Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Bigtallfatbloke, 5 Jan 2008.
...is it the same as over here? I mean can i ride on any road except a motorway legally?
Pretty much, but be careful the occasional D (departmental) road will be for motorised traffic only (blue circular sign with a picture of a car in white). I rode on one of these by accident once and the other road users were very keen to let me know I shouldn't.
Strangely I have yet to encounter an N (national) road that did not permit cycling although they are not much fun at all. Like a busy A road with loads of arctics on cos locals wont pay to use the motorway ("those are just for tourists!")
It is worth finding trying to find a route that uses mainly C and small D roads. They are nearly always beautifully smooth, completely peaceful and go through all the charming villages.
Your main problem will be that, when you get back to England you will become truly angry about the state of our roads by comparison!
redfox's advice is right on target.
N (national) roads are virtually always to be seriously avoided. C roads are almost always quiet and D roads it depends.
In switzerland people joke about how bad the roads are in france (in comparison)
True, but I don't find the motorists so considerate in Switzerland. France is still the best country for cycling on the road in my experience.
A good idea before for planning is get michelin *local* maps for the regions you are interested in like this one:
These will also have very basic cycle routes marked on them as well, which I'd be quite biased towards following when possible
I cycled on the motorway in France once...but by accident. Got escorted off by a man in a van with Dad, me and the tandem in his van!!!
Yes with the addition of the roads described by another poster. You also need to beware of well intentioned locals who attempt to tell you that the red roads on your map are also prohibited to cyclists like the one I encountered in Lyon.
In fact if you can, avoid riding through Lyon, it's a great city but has a very complex urban inner ring road. It's about the only place where a GPS would have been useful on my ride to the Med.
these look useful. I couldnt find anywhere to see an example of the actual map though to get an idea of how detailed they actually are. They are certainly a lot cheaper than many other options.
Don't forget that black beret's and strings of onions around the neck are obligatory over there!
Your local WHSmiths or Waterstones will probably have them.
Other bookshops are available.
You should try Belgium or Holland... they're even better than France. When I was in Holland this summer, part of the cycle path along the side of the motorway was closed for repair. The authorities closed half the motorway and turned it into a cycle path, putting a contraflow on the remaining half for motorised traffic. Even in France they wouldn't go that far to accommodate cyclists...
Me too - in Geneva I followed green signposts onto what looked like a dual carriageway. But after the swiss-french border, same road, but the signs were now blue!
Scrambled down a bank to a normal road before the motorway joined the main road between Lyon & Milan.
I met several Brits in France who raved about the place, which I really could not understand until they eventually admitted they had never cycled anywhere else, other than England.
Like this (I typed 'michelin local maps' into google images). Can't see any specific cycle routes (thin red lines) here, but bear in mind you don't get them everywhere. However, I'd imagine any map / region where you do see lots of them will be a nice place to cycle.
Also, most biggish towns will have local cycle routes at the tourist information office.
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