It would be a travesty for any cyclist to visit France and not participate in some sort of bicycle tour. This country is known for the most famous international bike race the Tour de France, and must be viewed from the seat of a bike. Not doing so would be comparable to visiting the United States without taking in a baseball game. Not every tour has to end in Paris, but this country must be experienced from the seat of a bike.
Climate and Terrain
To the north and west, France is full of rolling plains and beautiful beaches. However, the south and east of France is lined with snow capped mountain ranges and more beautiful beaches. This is a diverse landscape full of beautiful vistas, endless vineyards, and fragrant pastures. The climate across most of France is relatively mild. Winter in the mountains creates snow and summers on the beach creates sunburns. However, most of the country is not too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter.
Locations and Regions
Tour de France
The most iconic international bike race, The Tour de France, has been divided into manageable segments allowing even novice riders to experience some portion of this epic journey. In total, this race requires a 21 day commitment, not to mention the training and physical conditioning involved. However, cyclists on this tour can cross the finish line along Champs Élysées just ahead of the actual race participants.
When a place is renowned throughout France for its amazing wines, it has got to be on the short list of places to cycle through for any wine aficionado. Beautiful vineyards, fabled Châteaux, and quiet villages line the path of a relaxing route through the Bordeaux region of France. Known globally for their red wines, the Bordeaux region produces many famous libations including Lafite, Latour, Petrus and Y'quem. Check our our Bordeaux bike tour guide.
The border regions of every country in Europe inevitably show signs of each culture on either side of the boarder. This becomes obvious when traveling through Provence, France where it often seems more like Rome than Paris. Here, there are groves of olive trees, segments of the Roman aqua duct, and a breathtaking Roman theater. It's easy to think you've crossed the boarder into Italy until you notice all the signs and menus are still written in French. Provence is a foodie's paradise, where many of the tastiest French dishes originate from. This region produces mainly rose and red wines. The best time to visit is when the lavender is bloom in June/July. Check out our Provence bike tour guide here.
If you love Pinot Noir and/or Chardonnay, this is the place for you. More than any other region of France, wine makers in Burgundy are far more concerned with the influence soil has on the production of wine. This has lead to the designation of more appellations than any other region of France. One of the best ways to experience the differences in these lands it to cycle through them and taste their fruit and drink as you pass. Check out Burgundy bike tour guide here.
Obviously, the most prominent wine in the Champagne region of France is the sparkling wine by the same name. This region is best experienced in the spring, summer, or early fall as it is the coldest of the major wine regions in France. When you're peddling through a region who's name is synonymous with good times you know it's going to be a great vacation. Check out our Champagne bike tour guide here.
The Loire Valley is one the most bike friendly places in the world. Largely flat, it has a large bike path that makes riding here a safe experience. The people of the Loire river valley have been working on a bike trail which will extend from Cuffy to St Brévin-les-Pins. Running along 497 miles of the Loire river banks, this trail is filled with amazing architecture, beautiful landscapes, and amazing cuisine. Being such a long trail, there is also an option to divide this trip into twelve smaller excursions. The highlights will definitely be the Grand Chateaus. Check out our Loire bike tour guide here.
Along the boarder of France and Germany there is a small region which has the highest concentration of feudal castles in Europe. Although these people share a common cultural heritage with their neighbors to the east, they are extremely proud of their French heritage and commonly take offense to being called German. The boarder villages and monuments along this cycling route have been at the epicenter of many territory disputes over the centuries and they bare an indelible mark of this struggle. Additionally, this region of France is well known for its white wines.
The Normandy region of France includes 360 miles of beautiful, and historic, coastline. Along this route, there are fortresses, farmland, resorts, and timbered houses. This area is known for its amazing seafood, cider, and cheeses. There is something for everyone in the Normandy region of France.
Bike Tours Through France
Bike tours in France come in three flavors – those focusing on the Tour de France, those touring France exclusively, and those operating tours throughout Europe. Tour de France Tours has made a name for itself by allowing armature cyclists to cross the finish line ahead of the race. French Cycling Holidays, however, has focused on the diverse routs found throughout France. While DuVine Adventures and Digngo Gourmet Bike Tours have multiple tours in France, they also cater to destinations around the world.