Types of Accomodation
Accomodation options in France are excellent value and range from; Hotels (5 star to 1 star), Appartments, Bed & Breakfasts, Gites and Camping Grounds.
Just about all accomodations will welcome bike travellers but there are an increasing number of accomodations which have been designated as Bike Friendly. These will offer safe storage of bicycles, options for maintenance and suggestions for good local rides.
Using a Booking Ap
You can use a Travel Agent to do all your bookings but, we have found that it is just as easy to use a Booking App such as Booking.com or Trivago. Using the App gives you the flexibility to cancel and changge bookings / towns as or if necessary.
With a Booking App. We have found the best process to follow is to search for a town or area;
- Ensure there is access and storage for bikes.
- find the accomodation that meets your price range.
- check how close it is to the centre of town.
- locate supermarkets, boulangeries or butchers nearby
- check the size of rooms..some can be too small!
- check if air-con, fridge or cooking facilities are available.
- check if it is private or shared toilet.
Make the booking and then message/email the accomodation letting them know the you will be arriving by bike and may (or may not be) Australian.
Most accomodations have set check in and check out times. It is possible, in some cases, to vary the check in time to suit your estimated riding time to the town/village.
Good Tips to do before getting to your destination
Use Google maps to locate shops near your accomodation..ie; supermarkets, butchers or bread shops. This is important if you are riding later in the day and arriving when shops may have shut – especially important on Saturdays and VITAL on a Sunday.
We try to book accomodation with cooking facilities if we intend to stay more than one night. This is mainly to have access to a fridge, kettle, hot-top, etc.
For one night stays, you CAN ask the hotel if it is ok to store your bottle of milk or wine in their fridge. This request is usually happily accommodated.
Always email or message (via booking app) your accomodation in larger cities to check they have somewhere to store your bike safely. Most accomodations will have a garage where bikes can be stored although it may not be actually on site – it may be round the corner or so.
Arriving At Your Destination
First stop when arriving at a destination should be the Office de Tourism. These are always signposted clearly and are usually somewhere in the centre of town. They can book accomodation if you need as well as providing information regarding museums, chateaux, supermarkets, good places to ride your bike, etc. Ask for a map of the village or town ( plan de ville or cart de ville). This is important to find your accomodation, plan walks to highlights, locate shops and find your way home again. Most Tourist Offices in the towns sited near major bike routes will have a range of cycle maps (along with other types of maps) – some free, some at a small cost. They often have a great variety of T-shirts specific to the region which we buy to replace old or dirty ones brought from home.
The old part of town or village is usually the best to walk and explore. Because villages predate cars, the roads are often skinny and pedestrian / bike only. This section of town is where most of the cool bars and restaurants are located.