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.