Forum home Road cycling forum Tours, routes, audaxes & organised rides Tour & expedition

Starting in Paris instead of England?

rayboraybo Posts: 86
edited December 2007 in Tour & expedition
I am planning a tour across France in May, 2008. Since I have in-laws who live near Heathrow, I was going to fly there, assemble the bike, and then ride to Portsmouth and take a ferry to Normandy.

However, I got to thinking that it might be better to fly into Paris and then ride over to Normandy as part of my tour. I have been to Paris, so that won't be part of this trip.

Instead, I am wondering about landing at Charles De Gaulle airport, getting my bags to a hotel for the night, assembling the bike, dealing with the bike boxes (shipping them down to Avignon) and then riding off. I have an S&S coupled bike that comes in a suitcase and has to be assembled. Thus, I will not be riding out of the airport but looking for a nearby place to stay for a night while I assemble the bike.

Has anyone flown into Charles De Gaulle airport and then ridden to Normandy without going through Paris?

Any other advice would be appreciated, as well.




  • If it were me, I would stick with your original plan and embark from Portsmouth. This is because I dislike riding round trying to find my way out of/across cities: quite apart from the traffic, the signage is designed to get cars onto main roads and not for cyclist to find quieter routes. Not only that, there is nothing whatever about the outskirts of Paris that would make me want to start a cycle tour there if I could avoid it. Starting from Normandy is a far better plan IMO (I like Normandy!).

    But hey, whatever you do, I hope you have a good time.

    ..oh and let us know how it all went, won't you?
  • BrainsBrains Posts: 1,732
    Actually I would start in Paris, as Heathrow area to Portsmouth is a least a day's ride, and France is a much nicer country to cycle in than the UK

    There is also the cost and time for the Ferry, they are expensive and slow.

    So I'd go to Paris, CdeG is to the north of the city, so you could build the bike in the area and then cycle to Normandy without getting within 20 miles of Paris

    The other option would be to assemble the bike at CdeG area, leave the case in the hotel, either ride ot get the train to Normandy, cycle to Avignon, and then get the train back to Paris and your case.

    There is a third option, which is worth serious consideration. Fly to Heathrow, (or better still, Gatwick) and then catch the EBE. A load less hassle.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Brains wrote:
    France is a much nicer country to cycle in than the UK

    That really is complete tosh. British reverse chauvinism that everything in France is better. You could make a very nice run through southern England from Reading to Portsmouth. Or alternatively it's two hours on the train (which, are also really rather good).
  • Perhaps I ought to have mentioned that I live in rural France - a very different place from the nightmareish outskirts of Paris.

    As Andymiller says - not everything here is better than the UK, although it is a big country and less crowded outside the cities. I also agree that it would be easier to accompany a bike on a British train.
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