Skedaddle’s 'Channel to Med' odyssey takes us from Brittany’s St Malo shoreline and doesn’t stop until we reach the glamourous and warm Mediterranean waters of Nice on the French Riviera. Our journey of more than 950 miles takes us through no fewer than 19 of France’s regional départements as we ride into some of the country’s most striking and dramatic landscapes, discovering the true heart of rural France.
Passing through a patchwork of subtle and striking changes in terrain and landscape this is a route of two distinct halves. We begin by hugging the Brittany coastline, momentarily flirting with Normandy, and seeing the iconic Mont St Michel before heading south to the banks of France’s longest river, the Loire. After crossing the wheat fields and grazing land of Poitou-Charentes, we reach the rolling hills of the Dordogne.
On leaving the Dordogne we turn a corner. The terrain changes as hills become ever more prominent, slowly giving way to mountainous terrain and steep sided valleys, and a change in climate and terroir. The route hugs the banks of the Lot River, picking a gentle route into the mountains and occasionally propelling us up its valley sides, before we reach its source and the northern edge of the wild and wooded Cévennes. The route then plunges down into the fruit and vineyard choked Ardèche département before following the famous gorge of the same name to the Rhône valley, and riding through the Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Crossing the Rhône announces our arrival in Provence. The towering shape of Mont Ventoux on the skyline, hot sun, lavender fields and blue-shuttered cafés, combine to make you feel as if you are in a separate country entirely. Finally, after an exhilarating descent to the Mediterranean coast we cruise along the Promenade des Anglais for a celebratory dip in the Med.
This is the original and ‘Classic’ road schedule but for those looking for a slightly more leisurely cycling holiday in France, we have another version, our Explorer, which involves cycling the same route over 20 days and includes a rest day.