Motorcycling in France has got to be less stressful than riding a bicycle on the Tour de France. For a start, you, Adventure Motorbike Touring Riders, have each a powerful engine underneath you.
Estimated Reading Time: 16 minutes
Suppose you asked Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders the world over – What are the magnetic attractions that bring you back again and again to the open road?
They will immediately say – dealing with rugged mountain trails flat plains, waterfalls, rocky coastlines, mountain lakes, and challenging terrains.
Great news because the countries of Europe are packed with unforgettable touring experiences. Today our spotlight is focused on motorcycling in France.
France as a country has everything for all motorcycle riders. Notwithstanding an abundance of historical adventure everywhere you explore.
What can you expect?
Favorable weather, rain, bistros, Eiffel Tower, a Stop sign, another Statue of Liberty, guillotine, dogs, military pigeons, black Madonna, and Viaducts.
Also a horseshoe canyon, body modeling, and the largest stalagmite in the world.
The MotoDreamer Adventure Motorcycle Touring expedition of France, its people, its food, and its history is an experience no rider should ignore.
Apportez votre passion pour les deux roues en France.
If you love touring and bikes, you will love this article.
MotoDreamer’s next Motorcycling in France Tour is now scheduled. Let’s see what you can experience.
First, the likely weather conditions will be in your favor, May time often brings good weather, not too hot and not too cold. You can expect rain at times, so when packing, don’t forget your all-weather clothing to meet any weather conditions that may arise.
Not only that the French roads are of a very high standard, so comfort when riding will be there most of the time. But also like all seasoned Adventure Motorbike Touring Riders, you can expect some hard gravel surfaces that will challenge your skills.
No visit to France cannot happen without starting or finishing in the ‘City of Light’ – Paris.
Author’s Note: There are two theories regarding the nickname of the City of Light. The first is down to the vast number of Academics, writers, and Artists staying up all night creating their magic. The other theory was that Paris led the way in Europe by installing street lights.
This European capital is the home of monumental museums and historical architecture, street-side cafes, restaurants, bistros, theatres, and parks. As I compose this article, I know for sure you will fall in love with the idea of discovering this wonderful European city.
Here are Ten quirky but fun facts you may not know:
- The most iconic Eiffel Tower was only supposed to briefly demonstrate the city’s superior construction and technical skills in 1889. It transpired the locals of the day hated it, and many protested against its staying. Little did they know how much tourism value it would become.
- For all, you Adventure Motorbike Tour Riders, keep an eye out for the only STOP sign in the city on the 16th Arrondissement. Whereas everywhere else, you must give way to the right.
- You can line up with the 9 million annual visitors to the Louvre Museum. It’s the home of the famous Mona Lisa and with over 35,000 art pieces on display from every corner of the globe.
- If you discover the “New Bridge” (Pont Neuf), remember it’s the oldest surviving stone bridge with pedestrianized sidewalks left in the city.
Believe it or not, there exists not one but two Statues of Liberty. The famous one, of course, in New York, and a smaller one here in Paris.
Author’s Note: Both, constructed to face each other to symbolize the friendship between the USA and France.
- Not many cities can boast of having their beaches, but France can. There are small beaches on the banks of the River Seine; when the weather is right, you´ll see many Parisians swimming in the river or sunbathing on the sandy banks.
- For a great photo opportunity for you, Adventure Motorbike Touring Riders head to the Place de la Concorde Square. Here you will discover a fully functioning Sundial. A gift from Egypt back in the 19th Century with the surrounding pavements displaying the Roman numerals.
- There is the opportunity to stand on the five concrete spots where the old guillotine once stood for the history buffs amongst you. If you love gruesome history follow the signs to the corner of Roquette and La Croix-Faubin Rue (Street.)
For every Parisian, there are seven dogs. The French love their canine friends to the tune of living with over 300,000 of them in Paris alone.
- Many of you Adventure Motorbike Touring Riders may well have spent time in the military wearing your camouflage clothing with pride. Did you know the word Camouflage roughly translate in English means Make up for the Stage?
Authors’ Note; Now I am not saying anything but….
- In all cities in the world, you will find a mass of pigeons. No different here in Paris, except many of these pigeons hold a rank in the French Army.
If you head to Mont Valerien, which is situated close to the outskirts of Paris, you´ll find more information on this quirky and fun-to-know fact.
Author’s Note(s) Now, before you leave the French capital, you will need to get your head around this next bit of information to assist you when Motorcycling in France.
The french landmass is divided into twenty-two regions. (Easy bit.) Each region is divided into departments. (slightly harder to remember.) Subsequently, the departments were subdivided into 342 arrondissements. (now starting to panic.)
The arrondissement, subdivided into 3,883 cantons. (Now I need a coffee.) These cantons are subdivided into 36,569 communes…(Stop, I need a Cognac instead.) As I compose this article I think I got it right!
Ok, now you are leaving Paris on your next motorcycling stage in France to Correze in the Loire Valley.
In contrast to the bustling city of Paris the beautiful village of L’Angles, with picturesque buildings, medieval streets, and a ruined cliff-top Castle. All are giving testimony to the One hundred years of friendship with the English.
Many people come to video, paint, and take as many pics as possible. Now I enjoy taking photos and videos, but painting is not an art form I have any skills to boast of.
Later you will arrive at the martyr village and Memorial Centre of Oradour Sur Glane. Just after the second world war, a village was built near the original village in remembrance of the 643 massacred civilian men, women, and also, children by a troop of nearly 200 Waffen SS.
This horrific historic event happened on the 10th of June 1944. The gruesome details of the men separated, then, executed. Followed, by the women and children now enclosed in the local church before they succumbed to their fate.
Here, the Nazis massacred them by the use of grenades, gas, and machine-gunned to ensure oblivion. Later, to attempt some form of a cover-up, the church was set alight, ensuring no one would survive to tell the story. Finally, the village was pillaged, and within a short period, all was reduced to ruins.
Author’s Note: two more facts from this atrocity, this event happened four days after the D-day landings, and miraculously seven survived. Five men were protected by the bodies on top of them. Not only that, one woman escaped after being shot five times via a church window, and also a child miraculously escaped death.
Now, your next stop will be Uzerche. The roots of this old town are found going back to the 5th Century. Originally built on a rocky outcrop to allow for maximum defense.
Add the location of the River Vezere and the local medieval trading crossroads, Hence, Uzerche has managed to build up a long cultural heritage that has survived to this day.
Uzerche has many castles, turreted buildings, hotels, and restaurants, of which many were also, built by the local nobility.
There is a saying here that “He who owns a house in Uzerche has a castle in the Limousin.”
Another 111 miles away from Uzerche lies another medieval town named after a goat’s milk cheese – Rocamadour.
Rocamadour is a small village built on a clifftop. It has many religious buildings, including the Chapelle Notre-Dame. Here you visit the Black Madonna statue, carved from walnut wood and dates back to the 12th Century.
Author’s Note: It is said the Black Madonna guides all through their darkness and represents their inner process of transformation.
Next comes the most picturesque Medieval Village in France called Turenne. With its hilltop location, you are treated to the finest panoramas you will ever witness on this Motorcycling in France Tour.
Take in the sights of the dense forests and lush-looking countryside below you and for miles in the distance. On other visits you will also mingle with will be hikers and Pilgrims.
Author’s Note: I am sure you will take a breath when seeing the honey-colored houses topped with stone slate or slabs. Many houses, owned by descendants of Noblemen and upper classes from the 15th and 17th Centuries.
On your Motorcycling in France Tour, you will also visit the Castle of Castelnau Bretenoux, the old town of Igeac, and the Champollion House.
Each is leading you through scenic routes of the french region known as Southern Correze & Quercy.
Following such a great day of motorcycling through the Dordogne region, it’s time to venture further to the Milau Viaduct and the Valley of Tarn.
You will take in the picture-postcard sights of the Village Estaing, the Medieval village of Conques, and also, the Hole of Bozouls.
- Estaing, one of the ten local villages in Aveyron, lies at the feet of the impressive Aubrac Mountains. (Yes, you will be negotiating the mountain trails.)
- Conques village is a mecca draw for all french culture admirers. You will find many ambling along deep in thought or occupying the many sidewalk cafe chairs deep in conversation with anyone who will listen.
When you arrive at the Milau Viaduct, you will be pleased to know you have arrived at what was once deemed impossible to achieve, the tallest cabled- stayed bridge in the world.
You have ridden for a very long time and yet you will not care one bit.
- This one spans the valley and crosses the River tarn below for over 2,460 meters. The bridge’s height is impressive too, standing 19 meters higher than the Eiffel Tower back in Paris.
Author’s Note: What was the sole reason for the French to build such a viaduct? Simple to allow you Adventure Motorbike Touring Riders to get to your destinations without any fuss. Mind you; there is the matter of toll charges.
- The Valley of Tarn and Lot Rivers, formed by glaciers erosion over thousands of years. Melted water gathered at the bottom of the valley to create Corries or tarns (Scottish terms for Pots and Lochs.)
- The Hole of Bozouls, a natural canyon shaped like a horseshoe. A canyon that measures 400 meters across, and its depth is more than 100 meters.
- You may well be in need of a rest, therefore feast your eyes on this Geological phenomenon, so pause and let your camera work overtime for you.
Staying in the valley of the Tarn while motorcycling in France will allow you to enjoy canoeing on the Tarn River and negotiating the Gorges simultaneously.
Where you can venture to the Causse Mejean Plateau and also, to the Aven Arman Cave if you are not into canoeing.
The Causse Mejean Plateau is described, by many as breathtakingly wild and the least populated region in France. (See, Mike and his MotoDreamer Team did say they would take you Adventure Motorbike Touring Riders too many hidden gems, and this will surely be one you will never forget.)
You will discover another gem when you visit the Aven Amand Caves, located in the heart of the Causse Mejean Plateau near the commune of Meyruels.
This cave’s immense underground chamber was discovered with its 400 stalagmites by Louis Armand in 1897. You will meet the Grand Stalagmite, which is the largest stalagmite in the world at an incredible 30 meters in height.
Explore the cave that could easily house the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris with room to spare, also, with the voice of a Jules Verne character narrating all that you see around you.
Author”s Note: Today I have stayed longer at my desk due to the need to complete this article for you all. I think it’s time for all of us to take a short comfort break and brew up a pot of coffee.
For me, I like coffee, but not any old coffee. It has to be a Colombian roast. See you in five, where I will take you further into your Motorcycling in France experience.
Ah, that’s better; let us continue……
You will ride for another 122 miles through the Dordogne region as part of your Motorcycling in France Tour to the River Jonte Gorges and the Steenimie valley.
If you love the power of nature, you will not be disappointed in this region.
These majestic looking gorges of the River Jonteover the centuries have hollowed out vast amounts of limestone, leaving the panoramic plateaux before you with the canyon-like backdrop.
With every turn, every bend, and over every hill climb, make sure you look up. Like the Highlands of Scotland, you will also, be amazed at the changing scenery you witness on your bike.
By midday, you should have reached Mont Lozere National Park of Cevennes. Here you will be at the highest peak of the park at 1,699 Meters above sea level. The locals for at least the past 100 years have chosen to ski here in the winter months.
Visit on foot via the approach road to the village of La Garde Guerin. All vehicles are not permitted in this isolated but beautifully preserved rocky plateau location. The locals have built a car park next to the Gated entrance for all their visitors.
Author’s Note: Check out the narrow cobbled stone streets protected by the walled fortifications called Porte du Rachas and wait for it…Porte Saint Michel. Yep named after me, not Mike, at MotoDreamer. Please, do not listen to his protests.
The village dates back to the 12th Century, but the Medieval houses and buildings you will see were built between the years 1595 to 1597.
Why am I so precise on the dates? They had no choice as the village was almost destroyed during the—Wars of Religion.
Your next 96 miles of Motorcycling in France Tour will take you towards the Ardeche high Valleys.
Author’s Note: look at the map above. What a distance you Adventure Motorbike Touring Riders have achieved so far since leaving Paris, and it’s not over yet.
You have worked all year, so affording yourself the odd pat on the shoulder to ensure you are still alive and not living a dream. Go ahead you’ve earned the right to agree it’s been worth it.
Now, it’s time to visit the picturesque and historic villages of Vogue and Balazuc, with both clinging to the terraced hillsides of the wild and rugged Mont Gerbier de Jonc as their backdrop, as many before you have experienced; the mountain will attract you just like a magnet.
Then, you can climb to the summit of this mountain within a short space of time for free; also, from there, take in the 360-degree panorama of the Alps to the East, Les Boutieres, and both the Rhone & Cevennes valleys.
Not forgetting the volcanoes of the Massif in the west and their impressive 1886 meter height. The vistas will astound you for sure.
Not only that, imagine climbing the Mont as close to sunrise as possible.
But also witness the Sun sliding above the horizon and seeing nature slowly waking up.
Author’s Note. As I will expect, after climbing mountain summits and taking in all that clean air you slept like a log. When waking up in the morning, you find yourself ready again to see what comes next on your Motorcycling in France tour. Let’s push on….
You will ride a further 124 miles southwards to the next viaduct called the Garabit. Once you see the sight of this viaduct, you will be close to the Summit of Puy and the Saucy Pass.
After spending time taking in all this tranquility and beauty, you will visit the Spa Town of Le Mont-Dore. This place is a thermal and skiing resort that caters to everyone every month of the year.
Le Mont-Dore is a village way up high in the volcanic mountains. A paradise for the Summer Hikers and the place to be for the Skiers in Winter.
With its volcanic past, volcanic springs, and waterfalls, the locals have had time to create thermal baths. The water will relieve many from rheumatology and respiratory illnesses.
Author’s Note: It’s time to say to yourself. I have earned the right to experience clean water and fresh air in a thermal setting. Time to put the leathers into a locker and enjoy the moment. You hairy a…. Warriors can relax and also, experience body modeling and hydrotherapy treatment. How can you refuse?
Or how about hanging to a cord and sailing from treetop to treetop and experiencing negotiating Monkey bridges. Not forgetting to use zip-lines to negotiate through the air above Le Mont-Dore.
As if not all of the above is enough for you, your final visit today will be to the Croix ST Robert Pass, Salers Village, the Royal Church of Orcnal, the old town of Aubusson, and also, various castles in the Loire valley.
There you have it. A Tour on your motorbike you should not pass on. Designed with you Adventure Motorbike Touring Riders at the forethought of everyone’s mind at the headquarters of the independent Adventure Motorcycle Touring operator, known globally as MotoDreamer.
How about reading more about the wonderful roads leading out of MotoDreamer with these next 2 articles:
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Mikkel Thomsen Co-founder at MotoDreamer. Meet Mike, the very successful global Independent Motorcycle Adventure Touring Operator. It’s time to get to know the unconventional story of Mike.
Motorcycle Adventure touring in Asia. How about you taming a continent? Let’s see how to start preparing you for this adventure.
Motorcycle Touring in Northern Thailand! How many times as a Motorbike Adventure Rider have you said those very words out loud? It’s time to investigate the possibilities.
As with all their Tours in various parts of the world, a considerable amount of detailed planning has gone into creating the ride of your life every time.
What Mike T and his dedicated MotoDreamer team would appreciate the most is your reviews, pics, videos, and homage to what you experienced with Motorcycling in France.
Would you please follow the link below to book your next date with MotoDreamer?
Also, for those who cannot make these dates, here are more exciting destinations and tours.
How about the ultimate challenge?
Around the World in Eighty Days. This has to be the ultimate Adventure Motorcycle Touring Challenge organized by Mike Thomsen at MotoDreamer. Are you a modern-day Phileas Fogg or Passepartout?
Around the World in Eighty Days is the ultimate Adventure Motorcycle Touring Challenge for our modern times to experience and enjoy. Is every bone in your aging Adventure Motorcycle Touring Rider´s body itching like crazy at the thought of this mad-cap challenge?
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