And three! Via Rhôna is definitely the rolling guides. After the publications of the editions West-France and Chamina 2017 (reissues respective announced for April 2019 and 2020), now here is The Hitchhiker’s guide to the handlebar on this route in the long, 815 km of lake Geneva to the Mediterranean. This book completes the collection, “bike” was launched in 2015 by the enfant terrible of Hachette Tourism. This is the 6th of its kind. The 7th, which is dedicated to the Burgundy of the South, will be released in may 2019.

But let us return to our sheep. The new guide Via Rhôna opens with 25 pages of preliminary, information, and advice of any kind before you take to the road. As if he feared that readers engage too quickly in the adventure. “Before the start”, “insurance”, “equipment”, “budget”, “climate”, “wind”…, for a bit it looks like the preparations for an expedition to Everest.

in The centre of Lyon, a cycle track on the banks of the Rhône. © Christian Martelet/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

But, as is well known, one is never too careful and these tips, emanating for the most part of France Bike Tourism, the agency for the promotion of tourism by bike in france, are valid for most of the wanderings on a bicycle. The fact remains that, technically, this Via Rhôna is not well wicked. With 3% of level only, this is the dish. With the Exception however of the first 60 kilometers, more athletic, between Geneva and Seyssel, a common border shared between the left bank of the Rhône, Haute-Savoie, and the right bank of the river, in the district of Ain.

along The Rhone or in the immediate vicinity

on the other hand, if since 2017, 815 km of fully marked with signage dedicated to it, the course will only be truly completed until 2022. Explanation: in some places, between Lyon and Givors or in the area surrounding Avignon, it is still necessary to borrow pathways, high traffic areas. These portions are, therefore, not recommended with children. As for the rest, Via Rhôna favors green routes (for cyclists) and bicycle routes (secondary roads with low car traffic). It also follows the two-thirds of its merry way over the Rhone or in the immediate vicinity.

The course emphasizes the green lanes reserved for cyclists and cycle routes with low motor traffic. © Christian Martelet/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

To the question “how long?” (for all), The Hitchhiker responds, “about 20 days if you go in roaming and travel on average 50 km per day at 10 km/h, which gives ample time to visit”. Except that 50 km per day, this is a great cruising speed for the bicycle touring means… Especially if we stop on a regular basis – and that’s the goal – to go see a little more closely at the wonders along the route and sample the local specialties.

Five routes and 38 steps

Between the wines – and wineries there are in all of the long-, swiss chocolate, cheeses from the Savoie region, the bouchons lyonnais, the cream of chestnut soup and chestnut from ardèche, the nougat of Montélimar, the tielle (pie octopus) sètoise… there is something to “get under the pedal”, plays The Hitchhiker’s guide, a wealth of knowledge about the delights of the twelve departments of the three regions crossed: Rhône-Alpes-Auvergne, 556 km, Southern Region 114 km and Occitania 145 km.

along The canal du Rhône à Sète E. Brendle

After all this, one feels ready to enter the heart of the matter. The Hitchhiker has chopped up the route into five routes and 38 steps. For each: a detailed map, and the stops not to be missed presented and with useful information, such as days and hours of sites to visit and / or contact details of tourist offices. This Via Rhôna on glossy paper, is discovered by reading the book in the direction of the width. Not necessarily very practical, especially as there is no table of contents. Only the colors, one by route, used to identify geographically on this route, north-south, which ends, remember, with two termini, and in the delta of the river: to the west Sète, in the Languedoc, and to the east, Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône in the Camargue.

The guide does not follow the same cutting as the dedicated website Via Rhôna. The steps have been purposely multiplied. And the route n°1 proposed as a “setting leg around the lake Geneva”. He is only 41 km, split up into two pieces, the first on the French side of the lake, between Thonon-les-Bains and Hermance (25 km), the second side of switzerland, between Hermance and Geneva (16 km). Finally, a free application (Hachette Scan), scanning the cover of the book and the pages of his / her choice, access to additional content on the Via Rhôna.

The Hitchhiker ViaRhôna from lake Geneva to the Mediterranean, Hachette, 210 pages, 14,90 €


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