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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 19 Aug 2007
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Calais to Pyrenees

In September we are travelling through France towards the Pyrenees. Our plan is to take it very easy and enjoy the trip. Any one got any advice?
Should we head West and then down the coast or take a more central route.
Our destination is simply The Pyrenees. Anywhere worth a detour?
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Old 19 Aug 2007
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Depends what you are interested in. just for riding I would take the coast road to boulogne, the the rn1 to abbeville, then the a28 to Rouen, follow the signs for rn138/le mans/bordeaux then switch to the A13 to louviers/Evreux. at louviers switch to the N154 towards evereux then Nonancourt, get on teh rn12 towards alencon but turn off south at Mortagne. You are now in biker heaven. Head south on teh D 938 towards Le mans via Belleme and Bonnetable. after Bonnetable switch to teh B B20 BIS which takes you on a country road to teh rn23, missingthe city of Le mans altogether. Here head towards La Fleche for about 3 miles turn off towards Arnage. drive through the village and follow the D 307 to Saumur.. really good riding. At saumur follow the signs for niort/poitiers.. preferably niort for more good riding.....but by then you will be looking for somewhere to stop for teh night ( plug) there is excellent riding then all teh way to the pyrenees, which make excellent although tiring riding.
an alternative is, at saumur follow the road up teh loire valley, and come down the old rn 20. The only bit of peage in this is teh 80 cents from Rouen to louviers on the A13 but from teh Niort road it is easy to get to Campo les bains (missing all teh peages) which is very close to an unmanned crossing into Spain.
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Old 21 Aug 2007
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Agree with Oldbmw - the riding around Saumur and the Loire Valley is fantastic. Don't miss the Mushroom Museum outside Saumur - it's better than it sounds!!
The area following the Dordogne River between Bergerac and Sarlat was also good. There are some troglodyte dwellings high up the cliffs you can visit which are interesting and there are also some great views from there.
For something different you can hire a canoe for a day outside Dordogne - a very relaxing way to see the world! They take you up river for a few
miles - your choice how many, and then you cruise back to the start point.
Previously in the Pyrenees we based ourselves at Bagneres de Bigorre as there was more than enough around to keep us occupied for a few days. A couple of highlights were the Col de Peyresourde and the Col du Tourmelet with a detour up the valley to Gavernie. This is a glacial amphitheatre surrounded on three sides by 1700m high coloured cliffs.
Over towards the east coast, the Route Napoleon is the N85 from Cannes to Grenoble. We only did the southerly portion but apparently it is fantastic the whole way. Just west of the N85 between Digne Les Bains and Grasse is the Canyon du Verdon - Frances answer to the Grand Canyon. Not quite the same scale but still pretty impressive!
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Old 21 Aug 2007
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Thank you very much Old Beemer and Mermaid.
Any more?
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Old 21 Aug 2007
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If you've had a long drive from the UK, a nice place to stay for your first night is here: Chambres de charme à La Commanderie à Loison sur créquoise It's 86km from Calais, you get a suite of rooms (about 60 euros I think) and a great breakfast the next day. The owner speaks a little English and she will lock your bikes away in the garage for the night. If you do stop off there, please tell Marie-Hélène that the couple on the blue XT's last September had a fantastic trip back to Spain.

I would also recommend seeing the Millau Viaduct -Millau Viaduct - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - it's an amazing piece of engineering. There's a nice campsite in the village - Camping du Viaduc Millau cureplat - midi pyrenées (12) - Aveyron gorges du tarn - you can pitch your tent near the river at the bottom of the campsite and watch the sun set.

Have a good trip!!
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Old 21 Aug 2007
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Les Gorges de L'Ardeche never ceases to take my breath away. A few miles north west of Orange.

The road alongside is great for bikes also. Too good in fact - frequent accidents, especially at weekends when the 'racers' come to enjoy it.
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Old 21 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernard View Post
Thank you very much Old Beemer and Mermaid.
Any more?
After you have seen the other attractions listed here, you could visit the Pont du Gard in the SE, which is impressive Roman engineering and/or Oradour sur Glane (more in the SW, near Limoges) which is very historical for different reasons; they will both show up on an internet search.
Whatever, there is more than enough to see throughout France - there has been an earlier thread on a similar theme, so you could do a search in here for whatever key words take your fancy!
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Old 21 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernard View Post
Thank you very much Old Beemer and Mermaid.
Any more?
You could follow the links in here Le Frene
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