.

St Malo to Nice

Shortest Day - 47 km / 30 miles
Longest Day - 125 km / 78 miles
Total: 1,513km / 946 miles (ave 59 miles per day); 16 days riding

What you can expect

Two thirds of days on this fantastic ride are in the 50 - 60 miles bracket; a couple of shorter days and a few longer ones combine to make this a memorable journey through the very best of France suitable for all recreational cyclists, passing through simply stunning countryside and seeing some of the most famous sights of all France. There is the added attraction (to some!) of an optional ascent of the iconic Mont Ventoux. 16 days' riding; 15 nights dinner bead and breakfast; 1 night dinner not included. Full vehicle support and luggage transfer.

More detail

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Cycling tour notes St Maloce

Highlights include:

  • Brittany Coast with visit to Mont St Michel
  • Riding through the Loire Valley vineyards
  • The beautiful unspoilt Creuse region with many beautiful castles
  • The spectacular Massif Central
  • Riding up the Puy Mary
  • The Tarn, Ardenche and Verdon Gorges
  • The Lavender fields of Provence
  • Optional Mont Ventoux ascent
  • On our 2017 departures we are offering return bike transport to St Pancras at £45 per bike, allowing you to relax on the train home.
  • 3 spaces remaining for 7 July 2017 departure

 

Day 1: Leaving the walled town of St Malo you will follow the rocky Breton coastline to Cancale, a pretty fishing port. Leaving here, the route takes you around the Bay of Mont St Michel to one of the most famous places in France. A shorter day, but it would be wrong not to explore the famous abbey at Mont St Michel. We stay just beyond in a comfortable hotel with excellent restaurant. (51 miles).

Day 2: Striking inland you will say goodbye to the sea for the next two weeks. This western area of Normandy has some pretty villages and is full of history. Passing through historic Fougeres, we continue to another fortress town, Vitre, with a fantastic turreted chateau; your hotel is beneath the walls and there are plenty of creperies and restaurants amongst the cobbled streets. (48 miles).

Day 3:  In mileage terms a longer day but the terrain is not arduous and everyone always makes good time and gets into a good rythmn on this day; you will make good time to Angers with ample opportunity to wander around this lovely city. The second half is all following a river and the first crosses very gently undulating farmland. (70 miles).

Day 4: From Angers you will head south to cross the Loire. This is always considered the first landmark of a north to south tour and south of here the weather is said to be better (although in July you should be fine north of here too!). Following the river east a lovely easy route passes through ancient villages to Saumur, the ‘pearl of the Loire’ and thence through its famous vineyards. Passing Chinon with its majestic fortress you will then head south again to Richelieu, a pretty town built by the cardinal of the same name. (70 miles).

Day 5:  Today you will really start to feel like you are exploring rural France as the route heads into the delightful Creuse region. A stop for lunch by a ruined chateau is our recommendation, in one of France’s ‘Plus Beaux Villages’.  We continue to a well-preserved market town for the night where our hotel is more simple but clean and near the historic abbey with its UNESCO murals. (55 miles).

Day 6:  A more undulating day but none of the climbs are especially steep - as is usual in France, the gradients allow for gaining height without undue work. The route is beautful as you pass through villages clinging to the gorge-side, ruined hilltop castles and some lovely small towns. We stay in a small village with a very well run hotel with a great restaurant - and a lovely outside terrace and swimming pool! (70 miles).

Day 7:  As well as some climbs there are some great descents, one 5 miles long! This is rural France at its best and some stunning views will open up before you on the way to our lakeside hotel. Tonight is Bastille Day so enjoy a glass of wine with the fireworks over the lake. (51 miles). 

Day 8:  In our opinion the hardest day of the ride and an early start is recommended to see the early morning stillness of the first section; it is incredibly beautiful, along a very quiet road beside a lake. We enjoy coffee at the watershed where the rivers now flow south to the Garonne rather than north to the Loire. You are now approaching the Massif Central and the tendency is up, although the gradients are gentle. With sensible pacing the miles will pass. This is a part of France that not many people know and our riders love it. Riom is a market town high in the plateau and as you approach you will see the high peaks in the distance, laid out before you. (78 miles).

Day 9: The main event today is the ascent of the Puy Mary, a proper mountain climb. The views at the top are simply spectacular and there is a very good mountain restaurant for an early lunch. Then, enjoy the descent! Another small climb leads to Murat, and another one out of the town, before you cross a plateau leading to St Flour with its dramatic cathedral dominating the town. (48 miles)

Day 10:  South of St Flour are several climbs of several kilometres but once again sensible pacing will win the day. You will pass a ruined castle beside a lake, cross a huge dam and then, after our suggested lunch stop, ride along my favourite road in France beside a babbling brook; looking back you can see the high peaks disappearing behind you. Approaching Marvejols there is a fantastic descent which goes on and on and on before a stiff hill and the descent into Mende for the night in our historic hotel by the ramparts. (63 miles).

Day 11:  Some really amazing scenery awaits as we ride along quiet roads in the lovely Auvergne. There are some long climbs but they gradients once more make them a very achievable ride and you will not be crawling along in bottom gear; added to which is a simply wonderful 15 mile descent where a pedal hardly needs to be turned! Our hotel is next to one of the most famous landmarks in France, the limestone arch crossing the Ardeche river at the entrance to the Ardeche Gorge. (74 miles).

Day 12:  A spectacular ride takes you through the Ardeche Gorge with its 14 viewing platforms from which to marvel at this natural wonder. Don't forget your camera today! Crossing the river Rhone we are now in Provence and our hotel is a real charmer in an historic Roman town with a wonderful terrace on which to enjoy a sundowner after a swim in the pool, with breathtaking views over the countryside. (59 miles).

Day 13:  If you like a challenge this is the day you will have been waiting for! The day will be dominated by Mont Ventoux, which you can either opt to climb or to skirt round. Whichever you choose you will see spectacular scenery. Vineyards, olive groves, lavender fields and Roman remains are all abundant in this region. Sault is a small town on the far side of Mont Ventoux. (30 miles without the Ventoux, 60 miles with).

Day 14:  Some lovely riding along quiet roads with remote hilltop villages. You pass through busier Manosque and then one last climb to finally descend into Greoux, a bustling small town with lots of great places to eat and watch the world go by. (48 miles).

Day 15: The first section gains height ever so gradually before you enter the Gorges de Verdon: one of the undisputed highlights of the ride. Europe’s answer to the Grand Canyon is amazing and you will see cobalt blue lakes and the river far below. The Gorge climbs for the first half and descends for the second to your overnight stop in pretty Castellane with its church perched high up on a rock above the village square. (48 miles).

Day 16:  There are easier and harder section on today’s ride but you will find the kilometres pass quickly as you approach your destination. The first section along the old 'Route Napoleon' is a climb to warm up, and then is a long mostly downhill section for almost 30 miles as you descend to the Var. Avoiding the main road we climb into the hilltop villages again behind Nice, before a final descent to the eastern end of the famous  Promenade des Anglais on the seafront, and journey’s end! (77 miles).

Day 17: Departure. NB it is possible to catch an evening flight on day 16 if this works better for you.

 

 

 

Transfers from (start): St Malo ferry port, St Malo station.

Transfers to (end):  Nice TGV station, Nice airport.

Requested Single Supplement (see our FAQ page): £595

BOOK ONLINE NOW

or enquire about specific dates by clicking 'Booking Enquiry' below.

Current dates for this tour:

Starts:
08.07.17
Ends:
24.07.17
Rating:
Difficult
Price:
£2,295
Starts:
18.06.18
Ends:
04.07.18
Rating:
Difficult
Price:
£2,295
Starts:
13.08.18
Ends:
29.08.18
Rating:
Difficult
Price:
£2,295

Travel Information

Start: St Malo
Finish: Nice

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