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on 23 July 2017
This is an excellent guide to carry around with you if you are doing a first time, on the cheap tour. It lists a quick cycle ride of the Verdun battlefields, for instance, and through it I found an up-market brand new museum in Figeac, central France, to Champillion, the local boy who translated the Rosetta Stone - something I would never have known existed without this guide. The author has somehow managed to pack a huge amount of detail into a relatively small book, but now lives in Australia. It also lists local cycle shops and cheap accomodation with contact nos. etc. Recommended for the inquisitive traveller.
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on 20 August 2001
Used the LP to bike from Nimes to Carcassonne. LP did a great job of outlining the trip. Each day there was a map that showed the elevation of the ride, detailed directions, and what to expect. Unfortunately, in the trip we took, some of the descriptions were vague on what to see or how to get around, so I would have liked to see more details on this. Also, a few new roads showed up that weren't mentioned, so bring a detailed map. Overall, a great biking book that I will use to explore the rest of France.
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on 29 April 2013
There are a few good points to this book, but there are many reasons why I would advise against buying this guide. The main ones are:

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.
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on 29 November 2006
A good idea, and the best option available for covering the whole of france in one simple book. But when riding some of the routes, I did get the feeling that they hadn't actually done so themselves, for example some hills and gradients will be mentioned while other far more significant ones will be missed out, and the choice of roads at some points are certainly not always the safest option when you have a bike loaded with panniers and camping gear.

By No means perfect, but if taken with a good pinch of salt will certainly show you more than bumbling around by yourself.
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on 15 January 2004
And you can eat as much as you like, because you're going to burn those calories off! We've done a few of the routes now, and though they vary in accuracy, and ease of following the directions given, that justs adds to the fun. The routes are superb in taking you off the beaten track as much as possible, showing gems of villages and stunning scenery along the way. Best off all are the suggestions about where to stay, e.g. we stayed in a vineyard on the Alsace route where a full, and very generous, wine tasting was thrown in for the price of the B&B. I would recommned the LP cycling books to those just wishing to start cycle touring, it makes it extremely easy, as well as those who wish to tackle the more serious routes.
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on 22 August 2006
This book is probably great if you're at the planning stages of a trip. If you're after general information about getting to France and cycling, then it's a bit vague. I expect that the majority of English speaking cyclists arriving in France will be coming via Calais or Boulogne, or perhaps over-land through Belgium. This book contains no entry for either French city, and doesn't cover the border with Belgium at all. So if you're thinking of pootling about north eastern France this simply isn't the book for you as it doesn't actually contain any specific information about the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region.

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.
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on 12 July 2011
As I live in Paris I bought this book hoping to find dozens of different routes that I could try throughout the country, and particularly in my region. Instead the book concentrates on just one or two routes for each region which is a shame I think. Take the Ile de France as an example: the only routes that are given in detail are Fontainebleau, Paris city centre and Giverny (with casual mentions of one or two others). A few more options would have been much more useful.

Rant over, this is still a well written and useful guide.
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on 29 November 2004
As with any of the lonely planet books, this book is super.
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.
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on 27 August 2009
If you have the 2002/3 version of this book and you're expecting a suite of new routes and rides, you'll be bitterly disappointed. Although updated for Euro pricing and new contact details etc, the routes and rides are essentially the same. Moreover, they've removed most of the inspiring glossy photos midway through the book and used an awful purple & white print scheme throughout. The maps are not as clear as the older version and they use a grey-upon-grey colourscheme for some maps which makes it difficult to distinguish between terrain-features; the 'sea' grey cannot be distinguished from the 'national park' grey for example. Had LP made it clear that this was an updated reprint of the 2002/3 book, I would not have been so disappointed. If you don't have the 2002/3 book, you'll enjoy the routes but the poor printing choices will make using the guide a chore.
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on 22 August 2009
I live in France and whenever planning a cycle ride or trip we use this book. We have used it to ride the Brittany ride as well as a number of others. The details are good, but now seriously out of date - this includes no Euro prices, as well as some omissions and changes to the roads and routes used. If you keep your wits about you and use good sense you should be able to work round it.

I appreciate that this book was designed to be a lot of information squeezed into a small volume but there are a couple of points to think about

1) Non-locals would surely appreciate a guide to french road signs (colors and meanings particularly)
2) The size of the maps is so small, it is good practice to photocopy them and blow them up so they can slide into your map-holder
3) A bit of color would not go amiss
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