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The Best Cycle Paths in France

Posted 24 Aug 2018

At the top of our list of things to love about France, along with its culture, cuisine and sunny summer afternoons, are its cycling routes. Edged with beautiful countryside, it boasts some of Europe’s most glorious cycling roads and terrain. Simply the best way to explore the land of wine, cheese and impeccable taste is on two wheels. What’s not to love about wide, winding roads, renowned wine regions with few serious hills and plenty of good food? Here are our top three cycle paths in France.

La Via Rhône

This well-loved cycle path stretches its way from Geneva all the way to the south of France, changing with the regions. The full 815km route is quite an undertaking even for experienced cyclists, so you can simply pick a section that appeals to you. One section leads from the Rhône-Alpes region into the tranquil, colourful region of Provence, right to the pretty town of Avignon, where several of our Provence tours begin. Avignon is the city of medieval popes, with its turreted popes’ palace and city hall, linked by tiny cobbled streets lined with colourful window boxes. You’ll follow the wide and winding river, through thriving orchards and past heavenly scented fields of lavender, which blooms here from June until August.

The most southerly reaches of La Via Rhône take you through the Camargue into delightful port towns with wide, sunny beaches. The Camargue is a wildlife haven, home to its famous white horses, lagoons and waterways teeming with birdlife, including wild flamingos, and rice fields and salt pans to explore.

The Burgundy Côtes and Vallée de l'Ouche

This charming region is renowned for ideal cycling terrain. Hilly without being mountainous and so picturesque you'll have trouble keeping your eyes on the road, the area is packed with pretty villages and castles nestled amongst vineyards. To name just two, 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, are particularly special.

As you’d expect from a Route des Grand Crus, the wine here is some of the most prestigious in the Burgundy region, and sampling it in the caveaux ('wine caves') makes a wonderful way to unwind when you're not in the saddle.

Alsace Route du Vin

Alsace is a melting pot of different influences. So many cultures and peoples have touched this part of the country in one way or another, it’s become a rich mixture of all of them – the cuisine, in particular, is uniquely delicious. This sleepy and scenic region belies a turbulent history you'd never guess at as you meander through the peaceful countryside.

Along the way you’re flanked either side by swathes of green vineyards rolling back into the gentle hills – it isn't called the Wine Route for no reason. Any avid cyclist will love the experience of winding around the long-sweeping curves of the smooth roads. On our Route du Vin tour, 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.

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