Why should you choose Corrèze and Massif Central for Your Cycling Holiday in France?

Well the answer to this question is really, why you wouldn’t want to come here? Fabulous breath-taking scenery and with smoothly surfaced traffic free roads it is a cyclist’s nirvana. Then when you consider that this is a cycling holiday in FRANCE with it’s fabulous food culture, markets crammed with fresh local produce and sleepy villages with old men playing petanque under shady trees, there really seems no reason not to come here.

You have already done all the classic climbs of the Alps and the Pyrenees and written your name in the road alongside the legends. You have sweated through lavender scented air to the summit of Mount Ventoux and paid tribute at Toms memorial. So, what is next? Well if you are a Tour de France hound then there remains the classic Tour climbs of Puy Mary and Super Lioran in the Massif Central mountains.

You have no intention of sweating up the long climbs of the Tour in the Alps and Pyrenees. Having cycled regularly in the UK, you are fed up of road traffic and unsympathetic drivers. You are looking for something relaxing with some technical climbs that are a little challenging but not too long. Then the Upper Dordogne Valley gorges in the Massif Central will be perfect for you.

You are a couple, with one partner a mad keen cyclist and the other less confident. What you need to find is somewhere where you can both enjoy the cycling and ideally remain together as a couple by the end of the holiday. A guided cycling holiday with someone who really knows the local area would be ideal. A long day cycling with coffee stops and lunch on the side of a beautiful medieval quay on the Dordogne river – lovely. The help of a backup bus to get one of you back up the last climb of the day would be perfect. A cycling base with beautiful facilities where the less keen cyclist could pass a day by the pool whilst the ‘Keenie’ has an epic day out with other likeminded cyclists would be Nirvana. Corrèze in the Massif central can offer you all this.

If your answer to any of the descriptions above is yes, you should certainly choose Corrèze and the Massif Central for your cycling holiday in France. We look forward to welcoming you here!

The Rise of the Cycling Holiday

The Rise of the Cycling Holiday

In the last few years there has been an explosion of public interest in Cycling. With the advent of the MAMIL (Middle Aged Man in Lycra), the roads are now filling with brightly covered people enjoying the exhilaration and freedom that this sport brings.

The Tour de France was brought to London in 2007 by Mayor Ken Livingstone, whose aim was to make London a first class cycling city. Hosting the first stage of the legendary race, the ‘Grand depart’ would raise the profile of cycling in London and increase the city’s profile as a venue for major sporting events.

Since then Britain has gone on to huge successes in Cycling with Team Sky having the first ever British winner of the Tour de France in 2012. Britain has dominated the podium in Paris ever since. You can now watch full coverage of the tour on UK TV whereas previously coverage had been limited to a 30-minute slot on Channel 4. It was seeing the legendary Miguel Indurain powering up a mountainside which got us hooked on the Tour and road cycling back in the 90s. This was also the root of our eventual move to set up our own cycling holiday company in France in 2010.

Road Cycling has enjoyed a huge rise in popularity because of all this, with Bike Shops, Cycling Cafes and mobile bike mechanics enjoying a boom. As the roads have become choc a bloc with mini pelotons of cyclists at the weekends, there has been a natural move for riders to look for cycling vacations further afield. And where better than on the hallowed turf of France, as well as in Spain, home to the Vuelta and Italy – the Giro. Here keen amateur cyclists can follow in the footsteps of their tour heroes, or just enjoy an active holiday.

The mountain ranges of France offer unparalleled opportunities for climbing and descending, which cannot really be rivalled in the UK. Indeed, the major climb of the 2012 Olympic Road Cycling Race was Box Hill, a short switchback of approximately 4.3km. I myself have gone up it on a hybrid mountain bike towing a tag along child bike on the back, following husband James on his Road bike.

Following the rise in interest for cycling holidays especially in France, small companies have started to pop up in the Alps, Pyrenees and Massif Central of France offering tours and fixed base holidays. Now you can find bike holidays to suit all levels of cyclists from pedalling along the footpaths of the Loire to intensive training camps in the Alps taking in all the classic climbs of the Tour.

Increasingly as the Alps and Pyrenees get more crowded, cycling holidays in lesser known areas such as Corrèze and the Massif Central are becoming more popular. Here you can find near empty roads in pristine condition which are a cycling connoisseurs delight. The terrain can be challenging also, with the steep gorges of the Upper Dordogne Valley providing classic switchback climbs of around 8 to 10km. The mountains of the Massif Central have been the backdrop for several classic Tour climbs, such as the Puy Mary and Super Lioran and are a ‘must cycle’ for any keen enthusiast.

Samantha Parry