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Cycling Through France

Posted 06 Mar 2020

Are you looking for the best cycling routes in France? Proud of their national cycle routes that criss-cross the country, the French are great advocates of this ecological mode of transport. Many cyclists would consider the French cycling routes to be some of the best in Europe. Cycle between history-rich châteaux and fascinating sights, stopping to indulge in delicious meals and wine tastings at world-renowned vineyards on your Softies holiday. We can’t think of a better way to explore the land of fine wine, cheese and châteaux than cycling through France on one of our cycling holidays. Read on to discover our experts’ verdict on the best cycling routes in France.

Loire à Vélo route

The 800km Loire Valley cycle route is the perfect option for history buffs, white wine drinkers and leisurely cyclists. Forming part of the EuroVelo 6 route – which links from the Black Sea to the Atlantic – it passes through the Loire Valley. Also known as the Valley of the Kings, spot château’s protruding turrets and opulent facades at nearly every river bend. Mostly flat, the majority of cycle paths in the Loire follow the Vienne, Loire and Indre rivers. Punctuated with fascinating, historical towns and highly acclaimed vineyards that make crisp white wines, these stops will nicely break up your day in the saddle when cycling through France.

One of our favourite French cycling routes is between Chinon and Saumur. In Chinon, visit the towering fortress that offers great views of town, stopping en route at the fascinating troglodyte caves in Turquant outside Saumur. In some of the caves, mushrooms and wine are grown!

View Loire Valley cycling routes here

French cycling

La Via Rhône

A well-loved French cycling path that stretches from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean beaches, it changes dramatically by region. The full 815km route is quite an undertaking even for experienced cyclists, so pick a section that appeals to you. One section leads from the Rhône-Alpes to Avignon in the colourful region of Provence, where several of our Provence cycling holidays begin. The city of medieval popes, Avignon’s turreted popes’ palace and city hall are linked by cobbled streets lined with colourful window boxes. Follow the wide, winding river through orchards and past fragrant lavender fields that bloom between June and August. This incredibly scenic path is one of the best cycle routes in France.

The La Via Rhône takes you through the Camargue National Park to delightful port towns with wide beaches. Renowned for beautiful Camargue horses, the national park is a wildlife haven. Lagoons and waterways are teeming with birdlife like wild flamingos, and there are extensive rice fields and salt pans to explore too.

View Provence cycling routes here

Best cycling routes in France, La Via Rhone Provence

The Burgundy Côtes & Vallée de l'Ouche

Burgundy is renowned for its wine of course, but also offer some of the best French cycling routes. There’s 1,700km of cycle routes that are hilly without being mountainous and extremely picturesque. There are plenty of stops for photos – or breathers – when cycling through France as the area is packed with pretty villages and castles nestled amongst vineyards. Don’t miss the multi-coloured roofs of Château de la Rochepot and Château de Savigny-les-Beaune, which houses an impressive collection of vintage vehicles and planes.

Choose between six major routes that include canal-side cycling or ‘vineyard way’, the Route des Grands Crus. Cycling through France cyclists will enjoy some of the most prestigious vineyards. Why not stop for tastings at the numerous wine caves?

View Burgundy cycling holidays here

Burgundy's cycle routes France

Alsace Route du Vin

One of our favourite bike routes in France, the 170km long Alsatian Vineyard Route may be a little more obtainable, starting in Strasbourg and ending just south of Colmar. It’s the perfect opportunity to travel through the diverse region, passing through sleepy villages, peaceful countryside and countless wineries. With influences from Germany and France, Alsace has an interesting mix of cultures. The most notable aspect is the cuisine that has Germanic traditions, dishes are variations of pork and paired with beers and of course, Riesling.

This french cycling route is flanked either side by swathes of green vineyards, and the towns are characterised by their colourful half-timbered design. Any avid cyclist will love winding around the long-sweeping curves on smooth roads. On our Route du Vin tour in Alsace, castles dot the hillsides, and quaint stops such as the medieval town of Bergheim and colourful Kaysersberg make for pleasant detours on your daily route.

View Alsace cycling holidays here

Alsace vineyards

Epernay to Reims

This 56km cycle route starts in the ‘capital of Champagne’ Espernay, along a traffic-free and very easy canal-side cycle path. The cycle path lasts about 18km until your reach the lovely town of Conde-sur­ Marne. After a visit to Conde-sur­ Marne, the path turns away and follows another smaller canal. There’s then the only small climb of the day up a hill where you can admire the impressive wide-open farmland and rolling terrain. You will then descend to the heart of the historic city of Reims.

View Champagne cycling holidays here  

Cap Ferret Peninsula

This cycle route is a round trip to Cap Feret. To begin with, you will need to get a short ferry ride from Arcachon to Andernos. The ferry ride itself is very pleasant across the calm blue water of the nearby bay. Once you hit the mainland you will go west onto the coastal cycle paths. This is a peaceful ride with a magnificent view of the coast. You will then head down the Cap Ferret peninsula towards its iconic lighthouse. At the lighthouse, you can enjoy a delicious long lunch. Afterwards, you can take a calm trip back to Arcachon from Jetée Bélisaire.

View Bordeaux cycling holidays here 

Laval to Moulay

This is a delightful cycle through a beautiful part of France. You will follow the Mayenne towpath where you come across a fair few locks. We recommend stopping for lunch in Auberge du Pont de Montgiroux or La Guinguette, which were formerly lock houses. This relaxing ride is 33km with stunning views.

View Mayenne cycling holidays here

Bayeux

If you’re a history buff you will love cycling through this part of France. This 36km round trip starts by heading North West to Omaha Beach. Here you can appreciate a significant point in time by being on the WWII D-Day Normandy landing beaches. You can see the steel sculpture ‘Les Braves’ and visit the memorial museum. Another stop is the American war cemetery of Colleville-Sur-Mer which is a sombre experience but puts everything into perspective. The ride then takes you back to Bayeux via the charming fishing village of Port-en-Bessin.

View Normandy cycling holidays here

Les-Baux-de-Provence

This is the first ride of the Cycling for Softies Provençal Experience cycle tour. You will start the day heading out of St-Remy to the lovely villages of Fontvieille and Mausanne-Les-Alpilles. You will be able to admire stunning views of the countryside from the hilltop village of Les-Baux-de-Provence. You will notice delightful cobbled streets with spectacular views. This easy 42km cycle concludes with an easy twisting descent back to the hotel.

View Provence cycling holidays here

Cycle Epernay to Châlons-en-Champagne

Experience incredible Champagne houses whilst you cycle through a stunning part of France. This 25km ride starts on a pancake flat canal-side cycle path. You will breeze through charming little villages along the way, each with its own unique Champagne houses. Tours-sur-Marne and Conde-sur- Marne are popular places to stop but you can also push on to Châlons-en- Champagne. Here you can spend the afternoon experiencing this wonderful town.

View Champagne cycling holidays here

Are you looking for enjoyable bike routes in France? For more information about the best places to cycle in France and our Softies France cycling holidays, please speak to our experts on 0207 471 7760.

Other posts you may like:

Tuscany cycle routes
Normandy cycling routes
Best European cycling holidays
Cycling south of France
Cycling Provence

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