The French partners of the EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route project, Alpes Maritimes, together with France Vélo Tourisme, have launched a new website for their part of the route during the summer: www.lamediterraneeavelo.com. Cycle tourists wishing to discover the beautiful landscapes of the Camargue, the French Riviera and the Alps now have a new tool at hand!
The French section of EuroVelo 8 - Mediterranean Route is named La Méditerranée à Vélo and the partners have also developed a dedicated Facebook page and an Instagram account, which are both full of beautiful photos of the cities and landscapes along the route. They are a very good source of inspiration for choosing where to start exploring the French Mediterranean Coast.
EuroVelo 8 follows the Mediterranean coast from Cadiz in Andalusia to Athens, before circling the island of Cyprus. In France, the cycling route is already well developed and signposted on 80% of the way (see the design below). Only the ‘Canal du Midi’ and the section from Manosque to Meyrargues still remain to be signposted. La Méditerranée à Vélo starts in Perthus in the Pyrenees and goes all the way to Nice and Menton, only a few kilometers from Italy. By 2020, a 850-km long signposted itinerary will follow the southern coast of France.
The website is so far only available in French but it provides plenty of information on each stage of the route, including interactive maps, type of cycle paths, elevation information, accommodation, tourism offices, points of interest, etc. Cycle tourists even have the opportunity to download GPS tracks. Here are the main sections of the route in France, which are themselves further subdivided on the website:
1. The Mediterranean Sea by bike from the Perthus to Sète [230.4 km]
2. The Camargue by bike from Sète to Beaucaire/Tarascon [129 km]
3. The Alpilles by bike from Beaucaire/Tarascon to Cavaillon [40 km]
4. The Luberon by bike from Cavaillon to Manosque [120 km]
5. The doors of the Verdon by bike from Manosque to Cannes [200 km]
6. The French Riviera by bike from Cannes to Menton [74.6 km]
Sections of the route coincide with the southern parts of the Canal du Midi and the ViaRhôna (EuroVelo 17 – Rhone Cycle Route). The route is very varied: you will cycle through natural parks and on idyllic beaches, in forests and lavender fields and in fascinating historic cities such as Perpignan, Béziers, Montpellier and Nice. Easy and family-friendly sections alternate with more sportive ones, especially in the Alpilles, the Luberon and the Verdon.
Any season is good for cycling on the Mediterranean Coast, but the best time to go might be in the spring, when many events are happening along the EuroVelo 8. For instance, the Cannes Film Festival in the beginning of May and the feast days of the pilgrimage of Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer in the end of May.
It is very easy to reach EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route by public transport. There is an intercity night train on the Paris-Perpignan line which accepts bikes. For a full overview of intermodality on and to the EuroVelo 8, you can browse this document which explains in details the train offer. In terms of accommodation, as you would expect from a popular tourism destination, there are lots of options available many of which cater for the increasing numbers of cyclists that cycle the route.
The route is already receiving positive reviews in the press, such as this article from Citycle (in French).
There is also a professional website for “La Méditerranée à Vélo”, where documents about the route can be downloaded for anyone interested in the development of the route. Other useful sources of information include this thorough travelogue, which is useful for both cycle tourists and cycle tourism professionals, providing detailed maps of the whole itinerary divided in proposed daily sections, with information on the type of route and the train stations and pictures of the highlights along the route. Another useful tool for cycling this route is the Vélo Loisir Provence smartphone app, providing cycling itineraries in the Luberon and the Verdon.
Now that you know all the tips for cycling the French part of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route, why not start to plan a trip for the winter or the spring? With its mild temperatures all year round, its fantastic cuisine, its vineyards and its unique landscapes, “La Méditerranée à Vélo” has lots to offer!
If you would like to learn more about the MEDCYCLETOUR Interreg project, a project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, please visit the project website. For any question, do not hesitate to contact our French Coordination Centre, Vélo & Territoires.