Bicycling Paris to Lyon

Bicycling Paris to Lyon

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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Tour Style: Hold-A-Space/Questions Request Custom Date Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
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Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 7 Days
  • Total Distance / 364 km/ 225 miles
  • Avg. Distance / Average per day 73 km/ 45 miles per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 1.0
  • Countries / France
  • Begin/End / Barbizon, France/ Lyon, France
  • Price / From USD$3495
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • 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

  • Arrive / Depart
    Paris (CDG or Orly Airports)
  • Overall Tour Level
    1.0 difficulty level 1.0

    Expect some longer mileage days.

  • Daily Ride Summary




    Day Level



Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
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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

  • Meals: Dinner

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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

  • Meals: Breakfast

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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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.

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To Do Today!

  • Read through your Reservation Confirmation Email, it has important information to help you plan your trip!
  • Check the date on your passport. The expiration date should extend three months past your date of return to your home country
  • Complete the Customer Information Form online at
  • Apply for trip cancellation/interruption insurance within 15 days of booking. Find details at this page
  • Download the bicycle training program found on the Training Program Blog Page at

3–6 Months Prior to Departure

  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program found on this page.
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your Getting To and Away information and one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour





  • Sailing the boat, every afternoon relaxing on the boat after biking and swimming, lovely dinners, hearty breakfasts, bee keepers, traditional dinner out, rides through the islands (up and down!), guides, fellow passengers, crew on the boat-- really it was ALL great.

    Cheryl A., Colchester, VT - June 2021
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