France is among the most visited countries in the world, with around 90 million tourists every year. Many of those tourists love to use their bike instead of a car, and if you’re one of them, this article will give you all the needed information for nice and fun cycling in
Also, check the list of essential bike gear and maintenance guide to be fully prepared for your planned bike trip.
When To Go Cycling In France
Although some places are more beautiful in early spring or autumn, when the colors start to change, overall the best time to go cycling in France is anywhere from early April until late October. Springs in France tend to be warm, and great weather can last even until early September.
This is among the best, if not even the best cycling region in the world. It offers everything for everyone – simple and easy, yet challenging and fun tracks for every biker in the world while facing light traffic almost all of the way. All of that happens in a location where you’ll be able to taste some of the most amazing wines in the world, along with amazing cuisine.
Our recommended starting point is Beaune, and head northwest to the Ouche Valley, but feel free to roam around, as there are many amazing things you can discover, like the Chateauneuf castle, one of the most iconic medieval sights in Europe. And the village near it will without a doubt blow your mind.
Distance – around 50 kilometers
Time – one day
So-called „route des Vins“ stretches through the area between France and Germany, so you’ll get an almost unique chance to learn about one of the most astonishing culture mixes as you ride through many historic towns and villages. Our suggested starting point should be Ottrott, and head to Illhaeusern, with a stop in Andlau to visit a church from the 12th century, and also in Mittelbergheim, where you can enjoy in their local food, wine and listen to fun and amazing stories locals can tell you.
You’ll also ride through the Grand Reid, beautiful wildlife park, where you’ll also get the chance to see Gallic burial monuments and mounds.
Distance – around 55 kilometers
Time – one day
Although Bordeaux has many things to offer, like wine tours or roaming through the city and learning about many historic places, the best option is to follow the Dordogne river. Take Saint-Emilion as your starting point, and head to the Bergerac. Along the way, check out Castillon-la-Bataille, where you’ll be able to feel the wind of history. Continue to Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, stop to eat, and continue towards the Chartreuse du Bignac.
Distance – around 75 kilometers
Time – between a day and two days
Yes, Paris is among the most popular tourist destinations in the world and it may not sound like such a good idea because it may be a real drag having to deal with so many other bikers, but this can be among the best experiences when it comes to biking in France. The first great option is riding along the banks of the Seine. Use your map to mark your destinations – our suggestions are Notre-Dame, Eiffel Tower, and Louvre – and hit the road. It may not be the best drill, but cycling along the banks of Seine will feed your soul.
You can also add some other places to the mix, like Beaubourg, Marais district or Places des the Vosges, or some other place that motivates you. All of these places are easy to reach with your bike, so you won’t have to worry if you’ll be able to access it.
Distance – depends on your chosen route
Time – from one day to one week
5. The Loire Valley
If you’re into history and love to ride through the roads previously visited by multiple royals while having to deal with almost no traffic along the way, then make the Loire castle your starting point, and move along the Indre River in the direction of the Azay le Rideau village. Once you reach this village, take some time to learn about the city, eat and relax before you continue your journey towards Chateau du Rivau. Just one suggestion, if you choose this trip – make sure your camera is always on a stand by!
Distance – 55 kilometers
Time – from one to two days
Provence is considered to be among the most popular European cycling destinations. Begin your journey at the Petit Luberon valley and go to Bonnieux village, from which the road will take you straight to the Pont Julien bridge made by ancient Romans around 2,000 years ago. Then, head to the village called Goult if you’re interested in catching a small break and grabbing some souvenirs, and finish your ride at La Bastide de Marie in Menerbes.
Distance – around 55 kilometers
Time – one day
7. Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic ocean is beautiful, astonishing, yet a bit frightening, so if you love to ride your bike while chills go down your spine, don’t miss the chance to try this trip out. This route is flat all along the way, and the road will take you by the Route du Sel, one of the oldest salt roads in history, then along beautiful villages like Ars-en-Re or Saint-Clement des Baleines, and the real gems come in the shape of the Loix and Les Portes villages. This ride is relaxing for your mind, yet challenging enough so you don’t think twice if the chance to ride it occurs.
Distance – around 90 kilometers
Time – from 2 to 7 days
Again, this tour is great for everyone, but only those who love to learn about history will enjoy it to the fullest. The first important thing that shaped the history of Normandy happened in 1066 and it is known as the Battle of Hastings, while the second thing that makes Normandy so important from the historic point of view is Allied landing that happened back on June 6th, 1944. Strong emotions are guaranteed. White sand beaches are only a plus.
Once you begin your trip through Normandy, it doesn’t matter where you go. You’ll run into horse-breeding farms, deep forests, and then suddenly reach the town of Deauville, also known as the „Parisian Riviera“. From there, it is recommended crossing the bridge so you can visit Trouville, one of the simplest yet most interesting villages in the whole of Europe.
Distance – around 40 kilometers
Time – one day
A bit of climb makes it challenging, but overall, biking in France shouldn’t be imagined without Nice. The main reason is pretty simple – it offers great exercise. However, that’s not what makes this trip so unique. Riding through Nice will give you the chance to enjoy one of the most beautiful sea sights thanks to many different shades and colors of the water. On the other end are many important historic locations, with Colline du Chateau being the most important one, mostly thanks to Israelite cemetery, where you can also visit Holocaust memorial.
Distance – depending on the chosen route
Time – from a few hours to a whole day
10. Samur And Angers
If you happen to be in the area of Anjou and want to spend some time on the road, going from Saumur to Angers will give you the chance to see many river islands, along with lots of subterranean caves and vine-covered slopes. If you visit it at the right time, you may even get the chance to see the local celebration, which is another reason to place it in your notebook and do your best not to skip it once you reach France.
Distance – 65 kilometers
Time – one day
11. Green Shade Of Mayenne
What makes Mayenne almost pure heaven when we speak about cycling in France is the fact that about 130 kilometers of old railway tracks have been restored, so you can focus on your cycling without having to worry about traffic. The air is as pure as it gets, the road takes you through castles, small but cute villages, and last but not the least, the fact you’ll be riding through the greenways brings the whole experience to a whole new level.
Distance – 85 kilometers
Time – one to two days
12. Pays De La Loire – Castles By Bike
Another great choice for history enthusiasts, this Pays de la Loire trip gives you the chance to visit three different castles. The first one on your list should be Saumur Castle, home of Dukes of Anjou in the 14th and 15th centuries. This castle is now one of the most visited museums in France.
From Saumur type Chateau du Lude in your navigation and ride until you reach the destination. Once you see the beauty, you’ll be thankful you’ve decided to begin your trip. What makes it so great and special isn’t only the architecture, but also amazing gardens. As a special surprise, you may get the chance to check out the labyrinth, read about the history of stables and even visit the underground, among many other surprises.
The last stop on your journey should be Chateau d’Angers, and from the moment you reach it you’ll get the sense you’re in Medieval time thanks to one of the largest drawbridges in the country. Admire the architecture, get souvenirs, and you can sit and refresh in some of the local coffee places.
Distance – from 20 to 80 kilometers
Time – from one to a few days
13. From Geneva to Lyon – Care For A Bite?
Lake Geneva is breathtaking, without a doubt. However, it may get you hungry, and while there, why not heading to Lyon, also known as the capital of gastronomy by many? Starting from Geneva and going through the Geneva vineyards, you’ll have the chance to enjoy the view that falls onto the Alps and take a few selfies along the way. As you continue your journey, you’ll go through gorges, lakes, marshes, waterfalls, villages, until you reach the city of Lugdunum, now known by the name of Lyon. Many great restaurants, amazing food, great dishes – it is more than worth the effort needed to cover around 300 kilometers in distance.
Distance – around 300
Time – up to one week
14. Rambouillet Forest Bike Ride
This one is for more experienced bikers. It starts from the Notre Dame Cathedral, and head to Montparnasse. Once you reach it, follow the Coulee Verte towards Sceaux and Massy, then continue your journey to Versailles, then the Chevreuse Valley, and the forest of Rambouillet to finish your trip.
Distance – up to 50 kilometers
Time – around a few hours
If France is called the best country in the world for cyclists, then the Nantes is with a reason cycling capital of the world. The first thing to check out should be, without a doubt, the banks of the Erdre river. The track follows all the river curves, which makes the trip more fun, and once you reach the town of Suce-Sur-Erdre you’ll be delighted by its river-port and everything included in it.
The second great destination is the Guerlain hunting house. You’ll get there if you head southwest, to the Lac de Grand-Lieu. This is one of the most delightful paths biking in France has to offer. Also, on this route, you should check the Memorial of slavery abolition in Nantes, followed by Trentemoult, La Maison du Lac de Grand-Lieu visitor center, and Saint-Aignan de Grand-Lieu.
Distance – depending on your chosen route
Time – a few hours
15. D-Day Veleroute
What makes France so important is the fact that one of the most important battles in the modern history of the world happened on the beaches in Normandy. The starting point is located in Arromanches-Les-Bains, where the allied soldiers landed and begun the operation now known as Overlord on June 6th, 1944. From this place, the road will take you through the Calvados and Manche counties, where you’ll get the chance to see local culture, traditions and learn how regular people live. The last stop is the Mont St-Michel monastery, one of the most beautiful and well-preserved ones from the medieval era.
Distance – around 210 kilometers
Time – a few days
16. Special Treat – Tour De France Route
Tour De France is known as „the world’s most prestigious and most difficult bicycle race“, which makes it the most ambitious challenge to participate in. The route of the race changes every year, but if you would like to try it out and if you have about a month to spare, check the starting point, and simply follow the route. The finishing point is at Champs-Élysées, and if you do finish it without a problem, you can say you’ve done something every biker dreams of. However, if you do decide to give it a go, make sure you’re in good enough condition, or else you may risk your health, or even your life.
Globo Surf Overview
Cycling in France is considered to be a real treat for every biker in the world, and this article will help you find the best track for biking in France long before you set your foot on the soil, so you’ll have more than enough time to prepare your bike.