Community and events
3.4 million registered motorcycles
France has the second-highest number of motorcycles per capita in Europe, and this large community means there are plenty of motorcycling events.
Balade du Couer – An annual charity ride through 90 miles of Brittany’s beautiful countryside.
La Madone des Motards – Also in Brittany, this yearly biker festival attracts more than 20,000 people.
Col de Turini, Alpes-Maritimes
This breathtaking mountain route in the Alpes-Maritimes must surely be one of Europe’s best. Full of hairpin bends at 1,607m elevation, it’s famously challenging even for experienced riders – but the jaw-dropping scenery alone is certainly worth the trip.
Route Napoléon, Cannes to Grenoble
Ride in the footsteps of France’s most famous military commander. Waymarked by statues of the French Imperial Eagle, this route offers a wonderfully smooth road surfaces, sweeping bends and magnificent vistas. Don’t miss the chance to visit Gorges Verdon, also known as the “French Grand Canyon”.
Safety and the law
4.9 annual road fatalities per 100,000 people (2013)
PTWs account for 25% of fatalities (2011)
Be careful when riding a motorcycle in France, where bikers make up nearly a fifth of all casualties – despite representing just 1.9% of all traffic. A tranche of new motoring laws were introduced in France in 2012 and 2013, so even if you’ve visited before, it’s worth reading up on them to find out if anything has changed. Speeding is taken very seriously by French police and can lead to heavy fines.
Bikers should be aware that filtering through slow-moving or stationary traffic is illegal in France. Reflective strips must be worn on your helmet and clothing, and as in most European countries you should carry a full set of replacement bulbs for your bike. According to French law, motorcycles must display dipped headlights at all times – even during the day.
39% of population speak English
The French may have a reputation for speaking English, but English speakers are quite common in most major cities. Outside of the tourist zones, it’s still probably best to bring a phrasebook.
The English-speaking web forum Bike Club France is a great resource of hints and tips for anyone planning a motorcycle trip across the channel.