Cycling in France

France is undoubtedly one of the top cycling destinations in the world, attracting cyclists from all over the globe every year.

The country’s diverse landscapes, rich cultural history, and well-established cycling infrastructure make it a dream destination for cyclists of all levels.

From the picturesque vineyards of Provence to the rugged mountains of the Pyrenees and the French Alps, France offers a wealth of challenging climbs and breathtaking scenery.

French Pyrenees Map
Col du Galibier Climb

Best time for cycling

The best months to cycle in France are April to October, with the ideal seasons being Spring (May and June) and Autumn/Fall (September and October). The weather is cooler during these months, with fewer crowds and lower prices for accommodations and travel.

July and August are the peak tourist seasons and can be too hot or crowded for cycling. It is best to avoid the French holiday high season (15 July – 15 August) as accommodation is more expensive and can be hard to find in more touristy areas.

French Alps

Cycling in the French Alps is an unforgettable experience that draws cyclists from all over the world. The towering mountain peaks, stunning scenery, and challenging climbs make it a dream destination for any avid cyclist.

The most popular climb in the French Alps is the iconic Alpe d’Huez. This 13.8 km ascent with 21 hairpin bends is famous for its inclusion in the Tour de France and has become a rite of passage for cyclists looking to test their limits.

Bourg d’Oisans is particularly popular among cyclists, with easy access to famous climbs like Alpe d’Huez, Col de la Croix de Fer, and Col du Galibier.

French Pyrenees

The Pyrenees mountain range spans over 400 kilometers along the border between France and Spain, providing a stunning backdrop for a cycling adventure.

The Col du Tourmalet is the most famous climb in the French Pyrenees and has been featured in the Tour de France over 80 times. The climb to the summit is 19 kilometers long from Luz Saint Sauveur and has an average gradient of 7.4%, with sections reaching 10%.

Argelès Gazost and Bagnères-de-Luchon are popular towns in the Pyreneees. These towns offer easy access to many of the climbs in the Pyrenees, making them the perfect starting point for any cycling adventure.


Provence is an ideal destination for cycling with its Mediterranean climate, breathtaking landscapes, challenging climbs, and charming villages.

The most famous climb in the area is the legendary Mont Ventoux, often called the Giant of Provence. This iconic climb has been featured in the Tour de France numerous times, and it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside from its summit.

The towns of Bedoin, Sault, and Maucelene are popular bases for cyclists in Provence.

Mont Ventoux Climb

Popular climbs in Provence

Col de la Madone Climb

Popular climbs on French Riviera

French Riviera

Cycling in the French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur, offers a unique experience for cyclists combining beautiful coastal scenery with challenging climbs. The region is famous for its glamorous towns, clear blue waters, and warm Mediterranean climate, making it a top destination for cycling enthusiasts.

The Col de la Madone is one of the most famous climbs on the French Riviera. This climb has been used by many professional cyclists as a training ground and offers stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea. Other famous climbs in the area include the Col d’Eze and the Col de Turini.

Many towns along the French Riviera make great bases for cyclists. Nice is a popular choice, with its beautiful old town and easy access to many of the famous climbs in the area.