The Benefits of Taking a cycling holidays in France

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Cycling has long been recognised as a low-impact aerobic exercise. Pedalling a bicycle stimulates and strengthens the cardiovascular system (the heart and lungs) and exercises the lower body. Cycling can improve your health and fitness without harming your joints. In France, cycling is a national pastime and although the balmy Mediterranean climate plays a part, especially in the south, the country offers many other benefits for holidaying cyclists.

Popular Locations

The most popular cycling areas in France are the Loire Valley in central France, the Dordogne in the southwest and Provence in the southeast, on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. Cycling holidays France offers give the opportunity to explore the beautiful French countryside in your own time. The Loire Valley, sometimes known as the “Garden of France”, is famous for its architecture and landscapes but is also home to some of the finest varieties of white wine grapes in the world.

A classic cycling tour of the Loire Valley takes in the Chateau Royal d’Amboise and many other attractions. Cycling tours along the banks of the Dordogne and Vezere rivers take in castles and picturesque villages, such as Domme and Castelnaud, whilst Provence too offers largely unspoiled routes through olive groves, poppy fields and vineyards.

Attitudes to Cycling

Typically, the cycling in France is not highly strenuous with long, quiet roads and gentle hills. French roads are well maintained and it is not unusual to cycle 30 or 40 miles and only come across two or three cars. Indeed, cycling in France is much safer than in some other European countries. French drivers are used to cyclists and more friendly, patient and respectful towards them. You’ll also find many miles of dedicated cycle track in the most popular cycling areas.

Organised Cycling Holidays

If you take an organised cycling holiday in France, an experienced guide will help you to explore the back roads, which you may not otherwise discover. You’ll be able to stop off at bars, cafés and restaurants to enjoy a glass of wine and traditional cuisine along the way. This type of cycling holiday is particularly suitable for cyclists who don’t have aspirations to ride in the Tour de France. Daily cycling distances are typically quite low at 30 miles or less and the emphasis is on enjoying the experience rather than racing to the next destination in the shortest possible time.

Emergency backup vehicles are on hand to provide assistance in the event of mechanical breakdown, puncture or medical emergency. Organised cycling holidays usually include hotel accommodation in a different town or village every night and your luggage is transported from one hotel to the next on your behalf.

Cycling holidays in France offer something for just about everyone, regardless of their age and level of cycling ability. If you prefer to take a gentler approach to cycling, you can choose to cycle only on alternate days and rest, or explore the local area on your days off. Similarly, if you prefer deluxe accommodation, you may be able to choose a 4-star chateau, but if you’re on a budget, a more frugal 2-star hotel may be more to your liking.

Laurent David writes regularly on cycling holidays France and Europe for a range of travel websites and blogs. He lives and works in the Dordogne region of southwestern France.

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  1. This sounds like something my son would love to do. He love to cycle and can go great distances in one day. I will have to share this with him Thanks for sharing, It really does sound amazing.

  2. omg! Totally not a biker but if I were to ever pick it up France would totally be the place to go! I would probably even hike threw France and I’m not an outdoors gal at all lol… Love France :)

  3. I would love to go to France. Period. But this is great. I’m sure if you’re a cycling enthusiast, this is a great way to get your fitness in!

    1. some of the cyclist are very serious. I see them wearing their sponsor apparel. Super awesome. I am more of a cycle for the experience. I could not keep up with those master cyclist. Lol.

  4. I had no idea the benefits, so this is great to know! I’ve never been to France and think cycling around it would be absolutely amazing not to mention fun. Add the benefits and that sounds like a great trip! I had no idea about cycling holidays so thats fun to learn!
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  5. I want to ride my bike more, but I live in the country and am terrified of riding on these roads! We do have cyclists, but I secretly curse them because it is such a dangerous thing on our roads! :)

    1. Maybe if you have dirt roads, rather than gravel, you can get a mountain bike to ride. Keep your riding pace moderate, versus fast like a master cyclist, to minimize the risk involved on uneven surfaces.

    1. With the countryside becoming less and less here in the States, it’s nice to know of other areas around the globe you can still peacefully cycle outdoors. Hope you make it to France soon.

    1. I feel your pain, Sandy. I had to greatly cut back on distance running and find other avenues to get outside. Maybe hiking will work for you. Hope you find something to replace cycling.

  6. I used to do spin class all the time, but I have never ridden outside. I think I would prefer it, though – especially in France!!

    1. Spin class is a lot of fun. 30 minutes in and out. Then when spring time rolls around you can take your spinning outside for a bit of cycling. The added bonus is the scenery along your route.

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