If you are looking for a delightful way of exploring deepest France then cycling has to be an attractive and cheap option. Throughout France there is a network of “Green Routes” (voies vertes) which can offer tranquil, flat(tish) pathways and minor roads which are ideal for walking and cycling etc and give you an opportunity to explore the depths of the French landscape and countryside away from the tyranny of the motor car. There is a national website with details of all the Voies Vertes at www.voies-vertes.info/ with a helpful location map (albeit in French). One route (of many) which looks interesting is the route from Beziers to Portiragnes-Plage in the Languedoc which runs for 15km alongside the Canal du Midi.
There is a good and well-illustrated guide (in French)La France des voies vertes : Cyclistes,
In English there is always the Lonley Planet Guide Cycling France (Cycling Guide)(new edition published July 2009) “Here’s a sampling: in Paris you can take the bike paths along the Seine or all the way to Monet’s gardens in Giverny. The Loire Valley offers intimate excursions by sandstone villages, magnificent chateaux and scenic waterways. Take the tiny, winding roads of Provence to see perched villages and spectacular panoramas of the Cote d’Azur, or dip into Champagne for the terraced vineyards of Dom Perignon. For those up to the challenge, there’s the dramatic volcanic landscape of the Massif Central, with its steep climbs and sweeping descents. The Guide includes a chapter on the island of Corsica with its rugged coastal scenery and prehistoric sites.”