The trip will be what they call a “credit card” tour. We are going to stay in hotels, B&Bs and gites on the way. Therefore, we are limited to traveling between towns and villages large enough to have one for us. Basically, there are two route options to southern France out of the UK. One can take the Dover-Calais ferry and cycle through eastern France into Alsace and then to Burgundy and then enter Provance through Alpes-Maritimes. This seems a shorter route, however, it is quite hilly almost all the way. First the Ardennes, then Alsace, there is hardly a flat section in the whole route. We decided against this option. Our route will take us to Portsmouth and then to Caen in Normandy. From there we will cycle through Normandy to Orleans where we will join the Loire river cycle path to Digoin. From Digoin we will take it to Bourg en Bresse and Grenoble. Thereafter Gap and Barcelonette. We will cross the Col de La Coyolle in the Alpes Maritimes ad descend to Nice via Gorges Duluis.
We will take it slow at first. Planning 3 days from Epsom to Portsmouth with stops in Cranleigh and Midhurst on the way. In France we want to get into the rhythm and start doing 65-70km days.