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France is one of our favourite destinations for a cycling holiday; with delicious cuisine and world-class sights, the country is a treat for the senses. When visiting, there is a diverse array of regions to choose from, each offering you something different. From the vineyards of Champagne to the Mediterranean landscape of Provence, France is one of the most environmentally diverse countries in Europe. As a result, it can be hard to know when the best time to go cycling in France is. That’s why we’ve created this guide, so you can find the right holiday for you. Read on to discover the best time to go cycling in France.
If you don’t already have a time of year in mind for your holiday, the easiest way to decide this is to find the region you’d like to visit. Each region of France has its own time of year when it stands out the most, from the blossoms of spring to the harvests of autumn.
In the north of the country, you’ll encounter a more verdant landscape, with lush forests and a temperate climate. As you travel south, the Mediterranean has more and more of an influence; forests and meadows give way to olive groves and vineyards under a generous sun. Choosing when the best time to go cycling in France entirely depends on understanding when each part of the country shines.
We know and love spring as the season of new beginnings when the first signs of life begin to appear after winter. Everything is in bloom in the French spring, but one region, in particular, stands out. Known as the ‘garden of France’, the Loire Valley is famous for its royal châteaux and their regal grounds. In the spring, the orchards and flower beds are in full bloom across the region, meticulously maintained by the groundskeepers. Cycle past cherry trees coated in flowers, and tulips lining the flower beds as if standing guard. So for those looking for a botanical treat on the senses, spring is the best time to go cycling in France, especially in the Loire.
A gentle region, our Loire cycling tours are exceptionally leisurely. Pedal past elegant castles and enjoy flat, canal-side cycling as you visit the beautiful towns in the region. On our Loire in Luxury tour, indulge yourself as you explore the very best the region has to offer. Staying in stunning hotels, this is the perfect holiday for a spring French cycling adventure.
With long, sunny days and wonderfully warm weather, summer can be the best time to go cycling in France. In the summer, the north truly shines. The wet winters mean the landscape is beautifully green and boasts plenty of sunshine from July to August. A cycling holiday here is the best way to experience the beauty of the landscape, with the Champagne region, in particular, a favourite for this time of year.
Known for the luxurious sparkling wine produced here, miles of green vineyards stretch out across the region. On a summer evening, the setting sun over the vines creates one of the most beautiful sights in France. On our Leisurely Cycling in Champagne tour, you’ll have the chance to visit this lush Eden. In July and August, the grapes start growing on the vines, creating a buzz through the region as winemakers get everything prepared for the autumn harvest. Cycling along these vineyards, you may get lucky and find some ripe grapes, just begging to be picked as a mid-ride treat.
Another wine region which is fabulous in the summer is Bordeaux. Enjoying its own little micro-climate thanks to the temperate effects of the sea, the weather is always wonderful. The best time to go cycling in France’s premier wine region, early summer ensures blue skies and gentle cycling conditions. On our Vineyards of Bordeaux tour, experience the winemaking sites which create some of the world’s most famous wines you’ll already know from the labels.
Autumn is all about the wine harvest; this is when the vineyards are abuzz with activity. Autumn is also the best time for a tour and wine tasting, and in the region of Provence, the temperature is wonderfully warm. Enjoy a glass of rosé under the gentle sun of a Provençal autumn sky after a day of leisurely cycling. On our Provençal Discovery tour, you’ll realise this time of year can be the best time to go cycling in France. Avoiding the summer holiday crowds, a trip to Provence in September or October is perfect for truly immersing yourself in the region.
The culture here is slow-paced and leisurely at heart, with delicious food and a huge variety of wines locally sourced. Some cuisine specialities to look out for includes garlic aioli, as well as the internationally known ratatouille. Look out for paprika-flavoured prawns and mussels as well; caught fresh from Côte d'Azur. Many of the fresh vegetables and crops are harvested in the autumn, making it an abundant month for food in Provence.
Bordeaux is also a great choice in the autumn for the same reasons as Provence. Although the vineyards are enjoying the wine harvest at this time of year, the beaches of the region shouldn’t be overlooked. Archachon Bay in particular is a fantastic destination in September; the end of school holidays means the beaches are left to the locals and to you. On our Bordeaux City & Beach Break cycling tour, explore coastal Bordeaux and enjoy some of the best seafood in France. With wine made only a few miles away, chefs cook mussels, clams and many more in delicious wine-based dishes. For all these reasons, autumn can be one of the best times to go cycling in France.
For more information on when the best time to go cycling in France is, call our cycle experts today. Or alternatively, you can view our French cycling holidays here.
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