While Geraint Thomas wannabes might tackle the Alps or Pyrenees, here are 10 less-challenging but equally scenic routes for families and newbies
It is possible to cycle all the way across south-west France, from Bordeaux on the Atlantic to Sète on the Mediterranean, following just one river and two canals. Beginners might prefer to pace themselves by cycling the second half, from Toulouse to Sète along the towpaths of the Canal du Midi. At 150 miles (240km), it is a decent distance, but is flat and can be broken up into manageable stages. The going can be a bit rough and bumpy, so consider investing in a gel saddle cover. Places to spend a night or two include the fortified city of Carcassonne, a short detour from the canal, and historic Béziers.
DIY info freewheelingfrance.com
Organised tour Belle France has seven-night self-guided trip from Toulouse to Agde from £1,620, including six days’ cycling, bike hire and support, luggage transfers and half-board accommodation. There is an optional one-day add-on to Sète.