It doesn’t matter if you’re a keen cyclist who likes a challenge, a cyclist who like to pootle about enjoying the scenery at a leisurely pace or a family where everyone is at a different level of ability – France is perfect for cycling, for everyone.
The back roads are quiet, the weather is usually pleasant, fuel for hungry cyclists is delicious from French brioche, camembert and red wine to baguettes, scrumptious cakes, and cider, and you’ll always find a fabulous picnic spot. Whether you decide to visit vineyards or battlefields, châteaux or cathedrals, the country that is home to the Tour de France is the perfect cycling destination.
We’ve put together some top tips to help you make the most of cycling in France
1 Comfortable clothes and shoes
The weather is generally pleasant in France from Spring to Autumn but it’s not always predictable and rain and cycling are not a pleasant combo. Take waterproof clothing that won’t get too heavy while you’re cycling.
Whatever time of year, you’ll need comfortable footwear, and if possible take a spare pair to give your feet a rest and in case of rain.
Finally, bright coloured clothes will increase your visibility but if you don’t fancy lurid shades, you could hang a brightly coloured scarf or flag from your rear basket.
2 Take a helmet
While it’s not the law to wear a cycling helmet in France, accidents do happen and in fact, it’s exactly because you’re in a foreign place with roads you don’t know that accidents are more likely – wearing a helmet is recommended.
3 Map and compass
Yes we know Google has the answer to everything but in rural areas its common that you won’t get a signal. Take a map with you. It may be old-fashioned but it’s the best way to ensure you’re never lost and that you have something to point to if your French is less than perfect. A compass is the simplest tool around, its lightweight and needs no power.
4 Health Insurance and Important Documents
While cycling is beneficial to your health, don’t forget that accidents can happen and travel insurance vital in case of emergencies.
A French phrasebook is also handy to have as well as a few key phrases to hand such as “I am lost, can you please tell me the way to XX “. It happens!
While France is not known for high levels of crime, it’s still advisable to secure your bike when it’s out of sight, especially in cities. Make sure you take a good lock with you and don’t let someone spoil your holiday.
For loads of inspiration about cycle routes all over France - by the coast, rivers, and vineyards, taking in the countryside, culture, and chateaux, and lots helpful tips check out the France Velo Tourisme website: en.francevelotourisme.com
Wherever you choose to cycle in France, French Connections has thousands of wonderful holiday rentals – just pop over to our search pages and find your dream home from home…