Gravel in France: New trails to explore off the beaten track!
Gravel has become one of the most popular ways to ride a bike in France in the last few years. And for good reason, it’s the only bike that has the best of both the worlds of road and MTB. Which means that you, the cyclist, can explore all sorts of tracks and trails without compromising on the tarmac.
The Alps and Mont Ventoux might be the first places that spring to mind when you think of cycling destinations in France, but there’s a whole host of other places all over the country.
Here at GravelUp we’ve got a variety of trips on offer for you to explore some of these beautiful lesser known areas, far from the busy bike tourist trail.
So are you ready to ride? We’re ready to take you to five hidden treasures across France:
1. The Vosges Mountains :
On the eastern border of France with Germany and Switzerland, the Vosges mountains are often overlooked in favour of the nearby Alps. Totally unjust, as these mountains offer cyclists a perfect mix of varied landscapes, a natural charm long lost in other areas, and of course a physical challenge! It’s a paradise for anyone who loves gravel, nature and space.
The paths you’ll find are ideal for cyclists - wide and (mostly!) smooth over a large area of hills and valleys, giving beautiful views of of the green hills. Our GravelUp routes are carefully planned to give you a feel of the wild side of the region and a taste of the many beautiful villages dotted around.
2. The Grands Causses :
The southern end of the central mountains of France, the Grands Causses are a unique landscape of limestone plateaus, deep valleys with spectacular gorges and a rich biodiversity. It’s blessed with an extensive network of paths and tracks just waiting to be ridden, in fact its been named “terre de gravel” by the Regional Natural Park that its part of. The trails wind their way through fields, forests, moorland and ancient villages built from stone, giving cyclists a totally immersive experience.
The unspoilt nature you’ll find, and the tranquility there, make the Grands Causses a perfect place for gravel riding.
3. La Corse :
With stunning landscapes, rugged mountains and a spectacular coastline, Corsica has infinite riding for a cyclist in search of adventure. Whether you fancy climbing a mythical col like the Col de Bavella, explore the forest trails of the Corsican Regional Natural Park, or ride the coastal roads with jaw dropping views of the Med, Corsica is an unmissable destination and perfect out of high season.
Trying some of the local food specialities is a must, you’ll love them!
4. Le Massif central
And the Morvan Natural Regional Park to be precise, part of the Burgundy Franche Comte region in the centre of France. With it’s rolling hills, lush forests, peaceful lakes and tiny, quiet villages, the Morvan is ideal for gravel riding and is only 2 1/2 hours from Paris!
The climbs (and descents!) can be tough at times, but it’s more than worth it for the incredible landscapes and moments of calm right in the heart of nature.
The gravel paths and trails crisscross the forests and follow the lakes and rivers, allowing cyclists to fully explore the area. The quietest trails give a much sought after sense of tranquility far from the built up environment, and are easily accessible in even just a weekend.
5. La côte d’Azur (yep! the turquoise coastline) :
Discover a real paradise for gravel riding tucked between the Alpes-Maritimes mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. With breathtaking mountains and twisting turning roads, the area has a bit of everything on offer for you.
You’ll see another side of the Côte d’Azur with us, as we head for adventure in the wilderness just inland from Nice. Out of summer season is the perfect time to go, with lovely warm weather and a distinct lack of tourists.
So as you can see, riding gravel in France means getting off the beaten track and exploring just some of the enormous variety of landscapes on offer. Away from the busy itineraries of the Alps and Mont Ventoux of Provencal fame, you can quickly find yourself exploring a new trail in a (relatively!) unknown corner of France - total freedom!
👉🏻 So come ride with us! You can find out about our upcoming gravel camps here > agenda 2023
5 conseils pour entretenir facilement son gravel
Vous voulez entretenir votre gravel mais vous ne savez pas par où commencer ? Colin, notre expert mécanique chez GravelUp, partage ses 5 meilleurs conseils d'entretien pour que vous puissiez chouchouter votre monture directement depuis chez vous. Un gravel bien entretenu, c'est l'assurance d'une longue vie pour votre fidèle compagnon d'aventure !
How to choose the tyres for your gravel bike
Just as there’s all sorts of surfaces, there’s all sorts of cyclists. Some prefer smooth gravel and tarmac, others the rougher the better, rarely riding on the road. And this is where tyre choice comes into play to make your bike ideal for where you ride. We thought it was time to have a look at the different options so no one gets left behind!