We love our cycling here at France for Families HQ, so it is no surprise that as winter approaches we are keen to think of sunnier climes, the gentle warm breeze blowing inbetween the spokes and une vue incroyable as we ride by.
We’ve picked out 3 cycle routes that will inspire your 2016 adventures.
Our cycle route ideas may lend themselves to staying overnight in a certain town or village, but don’t limit yourself to these, there are plenty of great accommodation options in our Gites in France section; many that will be on or close to the cycle route. And please note due to the distances involved, these cycle routes are aimed at families with teenage children.
1. Normandy is an ideal location for a holiday, not only is it close to the UK, but steeped rich in history with many outstanding places to visit as a family. The approx 130-mile route starts in Bayeux, home of the famous tapestry that depicts the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and the eventual Norman conquest of England, and heads towards Omaha D-Day Beach. Meander through the Normandy countryside, then along the coast before heading back to Bayeux – this is between 30 and 40 miles for Day 1. The next day head out north of the town towards the pretty seaside resort of Arromanches-les-bains and then along the coastal roads again before heading into Caen for another excellent days cycling. If you have the legs we suggest you leave Caen heading towards the coast to Houlgate and then until you reach the port of Honfleur. This leg of the route is the longest at around 45 miles, if you wish to take it easier, we suggest an overnight stay in Houlgate. Along the way be sure to leave time to get to know Deauville.
2. The Dordogne, as popular as ever with tourists is a great choice for a family cycle holiday. We suggest a 150-mile route starting in Monpazier, t picturesque cobbled streets and many historic buildings, mainly due to a law passed in 1962 that gave the town the money to maintain and restore its treasures. (photo shows the historic centre of Monpanzier)
Heading south of the town on the D704 back on the trail of the Dordogne river heading towards the town of Souillac before heading south again and into the Regional Park of Quercy and towards our destination, Rocadamour. The village known perhaps more by sight than by name is perched outstandlingly on a clifftop 100m above a gorge.
3. The Canal du Midi in Languedoc lends itself as the perfect guide through this diverse region. The canal stretches for more than 240km and was created in the late 17th century to help link France’s Atlantic coast with the Mediterranean coasts. Our suggestion is to start your route at Carcassonne, a UNESCO fortified city that is worth allocating some time to before heading off and completing your route in Sète, a stylish town on the Mediterranean coast. Head to the Promenade du Canal towards the south of the city and pick up the Canal towpath (around here please be careful with pedestrians!) You will head north out of the city before heading south east towards the coastline.
The canal follows the L’Aude river through this outstanding stretch of French countryside and has plenty to keep you interested. From ancient villages, castles, churches and aqueducts and many more landmarks. After Carcassonne, your next major town is Beziers the gateway to many seaside resorts in Languedoc, itself one of the oldest cities in France. Then through the villages of Vias and Agde before reaching your destination of Sète.
We suggest overnight stays in La Redorte or Homp, then Beziers and then Sète. Airports that serve the route include Carcassonne, Beziers, Montpellier and Nimes.
Take a look at our Cycling Holidays in France section for more ideas and which cycling tour companies to contact to help you make your adventure a reality.
Enjoy the ride!