Best Regions in France for Cycling

Cycling in Corsica
Cycling in Corsica

If the images from the Tour de France put you in the mood to discover France on two wheels, you’re not alone.


It’s possibly the best advertisement for France that money can't buy. With over 2000 journalists for 600 media outlets broadcasting to over 80 channels around the world, Le Tour is beamed into almost half of the world’s living rooms, yours most likely being one of them. Cycling your way through 35 French departments (regions) may not be something us mere mortals can achieve, so if you had to choose just one, where should you start? Here are our top picks.


The Loire Valley

Sancerre is the oldest wine area in the Loire Valley, with origins dating back to the 12th century |  <i>Joycee Smith</i>


With lavish chateaux and gardens scattered across the Loire, the ‘playground of the kings’ is an ideal introduction to cycling in France. The terrain is relatively flat, there are Centre Based trip options (which means you unpack only once) and the splendour of the cultural legacies will exceed all your expectations. Check out UTracks' Youtube video on the Loire Valley  or view cycling trips in the Loire Valley



Cycling in front of Mont Saint Michel |  <i>Pierre Torset</i>


Whether you like history, gastronomy or just a scenic coastal ride, Normandy serves up something for everyone. The trails here are quieter, although it’s hard to understand why when you have the famous abbey of Mont St Michel, the D-Day beaches WWII landing sites, along with culinary delights such as the local calvados (apple brandy) as well as numerous cider and cheese varieties to sample. Oh, and the Paris to London Avenue Verte cycle route also passes through Normandy. Cycle in Normandy on a self guided, 6 days trip.



The garden Van Gogh looked out on from the psychiatric home near St Remy de Provence |  <i>Rob Allsop</i>


With its reputation for near-perfect weather, a colourful palette of landscapes from lavender fields to olive groves and even the deep reds of volcanic rock, as well as a special light that seems to bring the hue out in everything, a ride through Provence will help you understand why the likes of Monet and Vincent van Gogh chose this inspirational part of France as their preferred place of residence. View cycle trips in Provence


Rhone Cycle Path

Try an electric bike on the Via Rhona, Lyon to Orange stage, in France


Oh, so this isn’t a region, but it deserves to be on the list. The new Via Rhona cycle path connects the Swiss Alps with the Mediterranean by following the Rhone River, an ancient inland trading route dating back as far as the Greek civilisation. A ride along this trail will treat you to views of Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in the Alps, cultural treasures such as the Roman theatre in Vienne, and classic small French towns where you can experience the legendary ‘savoir-vivre’, which typically includes a locally produced wine, freshly baked baguette and other regional delicacies. View the Rhone Cycle Path stages



A grand chateaux in the Bordeaux region |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>


You don’t need to be an oenophile to know that Bordeaux is the world’s most famous wine region. This is fine wine central, and the biggest stars of Bordeaux's Official Wine Classification of 1855, a system of ranking the region's best wines as requested by Emperor Napoleon III, all feature in the delightful landscape. Here, you’ll truly appreciate the benefits of a self guided cycling trip, allowing you to dictate your itinerary, which comes in very handy should you want to enjoy a long lunch after finding that special drop. View cycling trips in Bordeaux



Cycling in Corsica


Corsica’s location and geography make it a special place to ride. The diversity of mountains, deserts, forests, and coastal landscapes will always keep you inspired in the saddle. Off the bike, there are a plethora of sleepy villages and historical sites to engage you. Home to the famous long-distance hiking route, the GR20, the ‘mountain in the sea’ doesn’t serve up simple riding. The routes are demanding, but the rewards bestowed on those who take up the challenge will be better than a yellow jersey. View our Corsica Cycle trip

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