BIKING ACROSS FRANCE – MOUNTAINS, COASTS AND JOIE DE VIVRE

Samuel Dorsi - Jun 29, 2015
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Biking is a popular activity of travelers exploring the various regions of France. Bikers are able to experience many amazing destinations first-hand, surrounded by incredible wilderness and picturesque towns. With the right equipment and proper preparation, your next tour will be an experience that lasts forever.

Normandy and Bretagne

French Normandy is exceptionally beautiful and partly located at the scenic river Avelon. It is a perfect place to start any bike tour in France. The route leads along the famous medieval castle d’Arques-la-Bataille, through Forges-les-Eaux and to Beauvais. From there, two routes lead to Paris:

through Vernont „Le Vexin“ and through Senlis and Abbaye de Ryoaumont „Les Bords de L’Oise“.

The tour along the river Oise inspired Vincent Van Gogh for several of his paintings and leads to Cergy and Conflans-Ste-Honorine. From there, the final route follows the Oise to the Seine, along small fishing villages and distinct forests. In Masons-Lafitte, there are several opportunities for some bike expeditions.

Along the Seine, riders will follow a path through Saint-Denis and Nanterre which finally leads to the French capital of Paris.

From Nantes to Roscoff

This route spans 1200 kilometers, from the Vélodyssée of Roscoff at the Atlantic Ocean, through Nantes and Biarritz along the Spanish border, which makes it France’s longest bike route. The part up until Nantes leads through the France’s second biggest national park, Amorique in Bretagne, with a size of more than 170.000 acres. Those who cross the park over Vélodyssée will be able to experience some truly fascinating places. Here are several highlights for mountain bike fans, such as the Monts d’Arrée.

The first part begins at Roscoff and leads to Morlaix, with its famous viaducts and a scenic harbor, through Park Armorique to Carhaix, where France’s largest music festival called Vieilles Charrues is held. After Pontivy, along the Redon at the Nantes-Brest-channel with several break opportunities such as medieval Josselin or Malestroit, the route leads to Redon. The final part leads along the marshes of Guenrouet and Blain, until the path stops at the channel and resumes at the river L’Erde.

Côte d’Azur and the Alpen

From Nizza to Marseille – Incredible beaches and cliffs

These bike trails lead along the Côte d’Azur, from Nizza to Cannes through Cagnes-sur-Mer. In Cannes, travelers should not miss the islands at the coastline of Îles de Lérins and take a detour along Boulevard de la Croisette.

Further along, your path leads along the incredible coast through Fréjus and Sainte-Maxime, with an optional visit in Saint-Tropez. The next bigger city is Hyères, but you will only reach if after you’ve conquered the Pass Col de Collebasse south of Saint Tropez. Hyères has exceptional beaches and a coast which is under conservation. Passing through Toulon, the tour leads from Bandol and Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer to Marseille. The paths are not always on secured terrain and sadly, bikes and cars often meet on the same tracks. Those who don’t mind missing the ride along the coast can take an alternative route into the country starting at Saint Tropez.

Around Mont-Blanc – Incentive for mountain bikers

Mont Blanc is one of France’s most popular regions for mountain biking. A ride around the Mont Blanc will show anyone the fascination of this mountain in four to five days. The best time to travel here is between June and September, since most accommodations are open around this time. This tour is only for experienced bikers, since a circumnavigation of the mountain will be taxing for your bike, equipment and body. There are several different routes from 200 to 600 kilometers at an altitude of 8000 meters. Along the way, there are Single trails, forest paths, mountain passes, gravel paths and incredible views. For example, you could ride along Trient to Orsières in Switzerland and through Courmayeur to St-Gervais and back.

Landmarks and tips for your leisure time

While in Bretagne, travelers should not miss the city of Dinan with its 14th century castle. Medieval buildings with influences from Byzantium, Persia and ancient Rome can be found here.

Menez-Hom is Bretagne’s highest point with an altitude of 330 meters and an inactive volcano that facilitates relaxed rides with several trails and a great view.

In the South, there are legendary valleys and mountain passes: du Verdon, de la Tinée, du Var, du Clans, de la Vésubie and de la Roya. The valley of Roya is located roughly 60 kilometers from Nizza at the foot of Mont Bégo. However, the start belongs to Col de Tende at an altitude of 1871 meters with a 35 kilometer route to Breil-sur-Roya.

The canyon of Verdon „Gorges du Verdon“ with a length of 21 kilometers and a depth of 700 kilometers is located in the province Départment Alpes-de-Haute. Hikers and climbers will have an outstanding experience at this place. Even bikers have several opportunities to drive around this chasm.

 

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