Youly and Joe have been travelling with us for many years. This year again they contacted us to organise their tour to France and decided to travel to Languedoc region and the Cote d’Azur. A wonderful experience they decided to share with us. If you have ever wondered what a trip with Discover France looks like, this may help you! Enjoy!
We enjoyed our cycling trips in southern France tremendously. We also like the new hybrid and the new road bikes that were provided for our enjoyment. We were fortunate to have mostly good weather in Spring which made cycling in this part of France very pleasant and much fun. Everything went smoothly and made us want to renew each year.
Languedoc: Southern atmosphere and charming villages
We enjoyed cycling in the Hérault, the Massif Central, Roussillon, and seeing the Pyrenees on the horizon. The sceneries were natural beauty, very peaceful and the roads were perfectly paved and easy for riding We like St Guilhem, the first village in Languedoc, and all the cycling routes, ones close to the large gorges carved in limestone, the ocre and white mountains, the endless vineyards, the lavenders and colorful flowers that just sprouted in early Spring. We rode through quiet and small medieval towns, crossed the Durance and the bridges, and many clear rivers with bedrocks, enjoyed the sounds of waters and birds. We stopped by Minerva, had picnic lunch at Lake Salagou and many stops for picnics and coffees. We really like cycling along Le Canal du Midi which we did all the way from Siran to Carcassonne also the Aude rivers to the Fortress. Hybrid bikes made cycling along the canals easier and very pleasant and brought us to different towns along the canal where there were many bridges and windmills. We cycled close to every locks that we cycle through and saw the engineering of locks and the people on board of boats passing through and waving at us.
While cycling on the second day, we encountered a cycling race with some roads closed and where we accidentally met Thomas of Discover France.
The hotel of stay at Chateau Lignan was very nice, and of course, the two nights in a room with balcony and views of the Citadelle and the black mountain at La Cite in Carcassonne were superb. Thanks for all the upgrades.
The Riviera and the Provencal lifestyle
Cycling on the Côte d’Azur was AMAZING, beautiful and challenging! The first day of cycling was in Gordes where we rode the 50 miles loops with a first stop in Rustrel then Roussillon and back. We enjoyed the Luberon, rode along vineyards and through national parks to Roussillon, saw many mountains afar, stopped for coffee and snacks. We enjoyed cycling from Gordes to Greoux les Bains as the routes had spectacular mountain views and Provence vineyards throughout, all very sweet and pleasant. We were also in awe with this region as the landscape was as described in Peter Mayle’s books on Provence, the ocre and pink color hilltop homes blended with the green hills landscape, farmlands, mixed with the blue sky and the bright sunshine all the way to the Riviera. The last climb to reach Greoux les Bains was a killer but once we finished this climb we were ready to celebrate. After this last climb, the road to St Tropez seems easy but still hilly and long. Every miles brought 360 degree views of the calanques, red ocre mountains, green hills, Provençal village with the Méditerranée on the horizon. We left early morning to ride to Nice, enjoyed the Gulf of St. Tropez, had lunch picnic in St Raphael, rode la Croisette in beautiful Cannes, stopped in Antibes for snacks, and the remaining of the afternoon, we rode non stop to St Tropez. There were some road constructions and luckily the ride was flat and we could reach Nice just in time for dinner.
In Greoux les Bains, we found a typical Provençal restaurant in old town serving excellent bouillabaisse by just one waitress and one chef for at least 10 tables. In St. Tropez, we could have stayed near Place de Lices for farmer market on Tuesday as we would have enjoyed our morning at the market before leaving for next town. We enjoyed our dinner at the Port. We like Hotel Suisse in Nice; our room had views of Promenade des Anglais. We extended our stay in Nice and kept the same room.
We had fantastic time cycling in both Languedoc and the Côte d’Azur. We enjoyed local red, white, rosé wine night with dinner every night.
Besides cycling and seeing the best of France beautiful countryside, we spent four more days in Nice. We enjoyed the old town, running and walking along the beach, farmer market in the morning, the Port in Nice, la Colline du Chateau was an amazing park, and the tour of Marc Chagall and Matisse museums by foot from our hotel. We also went to Beaulieu sur Mer, St. Paul de Vence, Ville Franche sur Mer, Eze. In Paris, we visited the fabulous Musée Rodin and Musée d’Orsay.
We love the adventure that came along every trip we had with Discovery France, and we are looking forward to cycling with you again next year. We were thinking about cycling in the Pyrenees from coast to coast, the Atlantic Ocean to the Méditerranée. We can start in La Rochelle, Biarritz, and finish in Collioure or Sete. If you had any suggestions, we will be happy to hear.
Youly and Joe
We share common values with this couple who love traveling in France by bike. Solidarity or altruism are virtues that we defend. Youly and Joe participated in a race fighting HIV / AIDS. The goal was to raise as much money as possible to fight this virus, while sharing a beautiful human experience from San Francisco to Los Angeles by bike.
We intensively supported this action and movement, which Youly and Joe will relate in a future article.