Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 45 seconds
Despite the fact I’ve written and published a Very Comprehensive and Totally Kick Butt Guide to Cycling Through France, I thought I’d write a series of posts around the topic as well.
In Part 1, we cover the creation of an itinerary (initial planning) involving Tour stages, climbs to do, as well as what airlines you might look at.
In Part 2, I discuss Accommodation and Car Hire choices.
In Part 3, we discuss booking flights, accommodation and car/campervan hire.
In Part 4, we look at on the ground stuff like Tolls, Fuel, Food and Camping.
In Part 5, we talk about following an actual Tour stage.
In Part 7, we look at pitfalls, tips and tricks, insurance, visas, money, mobile phone roaming and internet, the language and document protection.
Note: I don’t like scarcity marketing at all, so this isn’t shorted content to bait you into buying the ebook. If you see value in a 70-odd page, professionally produced, interactive guide (which you can download a free preview of here), you buy the book and if you don’t, that’s cool too. At the same time though, I won’t replicate all the content in the ebook guide as it’s simply too extensive. So we’ll just cover high level considerations in these posts.
Like Chris says, you won’t die if you don’t buy it. You’ll still be able to plan a great trip to France, but if you buy the guide, you’ll find out the mistakes I made, pitfalls to watch out for, and tips to save money, as well as all the planning info you need in one spot. so it’s up to you.
Welcome to Part 4 of the tourdefrancetips.com quick guide to planning a cycling trip to France for Le Tour, L’Etape or just for leisure.
In this post, we look at:
Tolls are quite prevalent on French motorways (Autoroutes) and can quickly add up. I think we spent around AUD$500 with minimal driving.
The tolls can be as much as 50 Euro (the Tunnel de Frejus was I think 45 Euro one way – 90 AUD!) so be careful.
Often you can drive on a road right next to the Autoroute which is freeway standard, for free.
The tolls are a mix of automatic and manned booths. It’s pretty straightforward to use the auto booths – generally at one end you get a ticket from a machine then at the other end (or exit), you pay via credit card at a automatic gate or a manned booth.
Where a ticket system is not operated, the booths simply charge you on the way past.
Pretty straight forward so don’t panic. If you don’t speak any French, they will just write the amount down on a piece of paper and show you, or else you can just hand your card over like I did.
Fuel is pretty much the same as any other western country with the exception being diesel. Diesel is also called Gazole, so if you don’t see a Diesel pump at the service station, look for the words “Gazole”.
One of the things (of many) j’adore about France est la cuisine! The food is most similar to what I can get here in Australia; lots of cheese, avocado, mushrooms, protein and vegies.
What you eat over there really is up to you, but I found it was a function of how you travelled. In the campervan, it was easy for us to cook and prepare our own food.
We stuck to pasta for dinner, but our main dinners were take-away pizza.
We usually ate croissants and coffee every morning for breakfast.
For lunch/snacks, we had fresh baguettes and Laughing Cow cheese (la vache qui rit), avocado, ham and tomatoe. I think we had about 2-3 baguettes a day, each.
Eating out can be very expensive; think 20EU or more for mains, and I wouldn’t call the standard fantastic in a lot of places. Compared to somewhere like Melbourne, where $20-$25 gets you a very good main, or even a couple of dishes, France is expensive.
To be honest, France isn’t the place to be worried about diet. Go crazy, especially if you’re riding a lot.
France is absolutely set up for camping, both tent camping and campervan/caravan camping. I’m not going to discuss the camping versus campervan versus hotel options, that’s covered in this post.
In most other circumstances, you could probably just wing it and turn up to a place.
However, given you’re most likely going to be following the Tour, I’d highly recommend booking some camping (or a hotel) ahead of time, if you don’t have a campervan, in towns that the Tour visits, or even ones near the Tour. Remember, there’s something like several hundred thousand people following the tour day to day.
I know this information is brief, but you can read it all in depth in Guide to Cycling through France.
In the next post in this series, I’ll cover following a tour stage as well as wrapping up with some tips and tricks.
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