I was in France in June to do a bike tour of the Loire Valley. Due to Covid, this trip was rescheduled from 2020. We spent a few days in Paris, then took a train to Orleans on a Wednesday, spent the night in Orleans and started biking on Thursday. We spent each night in a different town along the way. Towns we stayed in include Beaugency, Blois, Amboise, Tours, Azay-le-Rideau, Chinon and Saumur. Our last night was in Angers and I took a high speed train from Angers the following morning direct to Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris. We passed through and stopped in a bunch of other towns along the way, visited castles and gardens, ate lots of pastry and drank lots of wine. Coteaux du Layon is a dessert wine that the Loire Valley region is known for and I had some after dinner every chance I got. We also passed through Vouvray, known for wines of the same name, and we stopped off at a cave for some wine tasting and a tour of the cave (nice and cool on a hot summer day!). We used CycleTours, a Dutch company, to book the trip. They took care of the hotels, bike rental and baggage transport and I highly recommend them.
Category: Bike Tours
Quebec Bike Tour — Region around Quebec City
I was recently in Quebec for a bike tour of the region surrounding Quebec City. We drove up to Lévis, a town directly across the St Lawrence River from Quebec City, took a ferry over to Quebec City the next day and then on to Ile d’Orléans, where we spent one night. Later in the week we came back to Quebec City, spent two nights there and then explored the countryside west of the city. We crossed the Pont du Québec, bike around more countryside and then circled back to Lévis.
Biking and Hiking in Norway, visits to Oslo and Bergen
A few weeks ago I took a biking and hiking trip in Norway. Before the biking/hiking portion of the trip, we spent a few days in Oslo. At the end of the trip, we made our way to Bergen, spent two nights there and then flew out of Bergen. For the biking/hiking portion of the trip we used my favorite outfitter for bike tours in Europe, a company called Blue Marble Travel, which is based in Paris. Blue Marble also took care of booking our hotel in Oslo, which was very well located. In Bergen, we stayed in private rooms in the YMCA, which was located right in the middle of town.
Norway has a lot to recommend. It is a beautiful, clean, peaceful country with spectacular scenery. We enjoyed good food, good beer and friendly people. Norway is not the least expensive country you can visit, but you get what you pay for.
Quebec Bike Tour –Eastern Quebec and excursion into Quebec City
Here’s a bike tour I’m tentatively planning for the summer of 2019. Three days of biking in eastern Quebec, cross the river by ferry over to Quebec City, spend two days in the city, cross by ferry again and bike back to our cars. There’s also the possibility of biking on the northern side of the St. Lawrence and circling back to Quebec City each day. Points of interest for these two loops days include Montmorency Falls and Ile d’Orléans. This is a work in progress; the map may change, but any changes I make will be reflected on the map on this blog.
Quebec Route Verte — Signed Bike Routes — Official website
Chaudière-Appalaches Tourism website
Bas-St. Laurent Tourism website
Eastern Townships Tourism website
Centre du Quebec Tourism website
Quebec Tourism website (for all of Quebec with links to each specific region)
Bike Tour Northeast from Quebec City to Gaspé Peninsula
The following map covers a bike tour from just across the river from Quebec City all the way up to the Gaspé Peninsula, the very far reaches of eastern Quebec. I’ve only done the part between Montmagny (about 40 miles east of Quebec City) out to Rivière du Loup, which is why this map is more detailed for that leg. Depending on how many miles you can cover in one day and how much time you have you can cover one segment of this map as a one week bike tour or spend all summer covering the entire map. Or cover part of the map each summer over the course of several summers.
For the most part, this map follows Quebec Route Verte 1, a well signed bike route that mostly goes along the nice, wide shoulder of Route 132.
A note of caution: there is no signed bike route between Madeleine-Centre and Rivière-au-Renard at the far edge of the Gaspé Peninsula. I’ve connected these two using Google Maps biking directions, but the official Route Verte website shows this as a gap on the signed bike route. I’m not sure why this is. I have not been up this way. I do not know what the road looks like up here, whether there’s no shoulder or the road is very rough or both. If you’re wiling to risk it, you can circle around the entire Gaspé Peninsula and start heading back towards civilization without retracing your steps.
The big square that starts and ends in Rivière-du-Loup is also not a signed bike route between Matapédia and Degelis (and also crosses over into New Brunswick and back into Quebec).
Quebec Route Verte — Signed Bike Routes — Official Website
Chaudière-Appalaches Tourism Website
Bas-St-Laurent Tourism Website
Gaspé Peninsula Tourism Website
Quebec Tourism Website (all of Quebec with links to each specific region)
Quebec City Tourism Website (for before or after biking)
Quebec Bike Tour — Laurentians, Northwest of Montreal
Here’s a bike tour of the Laurentians that I took in 2016. We stayed mostly on Le P’Tit Train du Nord, a rail-trail, so navigation was easy. You’ll want to get off the rail-trail in a few spots to visit towns that you would otherwise bypass. You may also want to get off the rail-trail in other places because the rail-trail does get to be a bit boring after a while.
The P’Tit Train du Nord also has an official transportation provider for you, your bike and your luggage if you so desire. This makes logistics really easy. One call (or email does it all). They also rent bikes and panniers, so you don’t need to bring your bike if you don’t want to. One friend rented a bike and was provided with a nice Marin hybrid. If you’re using the baggage transfer service, make sure to weigh your bag before you go. They weigh the bags right as you arrive and will charge you if your bag is overweight. (2.2lbs = 1kg).
L’Autobus Le P’Tit Train du Nord — Transportation Services
Info on the rail-trail — Official Regional Tourism Website
Here’s the route sheet I created to go with the map.
Bike Tour of Southeastern Quebec
In 2017 I did this bike tour of Southeastern Quebec with five friends. We biked 253 miles in six days with one day of rest in the middle, when we stayed in the city of Trois-Rivières for two nights. A few of us went kayaking that day.
This map gives you everything you need to duplicate our Quebec Bike Adventure. Also attached here is the route sheet that I created to go along with the map.
SE Quebec Bike Tour Route Sheet (PDF)
If you’d like to shorten the loop a little bit and simplify the logistics, you can skip crossing the river over to Trois-Rivières (which requires a shuttle that is explained in detail in the route sheet) and instead spend a night or two in Bécancour or elsewhere. By doing this you miss out on the cool city of Trois-Rivières, but you also eliminate the need to take the bike shuttle across the Pont LaViolette.
Here are some other helpful sites that go with this map:
Quebec Tourism Info by Region — The two regions you are in for most of this bike tour loop are Montérégie and Centre-du-Quebec and you skirt Eastern Townships and Chaudière-Appalaches. If you cross the St. Lawrence river over to Trois-Rivières you will be in Mauricie and if you bike towards Montreal on the north side of the river you’ll be in Lanaudière. There’s plenty of info on this website, but you can click through to go to websites for each region (where you can request that they mail you even more info, including cycling-specfic maps).
Day & Weekend Trips from Paris
If you’re in Paris for a longer period of time you may find that you want to get out of town and visit the countryside. There’s plenty of options available. This map includes several possibilities for day and weekend trips from Paris. The most complete section of the map is for Giverny, which is where you will find the Fondation Monet, Monet’s home and gardens.
I was at Giverny in 2014. My time in Giverny and the section of my map devoted to Giverny was inspired by this article in the New York Times. “Finding Solitude at Monet’s Gardens”
If you go to Giverny, do what the article suggests; be the first ones in the door when the place opens. Then visit the house immediately before a line forms for the house. Then you have as long as you like in the gardens. The gardens close to the house are called the “Clos Normand”, a traditional Normandy-style garden. Across the street and accessible via tunnel is the Japanese Garden and Japanese footbridge. If it it feels like you’re walking through a Monet painting it’s because you are.
Buy tickets in advance online. This lets you cut the line, although if you’re there early there won’t be much of a line. Buy the tickets online anyway. And try to visit on a weekday if you can. Here’s the Monet Foundation’s website.
Also at Giverny is the Museum of Impressionsism, which unfortunately was closed for a change-over in exhibits when we were there.
A little further down the road is the town of Vernon, which has some museums, a cathedral and is overall a very cute place to hang out.
To get to Giverny, I recommend you rent a car and drive out the night before and stay overnight in Giverny. You can also take a train to Vernon and then a bus from there to Giverny, but you won’t have as much flexibility in getting around the countryside. You could also bike out from Paris, although I’ve never done this. You could probably do that as a four day weekend or as the first leg on a longer bike tour. If you do this, please write a comment here and let us know how it worked out.
The map shows you some other places near Giverny and some other places you can get to for a day or weekend trip from Paris.