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Riding through France

ro88ieukro88ieuk Posts: 2
edited November 2007 in Tour & expedition
I am planning to ride through France next year starting in Calais and finishing in Montpellier. Has anyone done a similar route or have any advice in general about riding in France?. I'm hoping that they will have forgot about the Rugby by then!.

Posts

  • PercycpPercycp Posts: 230
    Not done that exact route but have cycled through most of France. Spent about two months there this year, mostly West Coast and the South, across from Andorra to Italy.

    My advice is you don't need any advice - cycling in France is the easiest thing in the world. Get a map, pick a town you want to get to that day, link up the little villages along the way, ride on the perfect flat roads, enjoy the fact that there are so few people around and so little traffic, arrive and pick your acommodation - campsites everywhere (but mostly May to September), Hotels, Pension...whatever. Wild camp, if that's your thing. Look around, drink beer outside cafes, eat everything in sight - chances are it'll be nice. Get up the next day and do it all again.
  • may i ask, are you going to start in calais due to getting a ferry there? i'm sure it is but just was curious since i want to do a similar tour but don't fancy trusting my seven to the eurostar.
    dangerous jules.
  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    Agree with Percy, France is THE country to go cycling in. It is just a great experience. Here are a few tips:

    Buy a Michelin road atlas (small size), rip the covers off and take the pages you need to get you from Calais to Montpelier. They fit perfectly into an Ortlieb bar bag map case, folded in half and each one is about a day's ride long (100km).

    Almost all French towns have a municipal campsite (May to September) but some don't. If you get stranded, hotels are really cheap and you get a meal into the bargain.

    Much of interior France is "casse pied", that is to say that the hills go up and down and up and down all day (a bit like Scotland). Don't be afraid, you get used to it, but it is draining so don't be over-ambitious.

    The French are generally sympathetic to cyclists, enthusiastic even. We got applauded by people we passed. If motorists hoot at you, it is to warn you that they are there, not to tell you to **** off, so give them a hearty wave, not a Harvey Smith.

    Rural shops still close between 12 and 4pm. This means that you can easily go hungry in the middle of the day. Make provision.

    Have a lot of fun. It is pretty much guaranteed.


    Fast and Bulbous
    Peregrinations
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

  • Tourist TonyTourist Tony Posts: 8,628
    How are you getting back? European Bike Express run through there. You might as well continue down to Palavas on the Med---lust to touch the sea! Cycle route for that last bit is fine, but watch the tram tracks in MontP.
    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=3 ... =3244&v=5K
  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    Could write a long post about teh joys of cycling in France but its all been said already - have fun - choose a time window that suits your kind of cycling and take a day off now and again to do nothing!
  • Special KSpecial K Posts: 449
    Dangerous Jules: Don't take your Seven on the Eurostar. Or if you do, disguise or something. Eurostar security between the train and the depot at GdN is hopeless. In June a friend lost a lovely shiny brand new Condor Italia to some thieving gypsy. Avoid.

    PercyCP: If you travel down through Burgundy and the Rhone valley my advice is stay clear of Lyon and the industrial part. Use the IGN 1:100,000 (blue) maps. they are excellent as is MemoryMap which proved invlauable for planning out a trip.

    You'll have a blast.
    "There are holes in the sky,
    Where the rain gets in.
    But they're ever so small
    That's why rain is thin. " Spike Milligan
  • Special KSpecial K Posts: 449
    sorry - previous post addressed to Percy instead of robbie.
    "There are holes in the sky,
    Where the rain gets in.
    But they're ever so small
    That's why rain is thin. " Spike Milligan
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,290
    Special K wrote:
    Dangerous Jules: Don't take your Seven on the Eurostar. Or if you do, disguise or something. Eurostar security between the train and the depot at GdN is hopeless. In June a friend lost a lovely shiny brand new Condor Italia to some thieving gypsy. Avoid.
    That's bad.

    However, you don't need to entrust your bike to Eurostar. Simply bag it up and carry it on. I've done this at least ten times and have never had any problems whatsoever.
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    As AndyP says, you just need to bag your bike and walk on to the train. The bike has to be a in bag, but bubblewrap is ok, so long as everything is wrapped.
  • I'm off on Monday to ride Calais to Nice in 9 days. I've booked Logis in the main as I'll need a nice warm shower and home cooking. I've used the Michellin site which has an option to plan a cycle friendly route up to 200km. I've then transferred each route to my Garmin 305 and we'll see how it goes. I am taking the Michellin maps as well. Happy to send out the route if anyone is interested. Also going via Eurotunnel for £16 and £26 train from St Albans to Folkstone - bargain. Return is £70 via Easyjet and I plan to buy a plastic bag and tape the bike up - (this is the only bit I'm worried about for obvious reasons). Hope this gives you some ideas. Respect, Harry.
  • Hi mate.

    I rode from Paristo Milan last year and France was, unexpectedly, the highlight. Burgundy just took my breath away. No mountains but it's so bloody colourful and quiet.

    So try and find a way to go there.

    In saying that, the whole country is beautiful I'm sure.

    Dave
  • ro88ieuk wrote:
    I am planning to ride through France next year starting in Calais and finishing in Montpellier. Has anyone done a similar route or have any advice in general about riding in France?. I'm hoping that they will have forgot about the Rugby by then!.

    I did it this summer. A fragement of the route as far as Lyon is:

    CALAIS
    Wissant
    Marquise
    Desyres
    Beussent
    Montreuil
    Abbeville
    Yzeux
    Amiens
    Roye
    Noyon
    Blerancourt
    Soissons
    Chateau-Thierry
    Montmirail
    Sezanne
    Mesgrigny
    Troyes
    Verrieres
    Ville Noyenne
    Merry-sur-Arce
    Chatillon-sur-Saône
    Dijon
    Beaune
    Chalon-sur-saône
    Cuisery
    Pont-de-Vaux
    Pont-de-Veyle
    Trevoux
    LYON

    Lyon is a great city but awful to ride through. I made the effort to do all of my communications in French using stuuf that I learnet 30 years ago. My efforts were well received and I got away without speaking English aprt fromtwo occasions, once with an Australian and once with some Brits.

    The food is great value. Alcohol is much cheaper in supermarkets than bars. Pattiseries are the work of Satan - I always wanted to buy a shelf full of their wares :-)

    Municipal camp sites are worth seeking out if camping. They are great value - the cheapest was 3 euros.

    Follow the Rhone Saonne gap down to the Carmarge through Provence. At the Med turn lright and start your count of road kill coypus...

    I had a fantastic fortnight doing the ride and will be returning to provence at some stage to revisit Orange, Avignon, And Arles and vist Pont du Gard and Mt Ventoux for the first time.

    You will be well looked aftyer as a touring cyclist. I was made to feel very welcome everywhere that I went.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Why start at Calais? (Apart from the fact that it's obvious). You could consider going down the west cost and then cutting across say via the Canal du Midi. Though cycling in Burgundy sounds pretty appealing.

    it's also worth checking out the network of 'voies vertes' (green ways).

    Special K

    You probably weren't thinking about it but 'thieving gypsy' is racist. Gypsies were gassed by the Nazis and they still very badly treated in Italy and in many parts of eastern Europe.
  • andymiller wrote:
    Why start at Calais? (Apart from the fact that it's obvious). You could consider going down the west cost and then cutting across say via the Canal du Midi. Though cycling in Burgundy sounds pretty appealing.

    it's also worth checking out the network of 'voies vertes' (green ways).

    Special K

    You probably weren't thinking about it but 'thieving gypsy' is racist. Gypsies were gassed by the Nazis and they still very badly treated in Italy and in many parts of eastern Europe.

    You're right, I wasn't thinking. Perhaps I should have said that they were a theiving something-else-not-very-nice-but-not-demeaning-to-any-minority-group-no-matter-how-true-the-stereotype-after-all-we're-all-god's-children.
    "There are holes in the sky,
    Where the rain gets in.
    But they're ever so small
    That's why rain is thin. " Spike Milligan
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Special K

    Yes that would have been better.
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