Cycling EuroVelo 6 Across France: 10 Things I Loved Most

Three weeks cycling EuroVelo 6 across France flew by way too fast!

Despite doubts I had before the trip regarding whether I was fit enough for a 3 week cycling adventure, this was one fantastic trip.  I’d never spent 3 weeks cycling before, so I began the trip not knowing if I’d be strong enough to handle 5+ hours/day on the bike, or how well I’d adapt to packing/unpacking 21 days in a row.  Not surprisingly, there are some things I would do a bit different if I did the trip again, but my only regret about the trip is that it ended too quickly!  From Nantes to Mulhouse, a detour to the Cote d’Or and a slight detour north to Strasbourg at the end of the trip, this cycling adventure was filled with a lifetime of incredible memories.

I’m making my way through my trip notes and the 3,000 photos I took. Looking back on this adventure, I find that every day of the trip was memorable in one way or another.  Here are just a few of the things I loved the most about this itinerary.

The Beauty and Tranquility Of The Loire

The floods of 2016 devastated many parts of the Loire.  This year, the Loire was a picture of peace and tranquility, the floods from last year just a distant bad memory.

B&B Gems Along The Route

One of my favorite parts of my cycling trips is finding charming places to stay along the route.  Happily, our journey along EuroVelo 6 in France did not disappoint in this regard!

Le Fief des Cordeliers in Montjean sur Loire.  The long climb up the hill was worth it, with million $$ views of the Loire.

Villa Belle Couronne in Le Cellier on the Loire

Clos Saint Jacques in the charming wine village of Meursault in the Cote d’Or

Our Mid-Morning Expresso Stops

Quick, cheap and quirky were the requirements for our morning expresso fix!

Tree-lined Cycle Paths

Always a pleasant relief from the heat of the day!

Fantastic Signposting

The signposting along EuroVelo 6 is top-notch!  My favorites were information signs in the Cote du Beaune and the Jura and Doubs Departments.  Signs in these areas made me feel very welcome as a cyclist!  Kudos to the Bourgogne-Franche-Comte Department for their efforts to maintain a high level of quality in this area.

Signs along the itinerary provide information on services available in towns off the route

In some areas signs can be quite busy, so take care to follow right itinerary!

Fun Things Along the Route

I find it easy and refreshing to be amused by the silliest things when I’m traveling by bike. Here are two of my favorites from this trip:

The town of Ancenis was filled with silly stuffed art all along the main road into town

After about an hour of being surrounded by corn fields, I found the antics of the pigs hysterical!

Our Lunchtime Picnics

The only thing I like better than our lunchtime picnic is shopping for them.  We didn’t eat lunch in a restaurant at all this trip, despite bargain prices for set menus, always under 9€.  With the weather so hot, eating a big lunch was not appealing to me, so we settled for several smaller snacks during the day.

A “fancy” picnic lunch with selections from a local charcuterie

Enjoying our Beaune market purchases during a simple picnic on a bench along the route

Sunflowers

Even on gray days with storms looming overhead, fields of sunflowers always make me smile.

Happy To Be Traveling On A Bike Not A Boat

Navigating the locks with a boat looks totally nerve wracking to me.  Every lock we passed made me glad to be traveling by bike!

Navigating rivers and locks by boat is definitely not my cup of tea! I much prefer the simplicity of travel by bike.

Very tight quarters for navigating through the locks, makes me nervous just watching!

The Doubs Valley

Before my trip I knew nothing about the Doubs Valley, but since the trip, I am one of its biggest fans! There’s one word to describe EV6 through the Doubs Valley:  spectacular!  Jaw-dropping landscape and scenery and gorgeous towns like Dole, Besancon and Montbeliard make this an area where you really want to linger.  This is definitely an area I will return to!

Scenery from the bike path along the Doubs River

Spectacular view of the Doubs Valley from the Citadelle at Besancon

The beautiful town of Dole

Gorgeous scenery along the Doubs River

This cycling trip was by far one of my favorites of all times, and I’m looking forward to writing more about my experiences.  Incredible scenery, wonderful bike paths and signage, great new friends, fantastic food and wine, and the joy of experiencing new places by bike.  Life just doesn’t get any better than this!

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. Practically the only stretch we haven’t done along the Eurovelo 6 in France is the Doubs Valley except for the area immediately around Dole because we didn’t think it looked very inspiring. But you have changed our minds and we’re most certainly putting it on the top of our list. My main criticism of French bike routes which have improved amazingly over the last 5 or 6 years, is the lack of public toilets. Yesterday we found an automatic toilet in Orléans right on the bike path. It’s a pity you don’t find them more often. Most town halls have public toilets but they are usually closed after town hall opening hours which is a pity.
    Germany and Austria still get top marks for bike routes for us but in the Eastern European countries, the going is very tough, although it is worth the effort.

    1. Hi There!

      So nice to hear from you and I hope that you’re having a great summer, certainly a better one that last year! So I too was totally blown away by the Doubs Valley! I had terrible times trying to find places to stay, and kept wondering why there weren’t more options, until I saw the landscape! So while cycling through the area does present a few challenges as far as places to stay, the cycling experience is wonderful. I would go back in a minute! And, should you decide to go, let me know and I will help with suggestions of where to stay if needed! I found your comments about public toilets funny, as a matter of fact, I can remember at least 3 of them in the Franche Comte area along the route. We ended our trip in Strasbourg as that is where I found a place to store our bikes, but that would be a great add on to a trip to the Doubs Valley. I would have loved to have rented e-bikes to go into the vineyards but unfortunately we just ran out of time. I will definitely look forward to returning!

      Have a good rest of the summer and stay in touch!

      Maggie LaCoste
      Experience France By Bike