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7 great French cycling trips

As the focus of the Tour de France moves to home territory we choose seven top French cycling holidays. You might be pleased to know that these trips (well, not many!) do not include the leg and lung-busting climbs of the Alps and Pyrenees. Instead they offer a happy cycling holiday between a wealth of cultural, historical and tasty attractions. Champagne Cycling Can you think of a better mix? The delights of bottles of fizz and the joys of cycling a beautiful French region. You’ll pedal between vineyards of the region with a permanent smile on your face as you look forward to the next attraction, perhaps more Champagne, or gourmet food, or a visit to a charming town set amid tranquil countryside. See Champagne Cycling Châteaux Of The Loire Valley In Style Step up the luxury a notch or two with a  fabulous cycling holiday that promises art, architecture, fabulous food, delicious wines and four-star hotels. All this and more in the gorgeous Loire Valley. See Loire Valley in Style default-6 Provence: Through the Luberon to Mt Ventoux Okay, so this trip does offer the chance to climb the famous Mt Ventoux. A Tour de France regular, Mt Ventoux is a great climb, although it is tainted with tragedy after being the place, in 1967, that top British rider Tom Simpson collapsed and died within reach of the summit. There is a monument to him on the route up. This holiday includes a whole lot more than Mt Ventoux, however, with the promise of picture-postcard cycling, sightseeing, attractions and fine dining n in the Provence region of the Luberon. See Luberon to Mt Ventoux. Classic Dordogne This truly gorgeous valley area of France is a fantastic place to set out on two wheels. Pre-historic cave art and dwellings, as well as distinctive limestone villages, undulating countryside and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, are some of the interesting highlights on this cycling trip. See Classic Dordogne Brittany: Cycling the Granite Coast Far from the mountains, where the Tour de France riders will be sweating it out, is France’s sublime Brittany coast. This trip offers a cycle through the heart of the region promising pink granite rocks sculpted by the wind and tides, pristine white sandy beaches and a turquoise sea. Bliss! See the Granite Coast Cycling the Alpine Lakes, Geneva to Annecy Visit the Alps, where those Tour de France riders will be pushing themselves to the limits, yet without so much of the focus on exhaustion and high speeds. This trip is ideal for most fitness levels and links the three beautiful lakes of Geneva, Bourget and Annecy along scenic river paths and through valleys and historic villages. What's brilliant about this trip is that your eyes will feast on the splendid views of the Alps but without the need to cycle up into the high-rise landscape. See Cycling the Alpine Lakes Normandy: Cycling the D-Day Beaches With 2014 being the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings, this historical World War II cycling experience will be incredibly poignant. Cycle from Omaha to Juno to the Utah beaches and discover the sacred ground of the American Military Cemetery, as well as enjoying some amazingly beautiful countryside. See Cycle tour of the D-Day beaches.
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