See the section for France of the Trento Bike Pages.

Touring France

From a posting of Jonathan L Summers ( to rec.bicycles.rides on Mon, 27 Feb 1995 18:35:57 +0000 (GMT)

Bill Stratford ( wrote in message

> I am interested in taking a bicycle trip in France. Does
> anyone have particular areas or routes that you would recommend?
> Any areas or routes that you would NOT recommend?
> I plan on
>       - riding in August (I know this is bad, but unavoidable)
>       - riding about 50 mi day
>       - camping when possible
>       - staying in no-star hotels when not camping
> I'm interested in
>       - avoiding areas subject to France/August-Everyone-On-Vacation-Crush
>       - beautiful scenery
>       - meeting friendly people
>       - small towns rather than large cities
>       - historical sites (esp. pre-Renaissance)
> Please send me email and I will summarize responses.
> Thanks!
> Bill Stratford
> PS: Phone/Address of agencies with info on bicycling in France are 
> also appreciated.
> ---
> Your part in the dance is to disapprove of John Fitzpatrick's part
> in the dance. -Bela Bartok
Some of the best areas to cycle around are
  1. The Auvergne - this is situated south-west of Clermont Ferrand and has the famous volcanic park. Great scenery, plenty of campsites, small pensions/gites (15-25 US dollars for doubles as of last year) and usually good whether before mid-August - though you can never guarantee anything. You should be prepared for some pretty steep/long hills. The people are friendly and there are only really small farming villages. (Farming area/green, even in Summer)
  2. The Dordogne - this is situated further south between Clermont Ferrand and Bordeaux. You will find more people here and larger villages/towns but off the beaten track one can find some great contryside. Plently of natural sites to visit. Flatter than the Auvergne and more touristic. Swimming in the Dordogne river is very therapeutic after a long hard ride. Campsites with many amemities are located along the river. (Forested area)
  3. The upper Loire region - starting in the town of Blois (some pleasant architecture) heading south(ish) one could visit the Chateaux of the region. Could head towards the Auvergne through some reasonably interesting countryside (approx 150-180miles). The Loire is quite a popular site for cyclists (I met a few in my first tour through the Loire in 1985).
  4. Some areas of the Langaudoc-Roussillon are also worth visiting. You run the risk of meeting more people and traffic here, but there are some small roads that run through the vinyards and past many Roman ruins. The odd detour to the beach is not too difficult. The area is flatish near the coast and towards the Rhone delta with the option off visiting some large towns or going inland where the hills start. St Thibery, etc (Can't remember the names need to check my route again) between Beziers and Montpellier is a lovely destination if cycling south from the Auvergne. (Medeterranean/Romanesque)
  5. The region around the Ballon d'Alsace is also a place I would recommend cycling around. Plenty of breathtaking views and climbs near to and around Strassbourg and Colmar (More Germanic/Swiss looking architecture)
I shall look out some routes and post them.

Jon Summers