France - The Causses

France - The Causses

1st May 2019 - 15th October 2019 (168 days)

This is a moving-on tour in the form of a circuit from Toulouse. The Causses are limestone plateaux cut by deep river gorges. This tour takes you from the Quercy Causses and the Lot and Célé Valleys in the west to the larger and higher Grands Causses in the east. The tour would normally start and finish at Toulouse near the European Bike Express (Bike Bus) stop, though no transport is included in the package. Variations on the standard tour are available, but the nature of the terrain means that all days involve some difficult climbing. The tour and any variations on it are for the experienced self-reliant cyclist. Opportunities to sightsee can be easily incorporated into the tour. The tour can take place any time between 1 May and 15 October.

  • Holiday Type Self-Led
  • Tour Manager Peter England
  • Grade Challenging
  • Booking Status Places Available
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Board Basis Half Board
  • Travel Arrangements Land Only
  • Road / Off Road Road
  • Holiday Style Moving-on
  • Vehicle Support Carry Own Luggage
  • Holiday Ref 03235


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France - The Causses

Day 1

Stay 1 night near the Bike Bus Toulouse drop-off point.

Day 2

Cycle to Vaissac in the Quercy hills. 76km. Stay 1 night.

Day 3

Cycle to Najac. See the Aveyron Gorges and visit several bastides (medieval towns). 69km. Stay 1 night.

Day 4

Cycle to Cabrerets. Cross the Limogne Causse and the Lot Valley. 88km. Stay 2 nights.

Day 5

Loop ride from Cabrerets. Follow the Célé valley, climb over the Cajarc Causse and follow the Lot valley. 79km.

Day 6

Cycle to Foissac. Climb on to the Gramat Causse, follow the Célé valley and climb over the Cajarc Causse. 84km. Stay 1 night.

Day 7

Cycle to Estaing. Cross the Rouergue and descend to the Lot Valley. 88km. Stay 1 night in one of the most attractive villages.

Day 8

Cycle to la Canourge. Follow the course of the Lot Valley and cross the Sauveterre Causse. 68km. Stay 1 night.

Day 9

Cycle to Meyrueis. Cross the Sauveterre Causse. Descend into the Tarn Gorges and climb the Jonte Gorges. 84km. Stay 2 nights.

Day 10

Loop ride from Meyrueis. Climb Mont Aigoual. 57km.

Day 11

Cycle to Ceilhes. Cross the Causse Noir and the Larzac Causse. 86km. Stay 1 night.

Day 12

Cycle to Brousse-le-Château. Follow the course of the middle Tarn valley. 77km. Stay 1 night overlooking the medieval château on the banks of the Tarn.

Day 13

Cycle to Réalmont. Follow the middle Tarn valley then climb into the hills south of Albi. 71km. Stay 1 night.

Day 14

Cycle to Villemur-sur-Tarn, following the course of the Tarn. Stay one night. 79km.

Day 15

Cycle to Toulouse where tour ends. 41km.

Distances: The daily average cycling distance is 78km (49 miles), but there will be opportunities to cut corners or take additional loops. Variations on the standard route above are possible in terms of the number of days, daily mileage, and number of nights in the same place.

Accommodation & Meals

You will be staying in 2 or 3-star hotels. Rooms are booked on a half-board basis, sharing two to a room. Single occupancy can be booked for a supplement. Vegetarian or Vegan meals (and other dietary requirements) can be arranged if requested at the time of booking, though choice may be limited.

Vehicle Support

No support vehicle is provided. Participants are expected to carry their own luggage.

Passports, Visa & Health

EU citizens must hold a passport that is still valid on the date of their return to their home country. Holders of non-EU passports are advised to check whether they require a visa. There are no compulsory health related requirements for UK residents, but you are strongly advised to check that your tetanus protection has not expired. You must also carry your European Health Insurance Card.

Travel Insurance

Our Booking Conditions stipulate that, for holidays outside the UK, travel Insurance is mandatory. Details of the level of cover needed and other conditions you should check are stated in the Booking Conditions. CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any costs that may be incurred due to insufficient insurance cover.


The price of £1,000 is for 14 nights (the cost of additional or fewer nights will be added or deducted on a pro-rata basis) and is calculated at a rate of 1.12 Euros to £1 sterling (Based on exchange rates published on on 14 September 2018; please note Booking Conditions, clause 3).

Price Includes

  • 14 nights hotel, sharing room, half-board
  • Detailed route sheets
  • CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs

Price Does Not Include

  • Travel to and from the tour
  • Drinks with evening meals
  • Lunches or refreshments during the day
  • Entry fees at any attractions
  • Any other personal expenses
  • Travel Insurance
  • Single occupancy supplement (£20 per night, subject to availability)

Payment Schedule

A deposit of £100 per person is payable upon booking, with the final balance of £900 per person to be paid 10 weeks prior to departure.


Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:

Written notice received:

70 days before the tour starts

Between 69 and 29 days

Between 28 and 14 days

From 13 days before the tour starts


Cancellation charge:


33% of total cost

75% of total cost

100% of total cost

The Area Covered By The Holiday

The Causses are limestone plateaux cut by deep river gorges. They offer some of the most dramatic scenery in France. This tour takes you north from Toulouse into the Quercy Causses and the Lot and Célé Valleys with their numerous attractive villages. The transition to the larger and higher Grands Causses in the East is made through the scenically contrasting Rouergue. The Grands Causses are cut by the Tarn, Jonte and Dourbie gorges. Return is along the middle Tarn valley. The tour presents the opportunity to visit the many bastides (medieval villages) in the area. The tour would normally start and finish at the Toulouse European Bike Express stop.

Rides & Rest Days

An average day on the standard tour is around 78km (49 miles) but there will be opportunities to take short cuts or to do additional loops, and there are rest days. All days involve climbing, sometimes for several miles, and sometimes you are cycling at an elevation of around 1,000m.
Variations are possible, however, in terms of total days, daily mileage, and number of nights in the same place. You need to discuss with the Tour Manager what you want, who will then put together an individually tailored package at a quoted price. In all cases a provisional route will be suggested which you will be asked to approve. A detailed final route sheet will be available as soon as hotel bookings have been confirmed.

Accommodation & Meals

Hotels are chosen carefully, and if you are booked into one that the Tour Manager has not previously used, he will tell you. The accommodation would be predominantly 2-or 3-star standard, with ensuite facilities. The hotels provide soap and towels and very frequently shampoo and a hair dryer. Tours include breakfast and an evening meal of at least three courses. A meal at a set price will have been booked, which may or may not include a choice. If you are unhappy with what you are offered, however, the hotel should provide you with an alternative. You are responsible for any drinks consumed with the evening meal or in the hotel bar. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, or have other dietary requirements, remember to say this on your booking form.


You must make your own arrangements for transport to and from the tour. Although the start and end points of the tour are near to the Bike Bus drop-off and pick-up locations, Toulouse is well served by other modes of travel.

Weather & Clothing

Remember the terrain is hilly, and unpleasant weather can occur at any time of year, so bring clothing to ensure that you can remain warm and (reasonably) dry. In summer it can also be very warm, even hot, and you should be prepared for this. The use of sun cream is recommended.

Cycles & Equipment

A touring cycle, hybrid or lightweight ATB with a bottom gear of 27 inches or less is suitable, but this must be in good working order, especially the brakes. Do not assume that there will always be a cycle shop within a few miles. As you will have to carry all your luggage keep this to a minimum and ensure you have a sturdy carrier. You should have ridden your cycle fully laden before the tour to ensure you are happy with its handling. You should carry sufficient spares and tools to deal with punctures and minor repairs and a bike lock. Cycle storage is available at the hotels, but this may not always be under cover. You may wish to bring some waterproof covering in case of rain.

Maps & Guides

You will be provided with detailed route sheets, but you are recommended to carry maps of a scale at least 1/200,000. Michelin 1/200,000 series Regional map 525 ‘Midi Pyrénées’ covers the area as well as  Michelin Departmental maps 337, 338 and 343 in the 1/150 000 series.  Michelin Travel Guides provide interesting background information.

Travel Insurance & Advice

In addition to travel insurance, EU nationals should carry a European Health Insurance Card, obtainable from This enables you to take advantage of emergency medical services free or at a discount under a reciprocal provision that exists between EU member states. Your travel insurer may refuse to meet the extra costs of medical treatment if you do not carry this card.
Before booking you should check the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, at or on 0845 850 2829.

Other Information

This self-led holiday is available on a variety of dates from 1 May until the middle of October. The suggested duration of 14 nights can also be adjusted if required. Please contact the Tour Manager to discuss the options available.