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Cycling holidays for the gourmet traveller

Posted 01 Jan 2016

Three of the best regions in France for cycling and gastronomy

Look, this is France. If you're looking for delicious food then you're going to get your wish at virtually every street corner. But sometimes everyday French grub just isn't enough. Perhaps it's an anniversary or a special birthday celebration. Maybe you've been just working extra hard and deserve a holiday treat. The bottom line is that you want to go cycling in France and you're planning to ease your conscience not your waistline. 

1 Gourmet cycling in Alsace
Too long overlooked, this unique part of France now has the outstanding reputuation it deserves. With glorious cycling through world-class vineyards, chocloate box villages filled with flowers and miles of flat, traffic-free cycle paths it's a dream location for a cycling holiday in France.

Gastronomically speaking, it has more Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere outside of Paris. You'll be well-rewarded for your day in the saddle. For lunch you may be tempted by delicious (and filling) local specialities such as tarte flambée.  And then of course there is the wine. Time in the caves trying out the local riesling is time happily spent. 

Try: Our sumptuous seven-night Alsace cycling holiday with four Michelin-starred suppers and three meals in a restaurant aiming for its first star. 

2 Gourmet cycling in the Burgundy

This region takes its food and drink very seriously. It has 11 Grand Cru wines and even the chickens are Appellation Contrôlée - in fact they are said to cost more than fillet steak! 

Think Boeuf Bourguignon or Coq au Vin - both local specialities - and you'll quickly realise rich shiny sauces feature heavily in the cuisine. The food is bold, succulent and unashamedly French. Michelin-starred chefs are bringing new excitement to the region with modern takes on classic dishes.  

For cyclists, there's miles of mainly level and car-free cycling thanks to the Voie Bleue and Voie Verte cycle paths. Pedal dreamily beside the River Saône and it's barely exercise. For a slightly greater challenge, head into the emerald hills where fortress towns, ancient abbeys and medival châteaux are hidden among the vines. 

Try: Our indulgent seven-night Burgundy cycling holiday with four Michelin-starred meals (and the others are Michelin recommended).

3 Gourmet cycling in Provence

With almost-guaranteed alfresco dining and the peppery freshness of the Mediterrean diet, Provence's cuisine is flamboyant and vibrant, bursting with both colour and flavour. The region's enduring popularity with film stars and politicians means there are plenty of superb restaurants vying for celebrity clientele. 

Meanwhile, the cycling's a veritable a feast for the senses. Meander along tiny back lanes and breathe in the rich warm scents of thyme, lavender and rosemary mingled with ripe melons and sweet peaches. Pick up the best of the local produce at the wonderful markets that are a focal point for every small town.  Olive trees and poplars provide welcome shade in the sun-drenched landscape.

Try: Our five-night Provence cycling holiday with Michelin-starred suppers every night. 

Cycling for Softies offers self-led cycling holidays in nine regions in rural France. Our tours include bed and breakfast, evening meals, bike and equipement hire, luggage transfers between hotels, welcome aperitif and the support of our on-the-spot assistant. 

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