Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've finally been able to convince the wife to take a vacation to France. It won't be a cycling vacation per se, but I'll take what I can get. I'm looking for some advice on which rides or climbs would be the best. I won't be able to travel with a bike, so any suggestions on where to rent a decent mid-level bike for a day or several would also be appreciated. I plan to bring my shoes and pedals along, but a good bike is a must. I'd rather not try Mount Vontoux on a 3 speed cruiser! We're not sure what cities we'll be hitting during our travels, so any advice would be great. Thanks in advance.
 

·
Zaphod Beeblebrox
Joined
·
2,799 Posts
Go in July, watch a stage or two if the TdF.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,106 Posts
bots21 said:
So I've finally been able to convince the wife to take a vacation to France. It won't be a cycling vacation per se, but I'll take what I can get. I'm looking for some advice on which rides or climbs would be the best. I won't be able to travel with a bike, so any suggestions on where to rent a decent mid-level bike for a day or several would also be appreciated. I plan to bring my shoes and pedals along, but a good bike is a must. I'd rather not try Mount Vontoux on a 3 speed cruiser! We're not sure what cities we'll be hitting during our travels, so any advice would be great. Thanks in advance.

Teoteoteo has posted about bike rentals in France. You should be able to find the posts if you do a search.

France is a big country. Do you know which part(s) of France you will be visiting? Unless you have a lot of time, you should spend a lot of time in one place rather than traveling from place to place.
 

·
your text here
Joined
·
13,192 Posts
if you stay in paris, try to get an apartment rental. we stayed in a studio efficiency on Rue Lepic in Mont Marte. it was incredibly small, but being in a neighborhood was awesome. i wouldnt do it any other way.

heck, we are talking about going again when the kids are a bit older. if we cant find an apartment with 1-2 bedrooms, we have talked about the four of us staying in the same sardine can.

we found it using parisapartmentrentals.com, but that doesnt seem to work now. just google and you may find this:
http://www.beau-paris.com/apartment-rentals/

this is close to what we had, minus the loft and washer/dryer in eth room (that was in the basement)
http://www.beau-paris.com/apartment-rentals/html_pages/pid17_english.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,713 Posts
What are you doing wrong?

bots21 said:
So I've finally been able to convince the wife to take a vacation to France. .
Why did you have to work so hard to convince your wife to let you take her to France? You must be over-emphasiziing the cycling part ;-)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Its all about the money...still is.

We'll probably be traveling around a bit. I know she wants to go to Paris and Nice. We are thinking about one of those fly and drive packages, which precludes me from bringing my bike. I was thinking of trying to ride the Alp and maybe Mount Vontoux, but the logistics seem more difficult to come by. I don't even know where to start as far as bike rentals and routes. Any suggestions?
 

·
Le Misérable
Joined
·
4,374 Posts
If you plan on passing by Lyon--a wonderful tourist city, BTW--I'd be happy to help you out with logistics! I've lived here long enough to know some things--including French:)--but not so long that I don't remember being a tourist. Also, I'd be happy to ask around about decent bike rentals; never tried it, but tourist cycling is so commonplace here that I'm sure it can be done.

I'm also competent in Paris, Nice, the Beaujolais, Bourgogne and parts of the Provence, but so are many others.

In general, I agree with MarkS: depending on the length of visit, France is so densely covered with things to see that it's better to spend more time in less places than less time in more places. However, it's absolutely crucial to not spend all your time in Paris and Nice! Lovely places, but in many respects they're not really, well...France. It's like going to NY and LA and saying you saw America.
 

·
Devoid of all flim-flam
Joined
·
7,285 Posts
A Paris hotel suggestion.

In Paris, you pay a lot for a little. Three star hotel rooms are in the $250 range, and they don't give you a lot of real estate. Nevertheless, there are plenty of three star hotels that are worth looking at. Here's one the wife and I stayed at last October. Quietly posh neighborhood. Extremely friendly staff.

Our room and a linkhttp://www.hotel-sainte-beuve.fr/.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
838 Posts
At the risk of hijack, let me ask a few questions which might also help the OP.

I have finally convinced the husband to ride some climbs in France. I think we want to do l'Alpe D'Huez , Galibier, etc. Husband is self-employed, so our time will be limited to landing in Paris on Wed a.m., flying back out on Sunday. I must fly into Paris (rather than Geneve which I think might be preferable) due to FF miles on USAir. I'm thinking about taking the TGV from Paris to Grenoble, renting a car, staying either in Grenoble or Bourg D'Oisans, riding for two days, then beating it back to Paris either Fri night or Sat morning to spend a day in the city. I have been to Paris twice before, so the one day thing is not completely tragic.

How doable does that sound? We will want to rent bikes, and we are spoiled by nice Litespeeds. Our anniversary is may 20th, but I understand I need to wait a little for some of the high passes to open. However, plane fare goes WAY up about the 2nd or 3rd week of June.

Further complicating things, I'm a total foodie, and really want to eat well. My geography is poor...Lyon is too far to go for dinner, no? I would love to eat at a Bocuse restaurant.

I speak enough French to order food and say how are you, and that's about it. In Paris, everyone speaks enough English to help you, but I've heard that's not true in the countryside? what say you? will I have travel nightmares if we try to drive?

Advice and warnings would be appreciated!! Many thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
There are a few companies that rent cycles (Cycles Peugeot for one) at several places in France by the day or by the week. They are not really top notch bikes and they are not particularly cheap either. A few years ago you could get really low rent cycles at various SNCF (French Railway) stations (bring your own tools) cheap. However that said, a day spent riding really can enhance your visit since you can see things you would not get to see from the train or car. I've ridden in the Loire valley area (Saumur, Chinon), in the Alps (Gap), and in Provence (Arles, Les Baux) and I've never been disappointed in any of the areas I've been lucky enough to see. I was able to rent a bike at Cycles Robert in Avignon, however it required a rather lengthy, and enjoyable, discussion with the patron. They don't normally rent cycles, but the owner actually gave me one of his personal bikes which was a large step above what you can normally get. I totally agree with the earlier comments relative to the TdF for timing and also about trying to limit the scope of travel, if you're in a town for a few days check to see if you can find a couple bike shops and contact them to see if they might consider renting. BON VOYAGE! I'm envious
 

·
Le Misérable
Joined
·
4,374 Posts
litespeedchick said:
At the risk of hijack, let me ask a few questions which might also help the OP.

I have finally convinced the husband to ride some climbs in France. I think we want to do l'Alpe D'Huez , Galibier, etc. Husband is self-employed, so our time will be limited to landing in Paris on Wed a.m., flying back out on Sunday. I must fly into Paris (rather than Geneve which I think might be preferable) due to FF miles on USAir. I'm thinking about taking the TGV from Paris to Grenoble, renting a car, staying either in Grenoble or Bourg D'Oisans, riding for two days, then beating it back to Paris either Fri night or Sat morning to spend a day in the city. I have been to Paris twice before, so the one day thing is not completely tragic.

How doable does that sound? We will want to rent bikes, and we are spoiled by nice Litespeeds. Our anniversary is may 20th, but I understand I need to wait a little for some of the high passes to open. However, plane fare goes WAY up about the 2nd or 3rd week of June.

Further complicating things, I'm a total foodie, and really want to eat well. My geography is poor...Lyon is too far to go for dinner, no? I would love to eat at a Bocuse restaurant.

I speak enough French to order food and say how are you, and that's about it. In Paris, everyone speaks enough English to help you, but I've heard that's not true in the countryside? what say you? will I have travel nightmares if we try to drive?

Advice and warnings would be appreciated!! Many thanks.
Wow, I respect your utter lack of concern for mixing HC climbs and jet lag:). If the schedule doesn't freak you out, I say go for it! There are plenty of climbs a little bit lower in altitude that will certainly be open by mid-May. In general, however, I don't recommend Grenoble as a base of operations, especially if you have a car and can base yourselves somewhere a little less urban. They've got a serious air pollution problem there, and besides you don't have time to waste pedaling TO the good riding: you'll want to be in it from the start.

If you want to eat well, you're in the right neck o' the woods. The real Bocuse restaurant (don't be fooled by the Bocuse Brasseries in the city: they're fine but not worth a trip) is just south of Lyon--I biked by it 4 hours ago, in fact--and worth the trouble if you've got a thick wallet. It's mythic...as long as you don't fear eating parts of animals you've never heard of. Lyon is 2 hours by TGV from Paris, 1 from Grenoble. Plenty of great riding around here too--well worth a few days' time--but as lovely as the Monts du Lyonnais are they won't take you up more than 1000 meters. There is also a very famous three-star joint in Annecy, which is surrounded by magnificent climbing that will be fine in May, and it's quite close to Grenoble. It's the restaurant of the famous 'chef chapeau noir,' although he himself is in semi-retirement as of last week (then again so is Paul Bocuse, although he still chats with the guests most nights). Annecy is really a special place to spend a few days, both for riding and general ambiance; my wife and I have spent a couple of anniversaries/birthdays up there, as it's only a couple hours from here by car. A little further up the train line towards the south of Lyon there is Maison Pic in Valence, which is less surrounded by beauty but arguably the best restaurant in France. More refined than Bocuse, in a strictly culinary sense.

And that's to not even mention all the wonderful restaurants around that don't cost 500 EUR for dinner:).

Your assessment of the language situation is pretty accurate: outside of Paris it can be tough, but people are much nicer and will often try harder. Lyon, Nice and some northern cities are better, but in the countryside it can be hard to find English speakers. There are still MANY places where locals will take you in as a sort of mascot just for being, well, not French.

I love the French countryside: seeing it by bike, foot, scooter, car and train is what keeps me going when some of the more, um, challenging aspects of living here seem ready to take over.
 

·
TWD
Joined
·
540 Posts
if considering Ventoux you want to start in Bedoin which is on the south'ish side in Provence. Really great climb and you'll have a great time no matter where you ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
838 Posts
I fear no food, mon ami ;-)

Thank you SO much for the help. I'm appreciate the tips on Grenoble. Would you say we should stay in Annecy; is it close enough to the Alpe? Or is Bourg d'Osians a nice enough place to base ourselves? (it was recommended by www.cyclomundo.com which I may enlist to plan a self-guided tour for me.)

What is the name of the "chapeau noir" restaurant? So the "real" Bocuse restaurant is just called "Bocuse"?

Is there anything I need to know about car rental and general driving around? I'm gathering my drive-time to Pic or Bocuse would be hours?

Sorry to pic your brain like this!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
France on Vacation

Check out Frenchbikerentals web site. I rented from them in 2007. Scott CR-1 with triple made the climb up Mont Ventoux a "breeze", no really. Area of Provence and Luberon is really scenic and a great place to visit.

In regards to the folks at Frenchbike rentals. They delivered the bike to my hotel in Carpentras. They had the measurements from my home bike after I filled out the application on line. Bike was spot on. They are located in Bedoin at the foot of Mont Ventoux. Good people. Good luck, you'll have fun.
 

·
Le Misérable
Joined
·
4,374 Posts
litespeedchick said:
I fear no food, mon ami ;-)

Thank you SO much for the help. I'm appreciate the tips on Grenoble. Would you say we should stay in Annecy; is it close enough to the Alpe? Or is Bourg d'Osians a nice enough place to base ourselves? (it was recommended by www.cyclomundo.com which I may enlist to plan a self-guided tour for me.)

What is the name of the "chapeau noir" restaurant? So the "real" Bocuse restaurant is just called "Bocuse"?

Is there anything I need to know about car rental and general driving around? I'm gathering my drive-time to Pic or Bocuse would be hours?

Sorry to pic your brain like this!
No problem:).

The official name of the only real Paul Bocuse restaurant is "l'Auberge du Pont de Collonges." The others bear his name but are just ordinary restaurants with decent food and normal prices, but nothing you couldn't find in any city in France. The official name of Mark Veyrat's (le chapeau noir) former restaurant in Annecy is "l'Auberge d'Eridon," but no one I talk to knows what's going to happen with it since his sabbatical, so that might be a bit risky.

In any case, I checked out a map a little more closely and here's what I would do if I were you. Bourg d'Oisans is, as you know, very close to Alpes-d'Huez, les Deux Alpes, etc., and although I've never been there there's no reason to think it isn't wonderful. Also--this I hadn't realized--it is less than a two-hour drive from Valence! This way, you could get mythic climbs and a truly sublime 3-star eating experience at Maison Pic in a very short period of time. This seems a little more of what you want than the Annecy option...Annecy itself is further north, still in the Alps but close to Geneva, and is very impressive and warrants a visit; however, with the question marks surrounding the chapeau noir and the longer drive from there to Lyon or Valence, Bourg-d'Oisans might be the solution to have great riding and 3-star access on a very short trip (there seem to be quite a few places to stay in Bourg d'Oisans as well).

One thing: if you want to eat chez Pic you need to make reservations NOW. She's often booked well over three months for weekend dinners and a little less for weekdays. With the crisis and all there are less people who are willing to pay that kind of dough for dinner so it's possible that you could get a table, but not for long. She also has a fantastic lunch menu. You can always find someone to speak English there, both in person and by phone. I've been there recently, so if you want to know anything else I might be able to help.
 

·
Low rep power
Joined
·
6,264 Posts
Here's another great Paris hotel recommendation- particularly if you're a Victor Hugo fan. Nice place, great location!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,134 Posts
bots21 said:
So I've finally been able to convince the wife to take a vacation to France.
I think concentration in one area for a short stay is much more rewarding then hop/skipping and jumping about the countryside. I'd rethink the mission. Summer can be congested using mass transit arenas [train stations, airports, rental agencies, etc...]. I was always so rested in July and August staying put in paris contrary to the natives when they'd come back exhausted.

If you want a good work out, try Longchamps [hippodrome] you can hook up with a pace line. Those were the days.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top