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What is the best map for touring in France?

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Bigtallfatbloke, 24 Sep 2007.

  1. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    I heard the Michelin maps arnt as good as they used to be...also I dont want to carry lot's of bulky maps, but need as much details as poss. I always get lost in towns...so street maps would be good too.
     
  2. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Miserable Old Bar Steward

    One of Belgium ? :biggrin:
     
  3. andrew_s

    andrew_s Veteran

    Location:
    Gloucester
    The new Michelin maps are all based on the French regions. These are of a variety of shapes and sizes, so you end up with a variety of different map scales and large overlaps between adjacent sheets. The different scales means that it's difficult to judge progress on the map, and the smaller scale sheets do omit some of the information that would have been there on the old 1:200,000 yellow series.

    Options are...
    Buy a Michelin road atlas, and pull out the pages you need. These are the traditional 1:200,000 mapping, the same as it's always been. For longer tours it works out cheaper too.
    IGN (French OS equivalent) do maps in 1:250,000, 1:100,000, 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 scales. They are different in style, but are just as good as anything else. For cycling, the 1:100,000 series is probably best overall, though you would need too many sheets for a trans-France tour. For reliable in-town navigation, you'd need the 1:50,000 scale - the 1:100,000 series has all the main in-town roads, but enough gets left out that you would have to rely on guesswork sometimes.

    In the end, if you want good detailed info for in-town navigation, but don't to carry a bulky stack of maps, you will have to bite the bullet and pay for a GPS and map data. You would want some (1:250,000) paper maps as well as a GPS isn't good for planning on, however good it is at guiding you through strange towns.
     
  4. Tony

    Tony New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    IGN maps. Buy en route, post home when out of map area.
     
  5. Tony

    Tony New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    An alternative I used was last summer, when I gave my expired IGN 100,000s to an elderly Swede doing home-Nordkapp-Gib-home, when passing through Sete.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Thanks... I think I'll get that road atlas...I can 't afford a gps system yet....

    How easy are the more detailed individual maps to find & buy in France as I go along?
     
  7. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    Location:
    S of Kendal
    You can always get large scale maps of a town from the tourist office. This is invariably in the centre near the church or town hall and can be found fairly easily in most places you would want to cross by bike.

    Once you have the map, then the more tricky bits like finding the tourists sights, the camp ground or the correct road out of town becomes much easier.

    Smaller scale IGN maps are readily available for that immediate area in a lot of bookshops, Decathlon sports stores and some tabacs.
     
  8. asterix

    asterix Comrade Member

    Location:
    Limoges or York
    Another vote for the Michelin Road atlas. It's a good deal better than my UK road atlas at showing the roads!

    If you want more detail of areas the IGN maps are to be found in many supermarkets here (although I like to get them well in advance and paw poor pore pour over them.
     
  9. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Location:
    Meanwood, Leeds
    Buy a road atlas and tear out the relevant pages. It worked well for me though I did have a whole of France 'red backed' Michelin Map to keep track of overall progress.

    You don't really need street maps unless you are heading for specific addresses in towns. French signposting is very good once you get used to the jaunty angles they are positioned at relative to the direction that they are meant to indicate. If you have doubts about where you are heading in a large town, keep heading in the direction indicated by the last road sign even though it might be 3km ago and in towns follow the 'toutes directions' signs until your destination turns up - makes for a relaxing ride once you get to grips with this convention.

    Lyons proved to be a little bit of a problem to ride because of several diversions through but I coped. Back in England my motoring friends had similar complaints about the navigability of the city.
     
  10. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Location:
    Crewe
    +1 here - I took the 2007 one away with us this year (granted, I wasn't cycle touring) but the map is excellent. It was detailed enough for me to plan a couple of little rides around the place we were staying. I reckon it'd be a bit big to carry on a bike unless you did tear out pages though.

    Its biggest plus (having used a map I bought on the ferry for a fiver last time) is that it actually seemed to have *all* the roads on it. And named correctly too.