France really is the 'Promised Land' for cyclists. Not just because of Tour de France icons – the Alpine cols, the giant Provencal monolith of Mount Ventoux, but also for everything – and more importantly, everyone – that lies in between. Cycling here at times resembles coasting through a postcard, an edible landscape of vivid lavender purples and sunflower golds. Even more enjoyable however, is that travelling by bike instantly makes you feel closer to being part of the social fabric of life. The old lady pedalling home from market with her basket of produce. A family out on Sunday, the youngest child taking her first faltering pedals. A prowling, lycra-clad peloton cruising the silk-surface country roads. From the commuter to the farmer, the French may not have invented the bicycle, but they have raised its use in everyday life to something approaching an art form. And cycling’s great secret is that a good dose of (leisurely) exercise during the day allows you to indulge with impunity when evening comes. Pedal up, then eat the menu.