I cycled through France & Spain for 1 month, here are my 10 preferred, cycling-friendly places to stay

Departure day in Paris, on June 15th

Bikepacking is one of the latest trends in cycling-land, like gravel racing or the development of the e-bike. Interestingly, these various trends all play towards individuals’ desire for more freedom and discovery, away from performance and technicality.

As I was going through a phase of professional transition, a break in which some thinking time was very welcome, I took the opportunity to embark on a self-organized 2800km #TourdeFranceSolo in 21 stages, spread out over a duration of 1 month.

I set out to a journey that combined visiting family & friends, riding some of this year’s Tour de France stages, and simply testing myself on places I always dreamed to ride in, like the Alpe d’Huez or Mont Ventoux climbs.

Here is a really home-made video of my journey, which I purposefully wanted to keep on paper, and below I’m sharing 10 great places I discovered along the way. I found them through a combination of Les Collectionneurs, Airbnb & Google Maps-based hotel or Bed & Breakfast search. I can reassure you that all of them were very cycling-friendly, which was obviously important for me!

For the bike packing and cycling fans, here’s the equipment I carried with me for the month:

Now, as promised, the 10 places I warmly recommend to you, traveller, on or off the bike. I post them in chronological order, not in order of preference.

Relais des Trois Châteaux, hotel in Cour-Cheverny

The Relais des Trois Châteaux is a charming hotel just north of Chambord, with a restaurant called “Les Trois Marchands” and an excellent breakfast. The rooms are small and comfortable, the staff is a bit unorganized but very sympathetic, and it was an excellent hotel to cool down after a long, 152km second day (see my Strava activity).

I could safely lock my bike inside one of the storehouses, which was sufficient even though there was not dedicated place for bicycles. You can see it on the background of this Instagram reel I posted in the morning, leaving the Relais des Trois Châteaux southwards for 180km (see my Strava activity).

L’Hirondelle du Lac, bed & breakfast in Peyrat-le-Château

At the end of day 4 (see Strava activity), I arrived in the Limousin region, which I know to be stunningly beautiful but also very hilly from regularly watching the Tour du Limousin pro cycling race on TV. So I was happy to arrive in Peyrat-le-Château, at a charming Bed & Breakfast called L’Hirondelle du Lac (the lake swallow, in French).

While the bike safely slept in the cool, spacious garage, alongside a touring bike from a retired teacher I had the pleasure to meet, I could put my legs up in one of the rooms, enjoy an amazing dinner and breakfast on the terrasse, chatting with the other guests and watching the many swifts and swallows hovering over the cool waters of the Lac de Vassivière.

Christopher & Frankie, the British hosts, are warm, welcoming, discrete, available and very polite. I found their swallows-inspired vintage decoration awesome, bearing a fascination for these migratory birds, but I reckon that for some it may be too much. Regardless of that, you’ll find a peaceful, affordable B&B with excellent, homemade food and a stunning view.

Here’s the view from the “Lavande” bedroom (sound on, please) early in the morning before heading out for stage 5 of my journey:

Airbnb in Lou Costalou, at the bottom of Rocamadour

After a very easy 6th stage of my Tour, and lunch with my co-cyclist Klaus, I was supposed to stay in this little cottage, which I reserved on Airbnb (see on Streetview, it’s right when walking up the road, with view on the valley). But the adorable host, Marine, upgraded me to the bigger house on the opposite side of the road, because renovation works were still underway.

As you can see on the photos above, it had a very big terrasse, inside it was very spacious, with ample room for the bike inside the house, perfectly clean, and I could – again – put my legs up to rest. I warmly recommend it!

I stayed there 2 nights, during which I visited the sacred sites of Rocamadour, the medieval town in which the final time-trial of this year’s Tour de France will arrive. I also went for a beautiful train run during my cycling rest day.

Château de Labro, hotel & spa in Onet-le-Château

I left Rocamadour to ride the course of the above-mentioned time trial in reverse (see here, looks flat but is actually quite hilly, on rough roads) and extended all the way to Onet-le-Château, just outside of Rodez, where I discovered the amazing Château de Labro guest house. I also found this place via the Les Collectionneurs catalogue of independent hotels & restaurants, which I am a fond member of.

The food was excellent, the pool is lovely nested in the middle of vineyards, the surroundings are stunning and the staff very helpful (which is expected from a premium, boutique hotel, but always worth mentioning). The bike stayed inside, hidden under a century-old, round tower staircase, which was perfectly safe.

I slept in the “Unusual room” with 2 bartizans (WTF?? Also coined “echaugettes,” they are overhanging turrets on the edge of castles) that had been turned into a shower, with view on the pool, and an office. Probably the most original place I stayed. You can see a bit of the room in the first reel below, which I shot just before heading out for my longest stage to Carcassonne, and a glimpse of my day in the second.

Le Magnolia, bed & breakfast in Carcassonne

After a 200+km day in the saddle, I needed a comfortable B&B, and I found it in Le Magnolia, held by Amandine and Arnaud, a young couple who lives there with their young daughter and a couple of very cute cats. The closed garage provided ample, safe space for my bike, and I could even clean & grease it with WD40 and other useful tools that they were happy to lend me.

They recommended a very long list of restaurants for me, with personalized recommendations, which did not stop me from going for a shabby bistro to watch rugby! On the next morning, I enjoyed a delightful, rich home-made breakfast (see above), which was ideal to power-up before heading into the Pyrénées (see my Strava activity).

BedBreakfastBikesPyrenees, in Loubières

The name says it all, no? Alongside with the photos above, you’ll indeed get it, I stayed at a cycling-themed bed & breakfast in the Pyrénées. But I would also like to share a bit more about this great place: Kev & Bev are a British couple with a shared passion, who have created a simple, affordable, well-equipped B&B for anyone wanting to discover the Ariège around the city of Foix (I did it with a ride and a run).

It doesn’t have the feeling of a dusty cycling-museum, but has a great mix of vintage decoration, comfortable equipment, and personal memorabilia from Kev’s time as a pro from Great Britain (he raced in BG, France, the US and would gladly tell you more if you ask him).

As a result, my bike could stay in the most impressive garage of my journey, alongside dozens of others that serve Kev, Bev or its guests discover this beautiful spot of France. But beyond bikes, what I enjoyed most in this Airbnb was the company, as we shared breakfast and dinner with Kev, Bev and the other guests, which made it feel like staying with family for a couple of days.

On departure day, Kev was so nice as to ride all the way to Ax-les-Thermes with me, before I started my ascent to Andorra (see Strava activity), leaving a truly great couple of days behind me.

Hotel Món Sant Benet, in Sant Fruitos de Bages (Spain)

Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of this place (except the ones on my Strava run, just after arrival by bike) which is why I share the above promo video, in Catalan. Hotel Món Sant Benet is a luxury hotel built right next to the Sant Benet de Bages monastery, surrounded by a couple of beautiful parcs and gardens.

I did not like the modern architecture, it looks like a bunker upon arrival, but in the inside it was tastefully decorated. There was no specific place for my bike, but it stayed in the luggage room, which was perfectly fine. The amenities are very comfortable, the hotel restaurant MÓN was excellent (for both dinner and breakfast), and service was lovely.

Hotel Nord 1901, in Girona (Spain)

Same here, I did not take any photos from the hotel, sorry. – you’ll find some on the Hotel Nord 1901 website. As a cycling-friendly city, Girona’s hotels accept bikes in guests’ rooms, which is what I did with mine after a hot day along the Costa Brava (see my Strava file).

I then went for a walk through the city (see above), amused by the many pros that live there and that I tried to recognize (Nathan Haas, a couple of EF Education First & Team DSM riders, male & female), and enjoy a granola cookie and tea at Espresso Mafia, one of the go-to cafés in Girona, created by former elite cyclist Christian Meier and his wife Amber.

Domaine Castell de Blés, bed & breakfast in Saint Génis-des-Fontaines

I did not take any pictures of this charming country house in the Albères, next to Collioure in the Catalonian Pyrénées, I didn’t even use the pool. But you will find many on their website, on Booking, TripAdvisor, or their Facebook page. I was happy to arrive after a rather hilly day in the saddle, with amazing views on the Mediterranean Sea (see Strava route with photos).

My bike stayed in one of the tool sheds of the cottage, locked, and I was handed the key by the owner so that I could leave early in the morning. Above you’ll only get a glimpse of the breakfast, the cat being a quirky encounter in the village of Saint-Génis-des-Fontaines, where I went to buy newspapers and get dinner.

A propos dinner, à propos quirky, I would like to warmly recommend a restaurant called Y’en aura pas pour tout le monde in the town of Saint-Génis-des-Fontaines. I had a great time there, rally liked the food and wine, and had a beautiful calm ride back to the B&B just before night settled in. As a moderately satisfied customer puts it on his TripAdvisor review, the restaurant is “a little wacky but interesting” which for him “was a bit of a plus” but I found it excellent, welcoming and very original.

Mas Pichony, bed & breakfast between Pernes-les-Fontaines and Saint Didier (Mont Ventoux)

The Mas Pichony is a charming guest house situated between Saint-Pernes-les-Fontaines and Saint Didier in the Provence, about 25km East from Avignon, where I arrived by train. Their website says it’s “the best place to ride a bike for your holiday” and I would agree with that claim, even though I stayed there just 3 days, with one long day testing myself on two of the three well-known Mont Ventoux climbs.

The hosts, Laetitia and Laurent – who would gladly talk about cycling with you – have turned this 17th century provencal farm house into a beautiful, typical, authentic, welcoming bed & breakfast. Walls are thick, making wifi a bit unreliable, but you shouldn’t go there for anything else than cycling, running or discovering surrounding villages region. My bike stayed locked in the shed next to the swimming pool, which was absolutely fine.

Thank you for reading, safe travels to you!

NB: This article contains a sponsored link

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