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Cycling in France

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Photo: Jörn P.

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Cycling in France is such a varied pursuit that there’s little reason to go anywhere else, especially given the undeniable draw of fresh croissants to power your pedals. From the country that gave the world the Tour de France, you can ride through spectacular scenery for hours, days or even weeks. 

You’ll find cycle routes in France with incredible ease, often separated from other road traffic and traversing fantastic scenery. With the incredible Alps routes in the south east, you can enjoy breathtaking rides in mountain valleys and climb steadily for unforgettable views. 

Across the country you’ll find blissful cycle paths past rolling fields, through ancient hills and amongst towering trees. This country has long been a favourite among cyclists and for good reason, you’ll get food as good as the awe-inspiring landscape. 

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Landscapes perfect for two wheels

Cycling in France is popular with both French and international cyclists and it’s easy to see why; the country has something for everyone. More than that, it has a region for every type of bike ride. It also has an excellent network of cycle paths, separated from road traffic as well as thousands of miles of quiet, rural roads and other trails. 

Would you like to cycle for days alongside huge, sweeping rivers? How about pedaling past endless fields and through coastal forests? Does streaming down mountains and cycling around glacial lakes spin your pedals? You can do all this on bike rides in France. 

Not just a nation of great landscapes, cycle routes in France will whisk you past ancient cities, castles on outcrops and ruins of civilisations past. From the 3,000-year-old city of Metz to the megalithic standing stones of Carnac, wherever your two wheels take you, history will be present in abundance. 

Trails of every length

France has an extensive network of cycle paths making it easy to choose routes that perfectly suit the length of ride you want. A two-hour Sunday jaunt? A two-week tour? No problem, you can find cycle routes to tick all your boxes. 

While France has vast swathes of rural landscape, it also has a fantastic balance of villages, towns and cities, often remarkably pretty. No matter how deep into the countryside you are, you’re never very far from a patisserie. Campsites, supermarkets and B&Bs are also easy to find so you can take the weight off on long distance rides. 

When to cycle in France

With significantly different climates depending on where you ride, there’s always somewhere wonderful to go cycling in France whether it’s deepest winter or highest summer. Riding in summer will usually be warm or hot throughout the country with some regions experiencing wetter weather than others, notably the Biscay coastline and the low valleys of the Alps. 

Winters tend to be mild and damp along the Mediterranean coastline in the south with cold, snowy conditions in the mountainous regions. Much of France’s interior has cool winters, making for beautiful bikes rides even when the days are short. 

The shoulder seasons are outstanding times to cycle, when the country’s woodlands, hedgerows and fields are full of colour. 

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