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St Malo to Sète
September 2018 | June 2019
What you can expect
Diverse landscapes from flat to mountainous, the route takes in quiet roads virtually all the way. Discover la France profonde as you travel off the beaten track in this diagonal traverse of France. This trip is a true experience with sometimes long days; the emotion when you finally see the thin line of the Mediterranean in the distance is something you will remember for years to come. We cross many of France's major rivers and pedal through rural areas, some of them known internationally for their produce. A real adventure! 10 days' cycling; 8 nights half board with wine; two nights bed and breakfast; luggage transport, full back-up and assistance throughout the day.
- Brittany Coast with Mont St Michel in the distance
- Riding through the Loire Valley vineyards
- The beautiful unspoilt Creuse region
- The spectacular Massif Central
- Riding up the Puy Mary
- The Tarn Gorge
On our 2018 departures we are offering return bike transport to St Pancras at £50 per bike, allowing you to relax on the train home.
This classic French end-to-end is often regarded as the equivalent of Land's End - John O'Groats. A challenging ride with long days in the saddle and a fair quota of hills make this a tour for regular cyclists who will appreciate roads that are much quieter and better surfaced than those back home (those interested in a more gentle tour should consider our Calais to Nice or St Malo to Nice routes over two weeks).
From St Malo the first couple of days across undulating countryside ease the legs into the tougher hills to come further south. After seeing Mont St Michel in the distance across the bay you turn your back on the sea - the next time you see it will be in ten days' time at journey's end! The first night is spent in the magnificent mediaeval town of Vitré, before heading south to Angers on day two. Early the next morning, the first major milestone can be ticked off as you cross the mighty Loire river, then enjoy a lovely ride with frequent glimpses of the river to Saumur, with its famous chateau, and Chinon, before turning south across rolling country to the perfect town of Richelieu, designed by Louis XIV's chancellor and Cardinal of the same name. No really big hills so far, but they are getting longer and a little more frequent!
After this it's south into the lovely Gartempe and Creuse region, with unspoilt river valleys and picture-postcard villages with cafes in the square under shady trees. You then follow the Creuse all the way to Le Blanc, before striking out again through a patchwork of fields and ancient forests. Arriving in Argenton on evening four you will start to notice the limestone outcrops, and ahead of you in the distance the first signs of the Massif Central. After a good night's rest a hilly day awaits as you ride south to the halfway hotel in unspoilt Aubusson, with a really lovely last few miles along the banks of the Creuse.
From Aubusson, good roads offer the chance to get into a nice rhythm and soon you will be into the unspoilt uplnads of the Cantal, where little has changed in centuries except it would seem the road surfaces which are mostly billiard table smooth on the road to Riom-es-Montagnes. You may have guessed from the name that this is now hill country, right on the edge of the Auvergne national park.
Day 7 is the big one - the Puy Mary (or Pas de Peyrol) rising to 1688m and a long climb. There's an excellent mountain restaurant at the top and the views are quite spectacular. Look back after the twelve mile descent and you can see the top far in the distance. Next is the Col d'Entremont - nothing too hard - and the descent into Murat, a climb out again and an evening stop in historic St. Flour which owes its prosperity to its location on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela.
The next day there is a lovely start to the Chateau d'Alleuze with early morning mist rising off the lake it sits next to, then on to Nasbinals and a super road alongside a babbling brook. Soon after we cross the motorway, looking down at the frustrated motorists, and a fast descent into Marvejols where you spend the night. Day nine is a harder one, but the scenery makes up for the effort as you get into the country of the Tarn Gorges, where the climbs are interspersed with flatter sections. The scenery here is dramatic and unforgettable.
The last day has a few climbs but nothing too tortuous, and finally you look up and see the thin blue line of the Mediterranean in the distance. An emotional moment. A great descent into wine country once more, and then across the coastal strip to the lighthouse in Sète and the opportunity to dip your toes into the sea! That night, enjoy a celebratory dinner in our centrally located hotel and reminisce with new friends about your fantastic achievement!
On our 2018 departures we are offering return bike transport to St Pancras at £50 per bike, allowing you to relax on the train home. If you wish to use our bike return service, this is timed to get to St Pancras to meet the 4.05pm arrival which normally leaves Sète at 8.07am with changes in Montpellier and Lille (based on the usual timetables but please double check before booking the train).
Transfers from (start): St Malo ferry and TGV station, Dinard airport.
Transfers to (end): Sete rail station, Montpellier airport.
Requested Single Supplement (see our FAQ page): £595
or enquire about specific dates by clicking 'Booking Enquiry' below.
'Belated massive thanks to you and Paul for the awesome St Malo to Sete trip. Really impressed with the whole thing from start to finish, but mostly by the nothing to much trouble attitude of yourself from Day 1. Heightens the customer experience immensely when your host provides such an excellent service.'
'Thanks Charlie for taking us on a fantastic trip from St Malo to Sete. It was a real cycling challenge, right up there with LEJOG. We passed through places I never dreamt of visiting on quiet roads, saw some amazing scenery and made new friends. All in all, it was an excellent 10 days of cycling!'
Your Next Adventure Awaits
What you need to know...
Region of France
Rides Across France
76 km / 47 miles
136 km / 85 miles
11 days total / 10 days cycling
1,123 km / 702 miles. 15,161m ascent
Departure Dates & Prices
|Month||Dates||Tour Price||Single Supplement*||Bike Hire From||Enquire||Book|
|May 2018||19th to 29th May 2018||19/5/18 to 29/5/18||£1,895||£595||£175||FULLY BOOKED|
|September 2018||1st to 11th September 2018||1/9/18 to 11/9/18||£1,895||£595||£175||Check Availability||Book Now|
|June 2019||1st to 11th June 2019||1/6/19 to 11/6/19||£1,895||£595||£175||Check Availability||Book Now|
*A single supplement is only payable if you would like a guaranteed room to yourself. If you are happy to share with another traveller of the same gender, no supplement is payable.