Help needed planning tour through France

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Help needed planning tour through France

Postby mclellan742 » 12 Apr 2012, 11:24am


I am planning a cycling trip with a friend for 2 weeks starting in mid-june. We're both and university and are prety fit, we're going to be cycling on road racing bikes and camping for most of the way. The plan so far is to fly to Lourdes in the Pyrenees and end up in Paris, before getting the Eurostar home.

Between point A-B we can't decide whether to cycle through the centre of France and through the Loire Valley etc OR take a route up the West coast before cutting inland to Paris somewhere around Rennes.

It'd be great if anyone could offer any help and advice on route planning, bearing in mind we'll be camping where ever possible!

Thanks a lot,


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Re: Help needed planning tour through France

Postby johnb » 12 Apr 2012, 11:54am

Welcome to the forum.

Quick search of the archive throws this up.


In the camping sub forum at the top of the page a current thread were discussing French campsite printed guides and websites. There might be enough there to get you a rough outline of what suits you best then others may help you with the finer details.
The lead Greyhound never has to look at another Greyhounds derrière.

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Re: Help needed planning tour through France

Postby Mattie » 12 Apr 2012, 8:44pm

My vote would be for a route through the centre as you could visit the epic Puy De Dome. You could also include Clermont Ferrand, Vichy, Orleans and Fontainebleau on the way to Paris.

If you go by the coast all the way, well it is just more of the same thing - the coast !

I have found that the enjoyment of cycling through France is the reward itself - it is enjoyable just to be cycling through France. The other is that the country has quite a lot of farmland ! so you may have nothing much going on for a few days at a time !

But to take the bull by the horns and cycle across the middle of it, and take whatever comes would be my suggestion - you will love it anyway.

Bon Route

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Re: Help needed planning tour through France

Postby eileithyia » 12 Apr 2012, 9:48pm

Welcome, having found your way here from timetrialling... :D Nothing much to add to the advise I gave there.... look at bikes, look at gears, consider how you are carrying your kit and have a practise run.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

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Re: Help needed planning tour through France

Postby ANTONISH » 13 Apr 2012, 11:57am

+1 for the Puy de Dome. But pretty well anywhere in France offers good cycling.
If you are camping you will need to sort out how to carry your luggage. I've toured on a road bike even using sprints and tubulars and had a good time. Of course a touring bike is more practical but almost any bike is ok (as you will find when you encounter cyclists touring on anything from Dutch roadsters to high end carbon fibre road bikes).
Camp sites are generally plentiful (I prefer municipal sites). If you are sharing a room in a budget hotel it shouldn't be excessively more expensive than camping .

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Re: Help needed planning tour through France

Postby nmnm » 13 Apr 2012, 4:21pm

If you went from Paris to Lourdes instead, you'd arrive in the Pyrenese superfit. Depends whether you prefer to finish your trip atop the Tourmalet or the Tour Eiffel! Both good.

Cycling Cat
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Re: Help needed planning tour through France

Postby Cycling Cat » 23 Apr 2012, 9:24am

Forget making a cycle ride to Paris unless you have an ambition to cycle around the Arch de Triumph. Paris is a journey best made separately and by public transport - the worst part of my cycle ride in France was the journey to and from Paris - traffic and suburbs make it unpleasant. We even ended up hitchhiking with our bikes to Paris!

And yes, I survived the circuit of the Arch!