Cycle Tour from Reading to Nice
- And some of the way back!
If you are not in a hurry, travelling by bike and taking the back roads is
the best and most rewarding way of exploring a country like France.
The route followed:
- Reading - Portsmouth (Bike)
- Portsmouth - St Milo (Brittany ferries)
- St Milo - Nice. (Bike)
- A holiday with Dawn - (All modes of transport)
- Nice - Gap (Bike)
- Gap - Paris (Train)
- Paris - Le Havre (Bike)
- Le Havre - Portsmouth (Brittany ferries)
The trip lasted 3 months of which 3 weeks was spent pottering around Provence
and 2 weeks in Nice. This page contains pictures taken en route.
Everything I needed packed into two waterproof rear panniers that clipped to
the rear rack. This included bivouac, ground sheet, sleeping mat, sleeping bag,
waterproofs, clothes, books, tools, food and toiletries. I was living life out
of compartmentalised plastic bags.
This page contains 8MB worth worth of pictures so I suggest you go away and
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The port town of St Milo in Brittany. I took the ferry from Portsmouth so I
didn't have to endure the Calais!
Heading along the coast to La Mont de St Michelle
La Mont de St Michelle. Spent the whole day looking around this gothic
Typical Romanesque church. Larger than you would think - Spot the bike propped
up against the door.
View over the Brittany countryside. Spot the Romanesque church is to the right
of my elbow.
One of the many history houses open to the public for a good old nose around.
Typical market in home for the larger towns.
The cathedral was a gothic masterpiece built between 1145-1220
View of Chartres Cathedral from a park
If you were wandering where all the people were in the previous pictures; they
were in the Cathedral.
View from the top; not for the feint hearted.
Definitely a light weight camper
Arriving in Orleans. A very cycle friendly city.
First view of the Loire; Where better place to stop for lunch?
Picturesque village by the river
Entering vineyard Territory.
Many of the historic houses of Chateaus are open to the public. Standing by the
gate house to one of these chateaus is me and my very own tour guide.
Claremont Ferrand cathedral. The black stone is not pollution, but volcanic rock
that is found in the region. It did make it rather dark and cold inside though.
The first major climb of the trip. Views over Claremont Ferrand. Spot the two
black towers of the Cathedral.
Countryside around the Massif Central; A mountainous region in central France
There is SNOW on them mountains! A high altitudes the last of the winter snow
Steps up the last bit of the mountain.
View from the top
Leaving my bags back at camp I headed up the mountains for a bit of off roading
The Auvergne countryside. Rolling hill, cows and Lush green countryside.
One of my favourite pictures. Taken near Condat.
To the rescue: After the bolt holding my saddle to the seat post sheered, a
farmer stopped and took me and the bike back to his house where he produced a
tray of bolts and fixed the saddle back on.
From the cold and chilly mountains.....
Followed a decent into dry Mediterranean scrub. I was entering the Ardeche.
The road followed the Gorge de l'Ardeche.
Up an down, the road following the snake of the river.
Stopping to admire the view. It was warm going.
A visit to a monastery offered cool corridors and a chance to relax
The open road and evening sun
Countryside north of Avignon
Monuments and Chapels. Perfect to stop and rest.
View across the river to Avignon and the Palais des Papes. (Papel Palace)
A day visiting the Palais des Papes (Papal palace)
http://www.palais-des-papes.com/anglais/index.html Built 1335-1355, it is
was the seat of a rival papelcey to the one in Rome. Very interesting history
about the struggle for power and wealth of the church.
This was going to be no quiet evening. A festival of music was taking place all
over the city. Bars with live music, everyone out enjoying themselves.
Sur la Pont D'Avignon. I had to go there.
Eastwards across the Provencal countryside.
Stop to service the bike and service my thirst
Writing my diary entry
Lac de Sainte Croix, Located that one end of the largest gorge in Europe. The
next day I would be on the other side.
Gorge Du Verdon.
This was indeed hot work. I got some interesting looks from those in the air
conditioned coaches that pass from time to time.
ARRIVAL AT NICE I was due to meet Dawn; but I
arrived a week too early. I explored the town and headed out into the mountains
north of Nice.
Sleepy Provence village
Abandoned walled town on a hill with its own chapel.
Sitting on one of the town houses.
A perched village of Provance.
Dawn and a Monaco casino. A chance to blow the budget.
Opposite the palace
The view. A chance to do some boat watching.
Palace of the royal family
A capped mutt. (The owner had a matching one)
Guess which is mine?
Back in Nice.
Antibes. The towns dog wash.
Outdoor stuffing session overlooking Antibes
Wine from plastic bottles.
Last day on the beach before Dawn left to fly back home (Sensible). Me; I
decided to start my journey taking a less straight forward route: La Route De
Some camp grounds were SO hard. Tent pegs were useless. This cannon ball? came
in very handy.
La Route De Napoleon.
Approaching the town of Gap, where to speed things up, I caught a train to
Day after my evening arrival in Paris. RAIN! What should I have expected; This
isn't the south of France.
La Louvre. I challenge you to find a day in the summer where the rain was SO
heavy. All the tourists dissapeared!
The Eiffel tower, disappearing into the mist. Would have been a bit of a waste
to go to the top.
I followed the Seine towards Versaille.
Room of Battles.
Village along the Seine.
Typical Normandy town.
View over the Seine following a summer shower.
Norman town view
Ponte de Normandie.