Any comments on this route in France?

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Bigtallfatbloke, 23 Jan 2008.

  1. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Not knowing France at all I have simply plotted this route on The idea is to cross France at a reasonable pace (IRO 70-100km a day approx) and to go along coastal regions if possible. I tied to stay off the bigger roads as well. So id this a good route? Is it too hilly? Are there better places to go? Clearly I cant do everything, so i thought this was as good a route as any, but I am open to suggestions from all, especially if you've been over there on a touring bike yourself. Bikeroute toaster could not save this route in IE so i took screen shots. I will do the next route in Mozilla firefox which is able to save the route.

    Many thanks.


  2. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Whilst not saying that your route wouldn't be interesting, I personally wouldn't be that concerned with the coastal bits either after Le Havre or the west coast. It's not always the most interesting countryside, can be a bit samey and often the roads even if they're on the actual coast are busy.
    i'd take a slightly more direct line south definitely picking a route through the Creuse region north of Limoges, the Auvergne, Cevennes and Ardeches. Great countryside, quiet roads and rural cuisine and life but it depends what you like.
    Then wiggle across to Mont Ventoux in Provence and finish with a flourish! ( But leave the panniers at the bottom!)
  3. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    I think it looks blissful!

    I agree with Rich that I'd cut further inland for Normandy and Brittany but don't know if you're a coast lover and want to stay by the seaside. Personally, I'd cut through the Loire and see a couple of Chateaux, and then cut SW to the coast. Lots of your route post Toulouse/Carcassonne mirrors my plans for the summer as well, so I clearly think that's a great idea. I also love Rich P's Ventoux idea...always good to finish somewhere proper, if that makes sense.

    Bring on the summer!!!
  4. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Thankyou both very much. Like this you mean??


    Any chance you could post up a map of your rough ideas? No probs if not, it's just i am clueless about these areas..
  5. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    Personally, i'd do this. Lots of places I've not visited, so not an expert.

    Le Havre. Visit Honfleur cuz it's nice and you get to cycle over the Pont de Normandie but be careful not to go on the motorway instead like we did!! ;)

    Cycle east to Rouen passing by Les Andelys and la suisse normande. Nice area.

    South to Tours. Don't really know the area. Spend a few days on the Loire a Velo bike route visiting castles...Chenenceaux being the one I really want to visit.

    Head South to Limoges. Again, don't know the area much.

    Spend some time in the Dordogne/Lot area drinking wine, visiting beautiful towns such as Bergerac and doing some climbing.

    Follow my planned route for the summer...
    Toulouse/Carcassonne/Beziers/Montpellier/Arles/Aix en Provence. Spend some time in Aix because it's gorgeous.

    North to Sault for Ventoux.

    If you have time, I'd also go and play in the Vercors and end in Grenoble.

    The stage from Toulouse to Grenoble is all part of this summer's plan (tibia permitting). I'm biased but I think it would be an amazing ride.

    But it's YOUR trip!!! could always head further east from Aix en Provence and do the Gorge du Verdon and finish in Nice area.
  6. Abitrary

    Abitrary New Member

    Think it looks great BTFB. Still think you're going to need 6 weeks off work to do that though.
  7. Tony

    Tony New Member

    Your route doesn't say whether you are crossing the Garonne, at the scale I can see it. There is a ferry at the river mouth.
    Bordeaux to Toulouse can be a bit boring; there is the Canal Lateral to follow, which meets up with the Canal du Midi in Toulouse. There is a quieter road "Via Aquitania" which takes you from Toulouse via Castelnaudary to Carcassonne. From Carc, there is a quietr road via Homps, where you can go to either Beziers or Narbonne. From either, there are quiet back roads that take you round to Agde.
    At Agde, you have the choice of an undulating road round the back of the Bassin de Thau, or a ten mile time trial up the narrow, busy coast road to Sete. I normally stop overnight in Marseillan and then sprint the road in early morning.
    From Sete, take the first bridge over to Frontignan. Cycle path network, quiet roads, over Rhone-Sete canal into Villeneuve lez Maguelone. Follow signs to the Ile Maguelone, and there is a footbridge (level) back over the canal. Brings you round the isle and onto short gravel track into Palavas.
    Where are you intending to finish?
  8. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    Has anyone biked the canal du midi? I love the idea but have heard mixed reports on the the surfacing. Having cycled the Leeds - Liverpool canal one weekend this summer, I've had enough of bumps etc! Does anyone know the good stretches?
  9. Pete

    Pete Guest

    I've just discovered, you've got this whole series of threads on your proposed French trip BTFB, which I missed, sorry :wacko:. When are you planning to do this? And - if it can be arranged, and if your trip coincides with one of our visits there, would you be interested in calling round at our place? Would be a slight detour north of your planned route Bordeaux-Toulouse. Nice cycling country, some hills but not over-demanding. Are you on your own or with companions?
  10. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    at the moment the plan is to leave around the 10th of july. I am riding with a musician friend from Germany (who has 6 weeks ish off work so that is the time limit) but hopefully it can be done in less time. My thought was to fly home from Montpellier, but it depends on how things go...I may just keep going...I have no plans to come back until the cash runs out really.thankyou for the kind offer Pete..I may just take you up on it...only we still havent decided on a route yet....

    ..I am going to stay away from Ventoux though...sounds like one hill too far for me!

    Tony..thanks for those comments/tips...I will try to track them down on a map.. problem right now is knowing where is nice etc...I could easily ride across France and see all the crappy parts knowing my I have no idea about the country.
  11. Tony

    Tony New Member

    Cathryn, I have ridden the C du M many times, and the towpath/cyclepath varies tremendously from aggregate/gravel in Toulouse, to smooth tarmac by Portiragnes, to tree-root dirt in other places. I usually ride on parallel roads.

    And why not look at the European Bike Express?
  12. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    BTFB, I'll have a closer squint at a map later and see if I can rough out a route through some of my fave areas.(No obligation for you to take any notice, of course!!)
    I love France and as long as you keep away from main roads it's a delight. The only thing I find dull in any place I travel is flatlands and I cycled south east from Bordeaux once and found it flat, monotonous pine forests and straight roads until reaching the foothills of the Pyrenees.
    I'm not sure whether a canal side ride might be a bit boring after a few days, Cathryn, although good for getting a few miles under your belt!
  13. raybo

    raybo Well-Known Member

  14. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    ..that would really help me a lot...many thanks.:biggrin:

    .Ray..that cycle tour site is very cool..ta...just the job as it has maps of the routes as well as distances, details on hills etc..thanks.
  15. yello

    yello Legendary Member

    I'd love to help... but I can't see the route(s)!

    I live north of Limoges and can echo Rich P's remarks about the area. It is quiet and also, by French standards, the cycling is fairly easy going.
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