Explore the backroads on a cycling holiday in France

You don't have to be Bradley Wiggins to enjoy a cycling holiday in France. Quiet roads and trails in some of France's less-explored regions offer the chance of a relaxing and interesting escape. In a country that is full of cycling enthusiasts, you will also find a warm welcome wherever your wheels take you.

Hit the trails

The key to a successful cycling holiday in France is identifying routes and regions that suit your level of fitness and spirit of adventure. You want a holiday rather than an ordeal, so err on the side of caution, especially as the weather is not always predictable.

The Brittany coast is ideal for cyclists who don't want to tackle too many challenging climbs. Make your way past stunning beaches, stopping off at charming old fishing ports and the occasional chic resort town. The climate is relatively cool, but the downside is that it does rain rather more frequently than in other areas.

A vineyard tour offers a perfect framework for exploring the rural lanes of Provence or the Bordeaux region. There are plenty of traffic-free lanes and idyllic routes in the grape-growing regions. Sample the product at a château or in one of the picturesque villages 'en route'.

Alpine cycling will suit the serious fitness freaks and those who want to hear their muscles creaking on the challenging ascents. If you have got what it takes, you will be rewarded by stunning scenery and some of France's most tranquil valleys. The numerous trails in the Pyrenees offer an alternative mountain destination.

Travel light

For a comfortable cycling holiday in France, don't overload the panniers and backpacks. If you are cycling between campsites or hotels, you might look at some of the cyclist services that offer to ferry your luggage. Alternatively, restrict your baggage to vests, shorts, a waterproof jacket, repair kit and your helmet and enjoy the freedom of the road.

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