See the section for France of
the Trento Bike Pages.
Extracted from a posting of Fredric A. Diegel (firstname.lastname@example.org) to
rec.bicycles.rides on Sat, 14 Jan 1995 02:54:03 GMT
France is my personal choice for best cycle touring.
Although there are many areas that I have not toured yet, trips to
Lorraine, Alsace, Vosges, Doubs, Alps, Pyrenees, and Provence have
all been great. Remaining on my short list are Brittany, Normandy, and
the Massif Central. I think I'll stay away from standard tourist destinations
like the Loire, and the big cities of Northern France. If I had to choose my
favorite trip so far, it would have to be a big loop I did from Nice
down the Riviera, around Provence, and back and forth across the
Maritime Alps into Italy. OTOH, the Pyrenees trip was also great.
My favorite mode of touring in France is to select an interesting area
that I have never visited, put my bike in a box, take some travelers
checks, take a plane, arrive and ride away with no plan or itinerary.
If you don't travel during the August holiday season, accomodations in
the countryside are never a problem, reservations unnecessary. Use the
Michelin maps and Green Guides and explore. If you're tired or it's
late, you stop, no itinerary necessary. Lots of scenery, history, and
beautiful back roads. The joy of roadbiking to me is traveling light
Good reasons to tour in France:
Food, wine, scenery, and history
If you like cycling in the mountains, France is fantastic. Lots of long
beautiful climbs (and descents :-), many on lightly traveled roads.
The Michelin maps give a good indication. Also, there's always a cafe
or hotel nearby to soak up some fantastic coffee and pastry or
chocolate if necessary).
A dense and twisted network of paved back roads ranging from single
track paths (narrow "white roads") to lightly traveled two-lane
highways ("yellow roads"). The Michelin maps are great, and they are
available in any town. The maps include an indication of road surface
and traffic density, topography (specific locations of steep grades are
annotated), scenic routes, vegetation, and historical and cultural
sites keyed to the Green Guides.
Friendly and helpful people with a great love of cycling and bicycle
touring. Hoteliers are quite welcoming of cyclists. To give you an idea
of the cycling culture, one often sees older men, in full racing
attire, cruising out of their farms early in the morning on impressive
roadbikes to climb to the pass and back (I think the general attitude
of rural folks in the states towards cycling, although changing, has a
way to go). Motorists, though somewhat daring by US standards, are
generally respectful and tolerant of cylists.
Best of all, IMHO, you can leave your helmets back home (personal
choice, no flames please). You won't be assaulted for enjoying your ride
helmetless. If you do wear helmets, you'll definitely stand out, no one
wears helmets there.