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Cycling and Mountain Bikes

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Cycling is not so much a sport or passion in France - it is an obsession. Those who do not share it can only shake their heads in amazement at the site of apparently sane people toiling up a steep slope in the broiling sun, the pain evident on their tortured faces. Its probably better going down the other side.

The Tour de France passes some of its most spectacular stages in the South West of France - in the mountains and foothills of the Pyrenees in Bigorre, Pays Basque and Bearn.

If you must follow in their path you can find some wonderful cycling routes and be rewarded with the spectacular views that only the mountain heights can offer. But be warned: it is hard-going, especially in the summer sun.

The gentler Gers with many small country roads winding their way through the hills is a lovely place to cycle without quite so much pain, and then there is the Landes, where you can cycle through the scented pine forests and be sure there are no hills round the c orner.

Mountain Bike riding is also a popular sporting activity and there are many cross-county routes.


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Towns - Cycling and Mountain Bikes

Aignan. Picturesque centre of armagnac production
Mountain bikes for hire.
Ainhoa. A fine example of a typical Basque village
Cycling circuits (Pyrenees Atlantiques, Labourd and Basse Navarre, Navarre, Pyrenean Trek).
Argeles-Gazost.
Tour de France start of stage to Pampaluna (17 July).
Hendaye. Border town on the Basque coast
Tour de France end of PampalunaHendaye (18 July) and start of HendayeBordeaux (19 July).
Lourdes. Major centre for Catholic pilgrims throughout the world.
Tour de France end of stage AgenLourdes (16 July).
Saint Lary-Soulan.
Mountain bike centre.
Samatan.
Mountain bikes for hire.
Sauveterre-de-Béarn. Spectacular walled village overlooking the Gave d'Oloron
Mountain bikes for hire.
Vic Fezensac.
Centre for cyclo-tourism in Gascony.
Vieux Boucau. Popular coastal resort on the Landes coast
Special cycling paths through forests.

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