Mar 5, 2022 Canyon.com

Best Gravel Rides In France

Mar 5, 2022 Canyon.com

Our selection of the best Gravel routes and rides in France to go on an adventure.

Best Gravel Rides In France

Gravel biking is still very new, but it is becoming more and more popular all over the world and has become a major trend in cycling in recent years. Whether it's for daily commuting, spontaneous outings or a multi-day bikepacking trip, the gravel bike seduces you with its versatility and allows you to embark on new adventures.

Discover France on a gravel bike

France is a country famous for its great variety of landscapes and each of its regions has hidden beauty spots to discover while riding bikes. From up high in the Alps or by the sea in the south, France has it all. In this article we have put together a selection of gravel routes that will allow you to get closer to nature and turn your outings into unforgettable experiences!

Best Gravel Rides In France

Southern France - L'Estérel

Start point: Mandelieu-la-Napoule
End point: Mandelieu-la-Napoule
Distance: 57 km
Elevation gain: 1130 m

The Massif de l'Estérel offers real postcard landscapes with its Eucalyptus forest offering a striking contrast with the red rock and the azure blue sky. It is an ideal place for cyclists to quickly escape the road traffic and get closer to nature in this car-free zone.

From Mandelieu-la-Napoule on the coast, you will quickly venture into the slopes of the Estérel. The Grail is suitable for this circular route and for those who need a helping hand with the climbs, the Grail:ON is a good alternative.

Located in the South of France, the Estérel offers temperatures that allow for year-round riding. However, during summer, be sure to check if the Massif de l'Estérel is open to the public due to the fire risk.

South Eastern France - Haute-Maurienne

Start point: Bessans
End point: Bessans
Distance: 25 km
Elevation gain: 810 m

Do you want a trip of a lifetime? Then Haute Maurienne, in the heart of the Alps, is the destination for you! Go for an adventure in the mountains and pass by villages lost in nature where time has stopped. The Hameau de Villaron is an obligatory stop on the circuit and a magnificent place to discover. The trails are quite technical and hilly. The Grizl is a great choice on this terrain. Moreover, the weather is often uncertain and changeable in the mountains, so you will need to bring clothes for all conditions such as a rain jacket.

North Western France - The Loire Valley

Start point: Parçay-les-Pins
End point: Parçay-les-Pins
Distance: 39 km
Elevation gain: 285 m

When we refer to gravel, we often think of the mythical Italian white roads called "Strade Bianche". Well, there’s no need to go to Italy because you can find this type of road in the Loire Valley! Nestled between Angers and Tours, starting from the Gîtes Loire Life in Parçay-les-Pins, you’ll be treated to some of the best gravel in the world.

The Grail is our ideal bike to go full speed ahead and kick up dust as you go. To be even more comfortable, you can equip yourself with a gravel jersey that will ensure comfort in warm temperatures and freedom of movement! If you prefer to take your time and enjoy the scenery rather than focus on your pedalling, opt for the Pathlite:ON instead, which will take you easily to any gravel road.

Best Gravel Rides In France

Eastern France - Alsace

Start point: Canyon Café, Trois-Epis
End point: Canyon Café, Trois-Epis
Distance: 65 km
Elevation gain: 1220 m

Alsace is a popular tourist destination and renowned for its varied landscapes combining medium mountains, vineyards and plains. François-Elie, Canyon’s customer service representative, recommends starting at the Canyon Café in Trois-Epis. You'll venture out along the famous Route des Vins and enjoy some great views.

For this route, we recommend the Grail, which can easily handle the rolling, bumpy sections. If you don't have an advanced level of riding, the Grail:ON will also do the trick. At the end of the ride, you can enjoy a good “tarte flambée” or a beer at the Canyon Café, open from April to October.

From North To South Of France - The French Divide

Start point: Bray-Dunes
End point: Mendionde, Netherlands
Distance: 2268 km
Elevation gain: 35,000 m

The French Divide is the biggest ultra-distance race in France. If you like challenges and long adventures of several days then discover the French Divide course. You can do take part in the annual event (usually at the start of August every year), go alone or with friends - the choice is yours! This course connects the French-Belgian border to the French-Spanish border and is composed of 70% gravel roads. You will pass by paved sectors, the paths of St Jacques de Compostelle and will discover mythical passes. Equip yourself with bikepacking bags, a tent, a change of clothes and let's go! We recommend our bikepacking adventure bikes, the Grizl gravel bike or Exceed hardtail mountain bike, to accomplish this incredible epic!

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