Touring (and Exploring) Guides
Guides for walking, cycling, motor caravanning (RV-ing, motorhoming) and exploring by car.
For places to stay, see our separate accommodation page.
Wendy Mewes’ vivid narration of her long walk across Brittany beside the Nantes-Brest canal brings to life the history and landscape of a distinctive region where as many as 20,000 Britons now live. Well-known as a writer about Brittany, this is the author’s most personal work to date. Her journey reflects an individual search for identity and raises questions of integration and settlement in a foreign country. Places through which the canal passes prompt further thoughts upon significant characters and events of Breton history. The canal itself, twinned with the Wilts/Berks canal in England, is a leading character in the book. Its story of construction, usage, decline and resurrection as an asset for leisure and tourism is interwoven with observations of the superb natural environment it now provides for flora and fauna. The connective power between man and the landscape fostered by walking is also a theme of this memorable journey.
Will take you via scenic routes to discover charming French villages, local restaurants and intimate places to stay. Unearth the real soul of France relying on all the practical information you could need, from road conditions and length of drive to parking information and opening hours. Twenty-five themed drives, each lasting one to seven days, reveal breathtaking views, hidden gems and authentic local experiences in France that can only be discovered by road.
Each tour is bursting with insider knowledge and loaded with ideas for varied activities from short walks and longer hikes, days on the beach and children’s attractions, to wine tours, cycling trips and river-rafting. Meanwhile, the most friendly, best-value hotels and guest houses and charming restaurants specialising in regional produce have been selected by expert authors.
‘It had been so amazingly hot that I felt myself about to dissolve into a kind of creme brulee on the road, so I bought some super-power Number 8 suncream. This had the word Bronzante on it, and must have contained some dye or other chemical because my knees stayed brown until February.’ Fed up with questions about what he was going to do when he retired, Edward decided to get on his bicycle and ride from Le Havre to the Mediterranean. He struggled in Normandy to get directions from old men tipsy on Calvados by 9 a.m., passed by prairies of corn and acres of sunflowers, and hit his stride on the towpath of the Burgundy canal. He explored the mystery of what an ouvrier eats for lunch, and was barred from a swimming pool because his trunks were too decent. Through the Rhone and down to Provence and the Camargue, Enfield is witty and informative as always.
A comprehensive guide to major leisure cycle routes south of, and including, France’s Loire Valley. All major traffic-free and signed touring routes are included with a factfile and description of what to see along the way. Crucially, you will find quality 1:200,000 scale Michelin mapping of all major routes. Background info on such topics as how to take your bike on French trains. Full colour illustrations. Discover: * Euro-Velo 6 which wends its way across the entire width of France on lightly trafficked tracks and roads, using the Loire for much of its length. * A traffic-free route along the Cote d’Azur. * Signed routes in the Alps – many much easier than you might think. * A quality traffic-free route stretching hundreds of miles along the Atlantic coast….and much more. Whether planning a lazy day around the Loire Chateaux or the long-distance trip of a lifetime this guide is both an essential pre-trip planner and an invaluable riders’ companion.
A guide to cycle touring along the Canal du Midi in the sunny Languedoc region of southern France. A UNESCO World Heritage Site the canal meanders through lush countryside rich in history and culture and offers the cyclist flat, car-free paths for a comfortable pedal, suitable for all levels of ability and experience, as well as access to tougher excursions in the nearby hills and mountains. * ideal for anyone planning a cycling holiday, English-speaking residents of the region who want to explore or anyone passing through on the canal who wants to stretch their legs a little by bike * describes the main canal (240km) and its Narbonne extension (37km), with excursions to the Cathar strongholds of Minerve and Lastours, the canal’s water source in the Montagne Noire and the lagoons and marshes in the Aude and Orb delta * highlights the attractions of cities and towns along the way such as Toulouse, Carcassonne, Beziers and Sete, and gives practical information about accommodation, cycle shops, markets and festivals along the route
In Lonely Planet: Cycling France, Lonely Planet has created an excellent guide, chock-full of itineraries, maps, and information and advice for those who want to get off the bus and set their own pace. They’ve mapped out the best rides in the country for neophytes, veterans and off-roaders, with itineraries ranging from a few hours to two months. Travelling by bike calls for a plethora of information not found in the typical tourist guidebook. Lonely Planet has it all. “Facts for Cyclists” provides practical information on when to ride, based on the weather and wind patterns, a checklist of what to bring, information on buying or renting locally, a list of cycling events, and Internet resources.
‘Written by a cyclist, for cyclists. Each tour has a detailed route description plus maps, lists of campsites and tips on what to take and how to deal with roadside repairs.’ (France Magazine / September 2006) ‘Having toured extensively through France, it came as a surprise to find how much superb information is contained within this handily-sized guide. There is an excellent set of 8 routes in different areas of France, each well set out in stages easy enough for most cyclists to follow, complete with an altitude graph when there is a climb of some difficulty. This book is not just ideal for planning a first visit, but also to inspire those who wish to explore further afield within the country.’ (Cycling World / November 2006)
Walking Brittany discovers the most attractive and often little-known parts of this beautiful holiday region.
28 walks are described in detail with maps and photographs, with suggestions for over a hundred more – enough to create your own self-styled walking holiday based on the location of your choice.
Amble through the beech forest at Fougères or follow in the footsteps of Gauguin at Pont-Aven. Enjoy a family outing to the wonders of the Pink Granite Coast or the strange rock formations at Huelgoat. Off-the-beaten-track, explore the megaliths of St-Just or investigate the legends of King Arthur in the Forest of Paimpont. For an energetic hike, try Ménez-Hom or Ménez-Mikel, the ‘mountains’ of Brittany.
A comprehensive and well-illustrated guide to the 365km Nantes-Brest canal, providing key information for planning and executing a long-distance walk or simply enjoying a short stroll along Brittany’s most impressive waterway. The entire towpath route is divided into large-scale sections for easy reference. The maps show locks, roads, towns and villages; landscape and places of interest; accommodation near the canal (hotels, B and B, hostels, camping), restaurants, cafes, bars; location of shops & provisions. Reference sections provide contact details to assist with planning a long-distance walk or ride along the canal. A detailed introduction traces the history of the canal from its origins in Napoleonic times and construction early in the 19th century, through a brief economic heyday and tragic decline, to today’s role as an outstanding leisure resource.
The River Loire invites cyclists to explore it. There is no stifling cycle way artificially created along the river’s banks – the route is instead accompanied by an abundance of country lanes, tempting cyclists to find those hidden gems which make this journey an unending pleasure. The route has something for everyone. It includes dramatic vistas from high above the Ardeche Gorge, lazy days of flat riding through fields of indolent cattle, the chance to explore vineyards producing some or the world’s finest vintages and the great collection of castles and palaces which line the river’s banks. Accommodation is plentiful whether you prefer the cheapest gites d’etape, the friendly chambres d’hotes, or the comfortable hotels. Wherever cyclists stay, they will be welcomed warmly one and their needs will be well catered for. This book, divided into twenty-three comfortable stages, includes a dramatic approach to the source of the River Loire at Le Gerbier de Jonc, a route alongside the whole of the river and suggestions of how to return to the U.K. It also includes enough advice and information to make this journey a truly memorable one.
The 2014 edition of Camping France has been fully revised to include 2500 campsites, including motorhome facilities, chalets, bungalows and mobile homes. The guide also includes local maps as well as camping site GPS details.
Introduction pages are in English and the main body of the guide is in French. A lexicon 0n page 30 will help you translate most of the common terms.
This fully updated and expanded guide, details the best things to do in Brittany; from the ancient megaliths of Carnac and the medieval glories of Mont-St-Michel; the quaint backstreets of its walled towns to the quiet pleasures of its coastal and inland walks. Features include everything from the many exhilarating water sports available to the mouth-watering delights of Brittany’s seafood, crepes and cider. The DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Brittany has the essential information every visitor to Brittany needs to know, with dozens of reviews for hotels in Brittany, recommended restaurants and tips for shopping and entertainment.