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Deciding on a route through France (and maybe Spain?)

Old 06-01-12, 03:16 PM
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ryanlikealion
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Deciding on a route through France (and maybe Spain?)

Hello all.

I've decided to take a few weeks out in September to do a cycle tour through France. The more I research it the more I want to see. The Loire Valley is alluring but i'm also interested in the Dordoigne area.

At first I was thinking i'd do something ridiculous like cycle from Geneva to Lisbon, covering four countries but mainly taking in France and Spain but it's just too much. I want to be able to take things in. Realistically I'm probably looking at doing around 1000 miles in 3 weeks which should leave time for some days off.

So i'm now deciding on a route. Dijon to Bordeaux via Lyon??? Saint Malo to Santander via Limoges?? Quite difficult to decide.

Strasbourg to Bordeaux via Dijon and Lyon???

Or just arrive in a place in france and cycle and see where I end up?!!!

It would be interesting to hear thoughts on this. I know thast at the end of the day it is my choice but forums oare a great way of brainstorming!
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Old 06-01-12, 04:21 PM
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zoltani
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There have been a few threads in the past days about route selection in France. Take a look at those. Anywhere in France would be good, excellent riding there, it's hard to go wrong. My personal favorite is the Massif Central area. I spent about 18 days just cycling around there.
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Old 06-01-12, 04:51 PM
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Doug64
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Strasbourg to Bordeaux via Dijon and Lyon???
This is a nice route. It was part of a route we did last summer. If you are interested you can get some highlights of the route at our blog site (August 2011):https://www.ddlivestrong.blogspot.com

Look at Euro Velo Route 6. It might be what you are looking for.
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Old 06-01-12, 05:12 PM
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raybo
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I really enjoyed riding up the Dordogne, Lot, Tarn, and Jonte Gorges on my way from Paris to Avignon. There was a steady climb up the gorges and getting out of them at the end required some serious climbing (in the rain). The ride down the Tarn Gorge is a life highlight.



You can read the journal of my ride through France, which contains hundreds of photos and details of my route.

One route I'd suggest might be St. Malo to Avignon.

No matter where you ride, you'll find France a bike tourist's paradise.
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Old 06-01-12, 05:33 PM
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Oh yes, gorge du tarn....amazing!





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Old 06-01-12, 08:29 PM
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My favorite area for touring is the Dordogne & Lot valleys in SW France. It has gorgeous scenery, medieval villages, caves, an absurd number of castles, great food, and a vast network of minor roads with little traffic. September is an excellent time to tour there. The Massif Central is also very nice, as as Burgundy, the Loire Valley, parts of Languedoc and parts of Provence. I don't think St. Malo to Limoges has as much to offer as the above regions. I've biked to Santander in northern Spain but I definitely prefer France. Among the possibilities you mentioned, Dijon to Bordeaux would be my recommendation.
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Old 06-02-12, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
There have been a few threads in the past days about route selection in France. Take a look at those. Anywhere in France would be good, excellent riding there, it's hard to go wrong. My personal favorite is the Massif Central area. I spent about 18 days just cycling around there.
Thanks Zoltani. I seen the other threads about cycling in France but I didn't want to "hijack" the threads by diverting the attention onto my route. It's good to hear that you like the Massif Central area. It sounds fantastic. I think i'm going to have about 18 days of cycling and keeping to one area does seems like a good idea.

Thanks everyone for your replies. I haven't had time to check all the links yet as I'm at work, but some great perspectives here. Keep the suggestions coming!
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Old 06-02-12, 12:15 PM
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In two weeks, I'll be starting in Barcelona, Spain, riding mostly north to Escouloubre, France, and then heading west to Bayonne, France. I'm going solo and plan to wild camp as much as possible.

From Escouloubre to Bayonne I'll mostly be on the Raid Pyrenees (a frequently travelled route that goes over many of the Tour's cols). You can buy just the Pyrenees chapter of the Lonely Planet's guide to cycling in France as a pdf for about $5 which covers the Raid. I didn't realize I was riding a popular route (the Raid) until a few days ago--I just planned my route to be on smallish roads.

I'm unsure if I can handle all the cols on a fully-loaded touring bike, so if it gets too tough or if I run out of time, I plan to ride north to flatter terrain and then follow the setting sun until I reach the Atlantic.
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Old 06-03-12, 03:13 AM
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There are many feeder routes to Galicia, and the Camino Santiago d Campostello

thru France , in fact there are places in Scotland , that have been considered one of the pilgrims paths.
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Old 06-04-12, 10:58 AM
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I'm starting to plan my 2013 tour, and am planning on going to the Costa Brava. If you were to go to Spain, from France, I am sure this is a good way to go. I've been there before, though not cycling, and some of the towns are amazing - Girona being a highlight. Some of the bays are also stunning. Styall Blava being the best in my opinion. There are a few cycle routes - the Greenways, though that's about it. Some of the major roads are pretty car and truck heavy, but some of the lesser roads are quiet and very pretty. Like I said, I've never cycles there, so would be interested if anyone has any direct experience (though not wishing to hijack your thread).
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Old 07-06-12, 07:43 AM
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The Moselle River Path is gorgeous in France and Germany. The Doubs River path is as well, taking you from Basel to the Saone River. The Loire is wonderful and will take you clear across France. Link up the river paths for a beautiful, carfree route.
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