Cycle touring France, Calais to Nice

reeshar

New Member
Hello,

I'm looking for some advice on route planning an (hopefully) upcoming tour of France, going from Calais to Nice. I only have about 14 days so it's got to be quite direct, I plugged the start and destination into Komoot and it came up with a reasonable looking route, but how do you know if it's safe to cycle? Does komoot tend to pick bike safe roads? I'm fine with traffic but don't want to be getting inadvertently routed down the local motorway! I've attached an overview of the komoot route here, any input/advice gratefully received. I also had a look at a similar website called Geovelo, recommended by a friend in France, I've also uploaded an overview of this route below. The routes are very similar until south of Lyon, when the Geovelo route goes the long way round via Avignon, but it's 158km longer with 3,060m more climbing so I'm a bit reluctant to follow that one. Has any one used Geovelo? Is it better or worse than Komoot for something like this?

Cheers,

Richard
 

Attachments

Will Komoot put you on dangerous roads in France? Unlikely.
Will Komoot give you the "best" route in France? Unlikely in my experience and taste.
Break the journey down into smaller pieces and you may end up with a different route.

If you do a search you will find many discussions on planning apps.

I've never come across geovelo.

Have you tried Komoot locally where you know the roads and can get an idea of its selections against your preferences?

For me, the best planner for touring is https://cycle.travel/

You may find biroto.eu to be helpful too, showing lots of cycling routes for France.

You give no indication of your experience, the load you plan to carry, camping/hotel preferences, solo/group or the time of year. All those can play into route planning as well.

An average of 100km per day for 14 days straight can be tough! Depending on timing it can be very hot or daylight may be limited and there is little wiggle room for delays, although France has some bike friendly trains.

Again, a search will throw up more general info about touring in France such as food options in smaller towns.
There is always the treasure trove of Journals on CrazyGuyOnABike.
On the assumption that Covid lets you travel I'd be expecting much higher (local) demand for things like accommodation. Restrictions may still be in place in restaurants and the like.

Personally speaking a 14 day "race" through France would not be fun. If Nice was set in stone as a destination I'd look at using a train or trains to give me the best touring experience.

Good Luck!
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
I can't answer your route plotting question but have a suggestion. There is a well established route from St Malo to Nice which is the topic of the book France en Velo.

I've ridden this. It could be done in 14 days though my experience of this length of tour is building in 2-3 rest days, which could be simply much shorter rides, is a good idea.

It's a good route. Only one day of bad, that is boring, roads. There are also jump off points which you could use to catch a train if progress was slow.
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
A useful resource that you may or may not already know about is the online IGN maps at geoportail.fr

Go to https://www.geoportail.gouv.fr/
Click the menu top left where it says "Cartes"
Choose "Plan IGN"
Now you can browse the super duper IGN maps.

You can use this to validate routes that have been generated for you or get detail for how you want to route yourself through a particular problem area. Or just discover interesting things about the area.
 
Last edited:

iluvmybike

Über Member
Dont try and go through the middle of Lyon! The roads either side of the motorway once you get down the Rhone valley are funnelled into that corridor. You can deviate farther to east and west but you will get into some hillier terrain. A lot of 'N' numbered roads (red on maps) can be very busy and some are just pseudo motorways but not all of them. Be best to do good research before you go...
 

Ian H

I am an ancient randonneur, & I stop often for tea
Location
East Devon
Personally speaking a 14 day "race" through France would not be fun. If Nice was set in stone as a destination I'd look at using a train or trains to give me the best touring experience.
Good Luck!
Having ridden from Caen to Perpignan in 6 days (200km/day), we weren't exactly racing. Plenty of time for a decent lunch and food & wine each evening. Not too much to carry as we had booked accommodation for each night.
 

Fram

Senior Member
Location
Highland
I can't answer your route plotting question but have a suggestion. There is a well established route from St Malo to Nice which is the topic of the book France en Velo.

I've ridden this. It could be done in 14 days though my experience of this length of tour is building in 2-3 rest days, which could be simply much shorter rides, is a good idea.

It's a good route. Only one day of bad, that is boring, roads. There are also jump off points which you could use to catch a train if progress was slow.
If you decide to come down from Calais not Roscoff (edit: St Malo - oops) you might join the via Rhona and pick up the bottom section of France en Velo near Orange, which would be a lovely way to take you into Nice.
 
Last edited:

matticus

Veteran
Having ridden from Caen to Perpignan in 6 days (200km/day), we weren't exactly racing. Plenty of time for a decent lunch and food & wine each evening. Not too much to carry as we had booked accommodation for each night.
Google shows that as a mere 53hours by bike. No wonder you had time for lunch!
 

Ian H

I am an ancient randonneur, & I stop often for tea
Location
East Devon
Google shows that as a mere 53hours by bike. No wonder you had time for lunch!
1,200km, the route we took. But, yes, Google does seem to be a little optimistic with that journey time. No allowance for sleep, presumably. 10hrs a day would give 60hrs total, which is probably not too far from what we did.

In fact, checking Strava, it shows 58hr 20min cycling.
 
Top Bottom