Cycling France, Travel all over the countryside

Inspiration

Loire ValleyPyreneesNormandyCycling Tourism

L’ Etape du Tour de France in Alpe d’Huez (photo © A.S.O. Benjamin Becker)
© A.S.O. Benjamin Becker - L’ Etape du Tour de France in Alpe d’Huez (photo © A.S.O. Benjamin Becker)

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 20 November 2023, updated on 16 April 2024

Always wanted to conquer the epic Mont Ventoux, or tackle the 21 hairpin bends of Alpe d’Huez? Or perhaps an e-bike tour taking in the châteaux in Bordeaux is the preferred pace. Equally satisfying is taking a luxuriously slow, gentle pedal within any French postcode to vibrant local markets. For all classes of cyclists, the ever-growing list of cycling routes of France are sure to satisfy – for a day trip, a weekend away, or longer. Here we explore several popular cycling routes across France and some of the highlights to expect along the way.

The Vélodyssée

This 1,200km route crosses Brittany, taking cyclists on a scenic, fully-signposted tour along the Atlantic to the Basque Coast. It’s mostly car-free between Roscoff and Hendaye.

Le Canal des deux Mers à vélo

Starting north of Bordeaux, this route heads along the beautiful greenway of the Canal de Garonne and Canal du Midi where there’s much to explore. For more compact adventures, try the Canal du Midi from Carcassonne to the Mediterranean, or the Garonne Canal.

In the streets of Alençon. A cycling adventure in Normandy with Matthieu Tordeur (photo © Marie-Anaïs Thierry)*In the streets of Alençon. A cycling adventure in Normandy with Matthieu Tordeur (photo© Marie-Anaïs Thierry) *

Flow vélo

The gentle, 290km Flow Vélo takes off in Thiviers, in the heart of the Dordogne’s Périgord Vert (the name references the greenery of the forests and meadows of the region) and runs along the Charente river. Riders will cycle through lush countryside, head through marshes and explore towns and villages such as Angoulême, Cognac, Saintes, Rochefort and Fouras-les-Bains.

Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel (photo © Emmanuel Berthier)Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel (photo © Emmanuel Berthier)

The Véloscénie

Crossing the Chevreuse valley, the hills of Perche and Maine, and the Normandy bocage, this beautiful 450km route is packed with greenways and forest paths. Unforgettable stops include the Palace of Versailles, Château de Maintenon, the spectacular Chartres Cathedral, the Baths of Bagnoles de l’Orne and the Lace of Alençon.

Cycling in the Alpe d’ Huez (photo © Alpe d’Huez Tourisme / Cyrille Quintard).Cycling in the Alpe d’ Huez (photo © Alpe d’Huez Tourisme / Cyrille Quintard).

La Vélo Francette

Travel the regions of Normandy, Pays de la Loire and Poitou-Charentes on this 600km route from the English channel to the Atlantic. Francette means ‘Little France’ or ‘France in miniature’ and this route showcases numerous facets of France. In Caen, cast your eyes upon the historic Pegasus Bridge, the medieval halftimbered houses, and the view of the city from the ramparts. Other highlights include the pretty Pont-d’Ouilly, La Roche d’Oëtre and the panoramic gorges of the Rouvre, the marshlands of the Marais Poitevin, the Thouet Valley and its villages, and much more.

La Loire à Vélo

This 3,600km route, which forms the western section of the EuroVelo 6 route linking the Black Sea to the Atlantic, hugs the Loire and a large stretch is UNESCO World Heritage listed. From castles to beaches, countryside and vineyards, it weaves its way through numerous iconic towns of the Loire Valley: Orléans, Blois, Amboise, Tours, Saumur, Angers and Nantes. It’s a route that’s rich with historic monuments, from châteaux of Chambord, Amboise, Chenonceau, Azay-le-Rideau, Saumur and the Abbey of Fontevraud. This region’s gentle terrain makes the Loire à Vélo bike paths ideal for families.

Cycle to the castle of Azay-le-Rideau and take a relaxing walk, for even greater historic discoveries (photo © Atout France Franck Charel).Cycle to the castle of Azay-le-Rideau and take a relaxing walk, for even greater historic discoveries (photo © Atout France Franck Charel).

Further Information www.france.fr

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