5 Favorite Trip Planning Resources

If you’re thinking about cycling in France this year, odds are you’ve already started looking into possible routes.  If so, you’ve probably found that searching for cycling itineraries that are near your travel destination can be very time consuming. Here are 5 of my favorite tourism websites that will hopefully make your bike trip planning easier:

Burgundy By Bike

If you’re thinking about cycling anywhere in the Burgundy Region, this is the first, and possibly only website you’ll need to plan your trip. Home to France’s first Voie Verte or green way which opened in 1997, this website was one of the first to offer comprehensive resources to help people plan a cycling trip to the region.

Whether you’re interested in learning about the many safe, signposted cycling itineraries in the region, or you need information on where to stay and where to rent a bike, Burgundy By Bike has it all!  The website is managed by the Bourgogne-Franche-Comte Office of Tourisme.  One of my favorite features of the website are the excellent cycle route maps that you can download or request a copy of via mail, a service many tourism offices have done away with.

Provence By Bike

If you’re traveling to Avignon and are thinking about cycling anywhere in the Vaucluse, your first stop should be La Provence A Velo.  Developed by the Department of the Vaucluse, this website is so packed with cycling alternatives you may decide to stay in France longer to enjoy the wonderful itineraries! From the area around Mont Ventoux to the famous hill towns of Provence, to the wine regions of the Cote du Rhone and Châteauneuf du Pape, there are cycling alternatives for a day, a weekend and longer.

Regardless of the type of information you need for your trip, you’ll find it here.  You can download more than 40 maps on the website and you can also request paper copies via post. Once you have your itinerary selected, you can find almost everything else you’ll need for your trip from bike rental to places to stay to vineyards to visit and everything in between on this website also. If you need additional information, there are links to the Department’s main website as well as a link to the website for the vineyards of Vaucluse.

Alsace By Bike

Alsace is a cycling mecca! There are over 2500 km of signposted cycle paths including several Eurovelo routes, vineyard, canal and mountain routes, and long and short distance routes suitable for cycling for several weeks, a weekend or a day. If you’re looking for a wonderfuI region that is very welcoming to touring cyclists, look no further than Alsace!

 Alsace By Bike is one of the most comprehensive regional cycling websites that you’ll find. There’s detailed information on 11 different categories of cycle paths with over 75 options in long and short distance circular trails alone.  This cycling resource is great for not only planning a trip, but once you’ve zeroed in an itinerary, you can find places to stay, activities to enjoy and help with support services.

The Alsace region can be very hilly, especially the very popular Alsace Wine Route, so you may want to consider renting an e-bike. If so, you’ll be happy to know that you can access information on the Movelo Alsace Network on this website also. The Movelo Alsace is a hiring network for e-bike travel and links bike outlets, tourism offices, battery exchange stations, places to stay and restaurants to facilitate travel through the region by e-bike.

If you love maps, you’ll find detailed online maps with the description of each route, as well as the ability to order cycling maps from the section, Download Brochures.  The Cycle Trails map is a great resource to help you through the trip planning process, so it’s a great idea to order a hard copy.

Normandy A Velo

Cycling in Normandy is an incredible experience, and the Normandy a Velo website is the perfect place to learn about itineraries in the region as well as to find resources to plan a trip.

Normandy a Velo is easy to navigate, visually appealing and contains information on all the major long-distance cycling itineraries in Normandy. This includes popular routes Tour de Manche, Veloscenic, Velo Francette, D-Day Beaches to Mont-Saint-Michel, Avenue Verte, the Seine Impressionist and Coastal Cycle Route.

Information on places to stay and where to rent bikes is easy to access with just one click. Most important to me for trip planning purposes is easy access to maps and guidebooks including the information-packed Cycling in Normandy map, available in English.

Loire By Bike

The Loire By Bike is one of the most popular cycle routes in France and the website for the route is constantly evolving with new features and information added on a regular basis.  The latest version of Loire By Bike is visually attractive, packed with information and easy to use.  Whether you’re planning your first cycling vacation, you’re planning a trip with your family or you’re an experienced cyclist, this website can help you kickstart your planning.

This itinerary is 900km long and crosses 2 regions of France.  Choosing which section to cycle can be a big challenge.  That’s why several enhancements to the latest website are so helpful.  Suggested itineraries provides ideas whether you have a day, a long weekend or a week or more to cycle. If you don’t have any time to plan a cycling getaway, Turnkey Trips provides package trips with local travel companies.

If the 900km of cycle paths along the Loire isn’t enough for you, this website also provides information on cycling itineraries that connect to the Loire.  You can find these routes under the Useful Information section. Each route is described, with links listed for additional information.

The map feature on the latest version of the website is a bit disappointing. I think the intent is for the map to be a dynamic planning tool, but as of this date, the map and its functions are only in French.  And yes, we’ve become spoiled by English translations of all French tourism websites! Hopefully the Loire map web page is simply in transition, but I wish developers would bring back the “Official Loire a Velo Map”.  This downloadable map was a favorite planning tool of mine for my last four Loire cycling trips. Even though it appears to have been eliminated from the website, I hope it will still be available to cyclists at local Loire tourism offices.

Happy planning!  Needless to say, there are many other cycling websites to help with trip planning also.  So enjoy the planning process and let me know if you find a standout that you like!

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.