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Discover the alternative Tour de France with Expedia.co.uk

Press Release   •  Jul 11, 2016 14:27 BST

July 2016: Every Tour route juggles logistics, history and the need for enthralling racing. If these tick your holiday wishlist but you’re looking to steer clear of the tourist traps and avoid breaking the bank, Expedia.co.uk has put together its top unusual French towns to explore by bike. Experience something different and take advantage of the amazing summer deals Expedia has to offer over the next few weeks!

  • 1.Nantes in the department of Loire–Atlantique: 200 miles of cycle paths

Travel back in time with a visit to the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany. Housed within a formidable fortress, the castle stands right in the heart of the city. If history doesn’t take your fancy, why not check out some of the stunning 18th and 19th-century architecture the Graslin neighbourhood has to offer with a bike ride to Place Royal, cours Cambronne and the unmissable passage Pommeraye. Afterwards, take a much needed rest bite at the Hangar à Bananes!

The beautiful Charente-Maritime is nestled in the heart of the Atlantic coast with a maritime tradition that can be seen everywhere. With a fishing port, marina, Old Port, aquarium and maritime museum, the whole city revolves around the sea. Cyclists will be able to enjoy the iodine tang up to the central market, whilst La Rochelle is also a famous seaside resort: golden sand, water sports, seaside promenades and no fewer than three beaches, where you can leave the bike behind and enjoy a relaxed walk across the warm sand.

Why not explore the beautiful little town of Tarn-et-Garonne which is renowned for using organic farming methods to produce authentic wine. Not far from Beaumont-de-Lomagne, Castelsarrasin offers cycle paths so you can stretch your legs a little after a few tastings of the good stuff.

Perpignan is full of delicious,southern-flavoured treats. This ‘land of plenty’ is home to a whole host of culinary delightsthat recall both the Pays d'Oc and Catalonia On where you can cycle and sample tasty morsels from the markets.

The former city of the popes, Avignon offers a rich heritage where visitors can lose themselves in the maze of picturesque streets and discover the charming buildings that add to the city's cultural attraction. The Papal palace, the famous Pont Saint-Bénezet and the city's many churches and museums will delight history buffs, art lovers and those who like to step back in time.

When visiting Grenoble, you absolutely must eat in a Savoy-style restaurant and sample at least one of the region's cheese specialities, such as raclette, tartiflette or fondue, to name just a few. Totally unmissable and well deserved after a hard day's cycling.

Along the banks of the Étang de Vaccarès in the heart of a nature reserve, various horseback or carriage rides will make your stay here magical. Be sure to get on your bike afterwards to ride along the shore, while admiring the pink flamingos as they take flight... breathe in the salty air and revel in the moment!

Spoil yourself after some exercise with spa treatments and relaxation. To get away from it all with the most famous spa treatment in Vichy : the "original" four-hand Vichy shower, which visitors have enjoyed at the Vichy Thermal Spa Les Célestins and Thermes des Dômes since 1896. It's a massage by two perfectly synchronised massage therapists, under a warm spa water shower. Relaxation guaranteed and to be experienced at least once.

To stay on the theme of well-being and relaxation, the next stop is Serre-Chevalier and its Grands Bains du Monêtier. These baths draw spring water that is naturally warmed to 44°C then cooled to 37°C, with beneficial properties known since the dawn of time.

To bring your cycling journey to an end, there's no better way than to celebrate with a glass of champagne in Reims. The capital of champagne, Reims owes its former greatness to its age-old royal symbolism. The Kings of France used to come here to be crowned at highly prestigious ceremonies. The Gothic cathedral was where all French sovereigns were crowned since 1027! Cycling enthusiasts can visit one of the many wineries around the city and learn all the secrets of how champagne is made, with tastings also available.

Flights to Reims with a four night stay at the Appart' City Confort Reims Centre, £216

Should you not be one of those lucky ones heading to the Tour this summer, fear not there are still some great bike rides to try in the Capital from just 24 pounds!

Hop on 2 wheels and explore London further than you can on foot. Soak up the city’s splendour as you whizz by famous landmarks, including the London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square.

Notes to editors

All deals were found on the 5th July for one person, flying out on the 18th July and returning on the 22nd July 2016.

Notes to editors

All deals were found on the 5th July for one person, flying out on the 18th July and returning on the 22nd July 2016.

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