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where to bike in 6 days in France...

Old 07-25-10, 07:54 PM
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where to bike in 6 days in France...

Hey Guys,
I've never biked in France before. I'm flying to Paris and have no plans for 6 days. I need to begin and end in Paris, any routes you can suggest (more or less flat...)?

much love!
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Old 07-25-10, 08:33 PM
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When you say

I need to begin and end in Paris
does that mean you have to bike in and out of Paris or you can take a train somewhere and back with your bike?

Ray
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Old 07-26-10, 03:14 AM
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If you want flat, get onto the tow paths along the canals east of Nancy. Take the train to Nancy and then cycle to Strasbourg and back to Nancy. Evidently there's something like 175 km of tow paths in that area. Rowan and I rode a small part of them in 2007, and really enjoyed the ride.
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Old 07-26-10, 06:43 AM
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It is very easy and free to take a bike on regional trains in France. Non-TGVs have hooks for hanging bikes by a wheel. You can also take a bike on the RER in the Paris region outside of peak commuter hours. The nearest area to Paris which is both relatively flat and relatively scenic is the Loire Valley to the south and southwest. There is a wealth of small roads with minimal traffic in that region. You could also get there via Chartres.

Another region to consider is Burgundy. There are at present 580 km of bike paths & canal paths. (canal paths are not paved) There are also signposted bike routes, which are typically local roads with little traffic. To start, you could take a train to Auxerre, less than 2 hours from Paris. The paved voie verte from Chalon-sur-Sāone to Mācon is wonderful.
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Old 07-26-10, 06:55 AM
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I remember Burgundy having lots of little roads through the vineyards, and lots of pretty country to ride through. The Cote d'Or region from Dijon to Beaune and further south to Puligny Montrachet is very pretty. Get a Michelin map of the area in a supermarket, look for the roads marked in white, and you'll be set.

If you have a travel case or other box, you can box up your bike and take it on the TGV trains, which opens up a lot of possibilities. There's a TGV station in Charles de Gaulle Airport (the Aerogare) as well as RER service to the main stations in Paris, so you've got lots of possibilities.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/174...kinw_rke_rti_1 I found an earlier version of this book really useful when I worked in France and Austria a few years back.
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Old 07-26-10, 07:28 AM
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A wealth of possibilities, assuming you don't mind taking your bike on a train somewhere.

1. TGV from Paris to Strasbourg, over in Alsace. Lots of beautiful riding in that area (it's very underrated for some reason by Americans). Ride south along the Route du Vin (wine route) or along the Rhine. Route du Vin has some rolling hills, but nothing too bad. Lots of lodging choices, too. Or, use Machka's idea above. Probably could rent a bike in Strasbourg.

2. Tour de France fan? Take the TGV to Grenoble, then head up into the Alps and stay in Bourg d'Oisans at the foot of Alpe d'Huez (there is a bus that runs from Grenoble station to Bourg d'O). There is at least one bike shop in Bourg d'O that rents nice road bikes. Do day rides from there into the surrounding Alps (Alpe d'Huez, Galibier, Croix de Fer, etc.).

3. Loire Valley and Bordeaux region are also quite nice.

4. Provence isn't too far by TGV, either (3-4 hours). There are plenty of places that rent bikes in that region.
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Old 07-26-10, 08:37 AM
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wow, thank you all so much for your help! do you know of any maps of that include a bunch of the bike paths in the loire valley and burgundy?

thank you all again, i really appreciate it.
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Old 07-26-10, 08:41 AM
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Strasbourg and the Alsace are very scenic, I agree. If you don't mind some climbing, the Vosges mountains (which form the western boundary of Alsace) are very scenic. Back when Alsace was part of Germany (between the Franco-Prussian War and World War I) the crest of the Vosges range formed the border between Germany and France. Some of the old border posts are still standing, being used as cafes at the top of various passes.
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Old 07-26-10, 09:04 AM
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The Luberon region in Provence (east from Avignon TGV station) is the magical southern France you see in the movies and read about in books. If you can spare the 2.5 hours to ride down there on TGV you will find easy riding all day, with five-minute climbs only into the more scenic hill-side villages; abundance of locally grown fruits and vegetables, served at restaurants and the B&Bs you'll want to stay in each night (just check with the Office de Tourisma when you roll into a village or town each afternoon -- no need for advance reservations); friendly, courteous more rural residents who enjoy a chat and aren't in a hurry, for the most part; wonderful, largely rain-free weather; Mt. Ventoux, if your into TdF climbs; Camargue-region bull fighting (the bulls aren't killed -- the matador (called a razetour) wears all white shirt and pants and must lift a rosette off the horn of the bull, then leap over the surrounding walls before getting hooked by the bull); much lower prices on everything than in Paris and surrounding areas.
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Old 07-26-10, 09:18 AM
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I spent a year in Tours, in the Loire Valley, southwest of Paris. Fairly flat country, lots of chateaus doting the countryside. Take the train from Paris to Tours or Blois and start from those locations. Make sure to see Chambord and Chenenceau as part of your bike tour.
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Old 07-26-10, 09:45 AM
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When are you going? Parts of France can be pretty hot in the summer months.
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Old 07-26-10, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by uncricket
wow, thank you all so much for your help! do you know of any maps of that include a bunch of the bike paths in the loire valley and burgundy?
Here's are maps for the Voie Verte in southern Burgundy; a fully paved rail/trail; I rode all of it and it was wonderful.
overview: https://www.burgundy-by-bike.com/sout...y--0203en.html
detailed map: https://www.burgundy-by-bike.com/fic_...n-burgundy.pdf

Nivernais canal:
overview https://www.burgundy-by-bike.com/the-...y--0403en.html
detailed map: https://www.burgundy-by-bike.com/fic_...-nivernais.pdf

Canal du Centre; I was on part of this, but it's not as long as the others.
overview: https://www.burgundy-by-bike.com/the-...y--0303en.html
detailed map: https://www.burgundy-by-bike.com/fic_...nal-centre.pdf

The Burgundy Canal; I rode part of this. It's not all completed, esp. the northern portion. Unpaved, sometimes the towpath was a bit soft.
overview: https://www.burgundy-by-bike.com/the-...y--0503en.html
detailed map: https://www.burgundy-by-bike.com/fic_...undy-canal.pdf

The Vineyard Way, signposted paved farm roads through the Cote d'Or vineyard region. Very pretty villages. Not flat, but not excessively hilly, either.
overview: https://www.burgundy-by-bike.com/the-...y--0603en.html
more detailed map: https://www.burgundy-by-bike.com/fic_...p-vineyard.pdf

I also rode on some country roads which were very nice. Noyers is a gorgeous medieval village southeast of Auxerre near the Chablis region.
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Old 07-26-10, 04:54 PM
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Here's a pretty good site for cycling along the Loire: https://www.cycling-loire.com/Default.aspx?base
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Old 07-26-10, 06:32 PM
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Loire valley was part of my first bike trip in France (Normandy + part of Bretagne) yes its pretty and teh river area is obviously flat.

Luberon area of Province is really pretty, but I was there 2 years ago in august and it was really really hot, 42c whatever that is in f. I was not biking but thought that I would sure as heck not want to bike there until at least sept or oct. South of France is really not good for biking until after the summer, for heat and the crowds in july aug.

Normandy is a fav part of France for me, but it is a bit hilly.
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Old 07-26-10, 07:24 PM
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I'm heading out there next week, yeah Mark I imagine it will be wildly hot... Thank you all so much for your help, I discovered this forum right in time!
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Old 07-26-10, 11:48 PM
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Ive spent a couple of months riding in France, no matter where you go, on small secondary roads, cars are gerneally courteous, people in smaller towns and villages are friendly, the French love biking and so are warm to people travelling by bike. I speak French which helps, but even if you don't, just travelliing by bike is still a great way to meet people and to see the land. Best part is that towns are usually not far apart, so food and accomodations and planning for each, arent hard to find. If camping, there are lots of small municipal campgrounds, and there is usually a good system of tourism info in towns that have lists of campgrounds, B+B etc etc.

I really liked biking in France. Have a good trip.
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Old 07-27-10, 03:34 AM
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My advice is to take the train from Paris to Clermont-Ferrand and ride around the Puy du Dome and Cantal regions, amazing cycling with virtually no traffic, killer climbs, truly quintessential rural France. I'm biased though because I just finished a tour through the region. The cheese.....mmmm.... I love bleu d'Auvergne.

Ride from Clermont Ferrand heading towards the Chaine des Puys, Murat, and loop back to Clermont Ferrand. Could make for a nice 6 day ride.

Some images from Cantal



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Old 07-27-10, 04:58 AM
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The story of the Nancy to Strasbourg portion of our 2007 trip ... we followed the Canal de la Marne au Rhin

https://www.machka.net/pbp2007/2007_Post-PBP_2.htm
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Old 07-27-10, 08:51 AM
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Oh, this is getting me very excited for my own trip to France this year!
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Old 07-28-10, 12:49 PM
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A region I didn't enjoy was the northeast of France. I biked from Paris to Cologne only because I was going to a friend's place. Did not enjoy that route much. It passed through some unattractive industrial areas. I recall very steep hills in southern Belgium---worse than in the Swiss Alps.
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