Discover France on two wheels
Cycling holidays in France can offer a great combination of activities, sight seeing and relaxation, and are suitable for families, couples or groups of friends. However, if you are organising the holiday, one word of advice we will share with you is to pick somewhere fairly flat! The last thing anyone wants on a relaxing holiday is to be utterly exhausted and broken at the end of each day, having been forced to conquer outrageous hills. It’s far better to pick gently meandering roads, with plenty of opportunity for refreshment and sight seeing along the way.
Here are some suggested routes to start you off. In southern France, many know the Canal du Midi as simply the most beautiful canal in Europe, a high accolade. Majestic trees line the historic canal, and this signposted route starts from the shores of the Mediterranean sea, and winds towards the incredible Pink City of Toulouse.
Provence is perhaps the most well known of destinations for a cycling holiday, and offers a slightly more undulating route for those with older children and stronger thighs! Potter around the countryside amongst fields of sunflowers, head towards Avignon for cultural richness, or Luberon for yet more lovely scenery.
Here it is worth noting that a great way to travel around to all these great French cycling spots is by hiring a car. It is very easy and will give you the flexibility you need to have a relaxing cycling holiday. However remember to get out all the essentials such as car excess insurance in case you run into trouble.
Further north, heading out of Paris and towards the handsome Mont St Michel on the coast, is a new four hundred kilometre cycle route, which is fully signposted. Known as the ‘Veloscenic’, it predominantly following flat routes including old railway lines, peaceful country roads and local bike paths. Visit places such as Domfrant and Chartres along your way.
If wine is your thing, then the Burgundy old world wine region offers some of the best recreational cycling in all France. The countryside is scenic and gently hilly, with the added bonus of being able to ease into vineyards for wine tastings at a whim, as there are so many. Naturally with good wine there is also good food, and you could enjoy and range or traditional dishes which can then be worked off the following day on the bike!
Similarly, Alsace, a region close to the border with Germany, is stunning wine country. The culture here is mixed owing to its location near to the rest of Europe. If you head south from Ottrott to Illhaeusern following the aptly named ‘Route des Vins’ or ‘Wine Route’, there are innumerable pretty villages to admire, punctuated with historic churches to call in to.
Lastly, the picturesque Loire valley is famed for it’s castles, and a route that takes in these historical greats is sure to delight all members of your group. If you can head to the village of Azay-le-Rideau, you will find multiple Chateaux, displaying impressive renaissance architecture and many superb cafes and restaurants for a spot of lunch accompanied by local wines.
So what are you waiting for– so much of France awaits your discovery on two wheels!