Bicycling Paris to Lyon

  • Itinerary Summary

    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™.

    ***Extend this trip by 5 days and end on the Mediterranean with our Bicycling Paris to Lyon Plus! Marseille tour.***

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    1. Day 1: Welcome to Barbizon!

      Highlights: Fit bicycles, welcome dinner

      Meet this afternoon in Barbizon a short train ride from Paris. We fit bicycles this afternoon and go out for a warm up ride.

      Distance: optional warm up ride. Meals: D

      Lodging: Hotel des Pléiades

    2. Day 2: Barbizon

      Highlights: Guided visit of Fontainebleau Castle, Vaux le Vicomte

      Start the day 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. After our guided visit, pedal through shaded forest roads back to our comfortable hotel. You'll have the chance to visit another historic castle along the way: Vaux le Vicomte.

      Distance: 59km (36 miles) more if desired. Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel des Pléiades

    3. Day 3: Barbizon to Montargis

      Highlights: Perched village of Château-Landon, historic Montargis

      New 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. Today's ride is packed with history, from pre-history, to Romans, and into the Middle Ages. We're sleeping in Montargis, the "Venice of the Gâtinais" tonight.

      Distance: 74 km (46 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Ibis Montargis Hotel

    4. Day 4: Montargis to Sancerre

      Highlights: Pont-Canal in Briare

      Annie rang in the New Year with a long ride on her single speed bike. She pedaled 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. You'll pedal across the famous Briare canal bridge this afternoon, Europe's longest junction canal.

      Distance: 98km (61 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Le Clos Saint-Martin

    5. Day 5: Ride up the Loire Valley to Nevers

      Highlights: Loire River Valley

      You'll 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 so you might want to stop for photos and then plan on time to take a walk in Nevers this evening.

      Distance: 89 km (55 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel de Diane

    6. Day 6: Nevers to Lyon

      Highlights: Lyon, Bouchon Lyonnais, Vieux Lyon

      It 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 you are not going to try and pedal the entire distance, you will take a ride this morning then catch the train into Lyon like Annie did.

      Distance: 44km (27 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging:Sofitel Lyon Bellecour

    7. Day 7: Tour ends in Lyon

      Highlights: Guided tour of Vieux Lyon

      Plan to stick around this morning and join us for a fascinating guided tour of Vieux Lyon before you head home.

      Meals: B

      You can also extend this trip by 5 days and end on the Mediterranean with our Bicycling Paris to Lyon Plus! Marseille tour.

    • Highlights

      Château de Fontainebleau, Loire River Valley, Lyon, Roman Ruins in Orange, Côte du Rhône Vineyards, Marseille
    • Includes

      6 nights' accommodation; all breakfasts, 4 dinners with wine; guided visit of Fontainebleau plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

      Barbizon, France/ Lyon, France
    • Arrive/Depart

      Paris (CDG or Orly Airports)
    • Total Distance

      364 km/ 225 miles
    • Daily Distance

      Average per day 73 km/ 45 miles
    • Rating

      301 Expect some longer mileage days.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes

    * 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 private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • I am very glad I found ExperiencePlus! for my bicycle adventures.

      Fred S., Lake Forest, IL
    • 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!

      David G.
      Denver, CO
    • The routes chosen where exceptionally terrific with smooth pavement, wonderful vistas, and little auto traffic.

      Jim S.
      Santa Fe, NM
    • Every day was a new and exciting experience (plus)!

      Jay S.
      San Diego, CA
    • I was very happy with the route, the leaders, the chalked turns, and the food. It was a wonderful trip!

      Claudia C.
      Walnut Creek, CA

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