France - Auvergne

France - Auvergne

1st May 2019 - 1st October 2019 (154 days)

This is a moving-on self-led tour that takes you from the Rhône valley into the Auvergne Region of the Central Massif. Variations on the standard tour are available, but the nature of the terrain means that all days involve considerable climbing. The tour and any variations on it are for the experienced self-reliant cyclist. Opportunities to sightsee can normally be incorporated into the tour. The tour can take place any time between 1 May and 1 October.

  • Holiday Type Self-Led
  • Tour Manager Peter England
  • Grade Challenging
  • Booking Status Places Available
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Board Basis Half Board
  • Travel Arrangements Land Only
  • Road / Off Road Road
  • Holiday Style Moving-on
  • Vehicle Support Carry Own Luggage
  • Holiday Ref 03322


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France - Auvergne

Day 1

Cycle from Givors to St-Anthème. Climb from the Rhône valley into the Lyonnais Mountains, cross the Loire basin and climb into the Forèz Mountains. 96km. Stay 1 night.

Day 2

Cycle to Vertolaye in the Forez Mountains. Climb the Col des Supeyres (1366m) and the Col de Béal (1390m), then descend to the Dore valley. 75km. Stay 1 night.

Day 3

Cycle to St-Nectaire. Cross the Livradois Mountains and the Allier River and enter the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Park. 82km. Stay 2 nights.

Day 4

Loop ride from St-Nectaire or rest day. See close up the volcanic chains and climb the Col de la Croix St Robert at 1426 metres. (Suggested circuits of 103 km and shorter alternatives).

Day 5

Cycle to Massiac. Cross the Cézallier Plateau. 93km. Stay 1 night.

Day 6

Cycle to Riom-es Montagnes. Recross the Cézallier Plateau, climb into the Cantal Mountains. 98 or 86km. Stay 2 nights.

Day 7

Loop ride from Riom-es Montagnes or rest day. This circuit of the Cantal Mountains includes climbs of the 1582m Pas de Peyrol, and a visit to the fortified medieval village of Salers is possible. Suggested circuits of 129, 92 and 69 km.

Day 8

Cycle to Mur-de-Barrez. More climbing in the Cantal Mountains including the Prat de Bouc at 1392m. 97km. Stay 1 night.

Day 9

Cycle to Pont-de-Gournier. Descend the Truyère Gorges and climb onto the Aubrac volcanic plateau. 64km. Stay 2nights.

Day 10

Loop ride from Pont-de-Gournier or rest day. Circuit of Aubrac. 92 or 40km.

Day 11

Cycle to Garabit. Descend the Truyère Gorges to arrive at the Garabit Viaduct. 70km. Stay 1 night.

Day 12

Cycle to Cayres. Cross the Margeride plateau then descend to and climb steeply out of the Allier Gorges. 83km. Stay 1 night.

Day 13

Cycle to Tence. Cross the Velay with its numerous volcanic peaks. 87km. Stay 1 night.

Day 14

Cycle to Bourg Argental. Climb through the woods of the Haut Vivarais.102km. Stay 1 night.

Day 15

Cycle to Givors. The climb though the Mont Pilat Park incorporates the 1200m Col de l’Oeillon and the more modest 651m Col de Pavezin as you descend to the Rhône Valley where the tour ends. 74km.

Distances: Daily average cycling distance is 87km (54 miles) if the longer circuits are chosen, but there will be opportunities to cut corners or take additional loops. Variations on the standard route above are possible in terms of the number of days, daily mileage, and number of nights in the same place.

Accommodation & Meals

You will be staying in  2 or 3-star hotels. The price includes an evening meal and breakfast. Rooms are booked on a half board basis, sharing two to a room. Single occupancy can be booked for a supplement. Vegetarian meals can be arranged if requested at the time of booking, though choice may be limited.

Vehicle Support

Riders are expected to carry their own luggage.

Passports, Visa & Health

EU citizens must hold a passport that is still valid on the date of their return to their home country. Holders of non-EU passports are advised to check whether they require a visa. There are no compulsory health related requirements for UK residents, but you are strongly advised to check that your tetanus protection has not expired. You must also carry your European Health Insurance Card.

Travel Insurance

Our Booking Conditions stipulate that, for holidays outside the UK, travel Insurance is mandatory. Details of the level of cover needed and other conditions you should check are stated in the Booking Conditions. CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any costs that may be incurred due to insufficient insurance cover.


The price of £1,000 is based on a 14-night holiday and is calculated at a rate of 1.12 Euros to £1 sterling (based on exchange rates published by on 14 September 2018; please note Booking Conditions, clause 3). The cost of fewer or extra nights will be reduced or increased pro-rata.

Price Includes

  • 14 nights hotel, sharing room, half-board
  • Detailed route sheets
  • CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs

Price Does Not Include

  • Travel to and from the tour
  • Drinks with evening meals
  • Lunches or refreshments during the day
  • Entry fees at any attractions
  • Any other personal expenses
  • Travel Insurance
  • Single occupancy supplement (£20 per night, subject to availability)

Payment Schedule

A deposit of £100 per person is payable upon booking, with the final balance of £900 per person to be paid 10 weeks prior to departure.


Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:

Written notice received:

70 days before tour starts

Between 69 and 29 days

Between 28 and 14 days

From 13 days before the tour starts


Cancellation charge:


33% of total cost

75% of total cost

100% of total cost

The Area Covered By The Holiday

The standard tour includes not only the Volcanic Park in the centre of the region, but also the different mountain ranges and plateaux which make up the high central massif. The park boasts unique features that are the result of violent volcanic eruptions, including lakes as well as the obvious conical forms. Here you are amongst the highest mountains in central France. The high pastures are particularly attractive in the early summer when they are carpeted with wild flowers.
The tour would normally start from Lyon Sud European Bike Express stop. Travelling west you would cross the Rhône, Loire, Dore and Allier Valleys, passing through the Forèz and Livradois mountains to the Regional Volcanic Park and the Monts Dore and Cantal ranges. Return would be via the Truyère Gorges, the Margeride Plateau, the Velay and the Haut Vivarais, recrossing the Rhône to Chasse.

Rides & Rest Days

An average day on the standard tour is around 87km (54 miles) but there will be opportunities to take short cuts or to do additional loops, and there are rest days. All days involve climbing, sometimes for several miles. Variations are, however, possible, in terms of total days, daily mileage, and number of nights in the same place. You need to discuss with the Tour Manager what you want, who will put together an individually tailored package at a quoted price. The Tour Manager would not want to put together a tour outside the area described, as he could not guarantee the quality of the routes nor of the information he would be able to offer.
In all cases a provisional route will be suggested which you will be asked to approve. A detailed final route sheet will be available as soon as hotel bookings have been confirmed.

Accommodation & Meals

Hotels are chosen carefully, and if the Tour Manager books you into one that he has not previously used, he will tell you. The accommodation will be predominantly 2- or 3-star standard, with ensuite facilities. The hotels provide soap and towels and very frequently shampoo and a hair dryer. Tours include breakfast and an evening meal of at least three courses. A meal at a set price will have been booked, which may or may not include a choice. If you are unhappy with what you are offered, however, the hotel should provide you with an alternative. You are responsible for any drinks consumed with the evening meal or in the hotel bar. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, or have other dietary requirements, remember to say this on your Booking Form.


You must make your own arrangements for transport to and from the tour. Although the start and end points of the tour are near to a European Bike Express drop-off and pick-up location, Lyon is served by other modes of travel.

Weather & Clothing

Remember the terrain is mountainous and unpleasant weather can occur at any time of year, so bring clothing to ensure that you can remain warm and (reasonably) dry. In summer it can also be very warm, even hot, and you should be prepared for this. The use of sun cream is recommended.

Cycles & Equipment

A touring cycle, hybrid or lightweight ATB with a bottom gear of 27 inches or less is suitable, but this must be in good working order, especially the brakes. Do not assume that there will always be a cycle shop within a few miles. As you will have to carry all your luggage keep this to a minimum and ensure you have a sturdy carrier. You should have ridden your cycle fully laden before the tour to ensure you are happy with its handling. You should carry sufficient spares and tools to deal with punctures and minor repairs and a bike lock. Cycle storage is available at all the hotels, but this might not always be under cover. You may wish to bring some waterproof covering in case of rain.

Maps & Guides

You will be provided with detailed route sheets, but you are recommended to carry maps of the tour area. Michelin 1:200.000 Regional map 522 ‘Auvergne-Limousin’ covers most of the area, but you would need to add Michelin 1:150.000 departmental series maps 327 ‘Loire-Rhone’ and 338 ‘Aveyron–Tarn’ for complete coverage. Travel Guides provide interesting background information.

Travel Insurance & Advice

In addition to travel insurance, EU nationals should carry a European Health Insurance Card, obtainable from This enables you to take advantage of emergency medical services free or at a discount under a reciprocal provision that exists between EU member states. Your travel insurer may refuse to meet the extra costs of medical treatment if you do not carry this card.
Before booking you should check the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, at or on 0845 850 2829.

Other Information

This self-led holiday is available on a variety of dates between 1 May and 1 October. The suggested duration of 14 nights can also be adjusted if required. Please contact the Tour Manager to discuss the options available.