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France which way - North to South, or South to North..?

Posted: 31 May 2012, 9:19pm
by stephen_
Would you have any preference for a length of France trip?

I'm thinking it may be easier to get the bike back home from the north in one piece on the train rather than worrying about packing it up with a suitable in the south at an airport - avignon area. Hmmm

Re: France which way - North to South, or South to North..?

Posted: 31 May 2012, 9:48pm
by clandyfield
My preference would be North to South - cooler to warmer - gradual build up is better IMO.

Then I'd train it back.....and get another holiday trip seeing the sights from a different perspective!

Re: France which way - North to South, or South to North..?

Posted: 31 May 2012, 10:00pm
by robgul
North to south - and back on the European Bike Express ... or the TGV is now much simpler for cycles (no need to bag them up) - just a platform change at Lille to Eurostar for London - and Eurostar runs from Avignon direct to London on summer Saturdays, taking bikes (excellent service, used it last year)

Weather gets better as you go south!

... and (shameless plug) have a look at www.cycle-endtoend.org.uk and under Journals/France our book Wine-ding Down Through France - Calais to Montpelier (with maps etc and a foreword by Edward Enfield, author of Downhill All The Way - our inspiration for the trip)

Rob

Re: France which way - North to South, or South to North..?

Posted: 3 Jun 2012, 6:27pm
by Boab
I did it north to south, to montpellier,,,it felt the right way to me. After lyon was the best bit..straight down the rhone through alres and avignon...flew back with easyjet.

Re: France which way - North to South, or South to North..?

Posted: 5 Jun 2012, 12:17am
by andrew_s
North to south works better. You ought to build a day or two contingency into your schedule, and the south is a much nicer area for exploring when it turns out you don't need it.
On the other hand, going south to north is easier travelling - cardboard bike boxes can just be discarded etc.

Re: France which way - North to South, or South to North..?

Posted: 6 Jun 2012, 11:55am
by stephen_
Thanks for the replies!

Basically this issue was based on a logistical thing with transporting bike but now I'm having a total nightmare choosing areas in france to go to- mainly because they are on opposite sides of the country! (I have been reading about areas I hadn't planned on)

I want (would like) to do

Epernay - Champagne
Alsace Wine Route
Rhone valley - Dijon - Avignon
The Loire valley
Dordogne
Bordeaux
Tuscany ideally (eek)

I have 4-5 weeks and want to visit these all- I will inevitably have to make my mind up and eliminate some.
I am interested in food and wine and meeting people too, I will be cycle camping. (first timer!)

What would you do? - where in France would you not want to miss?!

I am flying into Paris so will get a train to a starting point, I was going to do champagne - alsace and straight south to avignon, then across to Italy and tuscany.

However... I have a bad feeling I may be missing out on the best regions- Loire and Burgundy/Dordogne, and therefore I'm thinking of re-jigging the trip to include these.

Hmmm. My indecisiveness is killing me right now.!

Re: France which way - North to South, or South to North..?

Posted: 6 Jun 2012, 12:38pm
by Greg
A friend and I toured Caen to Marseilles a couple of years ago, you might like to read our report.

The TGV back from Marseilles to Paris was really good. We improvised some basic bike bags on the way back and we could have got away with even less, but most of the trains (just not the one we caught) had bike spaces and would allow bikes to be booked on without bags. You can now do the same for the Eurostar.

Re: France which way - North to South, or South to North..?

Posted: 6 Jun 2012, 1:48pm
by ericonabike
I used to be indecisive - but now I'm not so sure! FWIW +1 for North to south. I did St Malo to Montpellier in six days a year ago, coming back on Bike Express [well recommended for a hassle-free experience]. Riding towards the sunny side has a special appeal, as you gradually notice the transition from Northern Europe to Mediterranean climate and ambience. If you have 4 - 5 weeks, you are in luck. Please don't spend it all on worrying what you might be missing! You could stick pins blindfold in a map of France, join them up at random and still have a great time - the roads, traffic, food, drink and people make it special.

Re: France which way - North to South, or South to North..?

Posted: 6 Jun 2012, 2:24pm
by wakou222
stephen_ wrote:Thanks for the replies!

Basically this issue was based on a logistical thing with transporting bike but now I'm having a total nightmare choosing areas in france to go to- mainly because they are on opposite sides of the country! (I have been reading about areas I hadn't planned on)

I want (would like) to do

Epernay - Champagne
Alsace Wine Route
Rhone valley - Dijon - Avignon
The Loire valley
Dordogne
Bordeaux
Tuscany ideally (eek)

I have 4-5 weeks and want to visit these all- I will inevitably have to make my mind up and eliminate some.
I am interested in food and wine and meeting people too, I will be cycle camping. (first timer!)

What would you do? - where in France would you not want to miss?!

I am flying into Paris so will get a train to a starting point, I was going to do champagne - alsace and straight south to avignon, then across to Italy and tuscany.

However... I have a bad feeling I may be missing out on the best regions- Loire and Burgundy/Dordogne, and therefore I'm thinking of re-jigging the trip to include these.

Hmmm. My indecisiveness is killing me right now.!


If you are going from Alsace to Champagne and thence to Avignon, you will go through Burgundy (Bourgogne)? Or are you mixing up with Bordeaux region?

Re: France which way - North to South, or South to North..?

Posted: 6 Jun 2012, 2:30pm
by stephen_
wakou222 wrote:
stephen_ wrote:Thanks for the replies!

Basically this issue was based on a logistical thing with transporting bike but now I'm having a total nightmare choosing areas in france to go to- mainly because they are on opposite sides of the country! (I have been reading about areas I hadn't planned on)

I want (would like) to do

Epernay - Champagne
Alsace Wine Route
Rhone valley - Dijon - Avignon
The Loire valley
Dordogne
Bordeaux
Tuscany ideally (eek)

I have 4-5 weeks and want to visit these all- I will inevitably have to make my mind up and eliminate some.
I am interested in food and wine and meeting people too, I will be cycle camping. (first timer!)

What would you do? - where in France would you not want to miss?!

I am flying into Paris so will get a train to a starting point, I was going to do champagne - alsace and straight south to avignon, then across to Italy and tuscany.

However... I have a bad feeling I may be missing out on the best regions- Loire and Burgundy/Dordogne, and therefore I'm thinking of re-jigging the trip to include these.

Hmmm. My indecisiveness is killing me right now.!


If you are going from Alsace to Champagne and thence to Avignon, you will go through Burgundy (Bourgogne)? Or are you mixing up with Bordeaux region?


Hi,

Nope I should have added burgundy to the above but I did mean to put Bordeaux there! It looks great especially the food and wine- but isn't that in keeping with the route for the rest of the places, I don't think?

Thanks!

Re: France which way - North to South, or South to North..?

Posted: 6 Jun 2012, 5:26pm
by Greg
If you're going to Avignon you should really do Mt Ventoux as it's very close. Don't believe the scare stories, you won't die as long as you're not racing, not on drugs and don't have a pre-existing chest infection! It's not as steep as the famous British climbs, it just goes on a bit. It's also fantastic fun, has a wonderful atmosphere and provides many bragging points!