Monday, 18 November 2013

Discovering the Famous Wines in and Around Provence

Provence is one of the most popular regions of France to visit on cycling holidays, because of its sunshine, beautiful landscapes and its many fascinating attractions. Travelling through the region on two wheels offers a chance to take your time in discovering the countryside, and get to know the real Provence.

A holiday highlight for many people is paying a visit to some of the vineyards opening their doors to the public, including many in the famous Côtes du Rhône region, as well as others producing Provence rosé wines, where you can go on tours and sample a glass. Cycle Breaks organises cycling holidays with specially selected accommodation and a chance to explore all kinds of attractions in the region. There is also an option to ride electric bikes on our bike tours of Provence.

Cycling Holidays  – Click here for more information about our French cycle tours.

Chateauneuf du Pape
This delicious red wine, coming under the umbrella of the Côtes du Rhône region, is one of the most famous in France and features a rich blend which can include 13 different varieties of grape. The highest standards need to be achieved to give producers the right to use the Appellation Controlée  Chateauneuf du Pape. Wine was first cultivated in this region as far back as the 1100s, and it is believed that when the Popes were based in Avignon during the 1300s they promoted the wines here and improved their quality.

At the foot of a hill topped by a ruined château, the village of Chateauneuf du Pape completely revolves round the wine. There are many different wineries where visitors are welcomed and can sample a glass, often alongside some of the local cheeses. This famous village is included in both our Classic Provence Tour, and Provence and the Camargue Tour cycling holidays, and there is time to wander around at your leisure and get a flavour of the place.

St Cécile les Vignes
This historic and attractive village is also included in our bike tours of France. It is another community where life is centred on the production of wine. It has an ancient bell tower and many other picturesque buildings, including ancient mansions. There are 400 vine growers in the surrounding area, with the wines ranging from fruity reds to aromatic white and rosé varieties. The large St Cécile co-operative and the wine-tasting cellar in the village offer plenty of opportunities to see and taste the wines.

This village is another place included on our cycling tours of Provence, and again it is possible to visit wineries and cellars in the area. It is believed that the first vineyards here were planted by Roman soldiers, but the wines have only really come into their own and become widely-known far more recently. During the 19th century, the Gigondas area was famous for its health-giving spa water, but since the 1950s the wine has become increasingly well-known, with its own appellation being granted in the 1970s. Most Gigondas wine is red, although a small amount of rosé is also produced.

The small town of Roquemaure has a chequered history as a wine centre, with the first vines here probably being planted by the ancient Greeks. From the middle ages onwards it was a major port for transporting wine, and it's thought this was the place where Phylloxera, aphids that attack vines, were imported into France in the 19th century – going on to infect vines across the country. Relics of St Valentine were brought here in 1868 because it was believed they could protect the vines from the pest, and, as a result, the town is now known for its links with the saint. There is a St Valentine rosé wine produced here and there is also a kissing festival, which attracts many thousands of people every year. Our cycle holidays in Provence allow time to enjoy a romantic lunch with a glass of the saint's finest.

South of Arles, the brackish waters and salty ground of the Camargue help to produce wines with a distinctive flavour. Known as "Vins du Sable", or wines of the sand, they are produced in a unique landscape where the vineyards are flooded every year. This was a factor which helped the area's wine production to survive the Phylloxera epidemic which destroyed other vineyards across France. The vast majority of wines produced here are rosé, although very small amounts of red and white are also made. The Camargue is a spectacular landscape which features in Cycle Breaks' Provence and the Camargue tour, offering a chance to see the famous wild white horses and flamingoes as you journey through on your cycling holidays.

Cycling Tours Provence –  Follow the link to find out more details.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Some Like it Hot – What to Expect From the Weather on Cycling Tours in France

Cycling tours in France are all about being out in the open air, so the climate at your intended destination can have a big impact on your holiday experience. While some come alive in Mediterranean heat, others prefer a cooler climate – so if you're finding it hard to choose between Cycle Breaks' selection of cycling tours in France, we've put together a snapshot of the typical local weather conditions in the key regions where we operate: the Loire Valley, the Dordogne, and Provence.

While we cannot accurately predict or guarantee actual weather conditions for any particular tour, we hope the following will help you to decide which regions and times of year are most likely to suit you best.

The Loire Valley
The northernmost of the regions in which we offer tours, this is the ideal destination for those who like a somewhat cooler climate, but still with plenty of sunshine. The Loire Valley is an inland region and its climate is very strongly influenced by the River Loire itself, helping to keep things mild and a touch wetter than regions further south. Broadly speaking you can expect the Loire to be significantly warmer – by around 3 or 4 degrees C – and drier than southern Britain, especially in late spring, summer and autumn.

Even in August, average temperatures are around the 18-20C mark (average maximum around 26C) – very similar to a pleasant summer day in the UK. But if you prefer even cooler weather simply book a tour here in May or September for average temperatures of around 12-15C (average maximum around 20C). Average minimum daytime temperatures (which will usually occur in the very early morning) during summer are around the 14C mark, and are around the 8-10C mark in spring and autumn.

Rainfall is lowest here in June and August (with usually a slight increase in July and September), and on average there is some rainfall approximately 1 day in 3, although showers are generally short-lived. The number of rain days increases somewhat for April, May, October and November, but the total amount of rain actually falling is still on the lower side, again indicating shorter bursts of rain.

In short, conditions are very similar to Britain, but perhaps a touch warmer (depending on where you live in the UK!). If you are out and about all day you will probably require some sun protection, either suncream or clothing which covers the arms, legs and face. Light waterproofs are advisable for occasional use, but you are unlikely to encounter very cold weather in the main holiday season, so a thin extra layer should suffice for warmth in the early mornings or late evenings.

The Dordogne
The Dordogne region is considerably further south than the Loire Valley, but although you might have expected a distinctly warmer climate here, the difference is really only a degree or two.

The hottest months are July and August with average temperatures in the region of 21 or 22C (average maximum around 28C). Average minimum temperatures are also very similar, around 15C or so during summer and around 10-11C in spring and autumn. Your chance of rain is broadly similar to the Loire Valley, but slightly less overall.

The extra few degrees mean you need to take some extra care to protect yourself from the sun, especially the face and the back of the neck. Some light raingear and a layer for warmth are still advisable for the mornings and evenings during summer, and are essential for spring or autumn trips.

Provence lies on the south east of France and includes some Mediterranean coastline – so it's no surprise to see a more Med-like climate for tours in this region.

Here, the hottest month is July, rather than August, delivering average temperatures of round 25-26C, with temperatures of 31C possible. Average minimums during the peak months are around 18C, so you can expect even the early mornings and night times to be on the warm side.
This is a climate that will appeal to those who love the heat, but if you prefer cooler temperatures, you can still take this tour in comfort earlier or later in the year.

For instance, average temperatures here in April and May are well below 20C, with average maximums in the region of 19C in April and 24C in May. Alternatively, a trip timed for mid to late September will usually have similar temperature levels to May.

Rainfall is significantly lower too, the driest months being June, July and August, with only 4-6 days of rain expected per month. Even in April, May or September rainfall here is still below what you can expect midsummer in the Loire or Dordogne.

Sun protection is vital during summer, along with ensuring that you stay well hydrated, so either take a bottle of water with you or plan for regular stops for refreshments along the way. Very light raingear is still a good idea, although it is not likely to see much action, if any. And you are unlikely to need much in the way of warm clothing for summer trips, even in the evenings. Spring and autumn trips are likely to require an extra layer for early mornings and evenings however.

For more detailed advice about what clothing or equipment to take with you, please call us as we have personal experience of cycling in these regions.

 Cycling Tours France – Explore our full range of cycling tours in France.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A Week in Provence – Rich History, Hidden Art Treasures and Spectacular Wildlife Await You

The 1989 bestselling book "A Year in Provence" by Peter Mayle has inspired many people to visit this diverse area and cycling holidays in France's Provence region offer the ideal opportunity to really experience the landscape and culture this area has to offer – and you only have to spend a week!

Our 'Provence and the Camargue' tour (Tour FPC8) provides you with a taste of many of the region's most attractive and well known aspects including a fascinating history, amazing but seldom-seen art and exotic wildlife – in just 8 days and 7 nights.

Cycling Holidays Provence – Find out more detail of our 'Provence and the Camargue' cycling tour.

Rich History
Provence is one of our most popular destinations for cycling holidays in France, not least because of its fascinating history, much of which is still very much in evidence on this tour.

The tour begins and ends in the city of Orange, home to a magnificent Roman theatre which is still in use for plays and festivals throughout the year; and a visit to the Orange Museum will reward you with yet more Roman exhibits from Orange, including a number of friezes rescued from the theatre itself, as well as finds from the nearby archaeological site of Glanum. You will see (and even cycle over) a number of Roman structures on this tour including the aqueduct at Pont du Gard (Day 6) and the amphitheatre and baths at Arles (Day 3 and 4).

For those who enjoy Medieval or Renaissance architecture, Provence is an ideal destination – almost every town and village you pass through will have something to offer from these periods. Day 2 takes you to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, home to both the legendary red wine of the same name, and several French popes in the early 14th century. Nowadays the town retains much of its medieval character with narrow winding lanes. Next stop on this route is Avignon itself, where you will stay at the end of Day 2. Avignon was the official base for the French popes, with the Palais des Papes offering some of the best Gothic architecture to be seen anywhere in the world.

For those who would like to find about the region's prehistoric and Roman history in more depth, we recommend a visit to the Musée Départemental in Arles (you will be spending 2 nights here so there is plenty of time).

Hidden Art Treasures
If you have time to go inside the Palais des Papes in Avignon, you will be rewarded with excellently preserved late Gothic art on the walls and ceilings of the Saint-Martial and Saint-Jean chapels. For those interested in art history, these richly coloured murals and ceiling paintings clearly prefigure the imminent Renaissance period and are as impressive as many Renaissance chapels to be seen in Italy.

Arles is, of course, well known as the place where Vincent Van Gogh resided between 1888-1889, producing many of his most iconic paintings under the intense Provençal sun, including Sunflowers, Wheat Fields and The Red Vineyard. While almost all of Van Gogh's work is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and other major galleries around the world, a visit to Arles gives you an opportunity to explore some of the influences on his work, by visiting the Café Van Gogh in Arles itself, depicted in his Café Terrace at Night, or simply ride past some of the many fields and vineyards that feature in his paintings.

It is perhaps only Van Gogh who is capable of overshadowing the many other famous artists associated with Provence. The Musée Angladon in Avignon (Day 2) holds a wide collection of modern art from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, featuring work by Paul Cézanne (France's most famous post-impressionist and a native of Provence) and Picasso (who moved to Provence in 1959). The museum also boasts works by Degas and Paul Gauguin (who was a companion to Van Gogh in Arles for some time). But perhaps the greatest treat here is to see the only work by Van Gogh to be displayed in Provence, the lesser known but utterly vibrant "Wagons de chemin de fer" (railcars) which was painted during his stay in Arles.

Spectacular Wildlife
On Day 4 we offer a complete change of scene, taking a circular route into the Camargue region, a nature reserve rich with wildlife of all kinds. The Camargue is western Europe's largest river delta, lying between the two branches of the Rhône, and contains extensive wetlands which attract more than 400 species of birds. Pink flamingos abound here, attracted by the extensive inland saltwater ponds. But equally appealing are the famous Camargue wild horses. These horses are native to the region and thrive largely without human assistance among the wetlands here. All are white (technically "grey") in colour, but you can spot foals and young horses by their darker black or brown coats which will turn paler as they mature. The land is exceptionally flat in this area, making for easy biking and allowing you to give your attention to the scenery and wildlife.

As with all our cycling holidays in France and elsewhere, accommodation, bicycles and luggage transfer are all organised for you, enabling you to simply enjoy the wide variety of experiences on offer.

Cycling Holidays France – Explore our full range of French cycling tours.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Explore the Local Wines of the Loire

France is, of course, internationally famous for its excellent wines and a cycling tour in France would not be complete without sampling some of its best wines in the place that they were grown. But although French wine is popular in Britain, we generally only see a limited selection of wines compared to the vast number of local wines on offer within France itself.

These local wines are not usually available in UK supermarkets for a number of reasons. Firstly, local appellations often do not produce wine in the volume necessary to be picked up by a national supermarket chain. Secondly, supermarkets tend to opt for grape varieties and names which a large proportion of customers will be familiar with, and this of course simply perpetuates the situation. Seeking out specialist wine merchants is one option of course, but requires some degree of knowledge or confidence to know what to look for and, most importantly, what you like. Our cycling tours in France offer a chance to try out some of these local wines and expand your tastes.

To get you started and perhaps help you select a cycling tour that involves a visit to a wine region that interests you, here are some Loire Valley locations associated with some of the most popular local wines.

Cycling Tours France – Find out about the wine producing regions you can visit on your cycling holidays in France.

Saumur is the starting point of our Châteaux, Abbeys & Vineyards tour and gives its name to a sparkling (or mousseaux) white wine which many rate as second only to its more famous cousin Champagne.  Saumur wine is based on the Chenin Blanc grape variety, rather than the Chardonnay/Pinot Noir grapes used for Champagne, which gives the wine a much crisper, lighter flavour. Saumur Mousseaux is sometimes available in British supermarkets, if you look for it, since 12 million bottles are produced each year, but the sparkling wine section will generally be dominated by Champagne and Prosecco. As you will be staying overnight in Saumur itself you can get your wine sampling off to a good start by asking for some Saumur Mousseaux  to accompany your dinner here.

On Day 4 of the Châteaux, Abbeys & Vineyards tour you will stay overnight in the town of Chinon, part of a major wine producing region which is home to the Chenin Blanc grape variety.

Most British wine enthusiasts will already be familiar with this grape, usually used to make white wines, but most of the wine from this region is actually red or rosé and based on the Cabernet franc grape. The red wines produced very locally in the Chinon area are generally on the soft and fruity side. If you prefer something more "tannic" ask for a wine from the nearby Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil area.

We visit the city of Angers on day 9 of our From Orléans to Angers tour, giving you a chance to sample the delights of the famous wine producing region of Anjou.

The region produces mainly rosé wines, based on the Cabernet franc grape and names to keep a look out for include Rosé d'Anjou and Cabernet d'Anjou.

This area can be a seen as a microcosm of the whole Loire Valley in wine terms as it produces wines of every grape, colour and sweetness, from dry reds through to rich dessert wines – giving you plenty of choice and scope to find a wine close to your personal tastes.

Day 5 of our Royal Châteaux of the Loire tour offers the adventurous wine-taster a (literally) rare treat as we will pass through the town of Cheverny, home to an impressive château as well as being the centre of a very special wine producing region.

Cour-Chaverny wine is a little known appellation made from the Romorantin grape, a relative of the Chardonnay grape, grown only in and around Chaverny. Wines made from this grape are intense and full flavoured, but crisp.


A liqueur is the traditional French way to end a meal and many wine enthusiasts will be just as eager to sample some local liqueurs. Day 7 of the Royal Châteaux of the Loire tour takes you to Chambord, with its stunning château. But this place is also famous for its delicious raspberry liqueur of the same name. Originally created for King Louis XIV, it is now in full production again and, despite becoming a global brand, is still produced locally within the Loire Valley. Based on red and black raspberries it could almost be a dessert by itself as it includes a number of other rich flavours including honey, vanilla, cognac and citrus peel.

Orléans is the starting point of our Orléans to Angers tour – and it is also an ideal location to try two new, local appellations awarded as recently as 2006.  The Orléans appellation includes a variety of grapes, with white wines based mostly on the Chardonnay grape, and red or rosé wines based on the Pinot Meunier grape. Red wine lovers should make sure to try something from the Orléans-Clery appellation, which produces only red wines, based primarily on the Cabernet franc grape, with some Cabernet Sauvignon also used. There are only a small number of growers for these wines and volumes are therefore quite small – in addition they are generally consumed within a year of production – so a visit to the area may be one of your few chances to try them out.

Cycling Holidays France – Interesting local wines are, of course, available on all our cycling tours in France, so be sure to check out our full range of tours.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Cycling Holidays France – French Cycling Tours France – Visiting Royal Chateaux

The Loire valley has been home to many French kings and queens over the centuries and exploring a magnificent château or two is a highlight of many of our cycling holidays in France. However, on our Royal Châteaux of the Loire Tour you can immerse yourself in French Royal history and make these wonderful buildings the focus of your holiday – and discover some intriguing links to British history along the way.

With its northern borders just over 100km from Paris, the Loire Valley was an irresistible and convenient location for France's monarchy to reside or to take refuge at certain times, while still being "on hand" should their presence be required in the capital. And all the elements that make the Loire Valley so attractive for cycling holidays in France today were very much present in past centuries too: attractive, lush scenery kept watered by the River Loire itself, good food and excellent wine.

Cycling Holidays France – Click here for more details about our Royal Châteaux of the Loire Tour.

To whet your appetite, here are some fascinating details about some of the châteaux that feature on our Royal Châteaux of the Loire Tour.

Château de Blois
The tour starts in the town of Blois, home to the Château d Blois and just a few minutes’ walk away from your accommodation. This château was founded in the 13th century and has 564 rooms and 75 staircases. It originally belonged to the Dukes of Orléans, one of whom, Charles of Orléans was captured by the English at the battle of Agincourt in 1415 and held captive for 25 years. During this time he wrote extensively in both French and English, including many poems now considered some of the finest in medieval English. He also featured as a major character in Shakespeare's Henry V. Upon his return, still just 46 years old, he rebuilt and extended the château. His son Louis became, in due course, Louis XII of France, and the château was used by many of his successors including François I, Henri III and Henri IV.

Château de Chaumont
This is one of the oldest castles on the tour, being founded in the 10th century and successively extended and developed until at least the 15th century.  You will see this stunning château on the route between Blois and Amboise on Day 2 of the tour. This castle's links with royalty are somewhat less than edifying, having been dismantled on the orders of one king, Louis XI, in 1465 and later effectively sold to another, Louis XV. The most notable royal resident was in fact not French at all: Catherine de Medici, wife of Henri II, and considered one of the most powerful women of the 16th century, resided here from 1560 after she became regent of France, reportedly entertaining Nostradamus at the château, before moving to Château de Chenonceau.

Château d'Amboise
You will reach Amboise at the end of Day 2 of the tour, giving you plenty of opportunity to visit the Château d'Amboise. Dating back to at least the 9th century, this château was seized by Charles VII in 1434 and was a firm favourite with the royals thereafter, especially his successor Charles VIII who carried out extensive development much influenced by the Italian style of masonry and architecture. However, the château took its own form of revenge on Charles VIII who died after hitting his head on a door lintel here in 1498 – so you might want to mind your head as you look around. It was also at this château that Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, was raised as a child. Within the grounds of the château is the Chapel of Saint Hubert where Leonardo da Vinci is reputed to be buried.

Château de Chenonceau
On Day 3 of the tour you will cycle from Amboise to the village of Chenonceaux, where you will see the stunning and exceptionally scenic Château de Chenonceau built on the banks of the River Cher. The château came into royal hands in 1535 and it was given to Henri II's mistress Diane de Poitiers. It was she who commissioned the arched bridge which is part of the château's distinctive appearance today. Diane did such a good job of extending and beautifying the château and gardens that Catherine de Medici claimed it for herself after Henri's death.

Château de Chambord
On Day 5 you will have a chance to visit the royal Château de Chambord, on your way back to Blois for your final night. Built by François I in 1518-1547 this is a masterpiece of renaissance architecture and has clear Italian stylistic influences. It has a neat, symmetrical appearance with geometrical walls and gardens surrounding it. Despite its grandeur the château is perhaps something of a folly – François himself spent barely 7 weeks there in total and the design of the building made it highly impractical as a place to reside, especially in winter, as there are many open windows. It is nonetheless an impressive and fascinating place to visit.

Cycling Tours France – Find out about more of our cycling holidays in France.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

When Time is Short But You Need a Real Break, our Loire Star Cycling Holiday in France Can Deliver

If you're looking for a shorter holiday this year, or simply want an alternative type of minibreak, our Loire Star cycling holiday in France offers a real sense of getting away from it all and giving your mind a complete rest from the normal routine.

For those looking for a short break, holidays in the UK are one option of course – and we offer a range of 2 and 3 night cycling holidays in Suffolk and Norfolk for those who prefer something closer to home. But did you know that some of our cycling holidays in France can be just as quick to get to while offering a genuine change of scene?

Our Loire Star tour is available as a 3 or 4 night break, involving either 2 or 3 days of cycling. The tour is named after the 7 circular routes available, all fanning out from the charming village of Chitenay where you will be staying each night. Each day you choose one of the routes, depending on how far you fancy cycling, returning to base for dinner and 3 star hotel accommodation.

Cycle Breaks – See a map of the Loire Star tour here.

If you've never considered cycling holidays in France as a possibility for a short break before, here are just a few reasons to think about our Loire Star tour:

Short travel time
– The flight time from Stansted to Tours is just 1h 20min, which is only slightly more than flying Stansted to Glasgow and about the time from London to Norwich by road or rail. Once landed at Tours airport, a train will take you to Blois in about half an hour, followed by a short taxi ride into Chitenay.

Organisation done for you – Organising your own cycling holiday can take time to plan, not to mention arranging cycle hire or getting your own bike ready and transporting it. We supply the bikes, all maintained and ready to go. All the Loire Star routes have already been researched and described in detailed route notes and map provided on arrival – all you have to do is follow the guidance in the notes.

3 star accommodation
– Your accommodation is arranged for you in advance as part of the booking, so you don't have to worry about calling a hotel in France or trawling through French websites. We have personally visited each and every one of the hotels and B&B's on all our UK and European cycling holidays to ensure it meets the standards we would expect for our customers – and the Auberge du Centre in Chitenay is no exception. This stunning château-style hotel with extensive gardens and central location makes a fantastic base for any holiday. The Loire Star tour includes breakfast and dinner here as part of the price, and there is even a pool to help you cool off after your day's cycling.

Variety – A 3 or 4 night tour offers 2 or 3 days of cycling, with a choice of routes each day. The routes on offer take in a wide variety of different sights from rivers to châteaux to forests – so you will always have something new to look at it. Routes vary in length from 9 miles to 31 miles. So you can choose a longer route and make a day of it, or choose a shorter one, polish it off by lunchtime and enjoy the spectacular gardens or relax by the pool in the afternoon. With so much variety built in, you can easily pack in more activity on a short cycling holiday in France than some beach or villa holidays offer in a fortnight.

Different food – Nothing makes the brain really "get" that it has travelled than eating different types and styles of food, especially when the menu is in a different language. If this sounds a bit risky, don't worry, as dinner at the Auberge is in the capable hands of chef Gilles Martinet and we have arranged for you to be guided through the best of French cuisine as your stay progresses via the Menu du Jour, Menu Superior, Menu Terroir (focusing on local and regional dishes) and finally Menu Gastronomique – all included in the price.

Switch off – On a traditional holiday by the beach or pool, but with not much else to do, it can be hard to switch off your brain from thinking about the concerns of work or home. A cycling holiday, even a short one, gives your brain other things to think about from the moment you arrive – like following your route map, taking in ever-changing scenery and thinking about where you'd like to stop for lunch. You mind simply won't have time to linger on your life back home, giving you that all important downtime you need to get the most benefit from your break.

Cycling Holidays France – Find out more about our Loire Star tour.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Combine Adventure with Comfort on One of Our Scenic Cycling Holidays in France

What do you do when you fancy a bit of adventure on holiday but also want comfort? Or even worse, one of you wants adventure and the other one wants luxury. This can be a difficult choice to make – but not if you choose one of Cycle Breaks' cycling holidays in France or further afield in Europe. They combine a range of activity levels to suit your physical ability, with comfortable, hand picked accommodation.

Enough Adventure to Suit Your Preferences and Ability
At Cycle Breaks we understand that what spells an exciting challenge for one person could be difficult or unpleasant for another – something definitely to be avoided when you're on holiday! So we have carefully researched and graded all our cycling holidays in France, Germany, Spain, Austria and the UK, making it easy for you to pick the right level, from Grade 1 (the easiest) to Grade 4. While Grade 4 offers slightly more challenge, you don't have to be a superfit sports cyclist for any of our holidays – our focus is on "gentle adventure" and Grade 4 would still be within the capability of a leisure cyclist of average fitness.

For those unused to doing a lot of cycling we recommend one of our gentler tours, offering enough activity to be enjoyable but without involving long distances or lengthy steep inclines. A single centre, Grade 1 tours offer the easiest level of cycling and the most flexibility. Because you are staying in the same accommodation each night, you can simply opt to do no cycling at all on whichever days suit you.

Our "Loire Star" tour, for example, offers a choice of Grade 1 routes to choose from, ranging from 9 to 31 miles – so you really can pick and choose how much activity you want.

For those who cycle a little more regularly, we recommend one of our medium grade tours, with longer routes and incorporating steeper inclines. For instance, our "Tours to Angers" Grade 2-3 tour involves 4 days of cycling, with rides of between 26 and 38 miles per day – giving you a real sense of achievement when you arrive in the ancient city of Angers.

But for those who want a bit more challenge, choose one of our Grade 4 routes and be rewarded with some spectacular views. Our "Dordogne Cycling Through History" tour, for instance, involves 6 days of cycling of between 20 and 34 miles, including an ascent to the famous "perched village" of Rocamadour from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the hills and forests surrounding this historic medieval village.

Of course, another measure of challenge is the number of days in a row you will be cycling. Again, there is a wide choice to choose from, from 3 nights to 10 nights, depending on how far you want to push yourself.

Cycle Breaks – See our full range of graded cycling holidays in France, Europe or the UK and pick one that is right for you.

Enough Comfort to Feel Like a Holiday
To ensure you feel as though you are on holiday, we also pay close attention to the accommodation where you will be staying.

All accommodation has been personally hand picked and visited by ourselves. As well as saving you considerable time researching and booking your own lodgings, this also takes the worry out of wondering whether it will be up to scratch.

All hotels and B&B's are a minimum of 2 stars, but 3 star accommodation is standard on many tours, and some tours have the option to upgrade to a higher level of accommodation if desired.

For multi-centre tours where you will be staying at a different place each night, we transfer all your luggage for you each day, so it is waiting for you when you arrive – all included in the price.

One of the major sources of stress or discomfort on a tour based holiday is the worry about finding your way around and finding good places to see or to eat. Again, we've done all this for you, providing you with detailed tour notes before you go. For each cycle route we suggest places to stop, either to see the local sights or to take refreshment.

And of course, your cycling holiday in France would not be possible without a bike! These are provided for you, and are delivered to your accommodation ready for your first day's cycling. We've chosen a comfortable hybrid touring bike with easy to use gears and a range of convenient accessories to make being out and about that bit easier to manage, such as map holders, panniers and bags. And for extra ease and comfort, electric bikes are available on many tours.

Cycling Holidays France – Find out more about the type of accommodation available on our tours.

Whilst we have done as much as we can to make it easy to pick the right level of tour for you, we are happy to discuss your individual requirements with you before you book. As we have personally researched all the routes on offer we can give you more details and make recommendations to ensure you have a holiday that is both stimulating and enjoyable.