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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.
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.
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!
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 southern reaches of La Via Rhône take 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.
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 – 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?
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.
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.
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