France: Cycling on Coast Paths and Wild Camping

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Claud
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Joined: 19 Nov 2008, 6:54pm

France: Cycling on Coast Paths and Wild Camping

Postby Claud » 25 Jul 2014, 5:52pm

Hi,

A more couple of quick questions I’m hoping some here can advise on before we head off next week along the Breton coast ..........

1) Is cycling on the coast path allowed?
Mostly we’ll stick to the official Tour de Manche route, but a couple of short off-road detours right along the sea would be great, and from the pics I’ve seen some of the coastpath looks to have a good surface for riding, eg. around Perros Guirec.

2) What are the rules on wild camping in France? I’m particularly thinking of the grassy bits on headlands or above beaches.

(So far googling says nothing about #1, and nothing definitive about #2, but maybe it’s OK-ish??)

Thanks!

geocycle
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Joined: 11 Jan 2007, 9:46am

Re: France: Cycling on Coast Paths and Wild Camping

Postby geocycle » 25 Jul 2014, 7:37pm

Claud wrote:Hi,

A more couple of quick questions I’m hoping some here can advise on before we head off next week along the Breton coast ..........

1) Is cycling on the coast path allowed?
Mostly we’ll stick to the official Tour de Manche route, but a couple of short off-road detours right along the sea would be great, and from the pics I’ve seen some of the coastpath looks to have a good surface for riding, eg. around Perros Guirec.

2) What are the rules on wild camping in France? I’m particularly thinking of the grassy bits on headlands or above beaches.

(So far googling says nothing about #1, and nothing definitive about #2, but maybe it’s OK-ish??)

Thanks!


I'm currently on the TdM route. Day one from Cherbourg to carentan was mainly on an old railway. Surface was rough and v dusty. Chain, bike and me covered in link dust. Today was mainly on a path along the Vire, a much better surface. Heading to mont st michel tomorrow, will let you know!

geocycle
Posts: 1142
Joined: 11 Jan 2007, 9:46am

Re: France: Cycling on Coast Paths and Wild Camping

Postby geocycle » 31 Jul 2014, 8:24pm

I came pretty close to the paths you mention. I didn't actually use them. My general impression is that given the steep ups and downs I'd be reluctant to chance it on a footpath. The off-road sections of the TdM are mainly excellent but there are a few rough sections at the Brittany end of the route. In terms of hills, think of Brittany as a tamer version of Cornwall.

Here's an example of a path I didn't ride down, not a cycle route in the area you mention. Problem is not knowing what's round the corner!

image.jpg

Mike Sales
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Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm
Location: Fenland

Re: France: Cycling on Coast Paths and Wild Camping

Postby Mike Sales » 31 Jul 2014, 9:22pm

Claud wrote:2) What are the rules on wild camping in France? I’m particularly thinking of the grassy bits on headlands or above beaches.

(So far googling says nothing about #1, and nothing definitive about #2, but maybe it’s OK-ish??)

Thanks!


Years ago I did a fair bit of "camping sauvage" in France. I had no trouble, even in some fairly visible places.
I also found that "camping municipal" in less tourist areas was good, and often free.
Mind you, this was a while ago.

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BeeKeeper
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Location: South Devon

Re: France: Cycling on Coast Paths and Wild Camping

Postby BeeKeeper » 31 Jul 2014, 9:46pm

I can't speak for the specific paths you mention but my experience of coastal footpath in Brittany is some have signs banning cycling, some are just too narrow and some are on soft sand. Not ideal cycling and at this time of year you are likely to find lots of walkers on them.

I've seen quite a few people wild camping in small tents in France so it is not unknown. But for me the thought of stopping to camp all hot and sweaty after a day's ride without a shower is not attractive. I would be aiming for a campsite, but then perhaps I'm an old softie! Wild campers also tend to stop and camp late. I prefer stopping around 5 o'clock.

bretonbikes
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Joined: 3 Dec 2008, 12:35pm
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Re: France: Cycling on Coast Paths and Wild Camping

Postby bretonbikes » 10 Aug 2014, 2:58pm

As mentioned much of the path is steep and rocky and hard work on foot let alone ona bike. And being narrow it'll cheese off a lot of walkers.

Lots of people wild camp, but why not just ask a local farmer - most are great and often you get asked for dinner;-)

Claud
Posts: 27
Joined: 19 Nov 2008, 6:54pm

Re: France: Cycling on Coast Paths and Wild Camping

Postby Claud » 10 Aug 2014, 9:03pm

Thanks, All.

In the end there was no time for the coast paths (see TdM mapping thread). And most replies came in after we left, so just went for it with the wild camping. Spent one night in a tiny grassy cliff top carpark, along with a Dutch guy in his VW van. Another night we spotted a suitable looking field, asked at the house next to it, and got invited in his spare room :D .

southerly
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Joined: 31 Oct 2014, 12:27pm

Re: France: Cycling on Coast Paths and Wild Camping

Postby southerly » 31 Oct 2014, 2:51pm

mikesales,
spot on - private sites are no better than municipal ones and are quite expensive now. Due to the Revolution there is no such thing as trespass in France.In 85 I well remember meeting two French girls on a tandem who were planning to camp 'au sauvage'. They asked me if I would like to join them - that was a memorable 2 days :D - it took me a week to fully recover!


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