Power to the Pedals – 8 Great e-bike Tours in France
If you are thinking about a trip to France this holiday season and looking for some cycling tours, then this page is for you. The focus of this article is electric bike tours that are currently available in France. We have researched the market and listed 8 different options across the country that you might like to consider. Choose from popular destinations like Bordeaux and its magnificent wines, the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean or the historic beaches of Normandy.
e-bike Tours in France – a popular activity
Electric bikes or e-bikes have increased in their popularity over the last few years. Many people are rediscovering their love of riding a bike with a little bit of extra assistance from the motor. If you’ve ever wanted to take a cycle tour but were concerned whether you had the fitness required to get over some hilly terrain, then an e-bike tour provides you with a perfect solution. So with this in mind, we have picked out 8 different e-bike tours in France you can look to explore on your next holiday. The tours we have selected below vary in duration and are a mix of guided and self-guided options.
Full Day French Riviera
(Region: French Riviera. Duration 7hrs)
Explore the delights of the French Riviera on this guided e-bike tour. Departing from the historical old port of Nice, you will enjoy marvelling at the superyachts in the harbour before using that e-bike motor to easily get you to the top of the surrounding peak of Mont Boron where you will cycle past Elton John’s house. The view from the summit looking back towards the seafront is absolutely stunning. Then get a taste of the life of the rich and famous with a visit to the opulent Villa Ephrussie de Rothschild and its 9 gardens. For some extra fun, the tour also includes a game of Pétanque – a favourite pastime in this area of France. Discover more about this tour here.
Feel like discovering more about a holiday in the French Riviera? Read our comprehensive destination guide.
Easy going e-bike Tour Loire Valley
(Region: Loire Valley. Duration 6 days)
If you want to take in the sights of grand Chateaus, sweeping rivers, fields of sunflowers and rolling vineyards then this e-bike tour in the Loire Valley is for you. Running over 6 days, this guided tour begins and ends in St-Pierre-des-Corps. The best of the Loire is on offer here including the experience of staying in luxury Chateaus each night as your accommodation. Each meal on the tour utilises the local produce which is grown in the region and of course, this includes the wine from the vineyards you cycle past. Discover more about this tour here.
D-Day Landing Beaches e-bike Tour: Bayeux to Omaha Beach
(Region: Normandy. Duration: 6 hours)
This e-bike tour in Normandy is definitely one for those who have an interest in World War II history. As you ride through the countryside your tour guide will point out areas of significance in relation to the battles which broke out here during the war. The tour finishes at Omaha Beach – one of the landing beaches used in D-Day. You will also have free time to spend at the American Cemetery. This is just one of a number of similar tours offered by the Tour Operator. You can discover more of their D-Day Landing Beaches tours here.
Bordeaux to Sarlat Wine and e-bike Tour
(Region: Bordeaux & Dordogne. Duration: 6 or 9 days)
If you are a lover of French wine and food then this self-guided e-bike tour is for you. Starting in the beautiful city of Bordeaux and ending in the charming village of Sarlat in the Dordogne region, this is a real gastronomy tour. You will have a multitude of wineries to stop in at along the way as you travel through the beautiful towns of Saint Emillion, Bergerac and Les Eyzies. But while the wine in this region is world-renowned, so is the local produce and food with some of the best cuisines France has to offer. The tour is offered with an option of 6 or 9 days depending on how long you want to explore the area. For more information click here.
e-bike: The Grand Tour of Provence
(Region: Provence, Duration: 7 days)
If you are feeling inspired by the book A Year in Provence then the Grand Tour of Provence is the e-bike tour in France you are after. This 7-day self-guided e-Bike tour visits all the famous sights that the Provence region is famous for. From historic hilltop forts, olive groves, lavender fields, as well as those famous perched villages. You will discover that an e-bike is a perfect way to explore everything that is on offer on this trip. If you feel like getting a taste for some Tour de France history you also have the option to cycle the infamous Mont Ventoux instead of taking a rest day. Discover more about this tour here.
Tour de France Cols on an e-Bike
(Region: French Alps. Duration: 6 Days)
Want to ride the iconic climbs of the Tour de France but worried you aren’t fit enough? Then why not ride them on this e-bike tour through the southern French Alps. You will be able to enjoy the 21 hairpin bends of Alpe d’Huez as well as take in the moonscape of the ‘Casse Deserte’ of the Col d’Izoard – one of the highest mountain passes in Europe. There is even a ‘time trial challenge’ stage where you can pit yourself and your e-bike up against the time set by Chris Froome. This e-bike tour also includes all the benefits which come from a guided tour with vehicle support. Discover more about this e-bike tour in France here.
Want to discover what is on offer in the French Alps? Read our practical guide on planning a holiday in the French Alps here.
Northern Corsica on an e-bike: GT 20 from Bastia to Calvi
(Region: Corsica. Duration: 7 days)
This e-bike tour takes in the sights of Northern Corsica, a French Island located south of the French Riviera, on the Mediterranean Sea. The self-guided tour begins in Bastia where you can take in the rich history and marvel at the buildings in the old port and citadel. The tour follows the route of the Grande Traverse 20 and each day has two options with different ride distances depending on whether you’d prefer a longer or shorter day in the saddle. The island of Corsica is a real gem and contains very diverse scenery. There are many high mountain peaks, a desert as well as beautiful little fishing villages and of course countless beaches to explore. The finishing city of Calvi is a sight to behold and you will certainly want to spend time exploring the 12th Century Citadel. Click here to learn more about this e-bike tour.
Three Lakes Tour – Geneva to Annecy
(Region: French Alps. Duration: 6 days)
This self-guided e-bike tour sees you take in the sights of three beautiful lakes, all of which are framed by the mountain peaks of the French Alps and Jura. This tour actually begins in Geneva in Switzerland which is very close to the French border. From there you will enjoy this pleasant route which has been planned to utilise the river paths which trace the Rhone and Isere rivers. You will explore the shores of Lake Geneva before riding through to France and reaching Lac du Bourget – France’s deepest glacial lake. Whilst there makes sure to enjoy the thermal spa waters of Aix les Bains which have been utilised since Roman times.
The final lake to take in on this tour is Lake Annecy. The city of Annecy itself enjoys a stunning backdrop with the turquoise waters of the beautiful lake framed by huge Alpine peaks looming all around. The old city or ‘Vielle Ville’ is known as the Venice of the Alps owing to the stunning canals which flow through it. The assistance of the e-bike on this tour means you can experience the joys of riding through the French Alps without the struggle of pedalling up mountains. Discover more about this tour here.
Annecy is a fantastic holiday destination with so many activities, sites and attractions to explore Read more in our comprehensive Annecy destination guide.
What to consider when hiring an e-bike?
If you’d like the experience of riding an e-bike but don’t want to partake in an official tour then there are still great options to choose from. You will find the availability of e-bike hire in France is increasing and they are available for rental right throughout the country. The type of e-bike you hire will vary depending on the terrain and distances you plan to ride. There are three different types of e-bikes you will generally find available – e-mountain bikes, e-hybrid/city bikes and e-road bikes. For most people the e-hybrid/city bike will be the best option, allowing you to ride in a comfortable upright position on a mix of road surfaces. Many of the popular city bike hire schemes now also have an e-bike option.
3 tips to help you prepare for an e-bike tour
Making sure you choose the right e-bike tour to suit your riding style is a really important consideration to make. Below are three things to do before you go which will help make sure participating in an e-bike tour is an enjoyable experience for you.
* Consider the type of terrain you are comfortable riding on. An e-bike will definitely help you get to the top of climbs with ease, but you don’t want to get to the summit of a road only to find you are not confident riding down the other side. If you feel that descending long mountain roads may be a bit scary for you, then be sure to choose an e-bike tour that keeps you on flatter terrain.
* Ride your bike before you go on holiday. This is especially important if it has been a while since you last turned the pedals. Spending some time riding a bike beforehand will help you ride with confidence when you are on your tour.
* Work out how long you are comfortable riding a bike for each day. The e-bike motor will help take some of the efforts out of the actual riding, but you still want to be sure you are ok with spending a few hours on a bike seat. This will also help you decide on the e-bike tour length. If you want to ride a multi-day tour, then you definitely want to know you are comfortable with the idea of riding day after day. Keep in mind in France e-bike motors are limited to travelling at a speed of 25km/hr. (15.5mi). This will help you work out how long it may take to travel the distances between your start and end point each day.
How long does an e-bike motor last?
If you are taking a self-guided e-bike tour something to find out beforehand is the capacity of the motor. In most cases e-bikes will allow for a few different modes, each giving a different amount of ‘boost’ in terms of power. The more powerful the boost, the higher the drain on the battery. Each motor is different and other factors such as the weight of the rider, the bike, any luggage you are taking as well as the type of terrain you are riding (hilly/flat) will all have an impact on battery life and how long the e-bike motor will last.
So there is no one magic number that will apply to everyone in relation to the mileage you can expect to cover on an e-bike battery charge. This is definitely something to ask your tour operator but for most people, provided you use the motor wisely you will comfortably complete the distances set out in the tour. There is also a range calculator available here from Bosch which is one of the most common battery types used on e-bikes. If you put in your details it will give you an estimate of the distance you can travel on one charge.
Feeling inspired to ride a bike in France on your next holiday? Then have a look at our Practical Resources section which has everything you need to know to assist you with trip planning.