France Trip

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
chrisandmary
Posts: 11
Joined: 15 Jun 2010, 12:43pm

Tour of France

Postby chrisandmary » 15 Jun 2010, 12:48pm

Hi
My partner and I have decided to take the summer off to tour France on our bikes. We do ride a fair bit (him more than me admittedly) but we have no real plans where we are going regarding a set route as it was a bit last minute deciding. We are off aruond 10 July 2010 and want to cycle to Portsmouth and sail to St Mala (we are in Derbyshire) but are worried about booking the ferry (necessary as it might be booked up) and no making it there in time. Also, not sure about the route and campsites on the way down? Any advice on that one?
Secondly, once we get to St Malo we are debating where to go. We have been to France most years in campers/cars etc so are Ok with the general layout but are unsure whether to go down the west coast as we want to go over the pyrenees at some point so head down to Central Massif which looks great.
We are able to be away for up to end of Sept - any thoughts??? sorry for being so vague.

chrisandmary
Posts: 11
Joined: 15 Jun 2010, 12:43pm

France Trip

Postby chrisandmary » 15 Jun 2010, 12:51pm

Hi
We want to bike to Portsmouth from Derbyshire to get a ferry to St Malo but are unsure how best to work out how long it will take as we need to pre-book the ferry as it is an overnighter and we want a cabin. Any way of checking a route and looking for campsites on the way?
Also, any general advice re: France welcome. We have campervaned there serveral times but now are on bikes with panniers. Want to some of the Pyrenees although noticed the Central Massif and this looks good as well!! Any thoughs - we are going to France on 14 July and can be away until end of September. Cheers

glueman
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Re: France Trip

Postby glueman » 15 Jun 2010, 2:55pm

It depends how much of a planner you are. With your schedule I'd just head south from the channel ports and play it by ear. The coast roads will be busy but twenty miles inland is a different story. You'll be unlikely to have trouble finding a campsite inland either, though the largest ones will be busier in the French national holidays. We've never had a problem finding a municipal campsite in France.

It's worth taking a detailed map, the pages from a road atlas or similar so you can navigate the back roads where cars are still a rarity. Until you get used to a comfortable daily mileage - which can depend on the weather and your fitness - try not to plan too far ahead.
For UK sites Cades camping book is handy.

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simonineaston
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Location: Bristol - work in... Yate!

Re: France Trip

Postby simonineaston » 15 Jun 2010, 4:12pm

I wouldn't worry too much about booking the ferry - if you travel off-peak, they'll almost certainly be able to offer you a cabin - or else you can always go via one of the high speed services from Portsmouth, or nearby Poole, that go across duing the day. Only trouble with these nippy fellows is that you'll miss out on the yummy silver-service dinner offered on the long cross.
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

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Millhouse
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Joined: 27 Sep 2007, 8:24pm
Location: Clitheroe, Lancashire.

Re: France Trip

Postby Millhouse » 15 Jun 2010, 6:19pm

Wow, touring France from July to end of Sept, how fantastic! I went a couple of years ago, my only plan was to get off the bus at Bayonne and go east along the Pyrennes. I didn't book anything in advance and planned each day as it came. Camping in France is no problem and the vast majority of French drivers respect cyclists. I bought a detailed road atlas and just chose the route I fancied. I ended up going through Provence, along some of the Med coast and into Nice, then north along the Alps to Annecy(fantastic very cycle friendly) then west across country. An excellent experience, 1600 miles over 4 weeks, so the time you've got you could go round it 2 or 3 times!!
Bon Courage!

andyl
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Joined: 7 Jul 2010, 4:01pm

Re: France Trip

Postby andyl » 7 Jul 2010, 4:05pm

I will be doing something very similar. Set off from st Malo and then just head south. See what happens. Its my first touring trip so I don't really know what to expect.I hoping to do some wild camping along the way down into spain just to save costs. I might see you on the ferry. I'm off on the 13th July. Arrive on the 14th on Bastille day. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing??

juice
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Joined: 12 Jul 2007, 4:46pm

Re: France Trip

Postby juice » 7 Jul 2010, 6:57pm

I did Barritz to St Malo a couple of years back about 1000km. It was fantastic. Basically followed the coast north all on bike tracks for about 800km. Then thro Brittany on the road and canals to St Malo. It was flat all the way and camp sites everywhere. If you did it going south you could combine it with the canal du midi to the med.

MartinBrice
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Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

Re: France Trip

Postby MartinBrice » 7 Jul 2010, 8:23pm

you might want to buy the camping & caravanning club book pf french campsites, you can get an old one on ebay. it'll tell you where the sites are, which can be handy because then each day you have a rough idea of where you're going to camp the next night.
also - have you thought of starting in the south and coming back slowly? you could get the bike bus down from the north (it starts in stokesley which is near newcastle) all the way to the french south coast in one easy hit, everything included - no ferries to book, no cabins, etc etc. then you could potter back at your own pace - the advantage of this is that you won't then have the problem of getting back from the south of france with two bikes, either by train (via paris :( ) or by air (bike bags, dismantling bikes, etc etc :shock: )

chrisandmary
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Joined: 15 Jun 2010, 12:43pm

Re: France Trip

Postby chrisandmary » 8 Jul 2010, 11:17am

Thanks for the replies - we are off on the ferry on 14th so won't bump into you on the ferry but good luck with your trip - you sound about as organised as us!!

Thanks for the advice re the bike bus (never heard of it) but it is all planned now. I guess if we went south to north we would still have to sort out a ferry/train back to UK?

Packing the panniers tomorrow and leaving on Sat which should be fun and praying the weather stays nice for our ride down to Portsmouth which is around 210 miles. Just hoping my legs last out - I am only an occasional cyclist so god knows what will happen

lisap
Posts: 301
Joined: 16 Jan 2007, 2:29pm
Location: On the edge of the Cotswolds

Re: France Trip

Postby lisap » 8 Jul 2010, 12:14pm

Chris and Mary if you need a place to stay on your way down I am a warm showers host and used to taking in touring cyclist for the night.

Approx 8 miles north of Winchester so close to Portsmouth and if you find yourself running short of time on the Waterloo to Portsmouth rail network.

Either camp in the garden or use the guest room, plus you can do laundry, use the kitchen and I have bike tools. (Only caveat is that I have 3 cats and not everyone likes cats or if your allergic it can be a problem)

Just PM me if your interested.

Have a good trip

Lisa

chrisandmary
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Joined: 15 Jun 2010, 12:43pm

Re: France Trip

Postby chrisandmary » 8 Jul 2010, 1:19pm

Wow, what a kind offer Lisa - unfortuately I am rubbish with computers - how do you pm someone??

lisap
Posts: 301
Joined: 16 Jan 2007, 2:29pm
Location: On the edge of the Cotswolds

Re: France Trip

Postby lisap » 8 Jul 2010, 2:01pm

On the right hand side of the post under users name there should be a little PM logo. Click on that and it will take you to a new screen and you can send me a message if you need to.

TwoPlusTen
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Re: France Trip

Postby TwoPlusTen » 8 Jul 2010, 3:32pm

lisap wrote:On the right hand side of the post under users name there should be a little PM logo. Click on that and it will take you to a new screen and you can send me a message if you need to.

... except that you need to enable it in your control panel, I think. You haven't....

Edited to add... yes, I'm right. Go into your control panel, click on board preferences and click the yes button to allow others to send you private messages.

lisap
Posts: 301
Joined: 16 Jan 2007, 2:29pm
Location: On the edge of the Cotswolds

Re: France Trip

Postby lisap » 8 Jul 2010, 5:43pm

Thanks TwoPlusTen. I hadn't realised I had switched it off. All reset now.

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Velocio
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Re: France Trip

Postby Velocio » 9 Jul 2010, 12:16am

chrisandmary wrote: Also, any general advice re: France welcome.

Yes ...make sure you cycle on the right...! :wink:

...we're away for a day to France next Thursday ...ferry Portsmouth - Cherbourg ...then cycling Cherbourg-Barfleur-Cherbourg ...out along the cycle lane and coastal road ...and back inland

...hope you have a fab and safe time on your ...Le Tour

:)
...ever cycle ...ever CTC