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Biking in France

France boasts some of world's most scenic mountains, among which are the world-renowned French Alps with ideal conditions for mountain adventures such as hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. In fact, mountain biking in France has turned into a passion for thousands of adventure enthusiasts. The nation that hosts the Tour de France has splendid mountain biking destinations, and with such an excellent basis for biking, the country has produced some of the best known mountain bikers in the world. French mountains are suitable for all levels of biking, so both beginners and advanced bikers can enjoy their favourite sport there.

Cycling fans, looking for thrilling experience, travel to the French Alps and French Pyrenees mountains to explore the stunning mountain routes and take the best from the mountain biking there. Except these two mountains, among the most popular mountain biking regions in France are the Auvergne Lakes and the wonderful French region of Provence. Chamonix and Morzine in French Alps are also emerging as the highlights in European mountain biking.

Itineraries

Chamonix
Chamonix is a resort famous for skiing and climbing but it is rapidly becoming known also as the hotspot of mountain biking in whole Europe. Summer is the best time to go for a mountain biking tour there, when it is hot during the day, cool at night and yet you can notice snow on many of the trails. Best riding is on the routes off the gondolas that descend in all directions in the valley and there are various trails for any kind of biking skills. Thus, the Grand Balcon Sud is ideal for those looking for exciting experience but who are not so certain in their abilities behind the handlebars.

The Petit Balcon is an excellent trail that will make the riders’ dream come true. It begins at the northeast end of Chamonix and follows the flat but picturesque Bois du Bouchet to the jumps of La Norvege. It normally takes a few hours but athletic bikers can take it faster. You will be able to see stunning alpine scenery and there is a possibility to explore the area with a guide.


Morzine and Les Gets
The well-marked trails in Morzine and Les Gets are suitable both for novices, families with kids and experienced riders. Thus, there is a great variety of cycling routes, featuring 580 km of trails for all abilities, 24 bike carrying lifts and 9 permanent downhill routes. In a group or alone, you will be able to discover the natural beauties and picturesque surroundings. The resort boasts hosting the Mountain Bike World Championships in 2004 and from then on, its reputation has continued to grow. 

Mt Chéry permanent downhill course is the most popular route in Les Gets, which has been a World Cup run each year since 1998. The downhill course is well-groomed and secured to give you maximum comfort on the track during summer.


Portes du Soleil
Portes du Soleil region features 12 resorts from the French and Swiss territory with 500 km of signposted routes. This is the area where biking enthusiasts will find the conditions they are looking for - long descents of all grades passing through verdant meadows, forests and rivers, places revealing the diversity of the countryside. There is a gondola lift that can take you to routes meant for all levels. The landscape is so beautiful that you can take a break at an alpine meadow to relax and sunbathe. There are mountain biking packages for tours in Portes du Soleil, including a road-book, plates for your bike, mountain bike map and a book to be stamped at checkpoints.

The Portes du Soleil offers you 9 permanent downhill courses: 

+ Châtel/Super Châtel (blue) with length of 2.5km and vertical drop of 420m; 
+ Champéry-Les Crosets/Crosets II (red) with length of 2.5km and vertical drop of 258m;
+ Champéry - Les Crosets/Grand Conche (black) with length of 3km and vertical drop -470m;
+ Les Gets/Chavannes (blue) - length : 1.2km ; vertical drop : 255m 
+ Les Gets/Mont Chéry (black) with length of 3.8km and vertical drop of 620m;
+ Morzine/Le Pleney (black) with length of 3.5km and vertical drop of 500m;
+ Morgins/Foilleuse (red) with length of 2.8km and vertical drop of 500m;
+ Torgon/Tete du Tronchey (red) with length of 3.5km and vertical drop of 650m;
+ Avoriaz - Le Crot (black) with length of 4.5km and vertical drop of approx. 600m.

Cycling enthusiasts can enjoy the Free Raid Classic route, which represents a 76 km long orienteering course in the Portes du Soleil, crossing a varied and challenging terrain in a magnificent scenery criss-crossing the French-Swiss border. 

Kids can take the best from the “Free Raid Kids Classic” biking tour, intended for children at age 12-16 which gives them the chance to explore the “Portes du Soleil” area for about 3 hours, accompanied by French mountain bike guides.


Châtel
This is an unspoilt charming village in the French Alps and an excellent starting point for biking tours. Fabulous location at the top of the Vallee d'Abondance and reasonable prices gives a high value for your visit. With chair lifts you can go up to the place where the possibilities are endless. Head on the unbeatable routes in Portes du Soleil or take a tour in the nature reserve Mont de Grange to see the other side of the beautiful mountain.

You can ride down to Morzine passing through the famous goat village of La Lindarets, nearby the Ardent waterfall and along to Lac Montriond. Afterwards the river will lead you all the way to the vivid Morzine to have a splendid meal and return to Châtel along great tracks through the woods. If you are ready for something more exciting, there are steeper and more technical biking tracks, among which are two downhill courses of category “blue” and “black”. Pre la Joux is another biking region where 10 new biking trails were created, offering everything from 4X, to extreme downhills, as well as the great North Shore course. 


St Tropez
St Tropez offers you mountain biking and exciting water sports, such as wakeboarding, waterskiing, yachting, boating and etc. There are wonderful cycling trails through the forests and hills that lead to Gassin, probably the most beautiful village in France. There you can diversify biking with scuba diving or continue to the vineyards and the country side. From the high areas there are incredible views down to the Gulf and Alps Maritime beyond, as well as the Isles of the Porquerolles on the other side. All of the time there will be the odor of pine, mimosa and wild herbs. You can end the trip with a relaxing time on the beach of St. Tropez, wonderful meal at the restaurants and observing the azure-blue sea.


Bourg St Maurice
Above this village there is a great variety of trails and guided excursions to suit all levels and biking abilities. Bourge St Marice is an excellent starting point for Les Arcs, where you can take the cable car and reach with your bicycle up to about 3000 meters to choose among the numerous trails. The experienced bikers who adore adventures can try the tree runs in Vallandry and the narrow down hill passages, as well as rock drops. The cyclists that are not very certain in their abilities can take a guide to lead them in the mountain. 

Bourg St Maurice offers you other activities such as tennis courts, swimming pools and hiking trails to diversify your biking holiday. The glacier in Tignes is 20 min drive away to attract snowboarders and skiers.


Massif de Jura
The Massif de Jura represents a unique combination between scenery with waterfalls, forests, rivers and lakes, and endless mountain bike trails ideal both for leisure bikers and devil dares. You will be able to stay at the wonderful village of Foncine and explore the trails passing through beautiful valleys and fragrant pine forests. On the saddle of the bike you can reach Metabief and Mont d’Or, where to have fun on the down speedy trails, crossing through pastures and followed by the gorgeous panorama of the snowy alpine peaks. Biking around the French-Swiss border you can enjoy the beauty of the Lac de Joux and reach the summit of Mt.Tendre, at altitude of 1.700 meters to conclude the tour and descend to the magnificent lake. Your award will be a relaxing evening with sumptuous dinner and local wine for a memorable holiday. 

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