I’m not a professional cyclist but I do enjoy a leisurely 20-30 minute ride along the coast near where I live. However that’s nothing compared to the three week nearly 3700km odyssey across the French (and now also Belgium and Dutch) countryside that starts this weekend for the riders in the Tour de France.
The route takes in the diverse beauty of the French countryside and the cyclists don’t get much of a chance for a break (it is a test of endurance after all). Fortunately if you were to follow the route at a more leisurely pace you’d have the opportunity to stop and spend some time in the following three places along the way. After all who wouldn’t want to take the time to enjoy glorious food and wine in the splendour of the French countryside?
The home of champagne and one of the key gastronomic regions in France. Its beautiful cathedral towers over an easily walkable compact city centre. Have a drop of bubbly at some of the key champagne producing houses, and if you’re there on a Saturday morning enjoy the market at the Place de la Republique.
Situated in a valley this beautiful town has 360 degree views of the surrounding French Alps and to the north is bordered by the largest natural lake in France. Enjoy the beautiful architecture, great food and wine and depending on the season skiing, sailing or rock climbing is close at hand.
Saues De Bearn
If you’ve made it this far along the route of the tour your body might appreciate a dip in the warm thermal springs that are found here. For food, try some traditional Bayonee Ham whose taste is said to be dependent on the salts found in the area.