The Grand Traverse of the Massif Central
by mountain bike, road bike or on foot
By Alan Castle
A guidebook to mountain biking, cycling or walking the 700km GTMC, Grande Traversée du Massif Central, in southern France, from Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne to Montpellier and Sête on the Mediterranean. The long-distance route is described in stages for walkers, and mountain bikers, with on road alternatives for road cyclists.
Seasonsspring and autumn recommended; summer can be very hot and the route could be very hazardous in winter conditions
CentresClermon-Ferrand, Saint-Etienne, Aurillac, Nimes, Montpellier
Difficultyone of the most challenging mountain bike routes in France, but technical sections can be avoided by pushing a short distance or taking the on-road option
Must SeeAuvergne; Puy de Sancy; Margeride; Mont Mouchet; Mont Lozère; Cévennes; Tarn Gorges; Mont Aigoual, Trèvezel Gorges
- A guide to mountainbiking, cycling or walking the GTMC, Grande Traversée du Massif Central, in southern France, from Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne to Montpellier and Sête on the Mediterranean. The GTMC is a long-distance mountain biking trail that crosses the entire Massif Central in France visiting all of the major regions, including the Auvergne with its chain of volcanic puys in the Monts-Dôme and Monts-Dore ranges, the Cézallier plateau and the remote Margeride, home of the French Resistance in the Second World War, the high forested hills of the Cévennes National Park, made famous by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, and finally the dry limestone hills bordering the coastal Mediterranean plain. Much of the route is off-road and uses many Grandes Randonnées, so it also makes an excellent walking route. Just over 700km in length it offers a challenge and a thorough exploration of one of southern France's most beautiful and historically interesting regions. The route is described in 17 stages, with maps for off-road and on-road routes, making it suitable for both expert and novice bikers, with full details of facilities and places of interest en route and other useful data for planning the trip.
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Alan Castle has trekked and cycled in over 30 countries within Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa and Australasia. A member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild, he has written 18 guidebooks, several on long-distance mountain routes in France. An erstwhile national secretary and long-distance path information officer of the Long Distance Walkers Association, Alan now lives at the foot of the Moffat Hills in Scotland.View author profile
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