While you may not be able to conquer even a single stage of the Tour de France, there are many more forgiving cycling routes perfect for families.
These routes take you across varied sceneries from idyllic countryside towns to lush forests and breezy coastlines.
Different routes offer different levels of cycling difficulty so take your time to find the best one for your family.
If you are going with kids, select a mostly flat route with plenty to see and do along the way. It’s also best if you stay away from busy towns. Countryside routes with few cars will boost their cycling confidence and ensure they have more fun.
For younger kids, from around 1-6 years, consider carrying or renting a bike trailer. It’ll allow the adults to explore various routes at a faster pace without leaving the little ones behind or tiring them out.
For a family trip involving mostly adults, you can choose a more challenging route with plenty of wine stops along the way to reward yourselves.
Here are our top five picks from the best family cycle routes in France.
1. Loire Valley
Loire Valley spans 280km and packs an incredible range of attractions including vineyards, fruit orchards and architecture (mostly chateaus).
The best way to enjoy all these attractions is via La Loire à Vélo (The Loire by bike).
It is a 900km long route consisting of dedicated cycling paths as well as roads. You’ll ride along the river bank, get a chance to stop at various castles and come across more than a few vine yards.
The route is well marked so don’t worry that you’ll get lost. There are plenty of hotels along the way or you can stay in an Airbnb.
If you need bicycle parts or repair services, bike shops are also in plenty.
Of course, you don’t have to go the entire route. You can cover as few or as many KM as you can in a single day or over several days.
2. French Riviera
The Còsta d’Azur extends along the Mediterranean coastline in the south east of France. It’s one of the best coastal cycling destinations in France.
It’s also the best destination during winter since that part of the country receives sunshine most of the year.
There are numerous cycling routes in the French Riviera, some official and some that you can plan on your own.
One of the easiest is from the Moune beach (Plage de la Moune) to The Bouillabaisse (Plage de la Bouillabaisse).
You’ll be cycling mostly along the coastline on paved surfaces. The total distance is about 17.8km and the route is mostly flat.
For something more challenging, start your journey at Plage de la Moune and cycle 48km to Cavalaire-sur-Mer and then back to your starting point.
3. Saint Malo in Normandy
Want to steep yourself in some history while enjoying the coastline?
Normandy is the place to get the best of both.
The easiest route for families is the one around Saint Malo, a historic French port best known for pirates. Today it’s more famous for its beaches and beautiful sea views.
Places to visit in Saint Malo by bike include cité des corsairs, Port of Cancale and Pointe du Grouin.
Wine growing areas in France offer some of the best cycling routes. They are usually flat or with gentle hills, have little car traffic and offer plenty of resting opportunities.
An easy route for families is the 44km one from Beaune to Châteauneuf-en-Auxois.
The route is a mixture of flat paths and gently rolling hills. You’ll go through villages as well as wooded areas and farms.
This is another easy one that takes you through wine country along winding roads.
The 55km route begins at Ottrott in North Eastern France and ends in Illhaeusern. It passes through Andlau where you can visit Chateau d’Andlau, Barr with its many interesting restaurants and Nothalten, where you can stay in the charming Hotel Arnold.