Reading time: 3 minutes
Cycling is one of the best ways to see Normandy. Whether you’re just getting into cycling, or are an experienced cyclist with thousands of miles under your belt, the London-Paris Avenue Verte cycle route is a challenge for cyclists of all abilities.
This 470km cycle route connecting the two European capitals, Paris and London via Normandy and the cross-border ferry link from Newhaven to Dieppe is an incredible panoramic journey through a patchwork of landscapes, from rolling countryside to stunning coastal views. So, ready for the challenge? Push the boundaries and test yourself!
A cycling adventure for all
The Avenue Verte is the official London to Paris cycle route, connecting the London Eye to Notre-Dame Cathedral. It’s bound to be one of the most rewarding cycling journeys you’ll ever embark on, home to some of England and France’s most varied terrain: bustling capital cities, narrow countryside lanes through tidy hedgerows, dramatic white limestone cliffs, lush velvet hills rolling into the sea.
The initiative for this iconic route was part of an Anglo-French joint project that really kicked off with the 2012 London Olympics, the perfect sporty opportunity to turn plans into a real cycling journey.
None of the London-Paris Avenue Verte is overly challenging and it has been created to suit every level of ability – whether you’re a newbie cyclist or already have thousands of miles under your belt. If you are an fairly fit cyclist, you should be able to complete the route described as an ‘alternative, car-free, gentler route between London and Paris for walkers and cyclists and especially for families’ in around a week.
A fabulous way to explore Normandy
The Avenue Verte connects both cities through a network of cycle paths, bridleways, trails and minor roads.
There are two route options for the Avenue Verte. The shorter western way involves 247 miles (398km) whereas the longer eastern way crossing Normandy runs 287 miles (462km). Apart from the length, the difference between the two routes is that the first option crosses large cities, such as Beauvais and Senlis, whilst the second option offers some of Normandy’s remote and contrasting rural scenery. The cycling route is a fantastic way to visit the region as you clock up the kilometres.
Arriving into Dieppe after crossing the English Channel, you’ll marvel at the impressive white cliffs of the Alabaster Coast. Following long secure sections of green ways, you’ll cycle through the unspoilt rolling hills of the Vexin Regional Natural Park. Take the opportunity to add some sightseeing to your trip as you cross the Epte Valley, with the fine Norman Gisors Castle. Make a quick detour to Giverny where the illustrious painter Claude Monet lived as you travel through the Seine Valley, loved by the Impressionists.
On your journey, there really is time to breathe deep and savour a taste of life in the country. Through the Normandy departments of Seine-Maritime and Eure, you’ll cycle along roads through farmlands and traverse rich pastures where dairy cattle roam and graze freely. In the Pays de Bray, sample some of the famous heart-shaped Neufchâtel cheese, a favourite regional delicacy. Treat your taste buds to some refreshing cider or apple juice from the region’s abundant orchards and cider farms along the way.
Avenue Verte sections in Normandy
> The Vexin Regional Natural Park and the Epte Valley
> The Pays de Bray
> The Pays de Dieppe