Santander to Nice

PaulSB

Legendary Member
Myself and a friend already have a plan for June of this year to ride from St. Malo to Nice. We are planning to follow the basic route provided by the book "France en Velo."

In the cafe today another cycling buddy threw in a curved ball and suggested we consider riding from Santander to Nice! Does anyone know if there is a route through the Pyrenees we could consider? The only criteria at present is the route needs to go with in striking distance of Arreau, France as we have friends there and would like to visit them enroute! Our friends were members of our club and it would be good to call in.....as you do!
 

Edwardoka

Shambling ruin of a man
Can't comment on the north coast of Spain (was picked up at Santander airport and shuttled to France along the busy main road), but I understand that inland is not nearly as busy.

However, from Hendaye on the French border you could follow the excellent route of the Raid Pyrénéen, which will take you straight to Arreau via such minor bumps as the Col d'Aubisque and the Col du Tourmalet :okay: and if you carry on towards Perpignan you can join EuroVelo 8 and follow it up the coast all the way to Nice. An excellent trip once you get away from the resort towns.
 

Donger

Convoi Exceptionnel
Location
Quedgeley, Glos.
I was also going to mention staying away from the resort towns. The thing I've nearly always found fantastic about cycling in France is how quiet the roads are. I say "nearly always" because I really didn't enjoy the roads near the coast when I spent a week in Provence. I chose to stay up in he hills near Callian rather than join the rat run along the coastal plain. Similarly, whenever I have ventured down out of the hills in Languedoc, the traffic has become busier and the cycling less enjoyable. As the OP obviously relishes mountains anyway, I would recommend carrying on through the Corbieres Hills and the hills above Beziers (etc) when crossing Languedoc, and avoiding the coastal strip through Provence by staying in the hills. Sounds like a great adventure.
 
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Edwardoka

Shambling ruin of a man
I was also going to mention staying away from the resort towns. The thing I've nearly always found fantastic about cycling in France is how quiet the roads are. I say "nearly always" because I really didn't enjoy the roads near the coast when I spent a week in Provence. I chose to stay up in he hills near Callian rather than join the ran run along the coastal plain. Similarly, whenever I have ventured down out of the hills in Languedoc, the traffic has become busier and the cycling less enjoyable. As the OP obviously relishes mountains anyway, I would recommend carrying on through the Corbieres Hills and the hills above Beziers (etc) when crossing Languedoc, and avoiding the coastal strip through Provence by staying in the hills. Sounds like a great adventure.
I agree with staying clear of the Provençal coast, particularly during high season. Some amazing upland roads in Provence and the Prealps.

I was in that part of the world during the 2016 World Cup, and was keen to stay well away from host cities so swerved north to avoid Marseille, crossed the Rhône at Beaucaire and only rejoined the coast at Nice because I both wanted to ride the Monaco F1 circuit and couldn't face the thought of crossing the Alps only 8 days after leaving the Pyrenees :laugh::surrender:
 

lazytyke

Über Member
Location
London
Santander to Hendaye (French Border) is a lovely ride with great scenery, the roads aren't that busy as there's a big Autoroute nearby. The Basque drivers were brilliant as well, so considerate. There are hills but I managed them fairly easily on a heavy touring bike with 23kg of bags, From Hendaye we headed North, so can't help you on the French part of the route
 

jay clock

Massive member
Location
Hampshire UK
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