My tips for cycling in France

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Jimmy Doug, 4 Jul 2011.

  1. Dave Davenport

    Dave Davenport Guru

    I think they're used for downhill mountain bikes a fair bit so I'd have thought you'd be ok.
  2. You can certainly put a bike on the descent to Venosc from LDA, but there's also a stunning bike exclusive trail suitable for gravel/off road bikes underneath the cable route. Personally, knowing the area well, I'd prefer to ride up to Venosc, ascend to LDA then enjoy the superb descent to Bourg d'Oisans via D220, or Mont de Lans which is a bit longer but not as scenic and quiet as the D220.
  3. Winnershsaint

    Winnershsaint Veteran

    Thanks for that info. Not sure if the R3 is up to going x-country. I've been planning my routes for a number of months. The cable car idea was designed as a bit of 'rest' day plan if needed. Also some photo opportunities.
  4. RobCyclist

    RobCyclist Active Member

    Really helpful post, thanks for sharing.
  5. suzeworld

    suzeworld Über Member

    Any idea of the amount of climbing involved?
    Makes a big difference to me! Tho I reckon I could probably do 80 miles a day if it ain’t too steep.

    Or too hot. This year’s cannicule sapped me.
  6. briantrumpet

    briantrumpet Guru

    Devon & Die
    Flat/rolling for the first three days in France, then oncreasingly lumpy. But, thankfully, the lumpiest day (the last) was with a tailwind.

    Yes, re canicule. It was 40C on my first day here. A bit warm.
    suzeworld likes this.
  7. suzeworld

    suzeworld Über Member


    I am just researching doing something different next year. Family wedding makes usual long haul drive to Provenance look improbable. Plenty to think about if we go touring. (Wedding is on South coast, so bike on ferry is an option).
    Last edited: 20 Aug 2018
  8. Donger

    Donger Convoi Exceptionnel

    Quedgeley, Glos.
    Priority to the right:
    Never thought I'd be bringing this old chestnut up, as this quaint but confusing old practice seems to have all but died out in many parts of France, other than some small rural villages and towns. But having just returned from a week in Alsace, I have to report that it is alive and well and very much practiced there. Wherever a side road on the right doesn't have a give way sign or a solid line across the road, you can expect to have to give way to traffic coming from your right. Traffic regularly emerges from the right at speed at some junctions and ALL the locals give way. Driving in my car, on one occasion I reacted too slowly to a truck emerging from between two houses at speed, and didn't let him out. I got a long, angry hoot for my crime. Cars and bicycles regularly sauntered out confidently in front of me, and at the T junction coming out of our village onto the main road, traffic ALWAYS stopped dead to wait for us to pull out, even when we were turning left and had to wait for cars coming from our right to get past.

    This doesn't seem to be an act of courtesy or kindness, as on one occasion I spent ages trying to pull away at the left of the road and, despite the fact that I was indicating and the traffic was extremely slow, nobody at all was willing to let me out. Then the moment someone turned up at a junction to their right, someone immediately gave way to him. The proprietor of the gite said the locals are very German in their outlook and attitudes (most of them speak a local German dialect), and they strictly obey all rules .... he cited the priority to the right rule, no littering etc. I wondered whether they are actually trying to prove just how French they are by sticking to French traditions longer than the rest of France. Either way, it is something to watch out for if cycling in Alsace.
  9. OP
    Jimmy Doug

    Jimmy Doug If you know what's good for you ...

    I can assure you it's still very alive and well around here and in Normandie. There are loads of roads in the big towns that are priorité à droite too. Not just villages! And in some towns they're introducing NEW priorité à droite junctions.
    Donger and Dogtrousers like this.
  10. avole

    avole Active Member

    Also some roads in Paris are still priority to the right.
    Donger likes this.
  11. Donger

    Donger Convoi Exceptionnel

    Quedgeley, Glos.
    That's interesting. I've driven a lot in France (pretty much all over), and I've always kept it in mind, but seldom seen it so rigidly adhered to. As a matter of self preservation, I always look for solid lines across side roads, just in case. It is also very noticeable that the "Vous n'avez pas priorite" signs for side roads always seem to be angled at about 45 degrees so as to be visible from the main road too. I just wish it was more obvious where in France it is still common practice to just barge your way out confidently and where it isn't. I'm sure Alsace will not be the only place, but I just thought it was worth warning people anyway.
  12. As @Jimmy Doug says, it's pretty common in Normandy, where I visit regularly. And (although I don't have experience of this) in other countries too, not just France.

    I think the problem is more with us Brits failing to understand it, and thinking it's stupid. It gave me a few headaches when I first started driving out there but I soon got used to it. A bit like you get used to the food being better ;)
  13. OP
    Jimmy Doug

    Jimmy Doug If you know what's good for you ...

    Priorité à droite is the norm in lots of European countries - I've even encountered it in Norway. But I think it is more common in France than elsewhere I've been to.
    In Paris, there's another oddity - although I think it's fading away (I've seen it once or twice elsewhere - but it seems to be more a Parisian thing): roundabouts with priorité à droite - marked with a tiny red cross like the red light of a traffic light (very easy to miss). Just bear in mind that usually roundabouts in France are give way to the left!
    Still - we Brits can't claim to have perfect road rules either. The Magic Roundabout in Swindon leaves me baffled every time I see it - and I'm used to it, being from Wiltshire originally.

    5361158.jpg [​IMG]
    Donger and Dogtrousers like this.
  14. DooDah

    DooDah Über Member

    Priorité à droite is common place all over France and I have travelled extensively. It is absolutely essential to look out for road signs, if there are none on your passage, then the above rule applies. I have seen far too many accidents, and not all were brits, due to this.
  15. Shut Up Legs

    Shut Up Legs Down Under Member

    I started to recognise the priorité à droite signs after a while, during my recent 1 month Pyrénées cycling trip. They're a diagonal black cross on white background with a red triangle border. Once a motorist even gave way to me as I neared an intersection and was about to turn off a minor road onto a more major one, because it was a priorité à droite intersection.

    I also learned to recognise the similar sign indicating that you have priority: instead of the cross there is an upward arrow.
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