Cycling in France: 10 Best Routes and Locations

tour de france best cycling routes and locations for bikers

Posted by on 20 May 2022

France is a place beloved not only by romantic souls but also by cyclists across the globe. After all, it’s the home of the Tour de France, one of the most prestigious cycling races in the world.

The country offers plenty of scenic views, charming towns and thrilling slopes for all types of cyclists. Grab your bike and prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure on two wheels with our list of the best cycling hotspots in France.

Best Places to Cycle in France

  1. Nice

  2. nice france best location for cycling

    Nice offers some of the most scenic and exhilarating cycling adventures. Experience temperate climates, azure coasts and excellent cycling routes in this Côte d’Azur commune.

    Cycling pros can look forward to the challenge of Col de la Madone. This famous training climb starts at the coast of Menton and slopes uphill to above sea level.

    The Col d’Eze is another route that travellers can try. This route takes you up to 10 kilometres and guarantees a thrilling experience after appearing in the Paris-Nice stage race.

  3. Haute-Alpes

  4. With its rich history in cycling, the Hautes-Alpes is a biking wonderland for adventurous cyclists. It’s the turf of many Tour de France ascents offering hundreds of roads to climb.

    In the South, you have the Le Bourg-d’Oisans, a popular stopover in the Tour de France. It takes you to the most well-known cycling roads such as the Col du Galibier, Alpe d’Huez and Col de la Croix de Fer.

    Meanwhile, the Bourg-Saint-Maurice rests in the heart of this region and serves as a gateway for alpine paths in Col l’Iseran and Col de Madeleine. Lastly, if you plan to visit the northern area, it’s best to begin in Morzine. It’s a great starting point for cycling trails such as Col de Joux Plane and Col de la Colombiere.

  5. Pyrenees

  6. pyrenees mountains top cycling route france

    If the French Alps are too crowded for you, the Pyrenees Mountains are a great alternative when cycling in France. It features short and steep climbs with tranquil paths for cyclists who want less urbanised and less populated routes.

    col du tourmalet tour de france statue

    This region is home to the Col du Tourmalet, the most used mountain pass in the Tour de France. It has a staggering 2,115 metres of elevation, making it the highest pass in the area. There are two ways to take on this mountain range: from Luz at the western point and from Sainte-Marie-de-Campan at the eastern end.

    The Col du Soulor is another great place to climb with your bike. This mountain pass begins at the Agrelés-Gazost in the east and leads you to the villages of Arrens and Arras-en-Lavedan.

  7. Loire Valley

  8. Long-distance bikers will have the time of their lives exploring the Loire Valley. The renowned Garden of France boasts a vast expense of biking trails in the heart of France.

    La Lore à Vélo is a favourite among cycling enthusiasts who visit the area. It covers over 900 kilometres of surfaced roads connecting the centre of France to the Atlantic Ocean.

    Meanwhile, riders wanting to reach greater distances can attempt the 1,000-kilometre endurance route following the Loire River.

  9. Dordogne Valley

  10. dordogne valley

    When visiting the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees, consider stopping by the Dordogne Valley. This cycling destination runs along a 300-mile long river with the same name.

    Cyclists can enjoy stunning landscapes with lush forests, sprawling vineyards and rivers. You can also find stone buildings from fortified villages in Beynac, Bergerac and La Roque Gageac as you pedal your way around the valley.

  11. Provence

  12. Speaking of the countryside, consider adding Provence to your bike trips in France. Spend time away from the crowds and savour quiet moments while pedalling across its quaint roads.

    You can’t miss the Giant of Provence, Mont Ventoux, when cycling in Provence. Climbing up this mountain seems like an uphill battle, for it reaches over 22 kilometres with a 7.6 per cent average gradient. But the breathtaking views at its summit make the extra effort worthwhile.

    quaint beynac cycling route in france

    Take a leisurely pedal on its country roads for your cycling holiday in France. Its most popular route, the Circuit de la Dordogne, reaches up to 80 kilometres in length. Quaint towns and villages fill the path along the way.

  13. Saint-Emilion

  14. History buffs will be delighted once they visit the heritage-rich Saint-Emilion. This city houses over 15 cycling roads alongside quaint towns, country roads and lush vineyards.

    You can tour UNESCO-listed mediaeval towns, sprawling gardens and wineries at your own pace with a two-wheeled ride. Drop by one of the vineyards around the area and taste their finest wine selections.

  15. Normandy

  16. historic normandy with beautiful cycling routes

    Normandy, tucked in the northwest of France, is a cycling haven for bikers of all skill levels. It has over 500 kilometres of cycling routes, ranging from short trails to multi-day travels.

    Cycling provides you with a chance to witness Normandy at its finest. Glimmering coastlines, majestic woodlands and a rich cultural heritage await your visit to this magical place.

    Consider visiting the majestic Mont-Saint-Michel through the D-Day Landing Beaches Route. See Normandy’s historical heritage as you cycle through this 210-kilometre route. It also showcases three stunning beaches along the way—Utah Beach, Port-en-Bessin-Huppain and Arromanches-Les-Bains.

  17. Brittany

  18. Brittany is home to plenty of beautiful cycling trails in the northern part of France. Enjoy Its charming scenic coastal roads and narrow country lanes along canals and rivers as you ride along its roads.

    Roam around over 2,000 kilometres of marked routes for one of the best cycling holidays in France. You can start with the trail between Nantes and Brest for 365 kilometres worth of traffic-free cycle paths.

    The City of Rennes is also a great starting point for your trip. Its route to the Monts d’Arree includes a mix of canal and old railway tracks that perfectly showcase the French countryside.

  19. Carcassonne

  20. canal du midi best cycling route in France

    The final destination on our list is the beautiful city of Carcassonne. It is one of the best cycling routes in France for both history lovers and thrill-seekers. This city features idyllic villages tucked in a fortress reminiscent of the Middle Ages.

    History enthusiasts can follow along the Canal du Midi à Vélo, among the most remarkable canals in Europe. The trail has flat roads, perfect for an easy and laidback cycling trip.

    Meanwhile, active bikers can try the Tour de France circuit route from Millau to Carcassonne. It covers over 106.6 kilometres and passes by the Mazamet and Pic de Nore.

Discover the Best Cycling Holidays in France

Cycling in France is a fun and exciting way to roam around and see the country in a new light. This pedalled ride lets you find hidden gems tucked in the quaintest townscape that you might miss elsewhere. If you’re looking for a fun, relaxing activity, add cycling to your French holiday bucket list!

Experience a romantic holiday like no other in the country of love with our France holiday packages.

When experience matters