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Old 01-16-2013, 04:53 AM   #1
tommyvdv OP
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planning a trip through france to spain

Hi there
Every time i come here looking for advice i find it. So here goes :)

I'm looking for some advice and maybe even a friendly place to stay on our 2 person trip to France.
We're starting in Belgium and i'd like to end up in the spanish Pyrenees before heading back.

Since we will not be doing any highway miles, i'm trying to figure out the most enjoyable roads from the north part of France to the South.

I was thinking along the lines of normandy, nantes, bordeaux.
If we have enough time and my partner in crime is up for it, we'll be riding through the Pyrenees from west to east and even try to squeeze in some french alps. But that's looking a bit optimistic for the moment.

If any locals have any advice on how to go about crossing France, feel free to shoot. I'd hate to miss anything along this road. The same goes for the Pyrenees by the way :)

I'll be posting a google map of the road we'll be taking once it's clear to me how we'll go about it.

Thanks!
T
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:18 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by tommyvdv View Post
Hi there
Every time i come here looking for advice i find it. So here goes :)

I'm looking for some advice and maybe even a friendly place to stay on our 2 person trip to France.
We're starting in Belgium and i'd like to end up in the spanish Pyrenees before heading back.

Since we will not be doing any highway miles, i'm trying to figure out the most enjoyable roads from the north part of France to the South.

I was thinking along the lines of normandy, nantes, bordeaux.
If we have enough time and my partner in crime is up for it, we'll be riding through the Pyrenees from west to east and even try to squeeze in some french alps. But that's looking a bit optimistic for the moment.

If any locals have any advice on how to go about crossing France, feel free to shoot. I'd hate to miss anything along this road. The same goes for the Pyrenees by the way :)

I'll be posting a google map of the road we'll be taking once it's clear to me how we'll go about it.

Thanks!
T
Personally, I find the north of France west of a north-south line from Charleville to Auxerre to be rather boring, being mostly agricultural and fairly densely populated. Normandy and Brittany do have some positives, the Atlantic Coastal areas mostly, but if you're heading south as a destination they're out of the way. Nantes to Bordeaux has minimal interest for riding. My recommendation is to head for Auxerre and then dip into the Regional Park of the Morvan and then into the Massif Central, which has pristine scenery and it's lightly populated. If the Pyrennees is your destination you can just continue south via Mende and Castres to Carcassonne. The best east-west roads in the Pyrenees are the N260 on the Spanish side and the 618/918 to the Atlantic on the French side.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:01 AM   #3
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Personally, I find the north of France west of a north-south line from Charleville to Auxerre to be rather boring, being mostly agricultural and fairly densely populated. Normandy and Brittany do have some positives, the Atlantic Coastal areas mostly, but if you're heading south as a destination they're out of the way. Nantes to Bordeaux has minimal interest for riding. My recommendation is to head for Auxerre and then dip into the Regional Park of the Morvan and then into the Massif Central, which has pristine scenery and it's lightly populated. If the Pyrennees is your destination you can just continue south via Mende and Castres to Carcassonne. The best east-west roads in the Pyrenees are the N260 on the Spanish side and the 618/918 to the Atlantic on the French side.
Thanks for sharing your experience on the subject.

So what your saying is; don't do this:



But do this



That's auxerre, morvan, mendre, castres, carcassonne.
We could snif the pyrenees and pay andorra a visit. We'll probably have time to cover the Pyrenees from coast to coast. But i don't know if it's worth it?

I assumed going east around paris would automatically be a lot more miles. Seems this was a false assumption.
Couple of years ago i rode up from Nice to Nancy and back home. Maybe we could take that way back.

Someone had pointed out to me that we'd best avoid the coastline from Marseille to Nice. Does the same apply to the coastline to the west of Marseille?
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:47 AM   #4
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I would echo pretty much everything RT Lover has said.
I'm based near Angouleme Charente 16

I'm not keen on Northern France either, unless it's the Eastern side where you can pick up the Alps
I would defo take in the Massif Central, superb roads and scenery.
The Gorge & Pont d'ardèche are well worth a visit.
The Pyreenes ya cant go far wrong no mater where you go.
Always good roads, and not over populated (providing you avoid August that is)

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Old 01-17-2013, 03:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tommyvdv View Post
Thanks for sharing your experience on the subject.


That's auxerre, morvan, mendre, castres, carcassonne.
We could snif the pyrenees and pay andorra a visit. We'll probably have time to cover the Pyrenees from coast to coast. But i don't know if it's worth it?

I assumed going east around paris would automatically be a lot more miles. Seems this was a false assumption.
Couple of years ago i rode up from Nice to Nancy and back home. Maybe we could take that way back.

Someone had pointed out to me that we'd best avoid the coastline from Marseille to Nice. Does the same apply to the coastline to the west of Marseille?
The Pyrenees may be the step-child of the Alps so far as notoriety but they really do have a lot to offer. The roads I mentioned are very nice. Curiously, the southern side in Spain seemed to me to be much drier, weather patterns I suppose, while the French side tends to be greener.

I first visited the Cote d'Azur in the '70s and it was wonderfully different from Southern California. . Nice was, well, nice, my GF and I stretched out naked on the beach at Antibes and no one minded. Alas, between population explosion and the Russian mafia buying up half of it, for me its lost most of its luster. There is still some fabulous scenery in Les Calanques east along the coast from Marseille but the town itself is a disgrace. West of Marseille is a lot of industrial operations, but the Camargue a bit more westerly is worth a slow ride for the flamingos, semi-wild white horses and true gypsy atmosphere. Since you mentioned Nice-Nancy, do you know about La Route Des Grandes Alpes? http://www.grande-traversee-alpes.co...-grandes-alpes It's hard work but OMG what fabulous riding. I took three days to do it, which is a respectable amount of time. I think I just pumped myself for another shot at it.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:44 AM   #6
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… semi-wild white horses and true gypsy atmosphere. Since you mentioned Nice-Nancy, do you know about La Route Des Grandes Alpes? http://www.grande-traversee-alpes.co...-grandes-alpes It's hard work but OMG what fabulous riding. I took three days to do it, which is a respectable amount of time. I think I just pumped myself for another shot at it.
I did that a couple of years ago. It IS worth it. It's ridiculous how they keep throwing pass after pass at your.
I'll try to incorporate that into our trip home, but i don't think we'll have enough time.

I've marked all of the above on a map: http://goo.gl/maps/Xo748

Have i marked your location correctly @Stray Dog?

Thanks for the tips.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:36 AM   #7
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I did that a couple of years ago. It IS worth it. It's ridiculous how they keep throwing pass after pass at your.
I'll try to incorporate that into our trip home, but i don't think we'll have enough time.

I've marked all of the above on a map: http://goo.gl/maps/Xo748

Have i marked your location correctly @Stray Dog?

Thanks for the tips.
Looks good. Oh, and don't forget to pass under the Millau bridge on the way down if you're one of the five hundred and twelve bikers in the Western Hemi who haven't yet been there-done that. What time of year are you targeting?
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:35 PM   #8
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Try Sedan - Verdun - Neufchateau - Gray - Dole (can't remember the numbers of the roads .. D964? & D???) before you cut across; nice roads.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:09 AM   #9
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The Pyranees are great. Andorra is a blink of an eye. I was there in 2012 and they had checkpoints set up at the borders, but I found out that this is not always the case.
If you get down into wine country, there are some cool places like Chateauneuf de Pape, especially if you like wine. Carcasonne is a fun town with a big castle to investigate. The castle is kinda tourist-y, though, but still fun.
If you get into Spain, you MUST get to Vielha. It's mandatory.
Have fun....!
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Wildman View Post
Try Sedan - Verdun - Neufchateau - Gray - Dole (can't remember the numbers of the roads .. D964? & D???) before you cut across; nice roads.
D964, D74, D67? http://goo.gl/maps/5gtkV
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:35 AM   #11
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The Pyranees are great. Andorra is a blink of an eye. I was there in 2012 and they had checkpoints set up at the borders, but I found out that this is not always the case.
If you get down into wine country, there are some cool places like Chateauneuf de Pape, especially if you like wine. Carcasonne is a fun town with a big castle to investigate. The castle is kinda tourist-y, though, but still fun.
If you get into Spain, you MUST get to Vielha. It's mandatory.
Have fun....!
thanks :)
sounds like Vielha is worth a visit.
I've google-street-viewed it but can't really see why it's mandatory. Care to motivate?
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:10 AM   #12
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D964, D74, D67? http://goo.gl/maps/5gtkV
And the 475 to Dole.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:50 AM   #13
tommyvdv OP
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Any thoughts on Puy de Sancy?
Possible to get up there on a bike?
Doesn't look like the google car risked it :)
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:53 AM   #14
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Hi, tommyvdv!
How correctly be written here, you have to visit the canyon Verdon, this is absolutely unforgettable place. And Carcassonne castle is very interesting. See my report, there are interesting places that can be useful for your trip. http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=845000

Julia.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:31 PM   #15
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Any thoughts on Puy de Sancy?
Possible to get up there on a bike?
Doesn't look like the google car risked it :)
Close enough, and then you'll probably have to hoof it the rest of the way.

The Parc Regional des Volcans is kick-ass. Even in the summer, the traffic is light. Stayed in Mont-Dore and then rode south toward Puy Mary with many detours. Salers is a nice, albeit touristic, town noted for its cheese of the same name.
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