Title: France En Velo - The Ultimate Cycling Journey From Channel To Med - St-Malo To Nice
Authors: John Walsh and Hannah Reynolds
Publisher: Wild Things Publishing
What it is: Suggested cycling routes in France between St-Malo and Nice
Strengths: Elegantly produced, well laid out
Weaknesses: As with all these guidebooks, there is room to debate what has been included and what has been excluded
Come the two weeks of the year in which you get to enjoy a break from the dark Satanic mill in which you currently complete your wage slavery do you:
a) Choose to stay in bed, duvet pulled up to your chin and your laptop set to Netflix?
b) Fly away to somewhere hot and lounge by the pool all day long drinking cocktails?
c) Choose to tackle some epic adventure that in days of yore would have left men like Ernest Shackleton and Edmund Hillary feeling all weak at the knees and crying for their mummy?
Most sensible people choose option A or B, but it is remarkable - to me anyway - how many people choose the epic adventure as a way of relaxing. Short of gifting such people a prefrontal lobotomy for Christmas, I guess the next best thing you can do is indulge their madness and try to guide them to do something you might even half approve of. Such as going on a cycling adventure in France and taking in parts of the country made familiar by the Tour de France (reasons for watching the Tour: men with shaved legs - 12%; crashes - 7%; bike racing 2%; scenery - 79%).
John Walsh and Hannah Reynolds's France en Velo serves up an epic adventure: a sixteen-hundred kilometre trip from France's Atlantic coastline down to the Côte d'Azur crossing 19 départments, taking the rider down through St-Malo, Brittany, the Loire, Poitou-Charentes, the Dordogne, Lot, Cévennes-Ardèche, Rhône, and Provence before reaching Nice.
For the purpose of the book those sixteen hundred kilometres have been broken down into thirty-two stages ranging in length from thirty- to sixty-something kilometres. The idea is for the user - the adventurer - to set their own limits, adding a couple or more 'stages' together if they fell like getting to Nice quickly, or pootering along at a sedate pace. And if the adventurer doesn't feel like taking on the route alone and unaided, they can always sign up to one of Saddle Skedaddle's organised bike tours, France en Velo serving as an advertisement of sorts.
|Pays de la Loire|
|Provence: Pays du Ventoux|
|Le Mont Ventoux||16||26||1,152|
|29||Moustiers-Ste-Marie||Balcons de la Mescla||25||40||932|
|30||Balcons de la Mescla||Castellane||25||41||361|
The routes chosen offer opportunities to follow in the tracks of the Tour, explore lost lanes, find quiet places to go swimming, visit fortresses and big houses, taste the local alcoholic beverages, indulge in local cuisine, and burn off all the excess calories on some challenging climbs. Pretty much, there's something for everyone somewhere along the route.
Published by the same people who put Jack Thurston's Lost Lanes on bookshop shelves France en Velo is elegantly laid out, text, photographs and graphics mixing to tell the would-be adventurer all they are likely to need to know about the proposed route (what to see, how to get there and all that stuff).