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active 3 days ago

Bruno Toutain

Born and raised in Normandy, I relocated to the French Alps after years spent living abroad in the United States. Although I returned to France, I keep traveling the world by bicycle. In doing so, I learned that cycling allows for greater interaction with locals, a more intimate encounter with nature, and countless discoveries made impossible by other forms of transportation. Armed with that knowledge, and drawing on my cycling experience and my passions for travel and meeting new people, I took on a new mission in life: to indoctrinate others into my philosophy through a cyclotourism business.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Western Europe is my playground. Many cycling itineraries in France, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland have no secret for me and my bike."

How did you get involved in travel?

"I don't remember much of my childhood…. Or so it seems. I have no recollection at all! Nothing, nothing, nothing! But when it comes to bicycling, everything becomes very clear. As far back as I can remember, I've always been fascinated by bicycles.

Forty years later, that feeling hasn't changed one bit. On a bike, I am still the happiest kid. Although I love all cycling-oriented activities: commuting, road racing, mountain biking, cyclo-cross, nothing brings me more pleasure than discovering new regions: whether it's the Alps, or the Rockies, or Vietnam!

Biking has allowed me to immerse myself in countries and areas in a very privileged way; I have captured and brought back images, odors, feelings, and impressions that cannot be captured behind a car’s window. Besides, a bike is a piece of conversation, a cultural bridge, a social equalizer in many countries where bicycles are people's only means of transportation.

On a bike, you are no longer an observer you are a peaceful and friendly actor. You become part of what you visit in the most respectful way of people's life and their environment--pollution-free.

Cyclomundo is the offspring of this vision of travel. Although I don't expect to the turn the world into biking, I hope I will inspire some to take their bikes and explore…

On a professional side, I spent 12 years working for the Monaco Government Tourist Office (MGTO) in New York, prior to setting up my company in France."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"I brought my bike to Vietnam almost 20 years ago (which was not as common as it is today) and was one of the most unique experience ever.

When I landed in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), I thought I’d go to the hotel and rest a while; but the smells, the noise, the heat and the energy of the place were overwhelming… Everything was new and exciting, and the fatigue was gone. So, I checked into my hotel quickly and spent the afternoon cruising the streets of Saigon. I sat behind my guide, as we steered and veered in the middle of a constant flow of mopeds, bicycles and motorbikes carrying two, three, sometimes four people. Traffic carries more people than I ever saw in any Western city. It was chaotic but efficient and I was about to start biking into this chaos…

After leaving the city I biked northward along the coastal road. Restaurants and open-air markets are plentiful, and the fruit was the best I’ve ever tasted. The scenery is grandiose and varied, with rice paddies, sugar cane fields, mountains, and forest.

What made the trip so interesting, however, were the people I met daily on the road: school kids, architects, teachers, local TV celebrities, airline employees, war veterans... The road is the social place, a meeting spot. I did meet a lot of people!

My new Vietnamese friends invited me to their home, acted as guides and forgave my cultural faux-pas. I’ll never forget the time I spent with each of them."

Bruno is part of the following groups: France Travel Agents
Discover the countryside of Normandy
Best of the Veloscenic Bikeway - 7 Days

The newest bikeway in France, la Véloscénie (the Veloscenic) cycle route links Paris and Mont-Saint-Michel via some of the country's most scenic landscapes. Spend a week exploring the secrets of northern France as you cycle along greenways, bike paths, and quiet secondary roads, through the hedgerow fields of the Bocage Normand, forests of oak and pine, and the nature parks of La Perche and Normandie-Maine, sampling Normandy's gastronomic heritage along the way.

Mountain pass near Monetier-Les-Bains
Provence & Southern Alps Cycling Tour - 6 Days

Experience some of the most famous Tour de France climbs in Provence and the Southern Alps for yourself on this challenging six-day cycling tour, from Mont Ventoux to Alpe d’Huez. Cycle up the “Giant of Provence,” spin through the peaks of the Alps, and explore French country towns, all accompanied by scenic natural views to help you keep your pace up along the way.

Route des Vin
Via Rhôna Bike Tour - 6 Days

If you're dreaming of hitting the open road but are short on time, this 5-day cycling trip is the perfect fit! Travel on the Via Rhone, a quiet and peaceful path along the Rhone River between the cultural capitals of Lyon and Geneva. Stop in the picture-perfect villages of Pérouges and Seyssel, explore shimmering lakes and fields of wildflowers. Every stop along the Rhône possess nuggets of history, timeless beauty, and a hint of magic.

Lavender fields
Upper Provence Bike Tour - 6 Days

Explore the heart of Provence at your own pace on this 6-day, self-guided bike tour. Begin in Bédoin or Mazan and end in Roussillon or Gargas, enjoying short daily rides to fully experience Provence. Visit some of Provence’s most acclaimed wine-making towns, climb legendary Mont Ventoux, or snake through the Gorges de la Nesque. In between, lodge in medieval villages and enjoy local cuisine.

Peaceful country road in the French Alps
Cycling in the Alps - 6 Days

This award-winning cycling tour takes place in the Alps playground. From the shores of Lake Geneva to the world-famous alpine resort of Alpe d'Huez, climb some of France's most famous cols: Colombiere, Saisies, and Alpe d'Huez. The tour is available in two options: self-guided or with a support vehicle. Enjoy winding downhill roads, stunning views of the Alps, and comfortable overnight accommodations.

Mont-Saint-Michel Countryside Cycling Tour - 6 Days
Mont-Saint-Michel Countryside Cycling Tour - 6 Days

Imagine cycling across expanses of farmland as you spot something floating in the distance—a spire reaching toward the sky, extending above tiers of weathered stone resting on a rocky island. The towering island of Mont-Saint-Michel, its ancient abbey, and its serene bay are the major highlight of this six-day cycling tour, but the rest of the region has plenty to recommend it. You'll start and end in the walled port city of Saint-Malo, making your way through the countryside of Brittany and Normandy to destinations including the fishing port of Cancale and the village of Dinan.