Planning your trip is an exciting, confusing, enthusing and complex affair. It is primarily determined by the length of holiday you can afford, the time of the year you wish to travel in and the level of exertion you feel comfortable with.
Planning Your Route
We would only reccomend biking in France from May to September with the best time to ride being July & August – although it can get rather hot at this time of year!
France is a country of amazingly beautiful but diverse scenery, history and landforms. You need to take time to immerse yourself in each area you visit. Your first decision is to narrow down which fantastic part of France you wish to explore on your trip.
Once you decide on the area, or areas, you wish to travel… then you need to look at whether you can utilize dedicated bike routes/paths or if quite country roads are the best option.
Links to French Velo Routes
France Tourism has many maps and online information about Velo (bike) tracks in all areas of France. We use the Velo routes of France site extensively to assist in our planning. Consult the France Velo Tourism site to see if there are any marked routes to follow in the area you are exploring. If not, check that the planned route does not involve travelling on any major roads….Google maps is always useful here. Here are some links we use that you will find informative and useful;
France Velo Tourism is an amazing site with Maps of routes all through France, tips and advice, ideas for itineraries and wonderful pictures. the EuroVelo site is also great but, as we stick to France, use it mainly to find linking routes between the French Velo routes.
Physical geography of Areas
While France has two main areas of high hills and mountains in the Central Massiff and the Alps area, it also has many many river valleys which are perfect for cycling down and an extensive system of canals which ususally offer a bike path along one of the banks.
Suggested Fantasic Routes
An important question you need to decide on when planning a trip is, what is it that you primarily want to see or do?
Are you wanting to check out particular historical sites such as Roman or Celtic ruins ? Is viewing and tasting wine at the Grand Chateaus the main desire ? Do you wish to relax and laze along quiet, peaceful, tree-lined canals – where there are no hills ? Do you have a yearning to ride the spectacular mountain passes of the Alps ?
Here are a selection of routes we have tried and found to be excellent easy riding, jam packed with spectacular views while also offering plenty of great places to stay. NOTE : We dont always complete the whole route but, often combine parts of two tracks to make a trip fitting in with our entry and exit points in France and with our particular interest that year.
The Atlantic Coast has a wonderful bike track that stretches from Norway to Spain. Along the way you go through great towns such as La Rochelle, Rochfort, Royan, Bordeaux, Cape Ferat, Bayonne and Biaritz. Click here to see more.
The Rhone River Valley is a spectacular trip – with the Via Rhona bike paths. Starting in Either Geneva or Lyon and heading downriver to Vienne with its amazing Roman ruins, to Avignon and Arles and finishing near Marseille. Click here to see more.
Splitting off either side of the Rhone River, the Ardeche, Drome and Isere areas are beautiful, spectacular and great for biking in with well marked bike trails.
The Loir has a long established easy bike trail with many Grand Chateaux to see along the wild river and wines to try. You can travel from the Atlantic coast to East Burgundy along river and canal paths. Click here to see more.
Anywhere in Provence is always fantastic but you cant miss highlights such as Vaison-la-Romaine, Aix-en-Provence, Salon-de-Provence, Avignon and L’Isle-sur-la Sorgue. Click here to see more.
The magnificent Luberon with its hill-top villages and wild mountains has extensive road and mountain bike routes. Click here to see more.
Bordeaux has some fantastic trails and areas to explore such as Pauillac in the Medoc or around St. Emilion to the North East.
You can ride between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean along peaceful and flat canals via the Canal Midi on the Canal des two Mers. Click here to see more.