Family Cycling Holidays in France
by Martyn Davis
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Cyclists of all abilities can look forward to some fantastic scenery whilst on a cycling holiday in france, along with experiencing traditional French cuisine in the many hotels you stop at on your travels through the scenic countryside.
France is a country that is extremely enthusiastic about cycling, as we are all no doubt well aware with the Tour de France, and they have made it ever so easy to explore the countryside and cities on two wheels, with dedicated cycle paths and routes all around.
Cycling holidays will give you peace and tranquillity with awesome views of countryside, chateaux, medieval towns, hilltops, valleys and gorges and these are just some of things that you would easily miss out on if you were driving through France, and with the rich heritage, extraordinary landscapes and the gastronomic delights can all be appreciated more whilst cycling, especially because of the extensive national network of veloroutes.
These veloroutes will take you along canal towpaths, quiet country lanes and converted railway lines as well as getting you into the heart of the countryside by using voies vertes, also known as green ways, which are specially designated tracks that are completely shut to motorised traffic, you can even hire your cycle en route from one of many locations-velos that line the major cycling routes.
You can still find areas in France that are so peaceful, it is rare to see a car, yet you may be passed by a few very passionate cyclists! Stopping for lunch and experiencing the local cuisine and of course the local wine is must and you can often find fortified villages scattered along the hill-tops and valleys for the most pleasant of stops.
Or if you prefer to have your trip organised then why not let the hoteliers transport your luggage by finding establishments that offer an "accueil velo" which are hotels and bed and breakfasts that cater specifically for cycling holidays throughout France.
With a French Alps cycling holiday you cannot go wrong, as you will be able to discover some of the Worlds most spectacular cycling routes, with climbs like the world famous Col de la Croix der Fer and Alpe d'Huez around Grenoble. But as well as the Alps, cycling in the Pyrenees with its mountain climbs such as the Col de Portet d'Aspet and the Col d'Aspin will provide you with the opportunity to see some of Europe's most beautiful locations. Although these are not for the feint hearted! If you have ever watched the Tour de France, you will have seen some of those mean mountainous routes and the suffering these cyclists go through, yet perhaps this could be just the type of holiday you are looking for!
Also, the Midi-Pyrenees offers a wealth of art and history from prehistoric cave paintings to Renaissance mansions and is also famous throughout France for its cuisine which is rich with foies gras, Roquefort cheese, Gaillac wines, and Armagnac brandy, but to make the most of this region, it is often advisable to plan your cycling holiday very carefully, so that you can enjoy the many different places en route.
Yet if mountain biking and going on strenuous cycling routes through the mountains is not you, then do not worry, there are plenty of other areas in France that will cater for the novice or the family cycling holiday, just like Brittany, this area is ideal for a family cycling holiday, as the coastal routes along the bays are reasonably flat, making the trip easier, whereas the Loire is more undulating, yet fabulous chateaux and riverside towns will enthral you and the family on your travels.
What about the Poitou-Charentes area, which is an excellent choice for those who love wildlife and bird watching, as the area is still extremely rural, even compared to some of the other areas in France and Burgundy is a great place to cycle along the many canal paths.
Then there is the Dordogne which is extremely picturesque, and from the rivers and gorges through to forests and vineyards, this area provides such a diversity you will enjoy the whole experience from the start to finish of your holiday.
Mind you, with a cycling holiday organised for you, there is no need to worry about where you will stop for a break or lunch or where you will be staying, which means you do not have to have your panniers full to the brim, as all your belongings are transported on for you, ready and waiting for when you arrive at your next stop, plus if you decide to add in other activities, such as canoeing and horse riding as well, then your bikes will be transported to your next stop and you will be picked up at a specified location.
So whether you are a cycling enthusiast or a novice with a family, France is a fantastic destination to explore on your bike.
Martyn Davis European Traveller, Author, Photographer and Business Development Manager, for all your French holiday needs and travel guide to France, with tourist information, landmarks and attractions - Family Cycling Holidays In France
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