Our favourite cycle routes in France

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La ruta en bicicleta por el Loira te reserva algunas sorpresas muy agradables, como el paso por el sublime Castillo de Chambord, la perla del Renacimiento.
© Bestjobers - La ruta en bicicleta por el Loira te reserva algunas sorpresas muy agradables, como el paso por el sublime Castillo de Chambord, la perla del Renacimiento.

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 14 February 2024

if the sunny days are making your legs tingle, saddle up! In the land of the Tour de France, there is no shortage of beautiful escapes. With 22,800 km of cycle routes and greenways, 5,500km of regional tourist routes, 3,000 road and mountain bike circuits inviting you to enjoy gentle pedalling as a couple, with your family or with friends. In the countryside, along a canal, by the sea, in the vineyards or in the mountains, from Northern France to the Côte d'Azur and from Brittany to Alsace... here's a small selection of the most beautiful tours and detours and discover France by bike.

In chateaux country in Centre-Val de Loire

Between Orléans and Tours, the Loire à Vélo is one of the most beautiful cycling routes in France. In the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, history has sown fairy-tale chateaux, enchanting parkland and remarkable gardens. Chambord, Chenonceau, Blois and Azay-le-Rideau, the gems come one after the other along the royal river. For charming diversions and day trips, we recommend the Châteaux à Vélo routes and circuits. And for something new, the small country roads and gentle curves of the Indre. Whether you are cycling through Châteauroux, the medieval fortress of Montbazon, the Royal City of Loches, the Chateau of Palluau-sur-Indre or the ponds of the Brenne, the Indre by Bike is full of little-known treasures.

The Loire à Vélo Châteaux à Vélo routes and circuits The Indre by Bike

The GT20 in Corsica

For you information, Corsica is an island but also a mountain in the sea. So if you want to cycle there, it's preferable to do so in spring or autumn to avoid the heat and opt for electric assistance. This will allow you to enjoy the panoramic views and the intoxicating smell of the maquis, without setting foot on land. Like the GR20, its famous hiking counterpart, the GT20 (for Grande Traversée), inaugurated in 2019, criss-crosses the island of beauty from north to south. From Bastia in Haute-Corse to the Bonifacio gorges, this 600km cycle route takes place in 12 stages, via the sumptuous Cap Corse. Villages overlooking the Mediterranean, refreshing mountain streams, dizzying passes and dreamy beaches, you'll definitely be amazed.

The Corsica Grande Traversée (GT20)

The vineyard route in Alsace

With 2,500km of cycle routes, 11 legendary passes, 15 regional circuits, 55 local circuits and 3 EuroVélo, Alsace is at the head of the pack for cycling trips. Strasbourg, the French capital of cycling, it's easy to go off on a tangent, from pretty flowery villages to farm inns, from abbeys to gourmet cellars. If you had to choose just one route, it should be the Véloroute du Vignoble d'Alsace from Marlenheim to Thann. Traced in parallel with the famous Wine Route which celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2023, it winds its way along 143km, taking old railway lines, parts of the ancient Roman road and paths through the vineyards without hurrying. The Kaysenberg Valley cycle route comes a close second.

Explore Alsace by bike

From bays to capes in Northern France

A dozen lighthouses, fortified sites, six UNESCO-listed belfries, charming Belle-Époque seaside resorts and from Le Touquet to Malo-les-Bains, the Velomaritime in the Hauts-de-France region, over 190km between Mers-Les-Bains and Dunkirk, will have you pedalling with enthusiasm. We love all the sections - but especially the one in the Baie de Somme with its beautiful views. Or to the north of Boulogne-sur-Mer, the site of the two Capes, Cap Gris-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez, where you can ride at gull height and admire the beaches below. Another route goes between Arras and Amiens, on the Véloroute de la Mémoire. On this 90km route, which can be extended along the towpaths of the Somme Valley cycle route, you will come across the moving remains and memories of the First World War.

The Vélomaritime The Véloroute de la Mémoire The Véloroute Vallée de Somme

On the flax route in Normandy

Cycling from Paris along the Seine Valley is a way to discover Normandy as far as Le Havre and the famous beaches of Deauville. On the way, the Seine à Vélo cycle route invites you to discover Giverny, the birthplace of Impressionism, or the famous Château Gaillard. There is also Rouen and the luminous Jumièges Abbey before Honfleur and the green meadows of the Auge region. Are you looking for a sweet alternative? In June, when the flowers are in bloom, pedal in an ocean of blue on the Véloroute du Lin, 7km or so of greenways that wind through the hinterland of the Côte d'Albâtre, from the small resort of Pourville-sur-Mer to the cliffs of Fécamp.

The Seine à Vélo The Véloroute du Lin The Vélo Francette

Between vineyards and the ocean in Nouvelle Aquitaine

Bordeaux and its Cité du Vin, the Entre-deux-Mers, the Bassin d'Arcachon and the Dune du Pilat, the Atlantic beaches and the Gironde estuary, the fishing villages and small oyster ports, the Landes de Gascogne with their fragrant forests of maritime pines and, of course, the vineyards and great châteaux of the Médoc. This is an ideal environment for a cycling trip in Nouvelle Aquitaine. The Tour de Gironde à Vélo, 480km, is divided into peaceful stages according to your own pace, taking in part of the route of the Canal des Deux Mers. Meanwhile the Vélodyssée is an invigorating cycle route which crosses Brittany and then follows the Atlantic to the Basque coast. Saddle up!

The Vélodyssée The Tour de Gironde à Vélo The Canal des Deux Mers à Vélo

Along the Canal du Midi in Occitanie

Cycling from Toulouse to the Mediterranean, via the proud city of Carcassonne, following the Canal du Midi in the shade of great plane trees, is one of the holy grails of cycling in Occitanie. The last few kilometres to Sète on the exceptional Lido greenway will leave you suspended between land and sea. You'll just have to get back on your feet to choose the swimming beach. Prefer to get some height? Passa Païs, the greenway of the Haut-Languedoc, on the mountainside, straddling the watershed, is a must. From the foothills of the Montagne Noire to the Massif du Caroux, via charming villages and a succession of bridges and tunnels of the old railway line, the pedalling has a lovely southern accent.

Cycle rides in Occitanie The Canal des Deux Mers by bike The Passa Païs greenway

Estuary artworks in Pays de la Loire

Between the Atlantic coast and the Loire Valley, Pays de la Loire will blow you away. Here, the Loire à Vélo ends its long journey from Nevers in Burgundy-Franche-Comté. After Angers, the last section, which leads from Nantes to Saint-Brévin-les-Pins after the large bridge in Saint-Nazaire, is especially beautiful. And art is also on the agenda, as you can admire installations created by the Voyage à Nantes for 60km along the estuary. Any other good ideas? We recommend the Loire Valley, a well-kept secret halfway between Le Mans, Angers and Tours. And then of course, invigorating cycling trips to the Vendée islands: to Noirmoutier, from marshes to mills, or to the island of Yeu, between dunes and enchanting creeks.

Explore Pays de la Loire

From the Luberon to the Baie des Anges in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

The most courageous will include the Tour du Mont-Ventoux on their list, a giant of Provence which can be admired from all sides as you spin along small roads lined with garrigue and lavender. Try the Calavon greenway, on the Mediterranean bike route. You will enjoy riding along the small roads of the Luberon to discover the hilltop villages and electric assistance is obviously a good option. To have the Mediterranean at your feet, there's nothing better than the Littorale. Between Cannes and Nice or the other way round, this cycle path along the Baie des Anges and the Promenade des Anglais allows you to admire the most famous seafront in France. The Côte d'Azur is beautiful!

The Mediterranean by bike Bike rides in Provence The coast, from Nice to Cannes The ViaRhôna

Find out more about routes or themes across several regions, in particular the Vélo & Fromages label:

France Vélo Tourisme The Accueil Vélo label Fédération française de cyclotourisme The Vélo & Fromages label

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