Cycle tour in France wi' children

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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3spd
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Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby 3spd » 26 Oct 2011, 8:14pm

The wife has totally taken me by surprise and suggested we go cycle touring for our family holiday :D
So thats me (fitness cyclist/occaisional tourer), the wife ( 15 miles is enough) and 2 boys aged 6 n 7.
My plan is to ride alternate days and for about 10 miles.
I'll have 4 panniers and trailer, the wife 2 panniers and the boys big grins (hopefully)
We'll also take a trailer-gator and know the need to reward and break up the ride.

But the question is whereabouts would you head to?

I am tempted to play it safe and just go to a campsite with good routes and other activities around, canoeing, castles, parks etc
My worse day on my bike is better than my best day at work!

Andyw
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Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby Andyw » 26 Oct 2011, 8:32pm

Somewhere very flat, not too hot or too cold and dry.
Sounds like Norfolk!!!!

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3spd
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Re: Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby 3spd » 26 Oct 2011, 8:35pm

promised the boys a ferry crossing
My worse day on my bike is better than my best day at work!

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Audax67
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Re: Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby Audax67 » 26 Oct 2011, 9:37pm

Come to Alsace: lots of tarmac cycle track beside canals and along old railbeds, ruined castles by the dozen, pretty villages with half-timbered houses. Strasbourg is fantastic. The plain is flat, the valley bottoms pretty well so, there are mountains to walk in, excellent wine, fair-to-middling beer and good food. You can also hire a canal boat to stay on, stop off here and there, offload the bikes and have a ride. For the distances you want to do, that'd be pretty well ideal.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

Ron
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Re: Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby Ron » 26 Oct 2011, 11:22pm

3spd wrote:promised the boys a ferry crossing

It's got to be the Netherlands then. :wink:

eileithyia
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Re: Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby eileithyia » 27 Oct 2011, 7:26am

3spd wrote:promised the boys a ferry crossing



IOW or IOM, Ireland? :lol: :lol: Sorry couldn't resist.
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Richard
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Re: Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby Richard » 27 Oct 2011, 7:32am

We're thinking of using Breton Bikes for a holiday next year with our kids to save the trouble of carting all the kit across. Maybe they've got something that would be suitable? I've not used them before but have heard good things about them.

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BeeKeeper
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Re: Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby BeeKeeper » 27 Oct 2011, 10:51am

If you are happy to get the ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff I can recommend the area. There are a number of campsites at Saint Pol de Leon, which is a few miles outside Roscoff, and from a base there you could explore the beaches in the area, particularly those to the west. It is not completely flat but such hills as there are are not high and would be a short walk if the kids couldn't get up them by pedal power. The biggest hill is probably the pull out of Roscoff. There are also a number of marked cycle paths and foot paths. If you look on Google maps you will see all the beaches very clearly in satellite view.

Avoid high season and French school holidays*, so June would probably be good. Weather is of course the big unknown as it gets the same sort of climate as the SW of England - so rain at any time of the year is a possibility, but there is always the onion museum in Roscoff for a rainy day!

If you are getting the Roscoff ferry try and grab a seat looking forward over the bows. As you approach Roscoff you might be lucky and see dolphins - as I did earlier this year. There will also be gannets and other seabirds to see the whole way across - it should keep the kids intermittently interested if nothing else. IIRC the ships loads through the bows at Plymouth and discharges through the stern at Roscoff so you want to get a seat facing the loading ramp and the line of cars still boarding, odd though this might seem.

*Google "French school holidays 2012" for a list

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Swallow
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Re: Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby Swallow » 27 Oct 2011, 12:31pm

+1 For Brittany, beautiful coastline and plenty of campsites, cycle friendly
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PW
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Re: Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby PW » 27 Oct 2011, 12:58pm

Another vote for Brittany. We started the kids off on their foreign travels there around the age of 8. 30 years on they've now been as far as the Himalayas and various African trips! The N coast is good with nice beaches and plenty of shopping stops, and even if you need to use what we would call the main B road the motorists are civilised. Have a google for the Kerlouen folk festival, if it's on you won't regret it.
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Robert
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Re: Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby Robert » 27 Oct 2011, 1:34pm

What about the Baie d'Arcachon? Flat cycle paths all the way around, beaches for the kids. You'll have a sense of getting somewhere, there's a ferry from Cap Ferret back to Arcachon, so you can leave the car in one place. Brittany is very lovely, but the weather's very much like Britain. If you're going to France getting a bit further south seems worth it.

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CJ
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Re: Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby CJ » 27 Oct 2011, 2:26pm

We had some very good family cycle camping trips in Normandy, taking the ferry from Portsmouth to Le Harve. One municipal campsite we remember most fondly is Falaise. No fancy facilities, but a fine town with a great castle and lots of pretty little roads in and out.
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Ann Kennedy
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Re: Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby Ann Kennedy » 27 Oct 2011, 3:55pm

If you only plan to cycle 10 miles or so each day and take alternate days off, I would think your choice should depend on what the family likes to do when not cycling .... if it's the beach i'd second the suggestion of the Bay of Archachon - i remember holidays there as a child myself and the big dunes were (and still are) just amazing. We cycled around this area a bit last year as part of a trip from Tours to Bordeaux. If you plan to camp you should be fine finding accommodation but hotels spaced 10 miles or so apart might be tricky.

Other areas you could think about - Burgundy canals - nice flat cycling and lots of pretty towns and villages to visit. The Loire - lots of chateau to see (and some kid-themed parks etc as i recall). Canal du Midi - you could do the last bit down to the coast and combine some city/village visits with ending up at the beach?

Andyw
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Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby Andyw » 27 Oct 2011, 6:46pm

Ile-de-re or Ile-de-Oléron would fit the bill, cycle friendly, flat, lots if campsites , lots of boat trips to take. Good weather, fingers crossed, rained when I camped there one July.

T other Dave
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Re: Cycle tour in France wi' children

Postby T other Dave » 27 Oct 2011, 7:43pm

Is the plan to cycle onto the ferry in England and cycle off in France or to drive to a destination park up and then cycle tour? Brittany is the obvious choice for cycle on/off but for drive to and start off then Alsace is a lovely area with lots to do, but then if the kids like beach then gotta be the coast between Sulac-sur mer and Hendaye.
Dave