People who travel to France have their ‘top’ lists: the Effiel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris; the palace of Versailles or the holiday markets in Strasbourg. Many of Ciclismo Classico’s trips to France uncover places you didn’t know belong on your ‘top’ list. So when planning your next bike trip to France, here are 5 places you made not have heard of but definitely want to see:
1) Le Font de Gaume: Les Eyzies
Part cave, part art gallery, part prehistoric temple, nobody is certain what Font de Gaume actually is. On Ciclismo Classico’s Bike Across France, the experts can tell us what is in this cave: an extensive network of polychromatic paintings accomplished by early homo sapiens during the Magdalenian period. But the reason why they are there is baffling. The techniques used by these early artists suggest they were much more advanced then we given them credit for.
2) Glanum; Saint Remy de Provence
Move over Van Gogh, the original inhabitants of Saint Rémy de Provence have left amazing testimony to their presence in this artistic city. The largest Celto-Ligurian tribe established Glanum in the 6th century BC: a city built next to a fresh water spring in the mountains, capable of printing its own currency. The Salyens (as the tribe was called) had the tradition of displaying the heads of their enemies outside of the main gate. The heads are no longer there but the city ruins are, on our Divine Provence tour.
3) Cathédral St Gaiten; Tours
One of the most remarkable examples of Gothic architecture, the Cathedral at Tours is a must see on our Loire Valley trip. Constructed over the course of 400 years, this cathedral exemplifies the changes in architectural styles over the centuries from bottom to top. The inside of the church is no less impressive: the tomb of the infant children of Charles VIII and Anne de Bretagne in Carrera marble, a massive pipe-organ from the 16th century, and endless colorful stained-glass windows.
4) The salt marshes; Guérande
These marshes were in operation before the 9th Century and have been passed down from generation to generation. The salt from Guérande is supposedly loaded with medicinal powers. Since it has a high concentration of magnesium chloride sometimes it produces a pinkish hue in the feur de sel. Our Bike In Brittany tour crosses through the marshes and the beautiful Natural Reserve of La Brière.
5) ANY Gothic Church in Brittany
Honestly, our Bike In Brittany trip takes you across some of the most suggestive and beautiful Parish Clos of the area. The one in Sizun (close to Morlaix) is particularly noteworthy. These religious locations are complete with church, walled churchyard, and ossuary. Most popular in the northern part of the Finistere department, these religious grounds are a marvel to photograph and explore.
6) BONUS: The Meije Glacier, La Grave.
Our French Alps to the Riviera tour offers you the delight of walking on one of the Écrins highest glaciers: La Meije. From the top you witness awesome views of Mt. Blanc and the whole Écrin range, including the glaciers at L’Alpe d’Huez. This section of the Isère is also known for some of the most spectacular climbs in cycling history such as the Col de Galibier and the Col de Izoard - a highlight in next year’s edition of the Tour de France.