Dieppe-Paris 129 miles
Tower BRIDGE to
EIFFEL Tower 202 miles
|I have devised what I believe to be the best
low-traffic cycle route from the Channel to Paris with minimum mileage. It
makes use of the Avenue Verte disused railway south
of Dieppe and well-surfaced forest paths through the outskirts of Paris, using
the Bois de Boulogne and arriving a mile from the Eiffel Tower before emerging
onto city streets (with even the last mile through a quiet district). Joined to Chris Smith's well described route from London to Newhaven, it makes a 200-mile low traffic cycle
route from London to Paris. ||Finding your way|
What kind of bike
How long does it take?
When should I go?
Where to stay en route
Does it need to be expensive?
Rider experiences and records
|THIS ROUTE was invented in 2007 when Donald Hirsch and JB Lim set out
to lead a local group of cyclists from Guildford to Paris along the
nicest route possible making use of the Downs Link and the Avenue Verte cycleway south of Dieppe|
THE OFFICIAL full Avenue Verte route from London to Paris is still under construction. A provisional version is now signed, but it doesn't yet provide an ideal run all the way. Here is my latest information on that route.
|Finding your way|
What kind of bike? This route can be done on pretty much any bike - there are a few tracks with some bumps, but the vast majority is paved or very smooth, and it's been done on a lightweight road bike without difficulty (though I prefer a hybrid or touring bike). In 2007 it was done by unicyclists! Four couples did it on tandems at different times in 2010 and 2011.
How long does it take? That's up to you. The distance from Dieppe is 129 miles. For me the ideal is the morning ferry to Dieppe followed by a half day of about 40 miles, plus a full day of 50-60 plus a half day of 30 into Paris and back on Eurostar. A more leisurely pace would be to allow three full days. But there's lots to see along the way, and people who have made it into more of a holiday of anything up to a week have not regretteed it. You may especially want to explore the peaceful and scenic region of Bray - here are some pointers. It's also been done as a family holiday with children.
At the other
extreme, the route has been done all in one go by some fast riders - see records page.
Is there a best time to go? It's rideable throughout the year. Arriving on a Sunday in Paris, there's the pleasure of using some of the embankment expressways when they're closed to traffic. On the other hand, I found one stretch of D-road (the 15 miles north of Marines) much quieter on a weekday than at the weekend. Supermarkets and shops are generally closed Sunday afternoon, and often on Mondays too, though I found useful ones open on Monday in St Germer de Fly (shop) and Menucourt (big supermarket). Wednesdays are also difficult for shops and cafes in the Bray region (but cafe and boulangerie open in Gournay). Things can also be difficult on public holidays - especially 1 May and 15 August; also possibly 8 May, Easter Monday, Pentecost (7 weeks after Easter Monday) and Ascension (the Thursday before six weeks after Easter).
Where should I stay on the way? There are plenty of recommended places in my accommodation guide (and if everyone who uses this route could send me a couple of lines on where they stayed and what they thought of it, I can keep the ratings up to date)
If you return by train, the travel cost is £20 for the ferry plus £40 for Eurostar if you book well in advance, plus £20 or £30 for your bike on the train - or free if you follow the final suggestion on the Eurostar page. You can camp at Forges les Eaux and Triel sur Seine, and on the UK side at Buckle Holiday Park, Seaford, just ten minutes from the Newhaven ferry. (The sites at Triel and at Seaford are pretty basic, and for a slightly higher budget Versailles and Brighton have higher standard campsites.) Take along a small camping gaz stove, a plate and a light pan and you can cook a simple meal in the evening and have a picnic lunch. Buy food in supermarkets along the way: you'll probably spend less than feeding yourself at home, so I've not counted this in the cost. (I did all this recently, and if you're still reading this I'm probably twice as old as you are!).
I would be grateful for any feedback, especially about accommodation, at email@example.com
Here is a selection of interesting stories, blogs and tips from riders, supplementing the main guide, which I've started compiling in 2011. And for a bit more entertainment, take a look at my records page, with feats ranging from the immensely impressive to the highly bizarre...
I have produced this guide for free, but if you want to make a donation to a charity I'm involved with, promoting cycling, go to http://www.justgiving.com/Donald-Hirsch