Adding a Weekend Bike Excursion to Your Trip to France

By Maggie LaCoste

I receive a lot of mail from readers interested in cycling in France, but a little nervous about venturing into the countryside on a bike. If this is you, a weekend bike excursion is a great way to experience the unique adventure of traveling in France by bike. No matter what level of fitness you are and no matter how old you are, there are weekend bike trips from virtually every major city in France. The first stop should be the local tourism office of whatever city you are staying in.  They can provide you with local bike routes, as well as information on where to rent bikes.  Sometimes it is the local tourism office that rents bikes, and sometimes they even have weekend guided or self-guided excursions.  Whether you go on your own or take a guided or self-guided trip, don’t miss the unique experience of traveling through the French countryside by bike. Perhaps like me, you will become hooked on the adventure of cycling in France!

Recreational biking is big in France, and local bike routes are filled each weekend with people of all ages.  This wasn’t the case ten years ago before the development of Veloroutes and Voies Vertes.  These new marked cycle paths make it easy to be a recreational cyclist, and these safe paths, especially the car-free Voies Vertes, are perfect for family adventures.  If you’ve never biked in France, you will be amazed at how different you will see the country.  Things you would never see or experience by car become the most memorable parts of your vacation.  When you travel by bike, you get much closer to experiencing the French way of life. Americans traveling by bike in France are still a novelty, and people are very comfortable conversing with you. Traveling by bike makes me very approachable, and very unassuming.  People who I meet are genuine and kind, not because I might be a writer or a critic, but because they are just genuine and kind.  Biking in France definitely adds a whole new dimension to your travel–you will begin to experience the country, rather than being just a visitor.

Here are photos of some of my favorite biking in France experiences.

Taking a pause along the vineyards

Picnic dinner along the vineyards in Aloxe Corton

First view of Chambord from the bike path

Late afternoon along the Burgundy Canal

Biking through St Emilion vineyards

Choosing from jams at the local market

Bike path along the Canal du Centre

Cycling along the Volnay Vineyards

Bike path through troglodyte area near Saumur

Biking in Brittany

Discovering France’s largest haystack

Definitely time to sample some of these!

View of vineyards around Santenay from bike path

 

Posted by Maggie LACoste

I love the adventure and unpredictability of experiencing France by bike. Cycling in France is the ultimate slow travel adventure, an opportunity to see it through the back door in a way few tourists experience. One week on a bike in France and life takes on a different meaning! I created Experience France By Bike to inspire recreational cyclists to visit France the slow way....by bike, and to be the best source of information for planning the perfect bicycling adventure. I encourage readers to embrace the uncertainty of the road ahead and to take the path less traveled, exploring roads, towns and villages that you would never experience traveling by car.

  1. You have put together a wonderful and interesting-to-read website/blog! We are off to the Loire on July 28th 2011, camping, and will explore some of the cycle routes & chateau you have described with such feeling and obvious pleasure …. enjoy YOUR trip, too!

    Mark

    1. Hi Mark!

      Thanks so much for your note and I am glad that you enjoy the website. I have much more expansion planned and several books underway, so hopefully you will find much more information in the months ahead. I am so excited to hear about your upcoming trip. We arrive in Angers on the 26th and will start working our way past Orleans over 12 days. If you see two American looking people on the trail, be sure and say Bonjour! as it may be my husband and me! Safe journey and please let me know what your favorite part of the Loire journey is.

      Maggie LaCostr