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1.1 Definition and scope of the study

The bicycle tourism, or cycle tourism, is a way of discovering a territory or region by bike, in order to discover its main tourist attractions.

Cycling tourism represents an important market, the majority of which is related to accommodation and restauration, with more than 100 million overnight stays registered in France in 2019. France is the second largest destination in Europe for bicycle tourism, just losing out to Germany. Overseas tourists represented 20% of the total number of cycle tourists in France in 2019, with the most represented nationalities for cycle tourists being Germany and Uk & Ireland.

There are 7 different categories of establishments/ associations that make up the whole cycle tourism industry:

  • Accommodation establishments
  • Restaurants
  • Touristic attractions
  • Tourist offices
  • Bike rental companies
  • Bike repair companies
  • Cycle routes

All these establishments, with the exception of cycle routes, are mostly represented by the France Vélo Tourisme certification "Accueil Vélo". As of 2020, there are over 5,000 establishments with this certification in France. There are also other establishments (that do not have the "Accueil Vélo" certification) that also contribute for the cycle tourism industry in France.

In terms of cycle routes, France is divided into 3 types of cycle routes:

  • Voies vertes (Greenways)
  • Véloroutes (Regional cycle paths)
  • EuroVelo (European cycling network)

Voies vertes are the most common in the country, while there are only 10 EuroVelo routes in France as of 2020. However, EuroVelo routes are the most popular for cycle tourists and here is where tourists spend the most money. The Atlantic Coast Route (La Vélodyssée in France) is the most popular route in the country, with economic benefits of over €100 million in 2018.

The actors of bicycle tourism are counting on a diversification by taking advantage of local partnerships with tourist offices, hotels and restaurants to provide the richest possible tourist experience for tourists.

There are no technological or legislative obstacles to be seen in this market, which just requires sporting ability, knowledge of cycling rules and a particular attraction for cycling.

1.2 The growing role of bicycle tourism in Europe

In Europe, it was estimated in **** that there are *.* billion bicycle tourism trips happening every single year. The economic benefits of the cycle tourism industry was estimated at €** billion in **** and involved with the jobs of around ***,*** people in the European Union [***].

The total cycling industry in the EU is made ...

1.3 A growing and strong French market

Since ****, the bycicle tourism market in France has experienced a very positive period, with its economic total benefits going from *.* billion euros to *.* billion euros in **** (***).

Economic benefits of the bicycle tourism market in France France, ****-****, in billions of euros Source: ****

In particular, however, the French bicycle tourism industry was ...

1.4 The impact of Covid-19

While the Covid-** pandemic caused a large part of the world's economy stop, the cycling industry managed to rise in these troubling times. Although the number of people going cycling in France fell by **% when lockdown restrictions were first implemented in mid-March ****, when lockdown restrictions were first lifted on the **th ...


2.1 The evolution of bicycle sales in France

The bicycle market in France has been growing steadily since **** (***). This highlights the fact that the average price of bicycles has been increasing. For instance, the average price of electric bicycles in **** was €****, as oppose to €*** in ****. Similarly, the average price of a traditional bicycle increased by **% between **** and ****, going from ...

2.2 Cycling, the most popular leisure activity in France

In ****, cycling was the most popular leisure activity for the French, with **% of the population claiming that they practice this activity. Other leisure activities such as hiking and running are also fairly popular, but not as much as cycling [***].

Most popular leisure activities in France France, ****, in % Source: ****

In terms of ...

2.3 Profile of cycle tourists in France

The distribution between men and women among the cyclists in France is **% and **% respectively. In addition, cyclists are on average ** years old and **% live in rural areas, while **% live in urban areas [***]

Gender distribution of cyclists in France France, ****, in % Source: ****

Moreover, while most of the tourist cycling activities happen during ...

2.4 Who are the overseas cycle tourists?

Overseas tourists represented **% of the total number of cycle tourists in France in ****. German tourists and British & Irish tourists accounted for the biggest share of the total overseas cycle tourists in France (***). Moreover, only *% of cycle tourists came from outside of Europe.

Distribution of overseas cycle tourists by nationality France, ****, in ...


3.1 The never-ending growth of bicycle routes in France

As of April ****, **% of the total existing or planned cycle routes in France (***) were open and operating - that is, **,*** km of operating cycle routes of a total of **,*** km. This therefore means that there are *,*** km cycle routes yet to be opened in France. The plan is that ***% of the ...

3.2 The growth of EuroVelo

As of the *st of January ****, there were *,*** km of European cycle routes available in France, which represented **% of the total *,*** km of routes that were projected to be available in France by **** [***].

EuroVelo routes in France France, ****, in % Source: ****

Between **** and ****, the amount of EuroVelo routes in France increased by ...

3.3 The growth of Accueil Vélo

"Accueil Vélo" is an accreditation given to French establishments with a high quality of welcome and services for cyclists using French cycle routes. There are * different types of establishments that can obtain this accreditation: 

Accommodation establishments Restaurants Touristic attractions Tourist offices Bike rental and repair companies

As of the *st ...

3.4 The importance of bike rental services

A very important part of the cycle tourism industry in France is the bike rental services. In ****, it was estimated that the number of bicycles available for rental for tourism purposes was between ***,*** and ***,*** [***]

In ****, it was estimated that there were approximately *,*** bike rental services aimed at cycle tourists (***) of these ...

3.5 The role of tour operators

Bicycle tourism is very distinct to other types of tourism, as there is less dependance on tour operators. Most of cycle tourists in France are mostly self-sufficient (***) still rely on them for their bicycle trips in France.

In ****, there were *** tour operators in France, being a **% increase from the *** operators in ...


4.1 Main tourist bicycle routes in France

Among the main cycle routes in France, the Vélodyssée route (***) is the least popular for tourists.

Share of tourists of total cyclists using French cycle routes France, ****, in % of total cyclists Source: ****

The rest of the share of total cyclists using French cycle routes is composed by excursionists - ...

4.2 The popularity of leisure cycling

Among France's main cycle routes, the most popular cycling category is by far leisure cycling. However, touring cycling is extremely popular in routes such as Via Rhôna and Loire à vélo

Types of cycling practiced by cycle tourists in the main cycle routes France, ****, in % of total cycling categories Source: ...

4.3 Understanding the offer of bike rentals

The average price of bike rental in France varies depending on the type of bicycle and range level. There are * different types of bikes that tourists can rent in France:

Cross-country bikes Mountain bikes Road bikes

Of all these bikes, road bikes are the most expensive to rent, while cross-country bikes ...


5.1 Regulations

Although there are no regulations regarding bicycle tourism in particular, the practice of cycling in France has its own set rules.

General cycling regulations in France [***]

Cyclists must always cycle on the dedicated paths (***). In the absence of these, cyclists must cycle on the right side of the road. It is ...


6.1 Segmentation

  • France Vélo Tourisme
  • La Vélodyssée
  • La Loire à Vélo
  • La Méditerranée à Vélo
  • UCPA
  • La Balaguère
  • Discover France

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