France Route Calais to Carcassone

by jpothecary   February 4, 2013  

Hi all,

This is my first post a newbie to the site!
Having been on the Dark side (MTB) of cycling for the last 6 years I'm planning to start back on the roads again this year. This is being driven by a plan I have of cycling a 900 mile route in France next year when i hit 50

My Plan is to start in Calais and get to Carcassone Via a dip in the Med on the way all in 7 - 9 days. Has anyone done any of this route that can give feedback etc.. I've found guided tours with general daily start end points but would greatly appreciate anyone who may of already done a route like this, especially the bit around Paris...East V West.

Thanks

9 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

sounds like it'll be a fantastic ride. i'd stay as far from paris as possible, personally: although i've never ridden the route you've mapped out i'd probably stay near the coast as far as rouen then join up the national parks as best you can. don't forget to go over the millau viaduct Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7472 posts]
4th February 2013 - 13:30

2 Likes

You are not very clear on what type of roads you wish to travel on. France has some fantastic back roads and canal towpaths which give traffic free cycling, but it would be difficult to do enough miles per day to complete the trip in 9 days that way.

Check out the website www.crazyguyonabike.com which is full of touring journals. This one goes from the UK to Carcasonne via the Med although the channel crossing is Portsmouth to Le Harvre: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=10426&v=RB

posted by NeilG83 [256 posts]
4th February 2013 - 13:36

2 Likes

Milau would be good but not sure if bikes are allowed?

posted by jpothecary [7 posts]
4th February 2013 - 16:36

2 Likes

Thanks for the links; I'll start reading..I'm assuming that some of it will have to be RN just to allow for distance in a day but want to try and find as many long B road stretches if possible hence the early planning

Thanks

James

posted by jpothecary [7 posts]
4th February 2013 - 16:38

2 Likes

Let me know if you want any more advice or info, as I'm planning something similar. Also, I know a bit about the Languedoc region between the Med and Carcassonne.

posted by NeilG83 [256 posts]
4th February 2013 - 17:25

2 Likes

I cycled from Dieppe to Spain a couple of years ago in ten days. Great trip. One of the big decisions was to go East or West around Paris, and how many climbs you want to fit in/avoid. I chose to avoid climbs and went Chatres - Orleans - Moulins - Lyon - down the Rhone Valley (amazing) and then hit the south coast (amazing/unpleasant riding depending on the route you take). The northern farmland areas are barren if you stick to the very minor roads - I would avoid. Looking back, I'd also add more climbs, this is where the best rides are!

The Human Cyclist A blog. Try it, you might like it...

sm's picture

posted by sm [355 posts]
4th February 2013 - 19:17

2 Likes

Hi SM
Did you venture on many Route Nationals? wondering how good or bad they are to the experience?

posted by jpothecary [7 posts]
4th February 2013 - 21:18

3 Likes

jpothecary wrote:
Milau would be good but not sure if bikes are allowed?

hm. the plan was to incorporate one so far as i remember but no mention of it on the site officiel Sad

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7472 posts]
4th February 2013 - 22:04

3 Likes

I did hit a few N roads here and there but where possible tried to avoid them as I would a dual carriageway in the UK. N roads are busy with fast moving traffic, perfectly fine for short hops but can be a little scary depending on your experience. You also have to be careful as an N road can occasionally turn into an A road, but with planning you can easily avoid this.

France is blessed with lots of lovely D roads, 95% of which on my journey were a joy. Some can get busy. I mostly plotted my way through the tiny C roads where possible and rarely saw a car, although I think if I did it again I'd use more D roads as they are more direct and also very nice to cycle on. D roads also have the added benefit of passing more shops/cemeteries for food and water - on c roads this can be difficult.

When planning a route, make good use of Google Street View, especially where major roads meet. Takes a little more time but is worth it to avoid that sinking feeling on the road when you approach a hazardous junction/section of road.

The Human Cyclist A blog. Try it, you might like it...

sm's picture

posted by sm [355 posts]
5th February 2013 - 7:22

2 Likes