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"Day" Cycling in SW France

rdtrdt Posts: 869
edited June 2010 in Tour & expedition
I'm off to France for a month's camping in the summer, driving down but taking our bikes. We're taking a week+ to drive down, through the Massif Central to our initial destination fairly near to Pau (Sauveterre de Béarn), where we're staying for several days, and hopefully catch a bit of the Tour there.

After that, we've up to 3 weeks to explore the region. I've been to the Pyrenees a bit in the past, so I'm looking at maybe a stint out on the coast vaguely in the Bordeaux direction, and then inland to maybe the Lot and Dordogne valleys.

I've not been to any of those areas before, and I'm sure it'll all be lovely and great to explore. But, if anyone has recommendations of routes to ride, or areas to particularly check out, I'd love to hear.

My other half is fairly new to cycling, but has managed a 50 miler around the Peak District, so is decently fit, and should be OK as long as routes aren't too long or mountainous.

Any input appreciated.

Posts

  • Wallace1492Wallace1492 Posts: 3,707
    The Tarn Gorge is fantastic, though maybe a little out of your way. I have also cycled around Luchon, famtastic. Lot valley is superb, especially between Cahors and Touzak, lots of options and good cycle routes.
    "Encyclopaedia is a fetish for very small bicycles"
  • rdtrdt Posts: 869
    Thanks for the pointers, Wallace.

    Following up on your Cahors/Touzak suggestion, which looks great, I found this site, with itineraries for their tours in the Dordogne and Lot valleys.
    http://www.scotcycle.co.uk/Cycling%20in%20Dordogne.htm
    http://www.scotcycle.co.uk/Cycling%20in%20Lot.htm

    They look like just the stuff we'd be interested in, so I'll see if I can figure out some routes there for us to do, along the lines of those described.

    I've a France road atlas, but can anyone point me at a map or maps for this region (Dordogne & Lot valleys) that'd be suitable for carrying on the bike, e.g. 25-50,000 scale? I'm not familiar with the French system of maps....

    cheers.
  • Wallace1492Wallace1492 Posts: 3,707
    rdt wrote:
    Thanks for the pointers, Wallace.

    Following up on your Cahors/Touzak suggestion, which looks great, I found this site, with itineraries for their tours in the Dordogne and Lot valleys.
    http://www.scotcycle.co.uk/Cycling%20in%20Dordogne.htm
    http://www.scotcycle.co.uk/Cycling%20in%20Lot.htm

    They look like just the stuff we'd be interested in, so I'll see if I can figure out some routes there for us to do, along the lines of those described.

    I've a France road atlas, but can anyone point me at a map or maps for this region (Dordogne & Lot valleys) that'd be suitable for carrying on the bike, e.g. 25-50,000 scale? I'm not familiar with the French system of maps....

    cheers.

    You can pick up decent maps in the tourist shops and camp sites all over the Lot Valley, we got loads. They are of a decent size for pocket/bike. Plenty of cafe's and wine shops to keep up the spirits. I am jealous as I loved it last year.
    "Encyclopaedia is a fetish for very small bicycles"
  • rdtrdt Posts: 869
    I am jealous as I loved it last year.

    It's a few years since I've been over to France, so I'm really looking forward to it.

    The sort of map I was thinking of are these Michelin Local ones:-
    http://www.mapkiosk.com/pages/keuro_fra ... local.html

    I've bought a couple and aim to pick up others locally as you suggest.

    Thanks for your help, Wallace.

    EDIT: Having seen the other thread on plotting routes, I've changed my order to the IGN Top 100 maps! cheers.
  • peter_andrewpeter_andrew Posts: 373
    Just back ffrom supporting charity ride from St Malo - Santander.
    From Royan (on the north of the Gironde) just west of Bordeaux all the way south to below Archachon is stunning.
    The beaches are stunning some of the small town "plages" are undeveloped some offer more facilities. There are bike paths almost all the way down the coast.
    I would highly recommend the area.
    Plenty of campsites also
    Peter
  • rdtrdt Posts: 869
    edited June 2010
    Thanks.

    I think that's the area my sister went to last year (surfers) - beach as far the eye can see North/South. I see from the map there's forests and lakes, which I seem to remember my sis mentioning. They camped a few miles inland at a farm with just a few people on it, so I'll find out the location.

    OK, I now have an outline plan to visit/cycle in 4 main areas:-

    (1) Pyrénées-Atlantiques; we'll be based in Sauveterre-de-Bearn, West of Pau, and hope to catch the Tour at Pau or the depart at Salies-de-Béarn.

    (2) Coastline West of Bordeaux a la peter andrew.

    (3) Dordogne and Lot valleys, maybe cribbing something from these routes:-
    http://www.scotcycle.co.uk/Cycling%20in%20Lot.htm
    http://www.scotcycle.co.uk/Cycling%20in%20Dordogne.htm
    &
    http://www.hookedoncycling.co.uk/France ... 20lot.html
    http://www.hookedoncycling.co.uk/France ... 0tour.html

    (4) Loire area around Loches, cribbing some of the routes from this CTC Holiday:-
    http://www.cyclingholidays.org/files/1047ppk.pdf


    I might find an excuse not to come back! :lol:
  • peter_andrewpeter_andrew Posts: 373
    Maubuission is on an inland lake that we had lunch at, again it is stunning. Great beach and real buzz about the town. Camping was close by.
    Have been with scot cycle holidays 7 yrs ago and done their Dordogne tour. I would suggest day 6 as the Vezier is much quieter. The Dordogne road is pretty narrow in places and so so busy. Also there is a little village called Dome on the top of a hill over looking the Dordogne which is worth visiting along with the medieval town of Sarlat.
    Peter
  • rdtrdt Posts: 869
    Maubuission is on an inland lake that we had lunch at, again it is stunning. Great beach and real buzz about the town. Camping was close by.
    Have been with scot cycle holidays 7 yrs ago and done their Dordogne tour. I would suggest day 6 as the Vezier is much quieter. The Dordogne road is pretty narrow in places and so so busy. Also there is a little village called Dome on the top of a hill over looking the Dordogne which is worth visiting along with the medieval town of Sarlat.
    Peter

    I've looked all that up my map; comments duly noted. Although it'll be peak season, I'll try to steer clear of the crowds, particularly for the cycling. So the Vezere valley sounds good.

    I'll maybe crib something from this route, which, looking at my map, seems to be sticking to minor roads:-
    Historic_Dordogne.jpg

    Thanks again for the input.
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