BIKE TOURING IN FRANCE: A GUIDE TO THE VELODYSSEE ROUTE
- A touring bicycle which you are comfortable riding (unless you are leasing of course)
- Racks, panniers, and bike bags for carrying All of Your belongings (ditto)
- Multi-tool to assembling/disassembling your bicycle and making repairs
- A patch kit and also a spare tube
- Comfortable shoes for walking and riding
- Sandals for hanging at the beach and having public showers
- Sunscreen and other travel size toiletries
- A wide-brimmed hat with a cinch strap so you can protect yourself in the sun when driving
- A set of riding clothes plus a pair of clean, dry clothing to change into
- Layers (a long sleeve base layer & fleece middle coating )
- Rain coat to break the end and keep you dry (here are Bearfoot Theory’therefore favorite rain jackets)
- Warm hat
- Warm socks
- Gloves for riding (good when its cold, rainy, or when your palms are drained )
- Lightweight camping equipment (if you will be camping)
- Tent (check this out guide for locating the best backpacking tent)
- Sleeping bag (here are our favorites)
- Sleeping mat (check out this guide for finding the best sleeping mat )
- Backpacking stove (check out this guide for finding the best backpacking cooker )
- Cooking pair with cup, pot, jar, bowl, etc
Listed below are a Couple of ways to save money when bike traveling in France:
They spent two weeks riding their bikes, sightseeing, biking, eating yummy French cuisine, and even enjoying the gorgeous shore.
The ideal time to ride the Velodyssee is late spring or early autumn when you will have the very best chance of pleasant weather with fewer audiences. Summer is peak period along the European shore, and in addition to being packed overall, it may also be very hot. I would also prevent driving the Velodyssee at winter because the weather can be cold and rainy and the days are short, which means you’ll have less of a chance to enjoy the gorgeous coastline you will be riding together.
If coming in the U.S., Paris is likely going to be the beginning point for the adventure with Charles de Gaulle and Orly being both global airport options. We flew into Charles de Gaulle and took a cab ($50) to Paris into a bike-friendly hotel we had reserved. We assembled our bikes at the resort and after 3 days of exploring the city, we loaded up our gear, rode into the rail station, and took a train from Paris to La Rochelle (roughly two hours and 45 minutes). You may easily take the train from Paris to Roscoff where the Velodyssee starts as well (approximately 4 hours).
A cool, laid back surf town reminiscent of southern California with fantastic food, fun bars, nice sandy beaches, and very good waves. We rented an Airbnb here for 4 nights and appreciated taking a break from bike touring in France and being on the go.
Insider tip: if at all you can, take a direct coach. Keep in mind that each time you move, you need to get your bikes (and all your things ) off the train, and navigate into the track another train is exiting from, and immediately hop on with all your belongings, which may be quite the hassle.
A beautiful seaside town that is an excellent illustration of Basque structure and culture. Saint Jean de Luz has a wonderful central market which is ideal to see on Tuesdays and Fridays when you can sample local meats, cheeses, along with other delicious meals from local sellers who set up shop out.
How to Access to the Velodyssee
Remember you don’t need to finish the entire route. Alternatively, you can focus your trip on a single section based on the length of your trip. As a result of limited time we had, we only spanned the southern half of the Velodyssee, from La Rochelle to Hendaye. It took us 9 days of driving to finish this particular stretch.
RENTING A BICYCLE IN FRANCE
Tips for Traveling With a Bicycle
FLYING WITH A BICYCLE
From Bearfoot Theory’s Director, Linda Romero
Here are some typical costs to give you an idea of how much money you can anticipate spending:
Having fundamental bike mechanical understanding, or being with someone who does, is extremely important when moving on a long distance bike ride. You’ll have to put your bike together when you arrive in France after having taken it away to ship to get a trip (unless you opt to rent a bike in France) or bring it to a local bike shop to get it for you.
A beautiful coastal town with a historic 15th-century fortress encompassing an old refuge. You’ll find preserved architecture, a beautiful beachfront promenade, and tropical fish restaurants lining the water.
STAYING IN HOTELS
Many – but not all – trains in France carry bicycles. After booking your train ticket, be certain that the train takes bicycles and be sure to reserve a ticket to your bike too (this usually only costs a few euros and may be achieved on the internet booking platform ). Trains do sell out and costs grow closer to the passing so purchase your tickets in advance whenever possible.
• Total distance one method: 1250km
We were ignored by the glitz and glam of Biarritz. It reminded us of a scene in the James Bond film. Hurry out to the lighthouse for a stunning view of the city and stop for a swim at one of the gorgeous beaches if the weather is right. This is one of our favourite stops on this bike touring in France itinerary.
It’s possible to ride the road in either direction, but we chose north to south because we were continuing on into Spain. The road is signposted the entire manner (in both directions) and can be pretty simple to follow, making it the perfect introduction to bike touring.
Would you have any questions about bike touring in France? Or have you really already been on a bike touring or bikepacking experience and have something to add?
Most airlines allow the transport of bikes, however, each have distinct pricing and packing requirements. Airlines generally require that the bicycle is disassembled and packaged into a bicycle box — either a bike particular hard situation or even a cardboard bike box which you may buy (often at no cost ) in the community bike store.
CAMPING WITH A BICYCLE
The Very Best Time to Ride the Velodyssee in France
We snapped the Velodyssee during the initial two weeks of September and enjoyed superbly warm, sunny days with low audiences and only experienced two days of rain. We were able to ride into any campground with no reservation and had no problem getting a place. Another bonus would be that the sea was warm in September so we could swim and revel in the sunshine on the gorgeous beaches we rode beyond.
You or someone you are travelling with should know how to change a tube, maintain brakes, and keep and resolve a bicycle chain. Bike shops abound in France, and that means you’ll have no trouble finding one in the event that you will need a tune up or help to diagnose a problem. With that said, it’s good to have basic knowledge in the event you get a level outside of town.
TAKING THE TRAIN WITH A BICYCLE
If you want oysters, Marennes is going to be a highlight for you since it was for us. We didn’t actually venture into the city of Marennes since the bicycle route remains on the outskirts close to the shore, but that is where the oysters are. Should you find a stand or restaurant selling fresh oysters, do yourself a favor and get some. They were the freshest we’ve ever needed and pair perfectly with a chilly glass of rose.
There is so much wonder along the Atlantic coast of France which can be appreciated by bike from lovely beaches and woods to sand dunes and historical cities and fortresses. All these were our favorite highlights throughout our journey across the southern half of the Velodyssee from La Rochelle to Hendaye:
The entire course can be finished in 2 weeks if you’re comfortable riding almost 90km (approximately 56 kilometers ) daily. But, we discovered that we moved somewhat slower, riding only 30-40 miles each day. If you would like to have time to stop and revel in the scenery, be sure to plan some excess time in your journey.
We flew with Norwegian Air, which charged $80 per bicycle each way, though other airlines charged around $100-150. When looking at flights, make sure you look at the”Sports Equipment” part of their baggage policy to make sure they allow bikes and to see packing pricing and requirements.
The exact beneficial Velodyssee site has hotel and hostel recommendations for each section of this road. In their road maps, you can view”Accueil Vélo” accredited resorts which means these resorts are significantly less than 5km away from the Velodyssee bike route and are bicycle friendly.
Before you want to go bike traveling in France, select a few long bicycle rides to get an concept of how many miles you are comfortable riding a day. Then factor in that you’re going to be carrying around 30 lbs of equipment on your bike, so you will be moving a bit slower. This can allow you to get an idea of how long you want to give yourself to finish the route and help you determine just how much of this road you’d love to ride.
In this informative article, Linda stocks all of the info you want to plan a trip to go bicycle traveling in France.
You will find campgrounds anyplace in France, I mean actually — everywhere. Nearly every town has a minumum of one campground to choose from so we did not worry about exactly where we were going to end up each evening. We simply looked at the road to determine what cities and campgrounds we’d be passing to obtain an notion of possible stopping points for the night.
Bike traveling in France, sounds just like a fantasy excursion itinerary, right? Having a community of well-maintained and well-signed bicycle paths, plentiful camping alternatives, and largely flat terrain, France is possibly the best location imaginable to get a biking experience.
Royan’s historical central economy is one of the very best we visited. It is the ideal place to stock up to local meats, cheeses, jams, and honey for a picnic. For the best adventure, come to a Wednesday or Sunday when the indoor market falls into the surrounding area. You’ll find a lot more sellers offering delicious local olives, create, and prepared foods.
Insider trick: Reserve a bicycle-friendly hotel in Paris. Space is limited in the city centre, with numerous hotels and Airbnbs necessitating a walk up a flight of steps and tight quarters where it may be tricky to fit a bike.
France has a 5-star rating system for its campgrounds according to amenities, with 4-5 being the most amenities (believe swimming pool, water slides, miniature golf, playgrounds, grocery store, bakery, WiFi, etc), 3 being center of the street, and 2 being basic. To save some cash, start looking for the neighborhood municipal campground in each town which will be less costly but still gets the basics.
- Refrain from eating out and drinking . Should you eat out, eat for lunch as opposed to dinner. You may often locate a lunchtime set menu for a moderate price.
- Restrict yourself to just eating out occasionally, such as when you see a seafood stand functioning mussels and chips that is just calling your name.
- Select up food at bakeries as opposed to sitting down at a grocery store. Bakeries are everywhere and also have fresh bread, pastries, and salty things like quiche, pizza, and sandwiches.
- Shop at grocery stores and local markets and make your own meals as frequently as possible — that is definitely the biggest way to save money and one of the very most effective ways to enjoy most of the fresh, local food France has to offer you. Cheese along with a baguette were our go-tos.
- Stay in municipal campgrounds instead of higher priced alternatives.
- Do laundry by hand as opposed to using coin operated washers/dryers.
Give yourself lots of time to reach the train station – particularly if you’re riding your bike (I have a flat tire on the road to the railway station, and we barely had enough time to patch it and allow it into the station in time). Also be sure to arrive 30 minutes early, so it is possible to navigate to the passing track and have enough the time to receive your bicycle on board. Each train normally has a car reserved for travellers who have bikes so keep a look out for this after dressing.
Each and every campground we stayed in, including the municipal ones, had warm showers, bathrooms with flush toilets, and sinks for doing dishes and laundry. Many had WiFi and coin-operated laundry machines too.
Here is a brief rundown of things to bring bike touring in France:
Things to Know Before Biking the Velodyssee in France
La Velodyssee Bike Touring in France Highlights
When travel the coast of France by bicycle, there are a lot of alternatives for lodging including swimming, Airbnb, hotels, and hostels. We camped the entire time we were around the Velodyssee, except for an 4-night fracture where we leased an Airbnb at Hossegor.
We went way over our projected budget because we indulged into wine and oysters more frequently than expected (hey, once you’re in France…).
The Velodyssee is a 1250 km bicycle route that runs along the entire Atlantic coast of France, beginning in Roscoff from the north and end in Hendaye from the south. 70 percent of the route is on traffic-free paths — meaning bike paths separate from the street (the top!) — with the remaining 30% on quiet roads. It’s ’s one of the finest routes for bicycle touring in France.
If disassembling your bike, packing it into a vessel, and flying with it isn’t something you want to do, you will find options for renting a bike at the beginning of your trip in France. The Velodyssee website lists a number of providers of one-way bicycle rentals which can fall off and pickup the bicycles to the starting and end points of your journey. These providers need to be able to outfit you having a suitable bicycle for the journey as well as racks and panniers to carry your own personal products.
A ritzy resort city having a large, welcoming sandy beach and stunning belle epoque villas. We only rode through, but if we had more time we would have ceased to lounge around the beach and have lunch at one of those charming small cafes.
• Minimum time to complete the entire course: two weeks
• Proportion of this route on dedicated bicycle routes: 70%
What to Pack for Bike Touring in France
- Only buy food for 1-2 days at a time to limit the weight you’re carrying. It is better to plan ahead, and that means you’ve got a couple meals in case you don’t locate a shop, but generally, you may ride through towns with shops and markets every day so there’s no need to transport a ton of food.
- Bear in mind that France requires its fractures seriously. Also, most restaurants close to lunch and dinner, usually from 3pm-7pm. And EVERYTHING is closed on Sundays.
Able to ride? We are stoked to share this guide to bicycle touring in France along the Velodyssee with you.
Review of the Velodyssee Bicycle Route
The best advice I can give would be to package lightweight. You’ll be hauling all you bring with you and also will probably be packaging and packaging continuously because you are going to be on the movement daily so it really helps to keep things simple. Only bring what you require, pack travel size toiletries, and just bring a couple of sets of versatile clothes knowing you can easily do laundry. Mentioning everything you need merits an entire blog post about its own that’s actually in the works, so be sure to check back for an update.
1 thing campgrounds in France don’t own are picnic tables, so we found ourselves eating our meals on the ground picnic style. Luckily, we introduced a floor cloth that was perfect for picnicking, however we did miss having chairs and a desk after a time.
How to Budget for Bike Touring in France
If you do not want to bring camping equipment together or just don’t wish to camp, you can certainly stay in a hotel or hostel in every city you intend to prevent in. This just takes a little more advance preparation to think of an itinerary you’re able to follow. I recommend booking your lodging in advance so you’re not hotel hunting at the end of a very long day of riding. Just be sure to give yourself ample time between each location so that you have the time to enjoy the trip, see the sights, and also have some wiggle room in the event you own a delay.
Insider hints: Purchase an immediate flight if possible. If you’re flying several legs with many airlines, you may need to pay a commission for your bicycle for each leg. An immediate flight also decreases the number of times airline employees are handling your bike box, minimizing any chances for damage or loss. When you pack your bike, make sure that you pad and shield the bits so they do not rattle about and get damaged during the transport process.