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Cycling from UK through France to Spain in Spring 2011. Any beta out there?

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Cycling from UK through France to Spain in Spring 2011. Any beta out there?

I'm flying to UK at the end of March and will be meeting my partner there. We are ultimately headed for southern Spain and would like to cycle through france. I've completed several self supported trips in the U.S.
Any tips or info about touring in europe would be helpful. For example,
routes through specific areas; bicycles on European trains; road conditions; etc. We would like to mix it up staying with folks on Warmshowers, camping, hostels, hotels, churches or what have you etc.
Any info or stories of experiences would be fabulous...

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you are welcome

We live in the center of the Pyrenees, on the french side (near Saint-Gaudens). If you plan to come around here, you are welcome to stay at home. Th eroads are generally all right, but the smaller the better (less traffic than on the main ones).
If you need more advice, don't hesitate to ask!
Hope to see you soon!

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Welcome to Catalonia!

Hi there,

I read your post and you can stay at home if the dates you plan to pass by suit me. I live near the city of Lleida, at the south side of the Pyrenees, over 160km from the French border.

I'm sorry I can't give your more advices about the roads than the one about the smaller the better.


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hi from Maui

Hi I would love to do what you are doing and hoping to get there next year or this fall. Would love to have you pass on any info you receive or anything you think would be helpful. Yes as I read through your post that is exactly how I would like to do it. Using the warmshowers and hostels etc. I may be on my own so even more important to know where and what. I am wondering what kind of bike you are using? I am not sure whether to travel with a touring bike and panniers or a road bike with panniers. I am used to a road bike and just have not done the research yet. Thanks. Dianne

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Cycling from UK thrrough France to Spain

If you have plenty of time and want stay away from the most strenuous areas, follow the rivers when possible. From Calais, ride the coast to Bordeaux. From Bordeaux, head for Agen, then follow the Canal Midi to the Mediterranean at Narbonne, the along the coast to Spain. If you start in Paris, go south to Orleans, down the Loire river and south to Bordeaux.

BICYLES ON TRAINS: Internet URLs for your research:

Bikes and trains in France is not an issue, although you may have a problem getting them on The TGV. On the TGV, it is the mood of the conductor.
Train schedules and rules for traveling with bicycles.

Most TER (regional)trains do allow bicycles. There is a bicycle symbol painted on the outside of the baggage car.

You can load your bike on this car. Most of them have ceiling hooks to hang the bike upright.
Many useful contributions for traveling with bicycles


French roads are always in good condition.

I like to use Michelin Maps. You can find them in Borders and Barnes & Noble for about $10.95 each. There are 18 of them that cover France. There is some overlap between adjacent maps. Try to follow the Departmental roads ( white or yellow).

To help determine where you want to stay on a daily basis, you can use
SCALE 1/200,000 -- 1cm = 2 km

Brittany 230
Normandy 231
Angers 232
Medoc 233
Aquitaine 234
Midi Pyrenees 235
Calais 236
Isle de Paris 237
Loire - Bourges 238
Vichy 239
Montpelier 240
Reims - Troyes 241
Strasbourg 242
Dijon 243
Grenoble 244
Provence 245
Lyon 246
Strasbourg - Germany 278

"A" Autoroute Like US interstate - Do not ride bicycle on these roads
"E" European route Like US interstate - Do not ride bicycle on these roads
"N" National Bicycles allowed, usually four lane, heavy traffic
"D" Departmental - Red Bicycles allowed, busy traffic, but safe
"D" Departmental - Yellow Bicycles allowed, moderate traffic, but safe
"D" Departmental - White Bicycles allowed, very little traffic, cycle friendly
If Green line is parallel to the highway on the map, it is a scenic route, usually hilly

WS Member WS Member's picture

Don't know if our site would be helpful but we rode through France this past fall. We posted GPS maps of each day and where we went.

Check out:

Scroll down to the France section of the journal.

Have fun

WS Member WS Member's picture
Touring In France


We are from Colorado. Last August/September we spent a month riding self supported from Amsterdam to Mont St Michel along the coast. Although we have toured in Europe and the US for some time there were a few tips we could give you.

We camped almost all the time and did use the train to get back to Paris.

We plan to return to our stopping point this summer and continue for another month hoping th reach the Spanish border this time. Eventually we want to reach Istanbul via the coastal route.

Please contact us directly at [email protected]. I would be happy to give you a call on the phone. We Leave for Australia in a few days so try to contact me soon.



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I've fast toured with minimal kit from Roscoff (N France) to Santander (N Spain) along the bay of Biscay. We stayed at cheap hotels and gites. Happy to pass over details. We have also gone from Carcasonne (S France) to Malaga (S Spain) over the Pyrenees down the E coast of Spain (20 km inland mainly) again in cheap hotels.

Laurence & Rose

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