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I write to ask if anyone who has cycled the Rhone River in France can help me with advice. We are 4 seventy-plus year olds wanting to cycle along the river Rhone (French section) in June next year making our own way and not with a tour group. We cycled much of the Rhine river 2 years ago and had a wonderful time.
We want to travel along the Rhone for 2 weeks along as few secondary roads and up-hills as possible. We usually ride about 40 km's in a morning and then look for budget accommodation after lunch.
Our questions are:
What are the most beautiful sections to ride? Could you give us a description of the ride? eg do we cycle through small villages? Are they far apart? Can we stop coffee look around the place we ride through? etc etc
Is it easy to jump on a train with our bikes if we ever needed to?
Is accommodation likely to be available each day? Would we have to book ahead?
Do you know of a map of the ride in English?
Thank you very much in advance. Every suggestion and assistance is appreciated.
non specific answers since I've cycled in France a number of times, including along the Canal du Midi, the valley of the Loire etc.
It's a river. Unless you're near the headwaters it is of course quite a subtle gradient. If you wish to climb out of the river valley there will of course be exertion involved.
It's a river. In Europe, as I pointed out to my daughter when she remarked upon the same thing, all settlements needed to be built with the water supply. In every case I've seen in France that means a river. There will be towns and villages, less than every 10 km is usual, I suspect.
Your greatest issue will be to avoid the French predeliction for shutting up shop and taking the early afternoon off. Timing is everything.
Specifically, I'd say go, go, and have a great time. I wish I was with you. Perhaps start your research with the Department of the Rhone office of tourism. There is a website without doubt. Otherwise, perhaps contact the office of Alliance Francaise in your city mfor some help.
This might help ... http://en.viarhona.com/ ... they have big plans and when finished it will be fantastic.
I live in the AIn so the Rhone Fleuve ( not river ) is pretty close by. I have ridden parts of it, or supported rides along parts of it. Mainly in the wine areas of the Côtes du Rhône.
It is a very busy area, very industrial in parts, you will be lucky to go more than a few kms without being close to a town. Lyon can be a bit tricky in parts to Navigate through.
Local trains will take bikes no problems. TGV's are much more difficult, bikes need to be boxed and you need to find space on the car. If you want to take TGV's book in advance and get 1st Class seats, more luggage room and the same price when book plenty in advance.
June you will have no trouble booking accommodation, in July that changes vastly.
Just so you know... June weather is not always great, can be pretty wet and cold up in the northern end. Our first warm weather this year wasn't until mid June. September after La Rentré is usually much nicer weather... plus the Grape Harvesting will be interesting as you will be riding along.
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