I was looking for a nice place to go riding when I found this news article from the Sydney Morning Herald. It describes a cycling tour in Provence, and it seems awesome. http://www.smh.com.au/travel/activit...111-2cjto.html
You can ride your bike in the beautiful villages of Provence. I remember visiting this area, and the history is always around the corner.
Moreover, you can have a guide or ride by yourself. It seems well-organized according to what the journalist says.
I did some research and found the website : active4adventures.com
They organize tours all over France. But now I can't decide between Provence and Loire Valley ?
Does anyone have a suggestion ? Does anyone know active4adventures ?
I live in Provence, and it is really a great place to ride a bike. The roads are in great shape, the scenery is beautiful, there are many villages in case you don't want to camp, and the French themselves are avid cyclists, meaning that the car drivers respect and watch out for them. A lot of the drivers are cyclists themselves.
The Loire Valley is beautiful, too. But, a ride around Gorge Verdun, which is kind of a green Grand Canyon, is a real experience.
You won't go wrong, no matter which you choose, But I would go for Provence, and not just because I live here. If you decide on it, stop in and say hello.
2009 Specialized Tarmac (roadie) and 2011 56cm 600 LHT (touring)
I rode Provence in the summer of 2011 with Backroads (an American cyclotouring company). It was a great trip, but I prefer to ride on my own without guides. In the summer of 2012 I rode from Barcelona, Spain to Biarritz, France via the Pyrenees. That was as perfect as it gets, for me. You can read my journal at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Pyrenees2012.
I've never done organized tour, but have ridden in both Loire Valley and Provence. Both are fantastic in a different way. It all depends what you're into. The architecture is different, climate is different, food and wine wonderful in both areas but also different. If you plan going in the summer, Provence will be hot, too hot for me but you might be used to it being from Australia. Loire is pretty flat, Provence hilly to very hilly.
The route along Loire is beautiful, it takes you on road and also on car free trail. Here's the info, you can also buy a set of maps at one of the tourist offices along the way. http://www.cycling-loire.com/
In Provence we rode on road, didn't find any trails although there may be some. Make sure to take D roads, although some of them are quite busy as well.
Provence has a special place in my heart, so that would probably be my first choice, but Loire is also very beautiful. Languedoc is also very nice.
Riding in France is easy and drivers respectful. Anywhere you go, I'm sure you will love it. Of course it's up to you, but I don't think you need a guide. Just read up about the area to decide where you want to go, get yourself a map and you're set.
From now on till end of october you can ride bike in every plain regions in France. In summer, the weather is usually very hot in Provence. If you want to visit France and find accommodation easy, I should recommend september or june. I live in Limoges, I confirm that there are a lot of nice little roads to ride. But the weather may be very changing. You can also prefer more touristic areas such as Loire valley, Perigord, Brittany, or Provence.