Cycling in France
France holds much for the avid cyclist. Whether you’re disembarking at Calais, Dieppe, or Dunkirk, road routes and so-called voie vertes are close at hand to help you navigate this scenic and varied landscape.
Cycling in France is obviously well established given it is the home of the annual Tour De France. However, there are relatively few dedicated cycle routes given the country’s size, so care should be taken to plan your cycling trip accordingly.
The voie vertes, or greenways, are cycle tracks free from motorised traffic and are largely level with good surfaces. Perfect for a relaxed family cycling trip, these routes often follow disused railway lines and canals, offering safe and picturesque journeys through the beautiful French countryside.
If you’re looking for a more challenging experience, consider one of France’s véloroutes. Combining voie vertes and minor roads, these routes offer more for the long-range cycling enthusiast. Or, if you’re looking for a true cycling marathon, you could hop on one of the Eurovélo routes – in fact, Eurovélo 5 runs from London, through our Dover to Calais crossing and all the way to Brindisi in the south of Italy!
French Cycling Laws
- To cycle in France, bikes must be equipped with a bell and fully-functioning brakes
- If cycling after dark, cyclists must fit reflectors, as well as front and rear lights
- It is not against the law to cycle without a crash helmet in France, but using one is strongly advised
- Cyclists must wear a high-visibility waistcoat if cycling after dark outside urban areas
- In towns and city streets, cyclists must use marked cycle lanes where they exist
- Cyclists must obey traffic signs and signals in the same way as other road users
- Cyclists on French roads may ride two-abreast during daylight hours. At night, single file cycling is compulsory
- Cyclists are subject to the same alcohol limits as other road users. Cycling while under the influence of alcohol can lead to a fine, the impounding of the cyclist's bike, and/or the withdrawal of the cyclist's vehicle licence if he/she has one
Additional tips: Taking your bike on the train
- Bikes can be taken free of charge on many trains in France, including most TERs, intercity expresses and TGVs
- Avoid any unexpected charges by taking a bike bag and packing your bike as hand luggage
If you're looking to add a little structure to your two-wheeled tour, check out our Great Journeys section. Whether you'd like to take a cycling tour of the D-Day Beaches or want to add a few extra days to our Champagne Route, whatever your trip or tipple, we've got itineraries to match.
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