Experience the fairytale landscapes of France's beautiful forests and countryside on a journey from Parisian Île de France to beautiful Lyon a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A route steeped in history, this tour takes cyclists through the Loire River valley with stops at Roman ruins and Renaissance châteaux -including the breathtaking Palace and Park of Fontainbleau. Much of our tour traces the route of Annie Londonderry, who in 1895 became the first woman to bicycle around the world solo-on her 42-pound Columbia bicycle! We will finish the tour in beautiful Lyon, renowned for its authentic French cuisine and its perennial appearance as a stage city in the Tour de France&trade.
***Extend this trip by 5 days and end on the Mediterranean with our Bicycling Paris to Lyon Plus! Marseille tour.***
Day 1: Welcome to Paris!
Highlights: Paris, Fit bicyclesMeet this afternoon in Lieusaint on the outskirts of Paris. We fit bicycles this afternoon and go out for a warm up ride. Dinner is together tonight. Distance: optional warm up ride.
Day 2: Lieusaint to Barbizon
Highlights: Melun, Vaux-le-Vicomte castleWe'll pedal today, just as Annie did, from Lieusaint, south towards Melun and then east to our final destination, Barbizon, a charming village nestled in the Fontainebleau forest. Our route takes us by the famous castle Vaux-le-Vicomte built for Louis XIV's finance minister Fouquet who after becoming too powerful was wrongly imprisoned for treason and embezzlement. If you like, stop in for a tour of this luxurious castle in the classical style and its magnificent gardens. Dinner is together this evening. Distance: 53 km (33 miles) or more if desired.
Day 3: Barbizon to Montargis
Highlights: Guided visit of FontainebleauNew Years' eve 1894, Annie pedalled from Nemours to Montargis by way of Souppes-sur-Loing. The route she most likely would have followed is a major highway now so we'll follow her presumed route, or at least approximate it, on parallel roads. We'll start the day for those who wish visiting the illustrious Renaissance châteaux of Fontainebleau. Napoléon (of course!) slept here, and may have even resided here for a while. The château of Fontainebleau rivals the palace in Versailles and the châteaux of the Loire Valley in its magnificence. It sits in the middle of a 40,000 acre forest and gardens. Distance: 74 km (46 miles).
Day 4: Montargis to Pouilly-sur-Loire
Highlights: Pont-Canal in BriareAnnie rang in the New Year with a long ride on her single speed bike. She pedalled, as will we, from Montargis to Cosne-sur-Loire. Annie would have picked up the Loire River valley today and followed it for the next several days, avoiding the adjacent short but steep climbs. She spent the night in a private home in Cosne-sur-Loire. We'll pedal across the famous Briare canal bridge this afternoon, Europe's longest junction canal. Dinner is together. Distance: 110 km (68 miles).
Day 5: Ride up the Loire Valley to Nevers
Highlights: Loire River ValleyWe continue up the Loire River Valley today to Charité-sur-Loire and on to Nevers. Annie would have followed the river most of the way today, so we'll do the same with a beautiful forested foothills of the Morvan. Annie rode only to Charité today (about 28 km from Cosne) so you might want to stop for photos and then plan on time to take a walk in Nevers this evening. We'll enjoy dinner together this evening. Distance: 70 km (43 miles).
Day 6: Nevers to Lyon
Highlights: Lyon, Bouchon Lyonnais, Vieux LyonIt is 230 km from Nevers to Lyon, Annie's next stop. In 1895, the local head of the Union Vélocipédique du France, Mr. Nicart, persuaded Annie to take the train to Lyon "because of the deplorable state of the routes." She heeded his advice and spent two days resting in Lyon. Stage 6 of the 2003 Tour de France™ pedaled from Nevers to Lyon. While we're not going to try and pedal the entire distance, we will take a ride this morning then catch the train into Lyon like Annie did. We'll regroup this evening for dinner together at one of Lyon's many delicious restaurants. Distance: 58 km (36 miles).
Day 7: Tour ends in Lyon
Highlights: Guided tour of Vieux LyonPlan to stick around this morning and join us for a fascinating guided tour of Vieux Lyon before you head home. You can also extend this trip by 5 days and end on the Mediterranean with our Bicycling Paris to Lyon Plus! Marseille tour.
HighlightsChâteau Vaux-le-Vicomte, Château de Fontainebleau, Loire River Valley, Lyon, Roman Ruins in Orange, Côte du Rhône Vineyards, Marseille
Includes"The Usual" plus... Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; Details Coming Soon
Begin/EndParis, France/ Lyon, France
Total Distance365 km/ 227 mi
Daily Distance52 km/ 32 mi
What to ExpectCharming towns, fabulous terrain for cycling, UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Expect some longer mileage days.
|May 25 - 31, 2014||$3495||$550||Confirmed.||Book It|
|Aug 17 - 23, 2014||$3495||$550||Wait List.||Book It|
|*We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.|
Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.
City (on route)
City (not part of route, provided for reference)
My favorite part? The tour of Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte and riding through the forests in the upper Loire valley. The ride through the wine villlages in the Cote du Rhone was great!
The routes chosen where exceptionally terrific with smooth pavement, wonderful vistas, and little auto traffic.
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe, NM
Every day was a new and exciting experience (plus)!
San Diego, CA
San Diego, CA
I was very happy with the route, the leaders, the chalked turns, and the food. It was a wonderful trip!
Walnut Creek, CA
Walnut Creek, CA