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Things to do in the Languedoc:   Land Sports:   Cycling and Bicycling Holidays + the Tour de France

Tours des Pays Cathares, Elisud nº 40 : by foot or mountain bike

The area is ideal for cycling or mountain biking (or walking or horse riding) all year round. There are many routes to discover in the the Pyrenees ( The Name in Occitan. Click here to find out more about occitan.  Pirenèus,  The Name in Catalan Pirineus,  The Name in French Pyrénées) and the Corbières.

Among them are: Le Sentier Cathare, from Port-la-Nouvelle on the Mediterranean Sea along the Pyrénées to Foix in the Ariège. This is the most famous track in France. Along it you will pass the ancient fortresses of: Queribus, Peyrepertuse, Puilaurens, Puivert, Montségur ( The Name in Occitan. Click here to find out more about occitan. Montsegùr) and Foix. The Transéquestre crosses the Aude département from North to South, from the Black Mountain to Carcassonne then Limoux and to the castle at Puilaurens.

The Tour de France is the most popular sporting event in the world. It usually passes  through the Languedoc. See photos below.

The bicycle is one of those things, like liberty and fois gras, that the French have adopted as their own. At the first hint of spring families and groups of men and women are out there cycling in tight lycra in black with lurid orange or lime-green - without a hint of embarrassment. Large groups of them are to be seen in packs in their lycra uniforms everywhere from April to October.

They ride twos and threes abreast and, perhaps because this the national sport, they get away with it. If you try riding down the road on a horse you will be harried and bullied and beeped at by motorists however careful and polite you are, but if you are on a bike you can do pretty much what you like without risk of exciting passing motorists, who will patiently form 5km long queues to get past you when you deign to give them three cars' width to pass them in absolute safety.

Despite the almost cult status of the bicycle in France there are very few bicycle lanes round in the Languedoc. To make up for it their are thousands of miles of empty roads and thousands more of off-road tracks.

Here are some places that you can hire a bicycle in the Aude département:
  • Camurac     Tel: 00 33 (0)4 68 20 74 05
  • Espéraza   Tel: 00 33 (0)4 68 74 10 97
  • Gruissan   Tel: 00 33 (0)4 68 49 17 26
  • Gruissan (vacance VTT)    Tel: 00 33 (0)4 68 49 31 77
  • Limoux   Tel: 00 33 (0)4 68 31 29 84
  • Montirat    Tel: 00 33 (0)4 68 78 68 64
  • Narbonne Plage    Tel: 00 33 (0)4 68 49 85 72
  • Port Leucate    Tel: 00 33 (0)4 68 86 23 00
  • Port Leucate (vacance VTT)    Tel: 00 33 (0)4 68 40 74 70
  • Pradelles en Val    Tel: 00 33 (0)4 68 24 03 03
  • Saint Denis    Tel: 00 33 (0)4 68 26 42 13
 
Riders are Seen Through Vineyards as the Pack Pedals Outside Beziers
Riders are Seen Through Vineyards as the Pack Pedals Outside Beziers Photographic Print

 

You can read an amusing cyclist's blog, with maps and phots, by Gerry Patterson at http://gerrypatt.wordpress.com and visit his webside at http://cyclinglanguedoc.com

Cevennes National Park. Hundreds of kilometres of bike tracks in the southern Lozère.  For beginners and confirmed mountain bikers.  Rent by the day or take a fully planned six-day trip in the wide open spaces of the Cevennes National Park. A shuttle bus service takes you to the departure point for certain trips.  Mountain bikes all have front suspension, 14 to 22 inch frames, and 21 or 24 speed gears.  Three different trips covering the Mont Aigoual, the Mont Lozère and the Bougès, the Causse Méjean, and the Gorges of the Tarn.  Package includes printed maps and special guide booklets, accommodations and all meals and personal transport.
Contact: Cévennes Evasion, 5, Place Boyer, 48400 Florac
Web: http://www.cevennes-evasion.com, or http://cevennes.net/cevennes_evasion.uk1.htm
e-mail: Info@cevennes-evasion.com
Tel & Fax: 04.66.45.18.31 from France. +33.4.66.45.18.31 from abroad.

Cycling for Softies in the Languedoc. http://www.cycling-for-softies.co.uk/

French Cycling Holidays in the Languedoc.  Easy pedalling for the first few days near the coast and along the Canal du Midi, and more challenging countryside as we move into the Pyrénéen foothills.  Moderate daily distances. Attractions include: The Canal du Midi, Carcassonne, Birds of prey in the Pyrenees, Romantic ruined castles, Mediterranean beaches, wild herbs in the hills.

The lady's Tour of the Aude. Organised annually by the Maison de Sports, usually in May. Association pour l'organisation du Tour Feminin, Maison des Sports, 8 rue Camille St Saëns, 1100 Carcassonne tel +33 (0) 468 77 71 26.

Holiday Bikes. 22 Avenue du Général de Gaulle Clos Costerêve, Argeles Plage.    Tel: +33 (0) 4 68 95 86 34 Open throughout the year. Rental of bikes, mountain bikes (also scooters, motorbikes, rollers, cars)

Cycling in the Aude. The Aude département is a popular cycling holiday destination. The departement enjoys thousands of kilometres of quite off road cycling (VTT in French standing for Velo Tous Terrains). Those who prefer a mountain bike will be warmly greeted as a welcome relief from quad bikers, particularly by horse riders. Some villages still have fresh water fountains to quench your thirst.

 

The Tour de France. Below are photographs of the Tour de France. If you are thinking of watching it one year beware that roads are closed off several hours before the cyclists arrive so chose your spot carefully in order not to get trapped. To compensate, a bizarre advertising circus preceeds the riders filling the two hours before the riders appear. There are photos of this exhibition further down the page:

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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