From Alpe d’Huez to Valloire and nearly every letter in between France mountain biking holidays offers a great destination for MTB riders. Ski resorts that transform to professionally run mountain bike parks with trails that feel as though they could run forever will leave you spoilt for choice.
Opening times for the ski resorts as MTB parks vary greatly but typically range from early June through to the end of October. Not all parks provide all week cable car of lift access, so it’s important to check in advance when planning your journey.
Visiting some of the larger parks you can expect trail networks of hundreds of kilometers, and descents of over 2,500 vertical metres. The Portes Du Soleil area, and attached resorts of Les Gets, Morzine, Chatel and Avoriaz, were the first to offer MTB uplift in the French alps and are a Mecca for France mountain biking holidays.
Other great ski areas to check out for mountain biking are Les 2 Alpes, Les Arcs, Alpe d’Huez, Méribel, Chamonix, Tignes, Val d’Isere and well pretty much every ski resort. Some areas have mainly natural trails, whereas others build full on bike parks with huge berms, jumps and northshore trails.
Imagine flowing single track with berms sweeping you side to side all with some of the most amazing views in the world – France mountain biking holidays are pretty much MTB heaven. Any resort with uplift will offer bike and equipment hire and guides. Most can assist with servicing and bike maintenance if required.
Trails and parks for the less experienced or younger riders are also on offer. In particular Pra Loup is a small affordable bike park. It has a range of trails that wind their way through pine forests, with well maintained berms, and a range of wooden man made obstacles in varying difficulties.
Further south in the ski resorts of the French Pyrenees the summer season often starts earlier. Ski resorts such as St Lary, Cauterets, Moungie, Les Angles and Ax Les Thermes all open their lifts to mountain bikers. In the Pyrenees expect more of a traditional mountain feel, plus there is normally excellent weather.
The downhill world cup regularly visits Lourdes. But it is not just extreme trails. There are plenty of all-mountain and enduro routes in the area. What with it’s cultural significance, historic towns and interesting history the Midi Pyrenees is a great destination for mountain biking in France.
Of course mountain biking in France is not limited to the mountains. There are hills with woodland trails perfect for XC riders dotted all over the country. There are great coastal routes to explore and a multitude of other bike touring options.
From the Ardèche, to Loire Valley and Paris suburbs to Brittany beaches France mountain biking holidays are as varied as the people enjoying them. Take Normandy as an example, it is dotted with touring bike trails with some proper flowing MTB tracks in the Suisse Normande area – not as challenging as the Alps but still fun.
With Paris being a major international hub for air travel getting to France is simple wherever you are in the world. But you’d be better flying direct to Toulouse for the Pyrenees or Geneva for the Alps. There are plenty of other regional airports so pick the one whose prices and schedule suits your plans.
France and most of Europe has a great motorway network so you can easily drive yourself and your bike and all your gear with you. From the UK you can get the ferry from Dover to Calais, Portsmouth to St Malo or Newhaven to Dieppe. I have driven from Dieppe to the Alps a couple of times and it takes about 8 hours.
The train network is also fast and reliable, so you could sit back and enjoy your journey by train. But it really doesn’t matter how you get there because the real adventure won’t begin until you’re in the saddle.
We hope you enjoyed this brief guide to France mountain biking holidays. Be sure to check out our MTB discounts in France as you could save a fortune.