Touring - Thoughts on my France route
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I will be riding around France in May, 2008. I have roughed out my intended route at bikely.com (http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/May-2008-route) and would like any and all comments on it.
I'd be particularly interested in any segments that are foolish due to road conditions or incline.
Here is a link to the planning I have done up to now (http://www.biketouringtips.com/showTipComments.php?tipID=504).
Fueled by Boh
03-11-08, 05:21 PM
Thoughts? I'm jealous.
I'll have a look at it when I get to my somewhat better computer. During the week, I'm quite limited in computer use. Opening additional pages or files often causes crashes.
France is a great country to ride around. :)
03-12-08, 06:37 AM
I haven't looked into detail at the route you're planning, but from our experience, the easiest/best way to plan a cycling route through France is to use the yellow Michelin maps. You can buy them separately or bundled in a book and tear/cut out the pages you need to take along. They're also viewable at a certain zoom level on www.viamichelin.com if that's more convenient.
If you stick to the white and yellow roads, you'll keep out of the way of heavy traffic. Even if these roads are quite small, the condition is generally good and almost every crossing is signposted. Inclines are also indicated on the map, so you can avoid them if necessary.
I hope this helps,
03-12-08, 07:39 AM
While I'm oh so tempted to say something like, "This page from www.biketouringtips.com which has xxx links to bike touring in France information", but I'll be nice, mostly.:rolleyes:
I've biked along most of your proposed route. Overall, I think it's a very good route. Leaving Paris, you may want to consider either going SW to visit Chartres, or going NW to visit Giverny (near Vernon) to visit Monet's home and garden, which are especially nice in May & June.
Normandy is a nice region for biking. I haven't biked around the D-Day beaches, but the peninsula from Cherbourg south to Mont. St. Michel is very nice. You will enjoy the ride from Granville to near Mont. St. Michel. After you visit Mont St. Michel, try and visit the nearby medieval village of Dinan, a bit to the south.
You might want to consider riding for a day or two along the Loire to visit a few chateaux, though the more impressive chateaux are further to the east than where you'll likely be. Most tourists, including myself, especially like Chenonceaux.
I biked a bit east of your route between the Loire & Dordogne valleys, but I was somewhat disappointed with my route. I've been curious myself about the Cognac region to the west. One time, I began riding in Angouleme and headed east toward Perigueux and the Dordogne valley, and that was a nice route with nice towns.
The Dordogne & Lot valleys are, IMO, the "ne plus ultra" of bike touring regions, not just in France, but anywhere. There is so much to see here, the scenery is gorgeous, and there are lots of deserted roads. Personally, I prefer the IGN 1:100,000 maps for this area. They have a wealth of detail (including contour lines) with lots of symbols denoting various sights and features. There are lots of little villages I could recommend you pass through. The area around Beynac is gorgeous. I enjoyed visiting Josephine Baker's Chateau des Milandes. Several caves are worth visiting, including Padirac (touristy, but an amazing underground river boat ride) and Font de Gaume. I hated Rocamadour during the day, but loved it at night when it was nearly deserted and wonderfully lighted. The stretch of the Lot and CÚlÚ rivers from Cahors to Figeac is one of my favorites. Take a small detour to see St Cirq Lapopie. A good way to head eastward from Figeac is to follow the Lot upriver, including a visit to gorgeous Conques.
I really like the Massif Central for biking. The scenery changes quickly east of Figeac. It's more mountainous, but French roads are superbly engineered. I don't think I'd go as far east as St. Etienne. You could try going down the pretty Tarn river gorge to Millau (and try to see the amazing new bridge not from from Millau), then eastward to Avignon along the base of the Cevennes. And of course, be sure to see the Pont du Gard.
03-12-08, 08:22 AM
Hey there, I see that your trip takes you not so far from where I live, Rennes. If I have some free time and you want a cycling buddy on a part of your leg, the Mont St Michel is just a short ways away from here. I'd recommend that you stop by Rennes, it's a great little city in May. The students and workers are still in town working and the sun is up till 10pm. So afterwork, the terraces are filled with people chatting and having a drink. Good place to be.
In 2003 I took a route that was similar to yours. I went from Rennes to Montpelier by bike passing by the Dordogne region. I headed south closer to the coast. There is a bike path called Velocean that does what it says... it goes along the ocean. I headed east once I got to La Rochelle.
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