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Old 06-20-11, 04:23 AM   #1
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touring with kids France and northern Italy

We are thinking of a ride through burgundy, from Auxerre to Dijon, via Chablis, Noyers-sur-serein, Avallon and vezeley. Also may try to catch a train to Landeck and cylcle from Nauders to Trento in northern Italy. We have a9 yr old on his own bike, and a 3 yr old in a bike trailer, credit card approach (hotels etc). Any thoughts on whether these areas are good for family touring etc? thanks in advance...will take our own bikes from Australia. thanks in advance...
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Old 06-20-11, 05:42 AM   #2
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I have toured solo in France for many years mostly staying at campsites but occasionally in cheap hotels or chambre d'hotes. Haven't toured the areas you are planning on doing but don't see why they should be any different to the parts I've toured.

In my experience France is a great country for cycle touring with plenty of quiet rural roads and very considerate drivers. Some cycle paths and other cycling infrastructure but not as much as some other European countries such as Germany or Ausrtria. My only cycling experience of Italy was in Sicily which I found less cycle friendly than France.

Here's a link to website of an Irish family who are travelling the world and who have a page on France. They are two adults and a 2 (possibly 3 by now) year old boy.
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Old 06-20-11, 02:14 PM   #3
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Are you looking at lonely planet's classic Burgundy route? Sounds a bit like it. I did 5 days of it last year, you can see pics here.

The route had quite a bit of shorter steep climbs (mainly in the Morvan), is your 9-yr-old up for it? If not you could skip the Morvan, but I enjoyed that area. The traffic on the route was pretty lite, and the area is beautiful. Surely there are enough hotels along the route to stay in. If you haven't seen the lonely plant "cycling france" book then you might take a look as it has lots of info and recommendations of where to stay on this route.
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Old 06-20-11, 05:01 PM   #4
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I biked in Burgundy about a year ago, including the stretch from Noyers to Auxerre. I think that stretch would be pretty good for family touring as long as you pick the minor roads, which isn't difficult to do. Noyers is a gorgeous medieval village. I stayed in a very nice B&B there. The roads were wonderfully quiet between Noyers and Chablis. There was some traffic the last few kilometers before I got to Auxerre, which has some very pretty old houses in the center of town.

Have you looked at any of the bike trails in Burgundy? There is an excellent network of them and they'd be ideal for you. I rode from south to north. I began in Macon and followed the wonderful voie verte northward. It's paved and quite pretty. The only downside was for part of the way, it's very close to the main TGV line from Paris to Lyon and points south. The trains go by often and make lots of noise (rather suddenly) when you're not inside the train. Cyclists get to bike through the wonderful Tunnel du Bois Clair. In Chalon-sur-Saone, you can continue northward on a trail to Chagny. And from there, north on a signposted suggested bike route on quiet farm roads (not flat, however) through some of the most famous names in Burgundy, such as Meursault, Beaune, Nuits St-Georges, to Dijon.

From Dijon, there's an unpaved canal trail which goes northwest. As of last year, you could ride as far as Ancy-le-Franc (nice chateau). There are plans to extend the trail, I believe. The path surface was sometimes a bit soft but quite pleasant. The ride from Ancy-le-Franc to Noyers on roads was wonderful, through rolling wheat fields and almost no traffic.

Information on bike trails and routes in Burgundy:
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Old 06-20-11, 06:10 PM   #5
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The ride from Nauders to Trento is fantastic. Very bicycle friendly and the kids will love it. Lots of castles along the way and lots of cows.

You can get a bus in Landeck. During busy times of the day, they hual a trailer too.

If I were to do it over again, I would ride from Landeck to at least the climb before Nauders. It is a beautiful road. But that last climb to Nauders is a killer, steep and narrow. I imagine you could get on the bus right near the start of the climb.

Actually if I were to do it over again I would start and end in Innsbruck. Take the Inn River bike trail to Landeck then the Adige to Meerano and then ride over the Brenner to Inssbruck. I rode down the Brenner into Innsbruck, I wish now I had ridden up too.

You might want to consider starting in Innsbruck too. There is a nice bike trail that goes from Innsbruck to Landeck though, it really ends somewhere around Imst where you need to take the road. It can be pretty busy and fairly steep for a young one.

When taking the trail from Nauders, stay to your left and you will see the sunken clock tower.

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Old 06-21-11, 01:11 PM   #6
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I've toured in France, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. We've also ridden in most of these countries with our son either in a Burley trailer behind our tandem or more recently on our triplet. Without a doubt, Germany and Austria were the most kid-friendly in my experience. Playgrounds are just about everywhere, even outside restaurants. They also have much better/more frequent dedicated bike paths, which IMO is a consideration when riding with kids.
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