France on two wheels
With alluring landscapes and exciting itineraries for both the energetic cyclist and those who prefer to meander at a relaxed pace, France is a Mecca for tourists on two wheels. Here are our top picks...
Wheels and wine
An autumnal meander along the River Garonne following disused railway lines and country lanes reveals the historic villages and vineyards of the Entre-deux-Mers area. Visit wine capital Bordeaux, the fortified villages of Cr�on and Rions, and Saint-�milion. Prices from �715 for six nights’ accommodation, four dinners, luggage transfers, route notes and maps and cycle hire. Tel: 01653 617 000, www.inntravel.co.uk
In sunny Charente-Maritime, cyclists can begin their trip by soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of port town La Rochelle before heading over to the charming island of �le de R� to explore the voies vertes that criss-cross woodland, creeks and marshland, and seek out gorgeous white-washed villages and stunning coastline. Prices from �839 for seven nights’ B&B accommodation, transfers and cycle hire.
Tel: 01162 558 417 www.freewheelholidays.com
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Inspire your own French fairy tale by pedalling past an assortment of ch�teaux, peaceful forests and rolling vineyards in the Loire Valley. A six-day itinerary includes some of France’s most famous ch�teaux such as Azay-le-Rideau, Uss� and Villandry as well as the towns of Saumur and Bourgueil, the fortresses of Langeais and Chinon and the restored abbey of Fontevraud. Prices from �795 for six nights/seven days B&B and evening meals. Cycle hire costs �60 per week.
Tel: 07976 075 564 www.loirelifecycling.com
This waterside tour (above) links the three major lakes of the Alps. Cyclists will set off from the shores of Lake Geneva and head for Lac du Bourget and Lac d’Annecy following lakeside paths that showcase the best of Alpine scenery, lush meadows and valleys and picturesque peaks. Prices from €785 include five nights’ accommodation on a self-guided basis. Tel: (Fr) 4 50 87 21 09
Starting from the medieval town of Saint-R�my-de-Provence, pedalling around Provence is a feast for the senses. Travel along herb-scented bucolic backroads while exploring Lagnes, Fontaine de Vaucluse, M�nerbes and Bonnieux, with a chance to kayak down the river to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue en route. Prices from �723 for three nights’ luxury accommodation, gourmet dinners and equipment. Tel: 01612 488 282 www.cycling-for-softies.co.uk