Helen Keller once said, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing”. Can you imagine a totally blind woman describing her life in the dark as an adventure? I have learned from Helen Keller that “adventure” can be defined in many ways.
Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too can adventure be defined in many ways. I will never be an adventurer who risks great physical danger by climbing Mount Everest, swimming with the sharks, or running with the bulls. But I have experienced tremendous personal growth and confidence from our many biking adventures in France, Germany and Austria. These adventures have expanded my universe and have changed my life and how I view travel in many ways. Adventure for most of us can be as simple as taking a risk and exposing yourself to an unknown path. The rewards of this simple adventure can be as life-changing as climbing Mount Everest.
I hope that you will join me often as I plan new adventures biking along the greenways and canals of France. Perhaps you will be inspired to plan your own adventure and experience the great accomplishment and growth that only true adventure can provide!
54 thoughts on “Defining Adventure”
Pingback: Biking France with Slow Travel Adventures - GoBicycleTouring.info
I used the app on La Loire à Vélo last weekend. It worked extremely well both in its GPS abilities and in traccking where we had been. My only comment on how the app could be improved is that in the history section I haven’t been able to find a means to look at those parts I have followed using the app. It might be me or it might be the app. Otherwise it is a very useful application and warmly recommended for anyone doing the LaV.
Very useful tip! Looking forward to seeing your guidebook.
we are actually going to be arriving in September!
Great. I will talk to my contact and see if he may be able to help you. Men’s or women’s bikes? Hybrids?
Hi Maggie: This is a great blog, and I have to believe that there’s both the genus of a book and much more that you can create from it!! So fantastic.
My family and I are planning to visit France this summer. We have a mere 10 days full there :(. We’re all pretty fit and nature/history loving folk – hubby, me and 2 kids – aged 13 and 10. There’s so much to see and do that we’re kinda torn about where to focus (this is the kids’ first trip to france). But since it’s hubby’s third and my second we’ve resolved to just tap paris for a day, but otherwise focus on the countryside – the kids can do paris/versailles as adults :). So we are seeking your advice and recommendations on the following optional itineraries:
OPTION 1: Get as soon as possible to Orleans and after exploring it for a morning (our daughter just did a project on Joanne d’Arc so she really wants to visit), we’d get on our bikes to try to hit the highlights along the Loire river to Tours (3-4 days?). Then take a car down to the Dordogne area to do Perigueux and down further to Sarlat/Les Eyzies de Tayac area. In Dordogne we’re thinking we should focus on prehistory, hiking and some canoeing (we’re just novices tho!). In this regard i read your tantalizing early reports on your trip to Sarlat in 2010. Your plans sounded exactly what we’d want to do. But i couldnt find a report in which you discussed your actual itinerary. Would you be able to share with us how you did that region? (3-4 days). At that point if we’ve done 6-8 days, I don’t know if we have the time but it would like to nip over to do a small part of the Lot area – including Gouffre de Padirac and Rocamadour if possible. Then we’re wondering how to find a new way to get back to Tours so we see some other interesting sights/hikes etc. Then drop off car and take train back to Paris. Any thoughts on this?
OPTION 2: Is basically to create a loop doing Loire region and parts of burgundy. In your responses above you’ve got some great ideas for biking in the burgundy area. Shocking as it must seem we’re not actually big wine drinkers, so we’ll love to chew on the grapes LOL more than tasting the wine. I am not clear what is the best loop to create between this contiguous regions however.
Which option do you feel is better to give us a richer experience? And could you share with us your itinerary from the Dordogne trip?
Thanks so much, Chitra
Wow, this is really a loaded e-mail! I will do my best over the upcoming several days to put together some information for you. I am a bit pressed right now as I leave for France for three weeks on Thursday and I have a lot of details for my first guidebook to finish too. I will certainly be able to get you some thoughts by the weekend. I do have a lot of details online about the Loire as well as Sarlat. Both are full of things to see and do. I personally would not add any more areas, and I could make a good case for just doing one or the other. I am a very big proponent of slow travel, really getting under the skin of the area you are visiting, which is hard to do if you are only spending a couple of days there.
My first guidebook on exploring France by bike is now available on Amazon and the iTunes Store. It is a weekend trip from Blois to the Chateau of Chambord, one of my favorite trips in France. You might want to think about picking it up as it will give you some good idea about what the Loire is like by bike. BTW, your daughter will love Orleans. it is fantastic.
So please be patient. I will get back to you as soon as I can!
Thanks Maggie: will await your response. We have read your posts on loire and will def check out your book!!! The itinerary you chose to follow in Dordogne would be unbelievably helpful. Yes your comment on being careful we dont try to do too much is very valid and we are busy trying to vet and re-vet our options. Thx for all your help. Chitra
I also forgot to tell you that I have been without Internet service since I moved last Tuesday! Comcast doesn’t seem to be able to get their scheduling right. Thank goodness for Starbucks. May be working on your response on the plane to Paris, but I will send it ASAP!
I started to put together a response for you, and in reading back over your note, I cannot tell if you are looking for advice on bicycling routes in these areas or, if you are looking for general touring advice. please advise which you are looking for!
Interesting, I may try one of these out to see how it fits (not pink for me though). Looking forward to the next entry from the adventure.
Funny! The price may take your breath away! Youbwill definitely need to dedicate a lot of time to riding your bike!
HI Maggie: We’re thinking of basing ourselves in Blois and doing some day biking around it. And then we are thinking maybe we get down to Chinon and do some day biking around there. So yes we were looking for biking advice. but i am not sure we will do multi-day biking… Same for the dordogne area, we are very keen to explore by bike along the D river, basing ourselves in a village/town along it.
Ten days is not a lot of time, especially when you are traveling with kids, so I would strongly recommend against over planning. If you over plan, Younwill end up having the same kind of vacation people who take bus trips have–lots of destinations, but no experiences. If you have 10 days and you are not planning to bike every day this is what I would recommend:
5 days in the Loire: 1 day in Orleans, 1 night in Blois, cycling to Chambord, overnight in Chambord, 2 nights in Amboise, go to Leonardo DaVinci house, which you and your daughter will love. Forget about Tours, there is nothing to see or do there. If you have a Kindle or an I-pad, you can buy my guidebook on bicycling from Blois to Chambord. Everything you need to know is in their. you do not need to have a car for this part of the trip. You can get to Orleans by train, and then you can hop a train from Orleans to Blois and from Blois to Amboise.
It seems that you want to go to the Dordogne also. It is about a 4 our drive from Amboise to Sarlat. If it were me and I only had 5 days in The Dordogne, I would stay 3 nights in Sarlat and 2 nights in Les Eyzies. I would stay in Sarlat at Villa des Consuls, ask for a room with terrace overlooking the street. f there is any
Sorry, here is the continuation of my note: if there is any way that you can organize your plans to be in Sarlat for the Saturday market, do so,it will be the highlight of your stay. I would hire Philippe Mouret of Allo Philippe Taxi,if he is available to take you around for at least one day, especially to the Font du Gaume or Lascaux II, whichever you can get into. Philippe is not inexpensive, but You will see more in a day with him than you would see in three days on your own. His web address is: http://www.allophilippetaxi.monsite-orange.fr. Just choose the things that you would like to see, and he will let you know how many things you can fit into a day. I would spend 2 nights in Les Eyzies. First, it is an incredibly cool town, second,it is a very easy place to take a day bike trip along the river from. One particularly great ride is a loop ride from Les Eyzies to Grotte de Rouffgnan to La Roque St Christophe to La Madeline back to Les Eyzies. Two rental agencies in the area are http://www.aquitainebike.com and http://www.dordognecyclehire.com.
The web address for Villa des Consuls is http://www.villaconsuls.fr. If you want to purchase my guidebook, just google my name and either Amazon(for the Kindle version) or Smashwords (for the iTunes version). Sorry, since I am traveling, I don’t have these links.
I definitely would not try to fit in any more destinations to your 10 day stays otherwise, your trip is just going to be a blur. Better to have a great time and wish you could have seen more than to not really see anything, run around a lot and not have a good time.
Hope this information helps!
Experience France By Bike
Hi Maggie, I am enjoying reading about your latest biking adventure. I was wondering, did you make last minute changes to your itinerary due to the weather, and if so was that difficult? I’m trying to follow your route, you seem to have gone a long distance in a short time, did you travel by bike or train, and was it planned or a last minute decision due to weather? I look forward to hearing more about this trip.
I was wondering if you are on the e-bike this trip, and if so how do you like it?
Thanks so much for your note and so glad that you are following my recent trip. I won’t be in Provence until next week which is when I will rent the e-bikes. So stay tuned for updates on this. I am so looking forward to this part of the trip, so I will be writing about the experience. With reference to my current itinerary, here’s what I did. With a tight time schedule, I took the train from Saint-Emilion to Toulouse, and that is where I began the Canal du Midi. We rented our bikes in Bordeaux and took a local train from Bordeaux to Toulouse for 22 Euros! Hope this helps you understand my route better.
Thanks for reading my blog and your interest!
Experience France by Bike
It all sounds great. Glad you found some decent weather. You will enjoy the approach and views at Carcassonne tomorrow.
Weather continues to be weird and so cool, but Carcassonne was wonderful. Just getting ready to write my blog about it. Hope all is well with you. Let me know about any trips on your calendar.
Ugh! Hope you have better luck since this report!
We just got back from our trip (8 days cycling Dordogne/Lot, 5 days Paris, 1 day Iceland) and had a great trip. We hired bikes from Robert at Aquitaine Bike and rode a loop starting in Le Buisson, west along the river valley and then looping back through Autoire, Rocamadour, Gourdon and Belves. The smallest frame size just fir my 11 year old and I carried his bags on a front rack I brought from home so we worked around not being able to hire tandems.
Seemed like mixed weather at the time but we saw no flooding so maybe we were lucky! Great food and scenery, little traffic and wonderful B&Bs (with one exception). Only really got rained on hard one afternoon. A surprise was how difficult to buy food- few shops/markets. We made do.
Also, found a wonderful site for creating your own maps at any scale: http://www.openstreetmap.org/ It’s a Wiki (online community project) and has an option for bike-specific view (shows topography and paths/lanes in great detail). FYI. Take care,
Hi there John!
So sorry that I somehow missed your note you wrote on return from your recent trip! I was also overseas when it was sent and somehow I just missed it when I got home! So glad to hear that you had a nice trip. It sounds like the route that you took was lovely. The Dordogne is one of my favorite areas, especially with children. Your comment about places to purchase supplies was interesting, and that is something that I always try to caution touring cyclists about. If you are traveling in an area where there are not a lot of towns, finding a place to buy lunch supplies and water can be difficult. Generally we always try to start the day with everything that we need for the day unless we definitely know that we will be passing through a large village/town mid-day. If you are traveling along the Loire, finding food is never a problem, but if you are traveling in other places like along the Atlantic Coast in off-season, there is often nothing open. Several years ago we were exploring the new bicycle route along the Indre River, it was about 98 degrees and we could not find food or water anywhere. Luckily we had bought a dried sausage for emergencies and it was the only thing that got us through the day. When we finally reached a town with a cafe, we downed about 3 liters of water apiece and were still thirsty! I would enjoy any thoughts that you have on your experience of cycling with your children. My kids still talk about the trips that we have taken and are now even telling their kids about the bicycling trips to France they will be taking!
Thanks for reading Experience France By Bike!
I agree that there seems to be little in books about this route but I would have thought my blog on our trip along the Canal du Midi completed just before your trip would have well-prepared you for what you were going to encounter as I went into the condition of the path and lack of signage for the whole route in a fair amount of detail and posted similar photos. I would recommend it as a gorgeous route but one that has its challenges.
You are absolutely right…your blog, as well as numerous e-mails from other readers did prepare me for the fact that the guidebooks might not accurately describe current conditions along the Canal. Learning more about the conditions along the Canal was the purpose of my recent trip and my experiences along the Canal will help guide my recommendations to others. I felt it was important to note that the major publications on the Canal do not prepare a cyclist for the conditions they will encounter riding the itinerary. Your blog was a thorough report of the conditions you encountered, and that is why I am very excited to add your recent reports to the Reader Reports section of Experience France By Bike! As always, thanks for your comments and for the great reports from your summer trip!
Experience France By Bike
1. i recommend for those afraid with “canal du midi” the “canal de Garonne”
– same beautiful tourist experience (Plane trees are not ill then VNF will not cut them)
– bike path (asphalt) from the beginning (Castets-en-Dorthe near Bordeaux) to Toulouse
for the couraqeous persons i recommend the “canal des deux mers” (canal of the 2 seas) = “canal de Garonne” + “canal du midi” = Atlantic to Mediterranean sea = Bordeaux to Sète
guides from a bike club :
canal du midi : http://toulousevelo.free.fr/spip.php?article326
canal du midi, constant update : http://toulousevelo.free.fr/spip.php?article332#chemin
canal de garonne : http://toulousevelo.free.fr/spip.php?article325
canal de garonne, constant update : http://toulousevelo.free.fr/spip.php?article515
foreigners , to buy guides of the toulouse bike club :
Thanks so much for your comments and for the listing of resources available from Toulouse Cycling. I am in the process of putting together a resource list for those interested in the Canal du Midi and all of these resources are on my list. Unfortunately it is quite expensive to purchase publications from Cartovelo in the US. I normally pay about $20-25 in shipping charges for 2-3 books. In this instance though, there really aren’t any other resources, so the mailing expense is worth it!
Thanks again and thanks for reading Experience France By Bike!
Your article made interesting reading for me Maggie, prior to our cycle tour along the Canal du Midi July 2013. We cycled as a family group of 4 … very much recreational cyclists! … two adults, a non-sportive teenage daughter and a kamikaze son of 9. We were cycle camping so carried panniers and tents. We were extremely lucky in that, for the most part, we were cycling on a dry path, had this not been so the tyres on our hybrid bikes would not have been adequate for the mud and we would have had to revise our route … or change tyres! We predominantly used the excellent (French) guides 1 & 2 produced by Association Velo Toulouse to plan our trip from Bordeaux to Toulouse and subsequently onwards to Narbonne and then Port La Nouvelle via the Canal de la Robine. I would broadly agree with everything you have said. Whilst the Guide 1 (Canal du Midi) was superb in many respects, it did not adequately describe the poor condition of the track, ‘bon etat’ is obviously very subjective!. We met many cyclists who did not continue … the going was particularly hard for those with trailers and the state of the path reduced cycling speeds significantly. However, where the track was dangerous we found alternatives: a short stretch on the road – we carried reflective vests for town riding anyway, taking the bridge up and over the canal where the underpass was eroded and often taking an adjacent slightly higher track alongside the canal which, whilst still deeply rutted, at least avoided the risk of falling into the canal! Strangely, at one point, Parazas I think, the guide indicated the only alternative was to continue by road, whilst locals suggested we rode on the opposite bank until the next bridge then cross to rejoin the route. The beautiful city of Narbonne is very busy and we found it impossible to use the canal towpath for safe passage … this was probably the most dangerous part of the trip for us as traffic was fast and furious and we did not find cycle paths. The Canal de La Robine to Port La Nouvelle is a stunning ride across the wide open landscapes of the Etangs to the Mediterranean. Whilst the path is not narrow, it too is unmade in many parts with holes and tree roots to contend with and little shade. Do I regret cycling the stretch of the Canal du Midi we rode? Absolutely not! My advice would be to do your research, speak to fellow travellers and make up your own mind. Courage!
Thanks for the wonderful report on your experiences along the Canal du Midi! I particularly love your report since you were traveling with children and luggage. My husband and I too felt very lucky that we were traveling in dry weather, particularly based on how rainy the spring and early summer had been in France. We could not have imagined bicycling the route in the mud and ruts! I too do not regret my trip along the Canal du Midi and some of our favorite times were when we took deviations to get away from terrible sections of the Canal. But taking deviations isn’t easy if you don’t have a good map to guide you back to the Canal. We met many people who reported getting terribly lost trying to find alternative routes to the Canal du Midi to escape poor sections. That is why I felt it important to alert prospective riders to the conditions, and, like you suggested, for them to be prepared for what they will encounter, including having a very good Michelin or IGN map for the region. None of the major publications on the Canal du Midi discuss the conditions along the route, so I am hopeful that this dialogue, along with various reader reports will provide sufficient information for cyclists along the route to be better prepared in the future. And, as you said, make up their own mind, but at least be aware of potentially challenging areas along the route.
Thanks again for taking the time to send in your comments. I know that they will be helpful to many people in the future!
Experience France By Bike
Hi Maggie: You may recall my bugging you for advise as we planned our trip to the Dordogne and Loire for August 2013. I just wanted to report that it was unbelievably beautiful, and wanted to draw your attention to the Perigord Noir. We based ourselves in the little bourg of Simeryols, and did some lovely exploring through the Vezere, Dordogne and Lot Valleys. I have to say that after the luscious colors and textures of this Big Troika, the Loire was sweet but not as overwhelming. I wanted to give a special call out to a bike ride we did from St Julien De Lampon thru Carsac, Vitrac and to Domme (yes we biked up the great hill and was that a rush or what!), and back. The kids were great and taking up the challenge and excelled as we knew they would. In the Loire we really liked biking along the Indre a Velo much more than the Loire a Velo (I was shocked to find cars on it, and given that circumstance found the Indre much less busy). The ride from Villandry to Azay le Rideau and back was lovely with a varied and undulating landscape across fields, along river and thru the Foret de Villandry. With regard to our stay in the Dordogne, I would like to highlight our hosts at Nieudegat Gites (find them at http://www.nieudegat.com/). Olwen and Mike are members of a local biking club and they were immensely helpful in mapping local bike rides, hikes, visits to markets et al. and their accomodations were very comfortable for both families and couples (we are a family and we met couples there as well). I think you will want to check them out when you visit next and add them to your list of recommendations. Check out reviews on them in tripadvisor.com. And also a shout out to Cap Evasion at St Julien De Lampon which rents out bikes. The bikes worked really well for the whole family, withstood pretty decent pounding with no issues, gears worked great. And very good pricing as well! (http://www.canoe-sur-dordogne.com/). For stay in Villandry, we stayed at a home found via housetrip.com. We had to share the kitchen but had the second floor of 2 rooms and bath all to ourselves. It worked great, and the location was fantastic being in the village of Villandry. (http://www.housetrip.com/en/rentals/87527). The owner offered us bikes for use but i wouldn’t recommend using them. They were quite uncomfortable. We did rent for our son from Velo Nature of Brehemont and we wouldnt recommend them either! Hope all this helps. If anyone would like a copy of our itinerary let us know, we’re happy to share. It was a magical vacation, no question. Cheers, Chitra
Thanks so much for your note and I am so happy to hear that you had such a wonderful trip. The Perigord is such a lovely area for bicycling, the ride through Carsac, Vitrac and Domme, spectacular. I am amazed that your children willingly accompanied you along this itinerary. My teenagers didn’t like it a bit a number of years ago! I appreciate the referrals also. I am curious about the experience that you had with the bicycles from Velo Nature, so if you are willing to send along some details, let me know. That is a rental company that I have considered recommending, so would really appreciate some feedback.
Thanks for taking the time to follow up with me. I hope that you are looking forward to planning another bicycling trip soon!
Experience France By Bike
It was a real delight to catch up with you in St Emillion – though I hope you weren’t overwhelmed by the fan worship you encountered when I discovered it was THE Maggie LaCoste who we were sharing breakfast with!
That fan worship was richly deserved on you part – we really do appreciate the quality and breadth of advice that you offer. It was a big ask for my partner to come on board with the whole idea of riding through France by bike – but you do instil confidence and a belief that it is do-able – and so a dream was born!
Most particularly we really relaxed after the first day or two – the route, strategies and accommodation that we planned based on your thoughts were are working out incredibly well – and we went on to enjoy a low stress holiday filled with wonderful memories and wonderful people. OK -there were a few stressful moments – mostly to do with my errant navigation – but nothing that beer and/or champagne didn’t solve at the end of the day! Great credit is also due to my partner, Karen, who pushed through the harder days without a murmur of complaint, and who encouraged me to stop and smell the roses every now and then.
Please keep on writing – you certainly helped us to have the best holiday of our lives – and I do plan to submit to the blog about some of the tips and strategies that worked for us.
Regards – Grant and Karen
Dear Grant and Karen,
So glad that you made it home safely after your wonderful time in Europe. It was fate that brought us together at Chateau Franc Pourret in Saint-Emilion, how else could you explain it? The pleasure was totally all mine, meeting you and Karen was definitely a highlight of my trip, illustrating to me that what I do really does make a difference! You said one thing to me that I have thought about ever since. You told me that life is much easier on a bike, of course this was said as you were having complications navigating in your rental car! I loved that comment and actually will be writing about it in the upcoming months.
I will also be writing much more about exploring the hilltowns of France by e-bike, something that I did for the first time in the Luberon this summer. If Karen liked the bicycling that you did this summer, she will really love the fun of riding an e-bike. It’s like Christmas morning it is such fun. So watch for more stories on this too.
Please stay in touch and let me know when you start planning your next trip. I would love to have your thoughts/suggestions on your trip this year as one of my upcoming guidebooks is about my favorite Loire itineraries. Thanks again for enriching my life, and thanks for sharing your experiences with me!
I’m looking forward to hearing about your Mont Ventoux trip. I hope you have a lovely time. I’m a little sad we’ve lost your photo but I understand about the new design. We cycled in the Vosges for a short time last summer. Some parts are quite pretty.
Thanks so much! Am hoping that I can find a lot of gentle rolling hills! I think it will be a fun adventure and I will look forward to writing about it every day. I know what you mean about the header photo, but hopefully the other benefits will offset. With all the new themes that they are coming out with, I may find another one that allows a photo header. Hope you are trying to enjoy some of the beautiful fall weather along the Loire!
Your new site looks good. I like the right sidebar listing your popular and latest blogs. Just wondering if there is an easy way to search for a past blog of yours for a particular geographical area. My husband and I have been mulling over ideas for our next trip – where & when – and have decided we will do part of the Eurovelo 6 from Basel to Nevere (where we ended our trip along the Loire this past July). We’re planning to fly to Frankfurt and cycle from there. Have you done this trip? Or has anyone else out there? We are going to go from early June into July for 5 or 6 weeks to take advantage of the longer days – and hopefully better weather than we had in May & June this year – so we can do more camping. Can’t wait!
Thanks so much for sending me such a nice note! I have had a search button on the website, but it looks like it may have been temporarily deactivated! I will look into it and let you know when it is back up and running. Doing the continuation of Eurovelo 6 sounds like a great summer trip. I have done the route from Mulhouse to Budapest and have done parts of that route several times. There are so many parts of the route that are so lovely it will be a wonderful trip. The route that is along the Danube had terrible flooding early this summer, but I received notes from several readers who were able to cycle along the route by the end of July. The Eurovelo 6 website is really one of the best cycling websites out there, so it should be a great planning tool for you. I will be happy to give you any tips from our trip if needed. You are a pro on trip planning so I suspect you will be good on your own!
Experience France By Bike
Just a follow up note, we have reintroduced the search function and it seems to be working better now, so if you need it, it’s there! Happy trip planning.
Here in the UK thetrainline.com is probably the best site for finding railway journey options. Once you have identified your preferred journey details you can, if you want, go to the website of the individual train company to book your tickets and thus avoid paying trainline’s booking fee (typically £1.50). The main reason for booking through thetrainline.com and paying the fee is that you do not have to set up accounts with each of the other websites.
Thanks for reading Experience France By Bike!!!
Hi Maggie. Any idea how much (percentage) of this route will be dedicated bike paths (no car traffic) as opposed to road biking?
Sorry for the delayed response…I just saw this note from you! Happy to answer, but I couldn’t determine which route your note referred to. So if you can let me know, I will try to answer. I hope all is well with you!
We (my wife and I) did a tour in Burgundy in 2015. This was realy a great experience. As the map on top of this page already shows, the track in the Northern part between Tonnerre and Auxerre wasn’t finished at that time too. Between Tournus and Chalon-sur-Saone we had to find out own way but the rest we were able to do via signposts. Next to GPS tracks we had downloaded.
For those interested in our experiences, we also made a travel report that can be read (in Dutch) at : http://www.lieverseprudon.nl/reisverslagen/fietsen-in-bourgondie-2015/
Thanks so much Rolph for taking the time to send this note. I will take a look at your travel report! Thanks for including the link!
We did a part of this route in 2010. We took the train to Basel and from there we first went to the Bodensee. From Bodensee we went back to Basel and followed the Rhine for some days. Later we decided to cross Belgium and headed up North via the LF1 North Sea Cycle route to the Netherlands.
Check our story at: http://www.lieverseprudon.nl/reisverslagen/langs-water-2010/
So … it’s “One of my favorite travel accessories” but you haven’t actually tried it yet?! Maybe it will turn out to be unreliable and flaky?
I really don’t understand the point of it. Do you travel without a smartphone? Surely getting a French SIM card for your smartphone and a plan that costs less than $10 a day is going to be much easier and cheaper (and lighter) than getting an extra Pocket WiFi unit? Perhaps you could clarify why you think it will be useful?
Hello and thanks for your note!
Yes, you are absolutely correct that my opening statement should have said that Travel Wifi is a new travel accessory that I can’t wait to try. And yes, some travel tools that I have written about in the past do end up being a lot of fluff and not much substance. I hope that’s not the case with Travel Wifi!
I do travel with a smartphone, as well as an i-Pad and/or computer. Over the last 5 years, I have tried almost every data plan that has been available. Up until last year, my i-Phone was locked and therefore I was not able to use a French SIM card as you suggested. I have many friends who have the same issue. Last year I used the AT&T International Data Plan, but it’s limited and expensive.
As I wrote in my latest blog post, Travel Wifi is simple to use, there are no SIM cards to buy and change, there’s no need to change your phone settings or your phone number, there’s no need to connect to a local carrier etc. Travel Wifi is easy to use and of particular interest to be is that I can use up to 10 devices with it. I spend a lot of time in very rural towns when I’m cycling in France and I am hoping that Travel Wifi will provide me with better coverage than I am used to getting most of the time. This is something I will learn as I go. I meet hundreds of cyclists each year when I am traveling and all of them are always searching for improved ways to get data on the road. That’s the reason why I try to review new products when they come on the market!
While I am cycling in France I am doing research for books I will write after my trip, this makes it very important that I have good internet connections. If this means paying a bit more for good service and an easy to use product, that’s OK.
Hope this information helps! Thanks again for writing.
Experience France By Bike
I just read your newest post “the simplicity of life on a bike”. Until one experiences traveling on a bike, many can’t understand why one would do it. You plucked every one of my strings regarding our biking experiences. I can so very much relate to the daily obstacles, the warm shower, the cool drinks, the shaded paths and the camaraderie of fellow bikers. We, however, trend to cheese and fruit and wine for our after a ride rather than oysters but I get it. Our last taste of the this biking simplicity was provided by Catherine at Chateau Franc-Pourret and Norbert out of Bordeaux. When someone asks me why one would want to travel by bike, I will refer them to this post. You captured it all!!
Thanks so much for your help in the past and this article.
Thanks John for taking the time to send such a nice note! Keep spreading the word about touring by bike….it is hard to understand until you’ve tried it! Have you started planning your next trip yet? Let me know where you decide to go!
I know exactly what you mean about the freedom and pleasure of a long distance bike trip. While the tourists are being shunted from one busy “must see” to the next (for 200E plus per day) we, on our bikes, are soaking up the natural delights of the region on quiet back roads.
A few years back I biked the Camino Norte de Santiago. It was spring and the villages were all decked with flowers, plus the wild flowers along the roadsides were wonderful.
Thanks for the nice note Maurice. I’ve think by-bike is the best way to see a new area through the back door! And a way to see an area in a way few tourists do. So I’m glad to hear that you agree! Thanks for taking the time to comment!
If you are touring with your bike you most likely will have a tent. There is a campground right in Paris – in the Bois de Boulogne. You can get the cheapest accommodation in Paris there, 21E for a small tent pitch.
To get there: Head for the Arc de Triomphe and take the Avenue de Grande-Armee to Port Maillot, then the Allee de Longshamps to the Les Moulins – Camping bus stop, then through the woods to the campground.
The campground has a shuttle bus connecting to the Metro at Port Maillot, But biking Longchamps is a thrill.
The campground has a small food shop onsite, but better is the Carrefour’s or Monoprix markets across the bridge over the Seine in Suresnes.
Thanks for the wonderful tip!!! Who would ever imagine that it was possible to get any kind of accommodation in/around Paris for 21€? I suspect that there are a lot of people who might be interested in this information, so I will pass it on. Thanks again for sharing your insider tips with the rest of us! Keep them coming!
Experience France by Bike