Why do we Brits love France so much? The cuisine? The unspoilt small villages? A chance to practise what little French we know? Je ne sais quoi – but for cyclists, it’s a mixture of all of those, and their rather well developed cycle network.
Take for example the 773 mile long, Vélodyssée cycle route. It’s part of the EuroVelo 1 route and 80% of it is on cycle path and greenways, so you can ride as fast, or as slow as you wish, without having to contend with traffic. Expect to see beaches with clear blue seas, tall sand dunes and fishing villages.
The Tour de Manche is another popular seaside route. The route has parts in England and in France. This is a route that follows the coastline of Brittany along the Pink Granite Coast and towards Normandy. In the UK it covers Dorset and Devon. One of the highlights of the route is to gaze upon Le Mont St-Michel in Normandy.
Set on a rocky tidal island, this fortified island, has been around since the eighth century AD. Nowadays, it is a Unesco World Heritage site an Abbey stands at the centre of the island.
There’s a good overview of both the routes in the cycling guides section on the Brittany Ferries website.
Anyway, it shouldn’t take much convincing that either route is a great destination for cyclists. The question I’m here to answer in this post is how to get there.
In the past, when visiting Germany, I’ve favoured flying. However, as anyone who has followed this blog for long enough will know, it’s not without its difficulties. Carrying bikes up flights of stairs, extra charges for luggage and small damages to our badly packed bikes. It takes a little foresight and planning to get it right and I’ve learnt mistakes I won’t be repeating.
Brittany Ferries offer another option. Ferry travel is generally a lot easier for cyclists. Quick to load and unload, no need to remove your wheels and pack your bag in a bike bag. For short routes such as to the North and West of France, they are an attractive choice. They also provide easy links if you wish to ride part the route in France and then link up with the route in England, which adds a interesting element of contrast, going from one country to the other.
For anyone weighing up their options between flying or going by Ferry, then I’ve included a useful resource at the end of this post. It’s a huge infographic on the two options.
I’d be interested to hear from any readers who’ve visited these parts of France, so if you’ve ridden there during The annual Fête de l’Oignon Rosé or dipped your toes in the waters of Saint-Malo then leave a comment below with your experiences. For now, I can only read about them and keep them near the top of my bucket list!
Image source: Brittany Ferries – Ferry VS Plane to France
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.