Family friendly parts of france

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bunker
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Family friendly parts of france

Postby bunker » 16 Jul 2009, 10:54am

I am looking for suggestions for the best region of France to cycle with a young family, 1 on her own bike and 1 on a tag-along. We will be camping in a base camp site and want good cycle paths or quiet roads, preferably in a sunny and relatively flat region.

Suggestions please!
Paul, Sussex

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braz
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Re: Family friendly parts of france

Postby braz » 16 Jul 2009, 11:23am

Try southern Brittany. Cycle lanes on old railway lines (http://www.randobreizh.org), the Nantes-Brest canal towpath, and lots of quiet lanes. If you cross to Roscoff there is a cycle path all the way from Morlaix to Carhaix, and from Carhaix to St Meen (from where it's a short hop on the lanes to Mauron, where the Voie Verte to Questembert starts)

A great campsite with good facilities at Loyat (http://www.campingmerlin.com) ask for Keith or Gemma! There are also municipal campsites at Malestroit, St Congard, and Peillac, as well as many others scattered around. For something a bit more permanent look at http://www.la-roseraie-in-brittany.com for a b & b with an apartment, and a great 'links' page with lots of usefull information on it - including the best site for b & b's anywhere in France (forget Gites de France!).

Hope this helps! Worth remembering - if you have not been there before - that everything closes down in France between 12 and 3, so get your food organised early - especially if you are in those 'out of the way' areas! PM me if I can be of further help.

regards, Braz.

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braz
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Re: Family friendly parts of france

Postby braz » 16 Jul 2009, 12:08pm

Forgot to mention http://www.af3v.org.

regards, Braz.

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Cyclefrance
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Re: Family friendly parts of france

Postby Cyclefrance » 16 Jul 2009, 2:56pm

Baie de Somme mught suit as well - you could cycle from Calais (or take the train to Abbeville)- take the Eurotunnel Cycle Service across if you don't plan taking your bikes across on the back/roof of a car

http://www.geocities.com/cyclefrance2004

aquilegia
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Re: Family friendly parts of france

Postby aquilegia » 21 Jul 2009, 11:11pm

The Loire valley has very gentle terrain and a wealth of little roads. With a good map, it's easy to find country lanes which have very little traffic. The weather is drier than Brittany & Normandy, too.

MartinBrice
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Re: Family friendly parts of france

Postby MartinBrice » 22 Jul 2009, 9:35am

I believe the Loir (without an e on the end) is a quieter area to cycle in, certainly the Loire (with an e) near Tours is in a valley (unsurprisingly) and the N roads also follow the valley and they are noisy fast and dangerous, and best avoided. There are towpaths and footpaths along the river but they are always within sound of busy roads. So if you plan to go to the Loire then plan well. Have you thought of the area around Calais? Easy to get to, and the bit slightly to the north towards Dunkirk is absolutely riddled with canals with paths and is very flat. With young children I would have thought a long journey was best avoided. that's my experience anyway.....
Last edited by MartinBrice on 22 Jul 2009, 10:52am, edited 1 time in total.

neilob
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Re: Family friendly parts of france

Postby neilob » 22 Jul 2009, 10:35am

If you are prepared to go further south that the other suggestions, head for Les Landes in Acquitaine. It's effectively a massive pine forest that stretches up the coast from Biarritz up to Arcachon (near Bordeaux). There are hundreds and hundreds of miles of safe, flat cycle tracks through the forest that avoid roads of any kind. Every few miles there is a beach you can stop at with campsites. The weather is pretty guaranteed and the Bike Express (used to anyway) allows you to get off near Biarritz and get back on at Bordeaux 15 days later......highly recommended.
Neil
Using a car to take an adult on a three mile journey is the same as using an atomic bomb to kill a canary.

dodger
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Re: Family friendly parts of france

Postby dodger » 22 Jul 2009, 7:32pm

A note of caution on Les Landes beaches all along the west coast.
There are severe and dangerous currents all along the coast and even experienced swimmers have drowned, so only bathe where there are lifeguards. My friend's son was a strong teenage swimmer but just disappeared in a tidal rip.

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Neil Wheadon
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Re: Family friendly parts of france

Postby Neil Wheadon » 22 Jul 2009, 11:57pm

Normandy is good.
I did a CTC chateau holiday there last years for 11 families. Flat but can be windy on the coast and you don't have to travel too far, which is a huge advantage. There's a network of greenways, but the roads are pretty quiet
Neil
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Robert
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Re: Family friendly parts of france

Postby Robert » 23 Jul 2009, 1:58am

You can't guarantee the weather in any part of France, and the west coast can be windy. We spent three wet and determined days battling against a headwind from La Rochelle down to Andernos on the Baie D'Arcachon. We spent two nights there and the weather was pretty nice for one afternoon. We got a great pitch on the edge of the bay, what the picture doesn't show is the wind.

Image

The area is flat and there's a wealth of cycle paths that were well used by families especially near the towns, I'm not sure how far you want to go in a day, but there are plenty of places around the bay that would be an easy day's ride. The only downside is that I believe it gets very busy in July and August, but others might correct me.

I'm not so keen on the coast further north, this is Montalivet les Bains - ok that photo doesn't show it up in it's best light, but there's only so much a bit of sunshine can do.

Image

...and this view gets pretty boring after a whole day.

Image

groberts
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Re: Family friendly parts of france

Postby groberts » 25 Jul 2009, 5:03pm

Bunker, take a look at my trip report for the Avenue Verte which I have just filed - reckon it's perfect and easy to get to. If you stayed at the camp site there is an activity centre for children next door on the lakes which includes sailing, canoing, rock climbing etc and of course the sea is nearby too. Contact me if you need any further info. Graham

mbailey
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Re: Family friendly parts of france

Postby mbailey » 3 Aug 2009, 9:18pm

We went to Saint Palais Sur Mer on the french west coast, half way between La Rochelle and Bordeaux.

The cycle paths were excellent, far better than we were expecting. I had some long rides on my own, and also we had some great family rides. On one ride I took my daughter (age 6) on her bike and we did 20 miles!