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Apr 4, 2008 08:35 AM

Bike Tour of France

I am currently researching several tour companies that offer bike tours throughout France. One of my priorities is great food. Doing the biking tour thing appeals to me for a variety of reasons (will let me stay active, see some things off the beaten path, I will be traveling along so it will be nice to have a guide and fellow travelers, etc.). But I'm dubious about the quality of the food that is offered on these types of tours; I'm not sure that the organizers necessarily hold food as the highest priority or that they, as biking experts and not food experts, would have the inside knowledge about the great food finds of the regions. I'm most seriously considering these companies.

and this tour in particular.

Does anyone have any knowledge about the food available on these types of vacations and/or these particular companies or tours?? Any insight would be appreciated!!

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  1. I've heard from some folks that DuVine Tours are good. Never been on any, as I (1) lead tours myself, and (2) can't bike anymore.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune

      What kind of tours do you lead, Chef June? Are they food focused? And are they all over France, or centralized to a particular area or city?

      1. re: charmedgirl

        They are food and wine focused; so far we have done Burgundy and Provence.

    2. There are a couple of approaches to a bike tour in France, 1) place to place 2) hub and spoke. With P2P, think about packing up every morning and unpacking every night. The food in the French countryside is usually very good. Pick a region whose food interests you, such as Normandy, Provence, Loire. Then decide whether to do a self guided or group tour. I favor the self guided because you usually trip over some interesting, out of the way places while you are riding and can stop for lunch or return to for dinner. Plus you can choose a B&B (Gite) that serves regional food for dinner at a very fair price.

      3 Replies
      1. re: BlueOx

        Thanks, BlueOx! I've already been doing some research into the different regions and I think I have it narrowed to either the Loire Valley or Provence. Wherever I go though, I'm pretty set on using a tour company. I'll be traveling alone, and I feel more comfortable having a guide and some fellow travelers. That might not be true if I were going to a place that I had been before or if I spoke the language, but neither is the case here. And aside from all that, I unfortunately don't have time to do the research required to plan my own trip. (My long work hours are the whole reason I need a vacation!) I do appreciate the reply though. :-)

        1. re: charmedgirl

          i know you're focused on food here, but the biking in those two regions will be very different! one will be flat, the other hilly and windy.
          both will at least potentially have great food. but what kind of food do you like? provencal? northern/central french?

          1. re: Bob Loblaw

            Yes, the brochures and guides I have spoken to all tell me Loire Valley will be an "easy" ride, while Provence will be a "easy/moderate" ride. I hadn't hearing anything about Provence being windy though! That's a bit of a bummer. I'm in good shape cardio-wise, though, and I am going to do a bunch of long bike rides in the months leading up, so I'm not too concerned about that aspect of it.

            As for which kind of food I like more, I don't think I have a preference, honestly. Once of the reasons I want to go is to explore French food, since my only experiences have been at a handful of French restaurants. Reading the guidebooks, each region has specialities I'd love to try.

            That's actually why, for me, it comes down to picking the right tour company. Both regions will have great food. I just need to make sure I'm with a company that knows enough to expose me to it!

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I did a tour with VBT - but it was quite a few years ago. We loved the trip, which focused on the Loire Valley. We ate quite luxuriously each evening as we were staying at very beautiful hotels, including Chateau D'Artigny. I looked at the current hotels used and not one was a hotel we stayed in, although the trip itself looks very similar. Sorry I can't tell you more. Knowing the food in France, I can't imagine you won't dine well on all the tours, but I'm sure the cost determines a bit of how the owners choose that part of the trip.

          1 Reply
          1. re: zuriga1

            Glad to hear you had a good experience with VBT. Thanks for the reply, zuriga!

          2. Charmedgirl - I don't know if you've already gone on your trip or not but I just came back from France after doing a walking tour of Normandy with my SO with Discover France. We found the trip to be amazing and the included dinners to be wonderful. The tour was 4 nights and 5 days and it was P2P walking with the tour company transferring luggage. We were, however, totally on our own. And that's how they do it -- there may be other Discover France'rs out there but you're given your own guide maps and set loose. So that may not work for you if the bike tours are similar. But back to the food -- my only problem (and it was a lovely one to have) was that there was too much food. The dinners were long multi-course affairs with delicious dish after delicious dish, I however, was exhausted and really truly just wanted dinner to be over so I could sleep. Walking 9-13 miles a day will do that to you. In any case if you've already gone to France I hope you had a wonderful time and if you're still deciding good luck!