This page was last updated Thu 04 January 2018.
This page lists all reports that for France only that do not involve other countries.
Click here for a list of all reports involving France.
All descriptions are in English, unless otherwise noted.
|Cycling the High Pyrenees
tour started September 2005, submitted 8 January 2006
Unrelenting switchbacks, beautiful rugged peaks and the history of the Tour de France. 27 photos and movies (movie) by Steven Hill and Rebecca Heald.
The formidable reputation of the French Pyr´n´es is what intrigued me most. That the best cyclists appear to suffer like mere-mortals each year during the most crucial stages of the Tour de France is a sadistic lure of this great mountain range. Of course, I also wanted to check out, first hand, the beautiful, rugged scenery. My quiver of cycling climbs would be incomplete without the legendary Tourmalet, Ausbisque and so many others.
|A cycletour of Brittany, NW France, 1999
tour started September 1999, submitted 3 January 2006
A self-contained cyclecamping tour of Brittany in September 1999, lasting eleven days and 600 kilometres, with photos.
``The payback for the long uphill stretches came later on, when the last ten kilometres of the day's run to Carhaix was very fast indeed, down superbly smooth highway. Thus it was that I made good time in getting to Carhaix-Plouguer, stopping at the Intermarch´ supermarket to stock up on foodstuffs, toilet rolls and wine. I had been forewarned that the supermarket stood at the top of a very long hill which led down to the Les Hyères campsite, where we would be setting up camp that night, and so it would be wise to stock up there before heading down to the campsite. The bike made a comical sight when I had managed to stow the toilet paper (see picture).''
tour started August 2003, submitted 24 December 2005
In 2003 I attempted Paris-Brest-Paris. I didn't finish due to knee troubles, but had a wonderful time nonetheless.
|Tour of the French Alps 2002, Grenoble to Nice
tour started June 2002, submitted 24 December 2005
This report covers my first tour of the Alps with three other people, starting in Grenoble and ending in Nice- including my first-ever mountain: l'Alpe-d'Huez. A beautiful 10 days' ride in beautiful weather, over a beautiful landscape.
|The record of the Breton Bikes charity ride in the Pyrenees
tour started October 2003, submitted 17 November 2005
In September 2003 I organised and led a charity ride in the Pyrenees. A group of 14 braved the elements, and gravity, to raise £12,000 for Intermediate Technology Development Group. The two-week trip involved tears and blood, food and wine, 2000m cols and 50 mph descents. What follows is the record of that trip.
|Entlang der Loire von Nevers bis Angers
tour started April 2004, submitted 17 November 2005
A self supported relaxed bike tour along the beautiful Loire valley. Pretty villages, nature, castles, delicious food, nice hotels - a report of a nearly perfect tour.
Additional infos about travel by train in France.
|Demi Tour de France
tour started August 2004
>Viewing the Pyrénées stages of the 2003 Tour de France inspired me to choose this itinerary. I knew that replicating the actual TDF stages would be much too long (as the stages are not interconnected) but at the end of the day, I rode 2,488 km which is more than 2/3 of the actual length of the Tour: 3427 km! Having said this, my general average was 82.7 km/cycling day, a very small number by TDF standards.
The general game plan for the demi tour was sketched on a map of France (1/2,000,000). The trajectory chosen as I rode was varied, never dull, grandiose in the Pyrenean cols and valleys, and sprinkled with a number of spectacular towns and cities (Bourges, Toulouse, Poitiers, Chinon, Blois, Chartres, Versailles to name only a few).
Stayed in hotels (generally 2* which is admittedly pricy!), B&B’s and in a Youth hostel (10 Euros/night). Travel can be cheap in France, even without camping. I carried 17 kg of gear.
|La Haure Route des Pyrénées à Vélo
tour started May 2003
Qu'est-ce que le cyclotourisme? C'est de l'amour ambulant dont la nature est l'objet. Nous devons cette définition à Henri de la Tombelle , dans son manuel du cyclotourisme édité en 1943, et je n'en connais pas de plus satisfaisante.
Pour ma part, même si le cyclotourisme demeure une activité ayant ses exigences d'effort et d'endurance, il n'est pas question de devenir esclave de la moyenne kilométrique. Dans la pratique du vélo, je vois essentiellement une façon agréable de se déplacer dans la nature, de découvrir des paysages, des régions, de réviser sa géographie en allant sur place ressentir la profondeur d'une belle vallée ou l'altitude d'une montagne.
Le Pyrénées, lorsqu'on habite Toulouse, sont l'objet de nombreuses conversations entre amoureux de la nature. Très nombreux sont les adeptes des randonnées durant l'été, et du ski durant l'hiver. Pour notre part, peu attirés par le ski et occupés à bien d'autres activités en été (du vélo par exemple), ces montagnes, pourtant si proches, demeuraient étrangères à nos pérégrinations et du coup globalement méconnues.
|Return to Provence - Our second tandem trip in Provence
tour started May 2003
We encountered not one hint of anti-American feeling or negativity. Just as last year, the French people were wonderful. People repeatedly went out of their way to help us. One small example: Early in the trip, we were passing through a very small town with almost no signposting on the various intersections. On our third pass through the downtown trying to find the right road, we stopped to ask directions of two ladies talking in to main square. After some discussion, one of them went and got her car and drove to the edge of town just to show us the right way.
Summing up the trip, we had a wonderful time, ate lots of really great food and rode enogh miles not to gain weight in the process. What more can one ask from a vacation?
|A Tandem in Provence 2002 - Meandering through French countryside by tandem
tour started May 2002
We are David and Suzette Welch, a nurse and librarian living in Chico California. Even though we are longtime cyclists and tandemists, and took a two week tour for our honeymoon thirty years ago, neither of us had been to Europe before and our total touring experience over the years has been pretty modest. But with age advancing upon us (total team age at the time of this trip was 111 years) we decided it was time to start doing some of those trips we had dreamed of for years.
With an eye to this trip, we had acquired a coupled tandem, which makes the non-cycling parts of the travel ever so much easier. Determined not to be more gauche than necessary, we put a certain amount of time into the study of French. Suzette, with more background and more free time did rather better at that than David. We did lots of pre-trip research online. Particularly helpful were the trip reports posted on the Trento Bike Pages and the generous and expert advice of many of the folks on the Tandem@Hobbes listserve. We dedicate this journal to all those people whose advice helped us, in the hope that this information may help someone else and encourage others to make similar trips.
|Biking in France
tour started 2002
This is a trip I took in 2002, starting in Dinan in Brittany and biking northeast along the coast through Mont-St-Michel, across the Cotentin penninsula and the D-Day invasion beaches in Normandy, ending in Honfleur. There are nine pages here, each with about a dozen pictures and detailed description.
tour started 2002
Welcome to the diary and pics from our July 2002 trip to Amsterdam, Brussels, and mostly France. Amsterdam and Brussels were explorered on foot, but for France we took our bikes with all the way from South Africa. For friends, enjoy the pics and diary. For others, we hope that our experiences and info we've given here help to make planning your trip a little easier.
We were originally planning a conventional holiday overseas, until I had the good fortune to spot the Lonely Planet Cycling France book in a bookshop, which really got the planning juices going. We had bikes, a reasonable level of fitness, France sounded great for riding, we could get to see some of the Tour de France, ... it sounded like the perfect holiday!
|Sherwood Cycling Club
tour started 2002
After watching Lance and the Tour de France peleton zoom through the Alps in the 2002 Tour, me and my clubmates Neil and Chris started to plan a quick four day dash to the Alps to sample the famous climbs, and get a late season fitness boost. Chris was the organizer and did a superb job of finding accomodation and booking flights. We flew to Grenoble [and stayed] in Venosc.
Venosc is a charming, quiet mountain village with narrow, cobbled alleys, craft shops, bars and restaurants. I recommend ``Le Petit Pub'' just below the church, and the Pizzeria just round the corner where they make your pizzas right in front of you on a wood fired oven.
The only snag about staying there is that every day begins with a cold descent back to the N91 in the Romanche Valley, and ends with a tough climb back to Venosc. The redeeming features of the return climb are the fact that it isn't very long, and that you can also visit the Dutch cycling pub on the way back. This is marked by a red bicycle at the side of the road and is worth a visit for the friendly, English-speaking service, and good Pelforth beer served. They do afternoon pasta too!
On the first day we decided to warm up on the Col de Sarenne approach to the village of Alped'Huez. We climbed towards the Lautaret on the N91 to Freney d'Oisans, crossed the dam, and turned left on the D25 towards Mizoen. Follow the left fork above the village through Clavans le Bas and Clavans le Haut. The road above the villages is a tremendous, quiet climb in an open valley with great views. The surface is very poor, but it's not too much of a problem when climbing. [In the picture at right you see] Chris climbing towards the col. The small village at the right of the picture is Clavans le Haut, only about half way up the climb.
|A Cycle Tour in Southwest France
tour started 2002
This site is about our cycling adventure to the southwest of France in the fall of 2002. We loved our trip so much, we decided to put up this site to share our photos, share our stories and hopefully inspire fellow cyclists to visit this stunning part of France. Enchanting medieval towns, quiet back roads, breathtaking landscapes, friendly people, and of course, great food and wine await you in this beautiful country. We have traveled in many areas of France by bike: Normandy, Brittany, Loire Valley, Alsace, Provence, The Alps, Corsica and Paris. In our humble opinion, there is no better way to see France then on the seat of your bike, with a baguette and fine bottle of wine strapped to your panniers.
Our trip was an 18-day tour of the Southwest, encompassing the regions of Perigord and Quercy. We cycled along the beautiful Dordogne, Vézère, Lot and Célé rivers. The months of September and October are an excellent time to bike tour in this region. The fall colors, grape harvests and cooler temperatures made the cycling very enjoyable and we avoided the hordes of tourists who flock here during the summer months. With the exception of the huge thunderstorm we experienced in Bordeaux the first day, the rest of the trip broughtnothing but sunny, clear skies. We cycled 11 out of the 18 days covering 660km, staying at campgrounds and budget hotels along the way. It was a fantastic tour and we highly recommend it to anyone.
The slow pace of cycle touring allows you to truly see andappreciate a country. You have the opportunity to see small villages and meet local people that you would otherwise not experience. Imagine riding along the banks of a gentle flowing river, with fairy tail castles in the distance, visiting medieval towns and lunching on fresh bread, great cheese and some of the best wine in the world. Most tours can be tailored to fit all levels of fitness; you don't have to be an athlete to enjoy riding your bike along the French countryside. By touring on a bike, your vacation becomes an adventure; you experience the real country, not just the tourist sites. Fresh air, exercise, beautiful scenery and let's not forget guilt-free indulging. Bike touring is the way to go.
|Trevor and Thea's 2001 Tour de Provence
tour started July 2001
Some friend's weather horrors of last year prompted us to 1) go somewhere with good weather and 2) hire a car to introduce more off-bike possibilities. Provence fitted the weather bill [...] So: Just drive carefully, and expect every blind corner to have someone in a battered 106 coming too fast the other way in the middle of the road, and you won't go far wrong.
|Radtour Thonon - Nizza / Route des Grandes Alpes
tour started July 2001
Eine anspruchsvolle Radtour in 8 Tagesetappen über insgesamt 620 km durch die französischen Alpen; Tagesetappen zwischen 64 und 95 Kilometer.
That's an itinerary used by a lot of people. It's a route for hardcore bikers. That's the reason why so many reports are published about this famous route though the Alpes. It is a part of 'Le Tour de France' with all its fascination.
|Central France: Massif Central
tour started May 2001
Alès is a quiet town at the southern edge of the Massif Central, France's central mountains. We stayed the night in Alès and entered the mountains the next morning. The ride from Alès to Le Puy on D906 was clearly the highlight of the entire tour. (Also, as it happens, my birthday.) The road winds its way through the deep narrow valleys of the mountains. There is very little traffic, and gorgeous views at every bend of the road.
|Paris-Roubaix 21-23 April 2001
tour started April 2001
This is my account of a trip to France to ride the Paris Roubaix race route. Being an ex- amateur racing cyclist and a devoted fan of cycle racing it has always been an ambition of mine and having spent many years watching the race on Eurosport I finally decided to give it a go. The route was plotted on a map from Internet race route details and constant study of video coverage. My brother Jong agreed to join me and my girlfriend Allison agreed to act as our `back up' vehicle. We rode standard race bikes with 700c x 23 tyres (Kevlar). Mine is equipped with carbon forks and Jong's with steel straight forks and apart from routine maintenance we set off with no special precautions.
The 2001 edition of the race was run off the previous weekend in absolute hellish conditions and we were afraid that we would encounter the same. The week before we went was accompanied with strong cold Northerly winds and constant downpours of hail and sleet so I was very nervous. The race is steeped in legend, `Hell of the North' etc but in fact is a very pleasant and interesting route (when dry!) and is virtually untouched by traffic beyond Bohain. We enjoyed it immensely and I would recommend it but unless you are a real purist like me then don't bother with the Compiegne - St Quentin leg.
|Photo album of our trip to France
tour started 2001
Covering the Loire and the Coast.
|Jerry's Tour le Pyrenées - Eleven days in the Pyrenées
tour started 2001
I soon was on my way up to Col d'Azet (1580 m) - it was blazingly hot so I was lucky I stayed by the shop before starting the second climb of the day. There were really many cyclists out now as the Tour de France was now only something like three hour behind us ;-). At the start of the real climb there were two italians who passed by me looking very serious and I again could not help but try to figure out just how good these chaps could be. I noticed they got slightly irritated by not be able to shake me off, although they at a few places got away from me a couple of meters, I simply did not give up and always catched up with them. When approaching the top I for some reason got some extra strength and just slowly raised the speed until they both had to give up and they stopped to shake hands with me at the top and a waiting girlfriend (of them) took the photo here. The average speed up this climb was around 14 km/h, which I think is rather good for an amateur like me. The Tour de France riders do not go terribly much faster really (maybe up to 18 km/h perhaps - do not exactly though).
This was a smaller road and, as often on narrower roads, it were very nice scenery around there, as you could see. It was a somewhat hilarious ride down to the valley below and I continued down the valley to Arreau where I had lunch. Now I had taken off from the Tour route for the day (they were going to Plan d'Adet - just across the valley from the Azet col).
I thought I should now take it a bit easier and not compete. I started gently on my way up to Col d'Aspin (1489 m), but soon there were an englishman (from the Docklands in London) passing by me and I changed my speed a little and followed him. We were both raising the speed a little and it thus turned into yet another competition (with almost as many people on the side of the road as previously despite that this was the Tour road for tomorrow). Well, a bit easier than with the Italians I sprinted away from him at the top of the Col and we talked a little and had someone take a photo of us both.
|Radtour auf Korsika (Corsica/Corse)
tour started May 2000
Nice report - includes route details and photographs.
|Gorges of Southern France
tour started May 2000
Starting at the mountain acropolis of Najac, I biked for 17 days along incredibly scenic rivers--the Aveyron, Lot, Cele, Dourdou, Truyere and Tarn--rivers that meander through deep gorges and loop around ancient villages and majestic chateaux. En route, I rode through some of the most delightful villages in France, which in Languedoc included several fortified cliffhanger villages built by the Cathars in the 12th century and looted by Simon de Montfort. Other highlights on this ride included medieval Conques, St. Cirque La Popie, Entraygues, Estaing, Florac and the Cevennes, the immense Gorge du Tarn and an exciting ride over the mountains of Haut Languedoc to Carcassonne. The day-by-day report not only describes my experiences but also tells how to duplicate my route.
|Marche, Umbria, Toscana
tour started May 2000
Ascoli Piceno is an almost perfectly conserved medieval town. The buildings are ancient, and many roads are narrow, winding, cobblestoned paths. We stayed at the youth hostel, which is an 11th-century tower. We were the only guests. The picture on the right shows the hostel tower. (Trust me, it's not easy to make good pictures of tall structures from narrow winding streets.)
This sets the theme for most of the towns and villages we visit for the rest of the tour - they are all incredibly charmingly ancient and authentic, unspoiled by tourism and past centuries and, in some cases, millenia. It's like people living in big living monuments of the past, and making it look as if it were the most normal thing in the world. I don't think you can find this anywhere else in the world; even the French are much quicker mingling old with new.
None of this, of course, stops the Italians from hurtling through their charming cobblestoned streets with noisy little automobiles or deafening two-stroke motorcycles.
|Corsica by bicycle
tour started 2000
In autumn 2,000, I spent 19 days cycling around this compact Mediterranean island on some of the most spectacular seacoast and mountain roads on earth. Day after day, I pedalled along clifftop roads high above the sea with a balcony view of the wild, rocky coast. In the interior, I cycled on quiet backroads through rugged gorges and to ancient villages perched high in the mountains. Traffic was mostly light and each night I stayed at a comfortable hotel in mountain villages or at beach resorts or fishing harbors or under the massive walls of medieval citadels. My route took me completely around Cap Corse and to the awsome heights of the col de Bavella, and I visited Corte, Bastia, St. Florent, Ile Rousse, Calvi, Porto, Ajaccio, Propriano, Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio. Day by day, this report describes exactly how I did it with loads of advice to help you experience Corsica by exactly the same route.
|France 2000 - Provence and Camargue
tour started 2000
Avignon - Nîmes - S.tes Maries de la Mer - Arles - Avignon.
|Tourmalet - The Hard Way
tour started 2000
The statistics are frightening, the Tourmalet is a ``Hors Catagorie'' climb, the most difficult of all, and a rare beast indeed. The Col is at 2115 m, nearly 7000 feet, the second highest in the Pyrenees and by repute, the most difficult. If you look at the Michelin map you'll see the road, previously marked in yellow, becomes made up of red and yellow dots. I've only seen this on a couple of sections of road in France and means that the road is very dangerous. But for the cycletourist it has two saving graces, firstly it is generally a steady though hard climb, the second is that it is so stunningly beautiful that by the top the part of you which will hurt most will be your neck from craning around at some of the most spectacular scenery in cycling.
|A days ride to Port d'Aula - An october passage into the Spanish Pyrenees over rough track
tour started October 1999
Includes very nice pictures. I had come for a holiday in the pyrenees to ride some of the cols I had seen during telecasts of the Tour de France . ,I decided to to tackle something over 2000m in altitude inspired by a picture I had seen and a sense of adventure I made my decision . The Port d'Alua at 2260m on the French/Spanish border . Although myself a roadie (now converted roadie /mountain biker ) at my hosts advice I geared up for this ride as a mountain biker as the last 12km or so are on a gravel road and mountain and mountain trail.
|Cycling Holiday 1999: Bordeaux to Toulouse
tour started September 1999
Here are some notes from the cycling holiday that we did in September 1999. It was a leisurely trip from Bordeaux to Toulouse passing through more interesting places than we expected. The tour included several spectacular medieval towns, picturesque villages, vineyards and chateaux. The landscape was varied, with rolling hills, impressive gorges and the odd cave to visit.
|Avignon - Dijon
tour started August 1999
Nicely done, with pictures and practical information.
|le Tour '99
tour started June 1999
A logbook with photographs of a tour starting in Paris.
|In the mist of time (Auvergne et Périgord)
tour started 1999
These pages are a recollection of our 1999 summer holidays. As summer approaches, the usual question comes more pressing: Where? For Martine with a bit of worry, for Nicolas with the ``I-will-be-against-anyway'' enthusiasm of youth, and for the grand-parents with a ``what-will-they-invent-this-year'' nod of the head. Of course, Simon will say as his brother. Satisfying everybody will be hard:-) There are two innovations this year: Simon will peddle his way on his trailer bike and we will try mountains. The general theme then begins to take form. We will ride through the mist of time, first with geology, then with prehistory.
Once the general theme is defined, the route planing process is straightforward. Start point: Clermont-Ferrand, end point: Surzur. Must see places: Le Puy de Dôme, Bort les Orgues, Padirac, Rocamadour, Pech Merl, Les Eyzzies, Lascaux. In between, the detailed route will be planed on a day by day basis, depending on weather, tiring, and mood of the gang.
|Loire River Valley, France, Bicycle Tour
tour started 1999
We have done the Bicycle tour of the Loire some 14 times with a variety of friends. Many times with our friend Bill Ransom [...] who passed away this year. We have toured other areas of France, but nothing quite compares with the Loire. We also enjoy trips to Civil War locations and we are eager for cycling companions.
|Loire River Valley
tour started 1999
This trip and variations of it have been ridden about 14 times by us. [...] This is a moderate mileage trip with the longest required riding day of around 50 miles. The shortest is about 22 and the rest fall in between. It can easily be extended in mileage or in time by spending two days in each location and riding a loop one day from each location.
|Yet Another Bicycle Tour in Southern France
tour started October 1998
A nice job, with particularly good pictures.
A solo, 21 days, 1300 km (800 miles) tour starting from Toulouse and ending in Marseille, going through the Canal de la Garonne, Quercy and Périgord (a very good place to start a bicycle tour in France), the prehistoric sites in the Dordogne and Vézère Valleys, the Aveyron uplands, the Canal du Midi, a string of medieval cities from Carcassonne to Arles, and the Mediterranean Coast.
|Over the passes of Savoie (and not only)
tour started August 1998
A beautifully illustrated report. The whole trip lasted for 918 kms which I covered with average speed of 17.7 km/h climbing 20,310 meters vertically. I used my touring steel bike with triple chain ring (52/42/30) and 7 speed rear block (12-23). I had two bags - one on the handlebars for maps, camera and some food and expandable Trek bag on the rear rack containing all my clothes, toiletry, and spares.
|Cycling in Corsica
tour started June 1998
[We] visited Corsica for 2 weeks in June 1998. We'd booked a week at each of two gîtes, and spent our final night at a hotel at Calvi. The first gîte was between St. Florent and Oletta, and gave us access to Cap Corse and the Conca d'Oro, both of which are pleasant, as are the two towns mentioned.
The second gîte was in the village of Casanova somewhat to the south of Corte, giving access to the Castagniccia and the gorges of the central mountains. This gîte no longer seems to appear in the brochures. But it is a wonderful region for cycling. The Castagniccia is made up of beautiful forested hills with ancient villages on each spur, topped by elegant campaniles. It's hard riding on idyllic lanes; paradise for the fit cyclist.
We would coast down to Corte and take long rides in the hills, stopping for delicious lunches. We'd return to Corte and fill our panniers with wine, mineral water, milk ... all the necessities of life. But it was 250 vertical metres back to Casanova, a ride which we did every day for a week. We felt that final climb.
|French Alps and Jura 1998
tour started June 1998
An excellent report, with nice pictures, useful information, and a good story
tour started 1998
Includes some photos and more photos in an attached Photo Album.
Donna and I have become pretty avid cyclists over the last two years, these few more months until our 50th birthdays being the second time in my life for a great interest in cycling and the first for Donna. [...] On our way through our research, we discovered Provence, the sunny southeast quadrant of [France]. We didn't know much about it at first, but over months of preparation and study, a tantalizing picture emerged of a regional culture that is to Paris as the Alabama we live in is to the bustling northeastern United States.
What we discovered about Provence made it our destination. The area is a land where shimmering olive groves and orderly vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see, where food is one of the most important elements of life, and where the disposition of people and plants is infused with the temperate weather and the colors that have attracted artists and poets for centuries.
tour started 1998
La Marmotte is one of the toughest and most spectacular one-day events in Europe, only 175km but with well over 5000m of climbing, finishing on that most famous of Tour de France battling grounds, the Alpe d'Huez.
|Free-Wheeling along the Dordogne or Recycling Cyrano de Bergerac
tour started November 1997
The bicycles skidded to a halt. There he stood with his unmistakably immense nose in the afternoon sun in the Place Myrpe of Bergerac, the arrogant guardsman, poet, lover and lately matine idol of the silver screen-- Cyrano de Bergerac! Later at the Café Cyrano over some dry white wine from this picturesque region of France, the truth emerged.