If TV coverage of the Tour De France has left you hankering for a taste of the action, then here’s our pick of the top summer cycling destinations in France.
At this time of year, it’s far too hot for cycling in the south, so we’ve picked the cooler regions for some family-friendly rides, all within easy reach of our French villas and cottages…
Normandy – The gently undulating landscape of Normandy makes it great for cyclists of all ages and experience, and you can choose to ride through history from Rouen, along the River Seine, taking in the legend of Joan of Arc at Place du Vieux-Marche.
Another favourite route in the region starts at the Port Village of Honfleur, the birthplace of impressionism, and takes you to Monet’s famous gardens at Giverny. You’ll find great food along the way to fuel your trip – Normandy is famous for its lobsters, oysters and camembert, and you’ll find a bakery at every stop.
Explore our holiday cottages in Normandy.
Brittany – Cyclists in the know choose Brittany as their destination, as it offers unspoilt countryside, sleepy villages, little market towns and quiet country lanes, not to mention the most spectacular and varied of coastlines, ranging from sweeping golden sands to rocky coves and cliffs.
You’ll find countless lakes and forests linked by canals, all with towpaths perfect for safe cycling with kids. Most notable is the 172 mile Nante-Brest Canal, which takes you near to Stone Age monuments and ancient Celtic churches, and through remnants of the great Pan-European Forest.
Explore our holiday cottages in Brittany.
The Loire – Possibly the most obvious choice, the Loire Valley is famous for breathtaking cycling holidays.
Our favourite rides in the region can be found on the Vendeé Coastal Paths, safely designed routes with spectacular views of the Atlantic, all connecting gorgeous coastal towns. Between Noirmoutier and Sables-d’Olonne you’ll find 100km of stunning views. Or between La Barre-de-Monts and Saint-Jean-de-Monts there’s 110km of car-free cycle routes, taking in the sea, marshes of Poitiers, sand dunes and pine forests.
Local highlights include the Montois Hinterland and Pays du Pont d’Yeu.
Explore our holiday cottages in The Loire.
Whichever region you decide to explore, don’t forget to pack plenty of sun cream and fresh drinking water. Plan your route well, taking account for everyone’s abilities, and make sure you carry a map, compass, mobile phone and phrase book, just in case!
Have you got a favourite French cycling route you’d like to share? Leave us your comments below…