Biking in France

Publicly available rental bikes in La Rochelle.

Publicly available rental bikes in La Rochelle.

Ile de Re is famous for its miles of bike paths. La Rochelle is said to have originated the concept of short-term rental bicycles available for public use, an idea that spread to Paris and then to many cities around the world. The French love biking – there’s a reason why the Tour de France is the best known bicycle event in the world!

On the mainland, well maintained bike paths criss-cross the entire Poitou-Charentes region as they do throughout France. Explore the great marsh known as Marais Poitevin to the north. Or head south to the Cognac region and peddle through miles and miles of vineyards. Southeast of La Rochelle bike through gently rolling countryside into history: explore the Roman town of Saintes or find thousand year old churches scattered throughout the region. (Learn more about these places by clicking on “Poitou Charentes” at the top of this page.)

Throughout France bicyclists will find bikes to rent and trails to follow everywhere. Google “bike tours France” to find many companies offering package tours. I liked the looks of this one: http://www.digngo.com/

Practicalities:

Bike touring in France is offered by many companies.  Commonly a tour will provide an itinerary that includes overnight accommodations along the route and the bicycles if you don’t want to bring your own.

Are you a fan of the Tour de France?  If so, find information about the most recent race and the next one here.

The Poitou-Charentes regional tourism web site has good information about biking including suggested routes and rental agencies here.

I’ve found a really helpful website for bikers in English with loads of information about biking in France: http://www.mybikeguide.co.uk

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