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Bikers' base between Limoges and Angouleme (self-catering + B&B)
Le Moulin de Pensol
Haute Vienne, Limousin (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
Phone: +33 (0)5 55 14 67 20
Price from: B&B from €65 per night including breakfast. Gites from €61 per night or €430 per week (minimum booking periods may apply.
Open: B&B is open all year, except Christmas. Gites are open Easter to November.
Heidi and Nik at Le Moulin de Pensol were recommended to us by cyclists who stayed with them. They have space for 17 people in a combination of B&B and self-catering accommodation, making this a flexible base for solo riders through to larger groups. They are located roughly halfway between Limoges and Angouleme in the heart of the Perigord-Limousin national park near the northern edge of the Dordogne. This is a stunning area for cycling (see here). The roads are well-maintained and virtually traffic-free, offering routes of every distance and for every ability through gently rolling hills, chestnut woods, pretty stone villages and past grand chateaux. Heidi and Nik can pick you (and your bikes) up from Limoges or Angouleme, or help you arrange bike hire locally. Ample space for bike and bike box storage. In all, there are 2 x double B&B rooms, a triple B&B room, two 2-person self-catering gites, and a larger gite that's perfect for 6 people. English, French and German spoken.
Cyclist-run accommodation in the Limoges-Angouleme-Thivers triangle
22 Les Arcis
Haute-Vienne (Limousin, Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
Phone: +33 (0)5 55 75 33 41 or +44 (0)7538 344076
Price from: Rustic farmhouse B&B €58 per night; Gite bedroom €86 per night (also gite double sofa bed €28 per night if you're part of a group)
Open: May to October
As the name suggests, Cycling Chez Nous is run by cyclists - in this case Sue and Phil, who are keen to share this lesser-explored area of France with the rest of us. They are in a perfect area for cycling – and they know it like the backs of their hands. They are just 2.5km from the lovely voie verte (greenway) that runs from Oradour-sur-Vayres to Chalus. It's perfect for a (flat) return trundle but also ideal for tourers linking to the Lawrence of Arabia route. The roads here are scenic and largely traffic-free. I asked Sue to choose a favourite but she said it was impossible – the routes are so varied. "We have short local routes routes we can suggest, plus longer routes from 50km to 160kms on gpx files with varying elevations," she said. "We live in an almost untouched cycling paradise, bordering the Dordogne and the Charente. I have to pinch myself each time I cycle." The village is also within reach of Oradour-sur-Glane, which holds a special place in French history and is one of the most remarkable places Freewheeling France has ever been (there is more on the area here). The house itself is a pretty French farmhouse in an ancient hamlet. It has a lovely garden and a chestnut orchard with pear, apple and cherry trees. There is room for 6 people – with four in a self-catered gite and two in main house. B&B or self-catering is available. English and French spoken. Good connections to Limoges, Angouleme, Thivers for trains and airports. Ask Sue and Phil if you need picking up.
Calm and zen in the grounds of an old chateau
Route de la Chatre
Creuse, Limousin (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
Price from: €49 for 2 people + tent/campervan, prices vary for self-catered cabins
Open: May to September
With large lakeside pitches covered by oaks and adjacent to a 15th century chateau, Camping Chateau de Poinsouze makes a great cycling base, especially for families. There's plenty on offer for the kids including pool, slides and trampoline, while for the adults there are numerous watersports and two local golf courses. For cyclists and walkers, the GR41 route runs very close to here, allowing a signposted hike or ride in the lovely surrounding countryside. On site there's a restaurant, plus a shop offers eat-in or takeaway options. A real taste of rural France. Part of the Le French time network of independently run sites.
Great value traditional bunkhouse-style self-catering base for 6 people
Haute-Vienne, Limousin (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
Phone: +33 (0)5 55 36 73 06 (landline), +44 (0)7742 367050 (mobile/portable)
Price from: €50-€60 per night for the whole gite – minimum stay 3 nights
Open: June to September
Paul and Liz at Les Abeilles Sauvage offer self-catering accommodation in the heart of the Haute-Vienne and Creuse, two hugely under-cycled areas of central/south-western France that are steeped in cycling tradition. This is the area that was home to the French TDF icon Raymond 'Pou-Pou' Poulidor – he lived and cycled here his whole life, and a nearby lake-side route now bears his name. There are clusters of cycle routes from the door of Les Abeilles Sauvage, and Nedde – a designated cyclotourisme “velo tout terrain” (MTB) area, is just 3km away. The accommodation is a two storey, stone farmhouse that's been converted into a 'bunkhouse'-style acccommodation that's perfect for cycling clubs, groups and families. Fully equipped kitchen and dining room, lounge and TV. Large four-bed room on the first floor with shower room. On the second floor there is a separate double bedroom with an ensuite shower room with WC and washbasin. The terrace is ideal for outdoor meals and BBQs. A child-safe plunge pool will also be available from summer 2020. The gite has its own secure lock-up garage. It has a set of bike racks, repair bench with basic tools, a small drying room, WC and water supply for the K5 Karcher power hose (grease removing detergent container(s) supplied free).
Clean and friendly river-side apartment-hotel
Rue Du Chaudron / Rue De La Filature
Haute-Vienne, Limousin (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
Price from: €35
Open: All year
The Appart'City Limoges aparthotel is in a lovely locarion on the banks of the Vienne River, just outside the Limoges city centre. It offers flexible and friendly accommodation for cyclists. Use it as a hotel or as a self-catering base. All the rooms have a kitchenette with a hob for cooking, plus a fridge and microwave. There are studio options for solo riders and couples through to larger three-bedroom apartments for families and larger groups. Buffet breakfast available. Wifi. Private car park.
All accommodation has been checked to ensure it meets our cycle-friendly criteria. We also deal with tour operators personally before adding them to the site. To recommend a great French cycling holiday or a nice bike-friendly place to stay, please email firstname.lastname@example.org