May 19, 2014

If you read my previous post on Le Tour de France, you will know that I am a big fan of the race. I often drive over to France with my bike, taking advantage of Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's super-fast 35-minute journey time, and I'm always on the lookout for new cycling spots. Last time, I looked at the fourth stage of the Tour de France, which is the first leg in France. This time, I'm heading further south to look at Stage 8, which takes place on 12 July, starting in Tomblaine and ending up, 161km later, in Gérardmer La Mauselaine in the alps.

Start: Tomblaine

Tomblaine is a commune area in the eastern suburbs of Nancy, which is a truly beautiful city with around 130km of cycling routes. The large central square of Place Stanislas is fringed with regal buildings, harking back to the splendour of the reign of the Dukes of Lorraine. It is the perfect place to start exploring the city by bicycle, and there is an abundance of pretty side streets to lead you away, lined with charming cafes and enticing shop windows to browse.

The large central square of Place Stanislas in Nancy, France
The large central square of Place Stanislas in Nancy, France

To fully appreciate the resplendent atmosphere of the city, find somewhere to park your bike and pay the Musée Lorrain a visit. Housed in the former ducal palace, here you can learn more about the fascinating history of Nancy, as well as admire their collection of fine art and artefacts.

Lorraine Countryside

The Lorraine region of France boasts some of the most stunning countryside, beckoning you to grab your bike and start exploring. It takes roughly four and a half hours to drive into the heart of this region, and from there you're free to discover Lorraine at your leisure.

Le Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France
Le Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France

If you're planning a cycling tour of Lorraine, make sure to include Metz, the capital of the region, on your itinerary. Here, you will find plenty to keep you entertained both on and off your bicycle. Sat astride the Moselle and Seille rivers, this lesser-known city has plenty of hidden gems, including Michelin-starred restaurants, impressive architecture and a fascinating history as one of the oldest cities in France. But if you only have time to do one thing, make sure you pay the Centre Pompidou-Metz a visit to see its impressive collection of contemporary artworks.

Finish: Gérardmer La Mauselaine

The ski resort of La Mauselaine plays the part of finishing line for the eighth stage of Le Tour de France, 161km away in the picturesque Gérardmer commune of the Vogue département of Lorraine. The alps provide countless cycling opportunities, winding through scenic backdrops framed by breathtaking views.

Gérardmer Lake, France
Gérardmer Lake, France

If you're feeling inspired by the rolling hills and can't wait to get out into the fresh mountain air, make sure you have a decent mountain bike to explore on. The terrain in this part of the alps can be a little tricky at times, but there are also plenty of less challenging paths to follow if you're with kids.

Following Le Tour de France

With the quick and convenient service from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, exploring France and following the route of Le Tour de France has never been easier. Eurotunnel Le Shuttle operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and it takes just 35 minutes to cross the Channel. All that's left to do is to head off to your destination, find somewhere to park up and hit the cycling trails with friends and family.

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