France: La Manche to Le Med -advice?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Posts: 11
Joined: 6 Nov 2013, 6:35pm

France: La Manche to Le Med -advice?

Postby picknight » 1 Jul 2014, 12:14pm

I'm planning a two-week trip from Caen to Montpellier, leaving mid-July, intending to stay at small hotels / chambres d'hotes (not camping). We (two fairly experienced cycle tourists) are generally following this very well documented route (but taking a little longer):

Any comments/suggestions on the route, accommodation, things to see, places to avoid, or any other tips for undertaking a 2-week tour in hot weather would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


Posts: 797
Joined: 23 Mar 2008, 3:49pm
Location: Seattle WA USA

Re: France: La Manche to Le Med -advice?

Postby PJ520 » 2 Jul 2014, 6:49pm

France En Velo by Walsh and Reynolds: detailed description in English of St Malo to Nice.
"An expert is a person who knows some of the worst mistakes to be made in a subject and how to avoid those mistakes" - Niels Bohr

Posts: 797
Joined: 20 Oct 2009, 5:31pm

Re: France: La Manche to Le Med -advice?

Postby Barrenfluffit » 3 Jul 2014, 12:23pm

Central france can be hilly as well as hot. Which means allowing more time, water and suncreme. Start as early as possible and make sure your properly hydrated before a climb. Alcohol isn't really your friend. Standard stuff.

Posts: 32
Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 3:38pm

Re: France: La Manche to Le Med -advice?

Postby RobH » 3 Jul 2014, 5:10pm

I did Caen to Montpelier a few years back. I had difficulties finding a suitable route between Nevers and Lyon, so took the train. I recommend that you take in Sancerre - the view of the town in the distance as you approach it from the west is a thing of beauty. I thoroughly enjoyed the stop over in La Charite sur Loire. I slogged down the A7 through Valence, Montelimar & Orange. I don't recommend this, as it's a busy route, but it seemed like a good idea at the time; you could probably plot a route that weaves around the main drag. Avignon to Montpelier is a very pleasant ride. I approached Montpelier from the south, passing through Aigues Morte and Pavalas - not a route I would necessarily recommend, but I was staying on the south side. PM me if you want more details.

Posts: 1286
Joined: 26 Mar 2009, 9:49am

Re: France: La Manche to Le Med -advice?

Postby ANTONISH » 4 Jul 2014, 4:44pm

My companion and I did Le-Havre to Narbonne in 2003. That year there was a heat wave and my girlfriend found it tough going (especially in the afternoon) so the advice about liquids is wise.
I drew a straight line between the two places and used the standard 200,000 Michelin maps to give me a route using minor roads which was as close to the straight line as possible.
As others have mentioned some of the route was definitely not flat - but we didn't mind hills and you get a better views. I suppose now I would use a Garmin.
We had camping gear and would take a hotel if one presented itself. I dislike having to search for accommodation at the end of the day.
Now I would work out a reasonable daily distance and book hotels in advance to suit - there is always the possibility of something going wrong so there is a chance you may have to cancel an overnight stop somewhere but I find generally that this works for me.
Two weeks seems a reasonable time if you are experienced (or young).
I carry a first aid kit with a range of items - most of them don't get used. I carry sterilising tablets which I use every night to ensure that the bottles don't become contaminated.

Posts: 259
Joined: 26 Aug 2012, 9:50am

Re: France: La Manche to Le Med -advice?

Postby bikerwaser » 4 Jul 2014, 7:22pm

I did St Malo to Barcelona last October so you could get some ideas from my blog. I took a lot long than i'd hoped as i had an Achillies Tendon issue 5 days in. (remember to pack lots of Anti-inflams before you set off as they're crazy expensive in France)

here's my blog :

Posts: 89
Joined: 7 Jun 2010, 8:32pm

Re: France: La Manche to Le Med -advice?

Postby Bogawski » 7 Jul 2014, 8:25pm

I stayed the first night at a Logis de France in St Pierre sur Dives, about 25miles SE of Caen, good dinner and breakfast, ideal if you are catching the ferry that gets in at 3.00pm.
As previous threads, get to the east side of the canal asap after getting off the ferry.
Have a good trip.

Posts: 939
Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 2:13pm

Re: France: La Manche to Le Med -advice?

Postby whoof » 8 Jul 2014, 11:02am

Places to see. Try Rocamadour at it's best either early in the morning or in the evening when the crowds have gone. We looked around the churches set into the hill at about 7 pm in late June and pretty much had the place to our selves. Also looked even better than in the mid day with the colours of the setting sun.
If you want somewhere cheap and clean to stay on route take a look at the formule 1 hotel chain. About £20 per person inc buffet breakfast and you can put your bikes in your room.

Regarding riding in the heat of the day. Make the most of it, before you know it you will riding in the cold damp British winter again.

Posts: 369
Joined: 19 Aug 2010, 1:03pm
Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: France: La Manche to Le Med -advice?

Postby MrsHJ » 10 Jul 2014, 9:06pm

Massif Central (especially le Puy but you seem to be going further east than that) and Provence (esp gorges of verdun and the Var, but you will probably be heading further west than that) were my two favourite sections in my first ever tour from Nice to St Malo ( I bailed at LImoges though :oops: ). If it's hot I'd just set off early although escaping from a locked camp ground in the early hours can be a challenge! Main warning is that there will be a few places without so many shops/ campsites etc eg parts of the Massif Central but a little preparation will sort you out. It's not like Northern Scandinavia where more serous planning is needed!

Posts: 1328
Joined: 11 Jan 2007, 9:46am

Re: France: La Manche to Le Med -advice?

Postby geocycle » 16 Aug 2014, 10:17pm

Pete Jack wrote:France En Velo by Walsh and Reynolds: detailed description in English of St Malo to Nice.

Just got this, it's a terrific coffee table type book. Great photos. Now looking for a gpx route of this if anyone has it so I can ogle it on memory map in the dim winter evenings. Could be next years tour.

Return to “Touring & Expedition”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 9 guests