Family cycling holidays in France

You may already know that France is the number one destination for tourism in general, but did you know it’s also a perfect spot for cycling holidays? If you want to explore the countryside on two wheels, France has so much to offer. And to make it even more appealing, it’s perfect for a family cycling holiday, whether you are travelling with young kids or teens. Here is everything you need to know before booking. 

Cycling with kids

Travelling with young children requires a lot of planning. Here are a few considerations on how to make a cycling trip family-friendly.

1. Consider the terrain 

Unless you are a group of very experienced riders, our first piece of advice is to select a place with mostly flat terrain that is easy to cycle through. You don’t want to get all the blame for those gruelling hills even if to you, this will feel like bliss. 

2. Safety is key 

Pick a place where there are a lot of dedicated cycling paths available right from your doorstep. This means you’ll be able to ride with kids and teens on those paths securely, car free and at any pace you like. 

3. Plan a route that everyone will enjoy 

Your kids may love to ride but they may also want stops where they can have some fun, see some cool things and rest. Ensure that your family cycling routes have fun sights along the way, such as natural places of interest, museums for kids, playgrounds and so on. 

4. Get the right equipment 

We cannot stress this part enough – make sure your equipment is correct and well-suited for each rider. Ensure the sizing is correct and ensure that the kids can ride comfortably on them. Some bikes have an attachment device where the adult can pull the kids bike. Or for younger children, you could also buy a bike chair that attaches to an adult’s bike. 

The best destinations in France for a cycling holiday with kids 

While France has some great cycling routes, they are not all flat and child-friendly, so you will need to carefully consider where you are going when planning a cycling trip with kids. Here are our top two suggestions based on the factors above. 

Loire Valley 

Head to the Loire Valley region and try basing yourself in lovely Saumur as a starting point. The area has horseback riding and other child-friendly activities if they want a day off the bike. Or spend a day at the famous Château de Chambord for a quintessential French castle experience. The 16th century masterpiece of Renaissance architecture boasts 440 rooms, pristine formal gardens and 5,500 hectares of parkland. 

For a great first ride, try heading from Tours to Montlouis-sur-Loire, a 15 kilometre journey with only small hills at the start, and really just speed bumps. Ride along the Loire river and use the greenway built to stay away from any cars. Check out the microclimate wine region, enjoy the historic port town of Montlouis and of course have an ice cream as a reward for your effort. 

Another fantastic route is Saumur to Candes-Saint-Martin, crossing into the next region, Anjou. Use the same greenways on the Loire to have a family-friendly ride, as you cover the 18 kilometres of this ride. It should take between one and two hours. Stop in Turquant to see the troglodyte sights of La Grande Vignolle and watch the local ‘Les Pommes Tapées’ (making of traditional dried apples). 

Provence Lavender Fields 

What could be better than flowing, endless fields of delicate purple flowers, bright vistas as far as the eye can see? Riding amongst the lavender fields means you can really absorb the crop, the sweet smell in the wind and the magnificent royal hues right in front of you. Base yourself in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and don’t forget to check out Van Gogh’s home nearby, or head north for a day trip in the Bourgogne wine region. 

For a first ride, try the route of the Train des Pignes, leaving Draguignan and heading towards Les-Arcs-sur-Argens. Along the edge of Provence, the landscape is dotted with wineries and quaint villages. This 13.5km course finishes in the medieval town of Les-Arcs-sur-Argens, the perfect resting place to see the sights and stretch your legs. 

For another family-friendly option, try a loop starting and finishing in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, an easy 10km, around a special town surrounded by water. 

Alternatively, if you want a view of the mountains try the 14km ride from Jonquières to Carpentras. It’s a cycle path that partially follows an old railway line, and the greenway is bike only. The cycling behemoth Mont Ventoux looms in the distance, but let’s leave that for another day. Expect gourmet dining options in all the towns along the way, or head to Pernes-les-Fontaines upon your arrival and count the fountains with the family. 

Want a bigger, more challenging day? How does around 40 kilometres sound? Maybe it’s the last day of the trip, maybe the family is a bit older, or sportier, so maybe this could be for you! Staying in the idyllic Provence region, why not try the ‘Véloroute du Calavon’ which is 37km long, stretching from Coustellet, on the west terminal to ‘la Paraire’ in the town of Saint-Martin-de-Castillon at the east end. Begin in the town of Robion, and give yourself the whole day to enjoy this slightly harder day out on the bike, a fun and accessible challenge for the whole family.   

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