Cycling Across France: A Photo Essay

by Gigi Griffis

Resting against the mayor’s office in a small town north of Saumur.

If you’ve been around for a while, you already know that this past September, I cycled a vintage Swiss military bike all the way across France, from the Swiss border to the Atlantic Ocean. The trip was emotional and difficult and infinitely worth it. And I realized this week that I hadn’t shared many of my photos.

So today, a photo essay covering a little under a month on a bicycle winding my way across the French countryside:

day one

Day one on the trail, just outside Basel, Switzerland.


Colmar, France.

Colmar kids

Colmar, France.

city on a hill

Dole, France.

riverside cycle


hill from hell

at the top of the hill

corn fields


Beaune, France.

Beaune shop

Beaune, France.

Cycling through the forest

the Loire

Ancient castle at Sully-sur-Loire

Sully-sur-Loire, France.


Gite room

La Coyere gites


Château de Villandry

Castle grounds

Château de Villandry

Château de l’Islette

Castle through the garden

Château de l’Islette

Castle grounds

Château de l’Islette


Château de l’Islette

Azay le Rideau

Château de Azay-le-Rideau

towns along the Loire

Bridge at sunset

crossing to an island

tilted house

The Atlantic Coast


Monster bridge


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All photos taken with my brand-new Sony a6000.

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tanya January 28, 2016 - 1:03 pm

wow, these photos make you feel like you are right there! Thanks so much for sharing them, it looked like it was a great trip.

gigigriffis January 31, 2016 - 11:42 am

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed them.

Linda January 28, 2016 - 3:00 pm

Lovely! Thanks for sharing! I especially like the fourth photo from the bottom!!! Luna’s ears are adorable! Linda

gigigriffis January 31, 2016 - 11:42 am


Colina R January 31, 2016 - 3:58 am

Lovely photos. Can you tell us their locations?

gigigriffis January 31, 2016 - 11:41 am

They’re almost all along the Eurovelo 6 biking trail (though a couple are detours a little ways off the main trail). Most the trail photos and a few of the tiny town shots I couldn’t pinpoint for you exactly, but the cities, in order, are:

Photo 1: Mayor’s office in a small town north of Saumur.

Photos 3 – 4: Colmar, France.

Photo 5: Dole, France.

Photos 11 – 12: Beaune, France.

Photo 15 (first castle): Sully-sur-Loire, France.

Photo 17 (interior shot of a countryside gite): La Coyere gites in the countryside outside Saumur.

Photos 19 – 20: Château de Villandry.

21 – 24: Chateau de l’Islette.

25: Chateau Azay-le-Rideau.

31 – 32: Saint-Brevin-les-Pins; the Atlantic Coast.

Ali February 3, 2016 - 1:32 pm

Gorgeous! You’re definitely making me want to go back to France and explore more castles in the Loire Valley. The ones pictured here are really pretty. It would be nice to have more time there, as opposed to the day trip I did last summer. Maybe I’ll go back someday…

Martin James February 8, 2016 - 11:04 am

Great work, beautiful pictures.

gigigriffis February 8, 2016 - 11:09 am


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jumbo May 4, 2017 - 1:16 am

Wow beautiful pictures. Great collection.

chris harding April 27, 2018 - 10:25 pm

Hi There from New Zealand

I have friends with a canal boat in St Jean de Losnes and will spend a few weeks with them in June July 2018. I plan to buy a cross bike and pannier in Dole or Dijon so i am free to cycle to Colmar Strasbourg Geneva or anywhere. I may also bring a small 1.25kg tent as accomodation may be tight at that time.
I am concerned about security of the bike tent and stuff, if i leave it unattended in a campground.
Have you any suggestions to make please

gigigriffis April 28, 2018 - 6:01 am

Hi Chris,

I don’t think I’d be worried about your tent. Just lock up your bike (bike theft is definitely a possibility) and keep anything valuable on your person. I lived out of a campground in Switzerland for awhile and I’d leave most things in my tent and just keep my computer and stuff with me in a small backpack. You can also look into lockers or storage options (many campgrounds have them, I think) if you have electronics you want to leave while you go hiking or something. I used to have the campground staff lock my backpack in their office if I went hiking.


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