ratp.fr/en/
• Bordeaux Airport http://www.bordeaux.aeroport.fr/en