The Joy of the Open Road: Motorcycling in France

Any motorcycle owner will know that there’s nothing like the sense of freedom and exhilaration of a ride – especially when exploring a whole new destination. From the glorious green landscapes of the Loire Valley to the winding mountain roads of the Pyrénées, France appears practically tailor-made for bikers. So that leaves just one problem: with a road network spanning over one million kilometres of varying terrain to choose from, where do you begin your adventure? Read our guide to some of the best motorbike tours in France.

Motorcycling in Northern France

Our Dover to Calais crossing will have you in Northern France in a speedy 90 minutes. If you’re staying close to the port, consider taking a few days to tour the D-Day beaches, war museums and monuments that make up the area of nearby Dunkirk. Further afield, a ride south of Paris will take you towards the spectacular Loire Valley​. This UNESCO World Heritage region is full of opulence and splendour, with countless chateaux and historic sites that are often visible from the road, and you can stop at any along the way for a quick pit stop.

Crozon peninsula in Finistère, Brittany

Further west, the region of Brittany is gloriously wild and remote – making it the perfect place to explore from your motorbike. If you’re nearby, be sure to head to Finistère, which forms the westernmost part of the wondrous Crozon peninsula. The name translates loosely to “world’s end”, and if you ride all the way to Pen-Hir Point, you’ll soon see why. With such a dramatic setting, this rugged headland overhangs the blue Atlantic below, and plays host to many a classic motorbike rally.

Motorcycling in Southern France

If you’re making the trip to Southern France, the lofty heights of the Col de Turini road offers a wonderful mountainous terrain that’s best suited to experienced riders. Best tackled in dry weather, thrill seekers will love the trail’s hairpin bends and turns through the spectacular Alpes-Maritimes region.

If you’d rather stay on level ground, the Route Napoleon covers 325km of smooth road framed by the idyllic mountains of Provence. The route starts at Golfe-Juan near Cannes (where Napoleon landed in 1815) and spans all the way to Grenoble, France’s self-confessed ‘Capital of the Alps’.

Further south in Nice, you’ll find the Gorges Daluis, an incredible gorge made up of red sandstone, which winds all the way to Mercantour national park – a haven for nature lovers and thrill seekers alike. The route inclines ever so slightly on the way up, with arches and tunnels along the way which make for an enjoyable ride by motorbike.

A note on road safety in France

Riding in France comes with some regulations that may differ from what you’re used to. For more, read our guide to Driving in France.

All set to discover France? Book your crossing from Dover to Calais, today!