Bilbao to Calais
Its my first post so here goes!
Could anyone give me some ideas for a route from Bilbao to Calais taking in the Pyrenees, Millau Bridge, Verdon Gorge and the Swiss/French alpine passes. We hope to go mid May for 8 to 10 days. If you have some road numbers and good campsites that would be great.
Many thanks in advance.
First things first...:welcome: The more the merrier!
Sounds like a great trip you've got on the books! Have you had a look at BestBikingRoads.com Motorcycle Travel, Motorcycle Touring, Motorcycle Routes, Motorcycle Roads, Motorcycle GPS, GPS Motorcycle Rides, Motorbike Roads ?
Also see the link below to a thread i started:
Have a look at best biking roads and see if there's some rides on your way that interest you, link it in to the trip ( look at google earth, google maps, viamichelin.com etc for some route planning)
I often find that works for me: find what you want to see then figure out what you can fit in and how to get to each Point of Interest, with some nice quite back roads and when time constraints require it some motorways.
Good luck and have fun!
The Millau Bridge is a fair detour from Pyrenees to French Alps and not, in my mind, worth it. it is something people invariably ask if you have seen, but why? It is a tall modern bridge - thats all!
I prefer seeing what God made rather than what Man made.
However for those wanting to cross France quickly North/South, Millau has the advantage of being on a long section of Toll Free autoroute (other than the bridge itself) from Clermont-Ferrand and the coast at Beziers
The Verdon Gorge is stunning, with a terriffic bike ride up to see it from Draguignon (near Frejus) on both the D955 and the D25. For mile upon mile, no sign of humans or anything man made - except the good road surface.
Even more stunning is the Gorges d'Ardeche and it is closer to Millau if you still want to see it!
Every rural road in France has a unique charm. Enjoy them all.
France is bigger than you may think (depending if you have been there before - I don't want to state the obvious).
There are quite a lot of threads in here about France, so you can get more ideas by doing a search.
I suggest that you get a Michelin map; they are as good as any, better than most and it will tell you where to go, if you read it properly - look for the green-edged roads for the scenic routes, and anything that goes through the mountains.
The Verdon Gorge is interestingly impressive, but so is the whole of the Massif Central and that is much nearer to Millau.
The Millau bridge is quite impressive to look at but not much to see when you ride over it. If you're passing, by all means go and have a look but I wouldn't make a special trip. I shot a video of my trip over the bridge. Watch it and make your own mind up if it's worth the trip. I agree the Gourge de L'Ardeche and Gourge verdon are well worth the trip.
YouTube - Riding over the Millau Bridge
I camped at La Cascade near Meyrueis. A nice, small site and the owner speaks English. Meyrueis is a great little town for a base to explore the region and has some great local roads. If you're prepared to gas it down the autoroutes you can do Le Havre to Millau in 12 hours.
The N240/N260 run along the Spanish side of the pyrennes is a nice run.
I did a similar trip to the one you're thinking of a couple of years ago:
N240/N260 to the spanish med,
back up to Andorra, then onto Millau
along the coast to Nice
N85 Route Napoleon to Grenoble
The weather in May can be a bit variable - the spanish side was fine, but when you get up into the hills it can be a bit hit and miss. You'll definately need to pack your waterproofs.
Before you head east check out the Picos Europa, gem of a region close to Santander, definatly worth a short detour when you get off the boat.
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