St-Malo to Nice, France, May 2016

In mid-May David Billington and Glyn Griffiths set off to ride the French end-to-end. David provides the following notes and pictures, but not all of the captions!

St-Malo to Nice

Here are some statistics for David Billington’s & Glyn Griffith’s ride from St-Malo to Nice.

Our route was planned with the invaluable aid of the book France en Velo, which outlined the routes to take and the points of interest on the way.

 We started our journey by train to Southampton, a couple of small rides and two small ferries to Portsmouth, then the overnight ferry to St-Malo. For our return journey we flew back via Copenhagen to Manchester, having carried our polythene bike bags. Worth noting: Scandinavian Airlines accept a bike in a bag as luggage with no additional charge.

 Our journey took us through 9 regions of France: Brittany, Pays de la Loire, Poitou-Charentes, Dordogne, Lot, Cevennes-Ardèche, Rhône, Provence-Pays du Ventoux, and Provence- Alpes-Maritimes.

 There is no doubt one is struck by the vastness and contrast of France, from valley regions to high mountain ranges, long ascents and very fast descents, fantastic views, roadside flower aromas, good roads and courteous drivers. Vast fields of vines, lavender, wooded and lakeside scenery, mountains and rivers, all on a large scale.

Our statistics:

Average miles each day: 61, although some days we did 75 miles.

Total miles: 1092.

Average speed: 11.4 mph.

Average riding time: 5.10 hours a day. One day we were on the saddle for 7 hours.

Average climb each day: 1186 m.

Total metres climbed: 21,357.

We also rode up Mount Ventoux from Sault, 16 miles to the summit of 1912 m.


Apart from the first 3 nights all our accommodation was booked on arrival in the towns and villages.

All in all, a great experience, one I would recommend to any keen ‘fit’ cyclist. It was tough at times — some of the climbs were 10 miles long.

If anyone is interested I will be pleased to show our trip in more detail.

 DJB