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France (Lonely Planet Cycling Guides) Paperback – 1 Feb 2001
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The French have a nickname for the bicycle--la petite reine, or little queen. With the country's fondness for the queen of the road, its vast network of quiet backroads, magnificent scenery, and scrumptious eateries, it's the perfect choice for discovering the world on two wheels. In Lonely Planet: Cycling France, Lonely Planet has created an excellent guide, chock-full of itineraries, maps, and information and advice for those who want to get off the bus and set their own pace. They've mapped out the best rides in the country for neophytes, veterans and off-roaders, with itineraries ranging from a few hours to two months. Here's a sampling: in Paris you can take the bike paths along the Seine or all the way to Monet's gardens in Giverny. The Loire Valley offers intimate excursions by sandstone villages, magnificent chateaux and scenic waterways. Take the tiny, winding roads of Provence to see perched villages and spectacular panoramas of the Cote d'Azur, or dip into Champagne for the terraced vineyards of Dom Perignon. For those up to the challenge, there's the dramatic volcanic landscape of the Massif Central, with its steep climbs and sweeping descents. The Guide includes a chapter on the island of Corsica with its rugged coastal scenery and prehistoric sites. Travelling by bike calls for a plethora of information not found in the typical tourist guidebook. Lonely Planet has it all. "Facts for Cyclists" provides practical information on when to ride, based on the weather and wind patterns, a checklist of what to bring, information on buying or renting locally, a list of cycling events, and Internet resources. There are tips for senior, disabled, or gay and lesbian cyclers, and those riding with children, and lists of which airlines and which types of trains are bicycle-friendly, and how to pack and transport your bike. The "Health and Safety" chapter explains the French rules of the road (including the confusing "Priority to the Right"), and gives tips for getting and staying fit, and treatments for common ailments on the road. Of course, there's the usual info on where to stay, what to eat, and what to see for a wide range of tastes, from camping to a night in a chateaux. There's also a history of cycling in France and a chapter on the Tour de France and its nuances. With the inclusion of the requisite chapter on bicycle maintenance and repair, you're ready to ride.--Lesley Reed
Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other. --New York Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The regions covered in the book don't overlap, so there are other departments you won't be able to find much about: Poitou-Charentes is largely omitted, the cities of Lille and Lyon and surrounding areas don't appear in the index (or as far as I can tell the book) and there's a band of un-covered territory stretching from south of Nantes on the Atlantic coast to just south of Grenoble on the borders with Italy.
In all - if you want to parachute into the Champagne region, or teleport to the Pyrenees with your bicycle, then this is the book for you. If you're interested in getting aross France it's simply not going to be enough.
There are detailed maps, guides where to eat for cheap or if you find you have a bit of money some days, places to spoil yourself, places of interest that you should visit etc.
We cycled all over France for 8 weeks and this book was our bible.
A few places here and there need to be updated but you won't be lost in the middle of nowhere with this book.
Fully recommend it.
1 - Most routes are linear (rather than circular), and there is very litttle information regarding travel to and from the start and end points of the rides with your bike. Many routes don't appear to begin or end anywhere near transport hubs (e.g. train stations).
2 - The maps are very poor quality and they would be completely useless as a navigational aid on the bike. As as example one route I was interested in doing (a 3 day 167km loop in the Pyrenees) is shown on a map at scale approx 1cm:30km. The entire loop was contained within a square inch of paper, and it didn't even show many of the towns/villages that were described in the guide, including one of the overnight stops. The book does give you advice in which IGN maps you can purchase for a particular ride, but surely the point of a cycling guide is that it can be used to guide you when cycling?
3 - There is a superfluous 20 page section at the back titled 'Your Bicycle' which is essentially a guide to basic bike mainenance and set-up. This just seems a bit tokenistic as most people considering going on a foreign cycle tour would I suspect already know how to fix a flat tyre, or oil a chain, and could almost certainly identify their rear pannier bag. People who are completely new to cycle touring would be much better informed with one of the many excellent instructional books on bike maintenance and touring. The pages would instead have been better used adressing issues mentioned in 1 & 2.
By No means perfect, but if taken with a good pinch of salt will certainly show you more than bumbling around by yourself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good user friendly book, although as we booked a cycle tour through a company in the end, we didn't really need the book. The tour company provided maps, itinerary, leaflets etc. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Hannah Smith
bought as a gift and my son in law. found it very good and informative.Published 17 months ago by catherine warner
Arrived quickly - can't comment on content - is part of an Xmas gift, I know nothing about cycling sorry!Published 19 months ago by daisydavies
Very useful and detailed book. Routes were easy to follow. Would recommend to anyone going cycling in France. Very good.Published on 16 Jun. 2013 by Marilyn Jennings
We used this book to cycle in Normandy, appreciate many other routes, but we didn't find the information easy to follow or all that accurate.Published on 11 Sept. 2012 by Bernie
This book is quite useful for someone planning a tour and covers the major routes around the country.
We also found list of accomodations and restaurants helpful
This is a great book for anyone planning a trip to France on a bike. Lot's of info on what bike to buy what routes to take and helpful hints on what to do while on your trip. Read morePublished on 25 Mar. 2012 by Hobber
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