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Touring possibly the South of France along the coast

Posted: 30 Mar 2015, 1:25pm
by LUCYSPENCERMAGIC
I am looking to do a two week cycling holiday with a friend at the begining of May. Last year we did some of the veloldysee and really enjoyed it so this year we wanted to try somewhere else in France. We both want to be by the sea and somewhere warm so the obvious choice at this time of year is the South of France but we cant see any obvious cycle routes. Does anyone know of any that they have enjoyed? We need somewhere quite flat as I am just recovering from chemo and not up for huge hills. We are also planning on using camp sites.If not the South of France, does anybody have any other suggestions? Any other destinations that might fit the bill? We want to go by train as we want to use our own bikes and dont want to fly. Thanks

Re: Touring possibly the South of France along the coast

Posted: 30 Mar 2015, 4:07pm
by bikepacker
I have cycled from Monaco to Perpignan with detours to Avignon, Nimes and Beziers and I don't remember any really difficult climbs. Much of the way is especially around the Camargue is very flat. Don't know of any special cycle routes but most of the roads are cycle friendly.

Re: Touring possibly the South of France along the coast

Posted: 30 Mar 2015, 9:46pm
by manybikes
Well the trouble with this coast is that, in the main, a main road follows it and if you want to get off it it can be very lumpy.
I found getting round Monaco and into Nice quite busy. True the promenade of Nice was nice but it soon ran out on the western side.
Having ridden the velodysee as well I don't think you will find this area as accommodating.
My sympathies re the chemo - if you are just getting over it don't over estimate your capabilities. I know it affects different people different ways and it depends on the cocktail but I have lived with someone who took many many months to recover strength.
Good luck

Re: Touring possibly the South of France along the coast

Posted: 31 Mar 2015, 6:13am
by simonhill
I think you will find it very busy, very built up and not very pleasant cycling. At the beginning of May at least it won't be too hot or too busy but I wouldn't think it would make for a pleasant or relaxing bike ride. Unfortunately built up coastal areas rarely do.

If I were you I would choose somewhere more rural where you have a good choice of quiet roads, small towns and campsites better suited to the touring cyclist than the family holiday by the beach.

NB I haven't been to that area for a long time, but I used to live in Cannes many years ago. Also most reports on cycling that bit of coast back up what I have said.

Happy to be contradicted!

Re: Touring possibly the South of France along the coast

Posted: 31 Mar 2015, 9:17am
by whoof
I rode from Toulouse to Nice last June great weather in the 30s every day. As I expected that hugging the coast would be busy I stayed in land and there were great roads and plenty to see. We went via Tarascon (great Castle with camping next door), Avignon, as we were ahead on schedule over the Ventoux (which obviously can be missed). We were planning to camp in Vence (just West of Nice) but this was busy so we headed inland again and stayed somewhere else and then came into Nice from the North.

Re: Touring possibly the South of France along the coast

Posted: 31 Mar 2015, 9:25am
by pwa
The coast is a bit too busy for my tastes but a little inland is some of the most pleasant cycling in the world. But to prevent it being too lumpy you would have to study the maps carefully to keep to valley bottoms as much as possible. And of course, make sure you have the lowest gears possible.

Re: Touring possibly the South of France along the coast

Posted: 31 Mar 2015, 9:35am
by ANTONISH
The area around Toulouse is fairly flat. From there you can head along the Canal du Midi for some distance (or roads parallel to as the surface isn't always very good). You could probably find a flat(tish) route to Perpignan or Narbonne. There are some flat coast roads but somewhere like Argeles - sur - Mer can get very busy and further south towards the Spanish border is quite lumpy.
As others have said the Cote d'Azur area can be quite busy.
You could of course try the Atlantic coast which offers other possibilities.

Re: Touring possibly the South of France along the coast

Posted: 31 Mar 2015, 10:57am
by 700c
The Atlantic coast is very nice.

Not as busy as the Med coast, and not as hot..

You could get the train all the to La Rochelle.

You then have the Atlantic Coast going south, maybe cycle south to Pilat Dune and Arcachon.
Turn around, and do Ile de Re and Oleron. You have the Marais Poitevin a little bit inland which is great to explore.

Days off could be spent at La Rochelle, Rochefort, Bordeaux.
Bordeaux is a bit "boring" for a big city, but the other two are nice, especially nice is La Rochelle.

Disregard all the above, as I just noticed you already did Eurovelo1 !
Oh well, maybe someone else can benefit from my post in the future :D

Re: Touring possibly the South of France along the coast

Posted: 31 Mar 2015, 11:37am
by hamster
Commiserations on the chemo. I had it just over 10 years ago. While I continued to cycle up to 20 miles throughout it took me until 6 months later to ride 60 miles unladen.

So do keep your plans light!

Re: Touring possibly the South of France along the coast

Posted: 31 Mar 2015, 12:41pm
by stu1102
What about cycling along the Loire http://www.cycling-loire.com/

Here is a video of some people that tried it from Nantes.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXhHh1-SmOY

Re: Touring possibly the South of France along the coast

Posted: 31 Mar 2015, 12:47pm
by ubert767
If you are looking for an easy route in the south of France then I can thoroughly recommend this route devised by Tom Vernon in his book "Fat Man in France"(ISBN 0 563 37051 3).
Starting in beautiful Collioure on the coast near Perpignan, he cycles inland to catch the "Little Yellow Train" to gain some height in the Pyrenees, then it's all down hill until meeting the flat Canal du Midi cycle path to the Languedoc plains and coastline toward Montpellier. Coastal scenery, a train ride in an open carriage, mountain pastures, castles, canal cycling, flamingoes. For an easy route, it has it all !!!
Good luck with the recovery.

Re: Touring possibly the South of France along the coast

Posted: 3 Apr 2015, 1:36pm
by LUCYSPENCERMAGIC
Thanks for all your advice - it sounds like I need to reconsider the South as I dont fancy cycling on busy roads. As we enjoyed the velodysee and missed out the last section south of Royan I will have another look at that as well as the loire which also looked lovely. Thank you also for your post chemo advice which I will take note of as I have a tendency to be over ambitious and overdo it!! It's such a great feeling not to be on it that you tend to forget that you also need recovery time too.
Many thanks

Re: Touring possibly the South of France along the coast

Posted: 6 Apr 2015, 10:19pm
by tempsperdu
If you dont want to stick to the coast a few miles inland you will find the old pilgrim routes into Spain. There is one from Piedmont and/or another from Arles.
See https://www.caminodesantiago.me/communi ... edoc.9598/
The camino website has a lot of information about routes. These are based on walking routes but a lot more cyclists using the routes now.
I know the area west of Agde where the canal ends. There are cycle routes along side and along the coast but they are local paths which dont necessarily all join up.
One trick is to use maps supplied by the tourist office to guide you between towns.
Also look at Eurovelo website for other possibilities.
Good luck.