Best time to go cycling in France

BEST TIME TO GO CYCLING IN FRANCE


temperature & rainfall

Locations: Burgundy | Brittany | Pyrenees
The cycling season is mid-Apr to mid-Oct, although higher up, in the Alps for example, it’s mid-May to Sept to avoid the snow. Summers south of Burgundy and the Loire can get very hot with things coming to a head in July as roads close in the Pyrénées for the Tour de France. In general, the best time to cycle in France is either side of Jul-Aug. The best thing about an organised holidays is you get information on the weather and what's open locally, rather than finding roadside restaurants and entire villages closed, even during the plat de jour hours of 11am to 1pm.

CYCLING HOLIDAYS IN FRANCE


A MONTH BY MONTH GUIDE

November, December, January, February and March see snow in the higher regions and colder conditions and rain across the rest of the country – this is not the best time for a cycling holiday in France.

While you can book a tailor made, self guided tour at any time of year, the majority of small group cycling holidays will run from the middle of May through to the middle of October.

If you’re hoping to cycle in the Alps or along the Pyrénées, for instance, the cycling season usually starts a little later than the rest of the country with late May, June and September recommend months to tackle the cols.

July and August are often too hot to cycle in the south or way too busy, with the Tour de France and French folks heading off on their hols making summer cycling something of a headache. Bastille Day on July 14th also brings things to a standstill.

However, if you are looking to coincide a cycling holiday in France with the Tour de France, July is the only time to travel with opportunities to ride key stages of the course before adjourning to the race viewing area to watch the professionals pedal past right before your very eyes.

September, however, is sublime with comfortable temperatures across the board although rain macs will start to get used with more frequency.

October is all about the autumnal colour changes. Numerous harvest fêtes held in provincial towns and villages across France will help cyclists fill their saddle bags that should also, by now, feature a few extra layers for the evening.
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THE BEST TIME TO CYCLE IN FRANCE


WHAT DO OUR EXPERTS RECOMMEND?

Bruno Toutain from our cycling holiday supplier, Cyclomundo, shares his best time to cycle in France: “We highly recommend cycling off-season in France. May, June and September are ideal. Not only are riders likely to experience bike-friendly weather across the country, but they'll also find an even more relaxing environment with fewer cars on the roads and less hurried hotel managers and innkeepers. Also, if cycling in a wine-making region in September, you’re much more likely to see the processes relating to wine making including grape-picking and parades of tractors taking their loads to the press.”
Photo credits: [Bruno Toutain quote: Thirsty South]

Written by: Chris Owen
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