Cycling London to Paris

The classic Dover/Calais route and the Avenue Verte

12 Mar 2018
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.6cm

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Guidebook to the London to Paris Bike Ride, including both the 500km traditional route, which makes use of cycle tracks and quiet roads plus a ferry crossing from Dover, and the 400km Avenue Verte, a waymarked route via Newhaven/Dieppe which makes greater use of dedicated cycle paths. Each takes 5-7 days and they can be combined for a round trip.

Seasons Seasons
Both routes can be cycled at any time of year, though April-October is the best period. Off-road sections of Stages 2 (Pilgrims' Way) and 8 (Coulée Verte) of the classic route are best done after a period of dry weather.
Centres Centres
The classic route passes through London, Rochester, Ashford, Folkestone, Dover, Calais, Desvres, Hesdin, Abbeville, Amiens, Beauvais, Chantilly and Paris. The Avenue Verte passes through London, Crawley, East Grinstead, Newhaven, Dieppe, Gournay-en-Bray, Gisors, Cergy and Paris.
Difficulty Difficulty
Both routes are straightforward, with gently rolling hills and a few short ascents (the maximum altitude reached is only 204m). City street riding in London and Paris can be avoided by using trains to reach the edge of town. Much of the route follows dedicated off-road cycle tracks along old railway track-beds and canal/river towpaths. Where roads are used, these are mostly quiet country lanes or suburban streets. Mainly asphalt or compacted gravel surfaces in good condition, suitable for hybrid or touring cycles. Off-road options in Stages 2 and 8 of the classic route are suitable for mountain bikes at all times and hybrids or tourers in dry weather.
Must See Must See
The two cities of London and Paris, with their many tourist sights, cultural offerings and gastronomic opportunities; the maritime centre of Greenwich; the North Downs with the Pilgrims' Way and White Cliffs of Dover; the Wealden landscape of Sussex and Kent (England) and the Bray (France); the medieval French towns of Calais, Hesdin, Montreuil, Abbeville and Gisors; the Somme and Oise valleys; the cathedral cities of Rochester, Amiens and Beauvais; the chateau of Chantilly; the limestone plateau of the Vexin
12 Mar 2018
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.6cm
  • Overview

    This guidebook describes two cycle routes between London and Paris: the 490km 'classic route' and the 387km Avenue Verte. Passing through rolling chalk downland and characterful market towns, the trails link these two great cities with their grand buildings, famous museums and iconic monuments. Ideal both for cycle-touring holidays and charity challenges, both routes are well within the capabilities of cyclists of moderate fitness and will generally take between five days and a week – meaning that a round trip, including a few days sightseeing in Paris, can easily be accomplished in a fortnight.

    The routes are described in both directions, with the primary route description running from London to Paris. The classic route is presented in eleven stages; the Avenue Verte in nine, with clear step-by-step directions accompanied by mapping, elevation profiles and notes on local points of interest. A comprehensive introduction covers all the practicalities, such as Channel crossings, accommodation and what to take, and also offers a fascinating historical overview of southern England and northern France. A summary of facilities, useful contacts and an English-French glossary can be found in the appendices.

    The classic route crosses the Channel between Dover and Calais and makes use of quiet country roads, rural tracks and dedicated cycle paths, with a number of off-road sections. Developed to celebrate the 2012 London Olympics, the Avenue Verte is fully waymarked and makes maximum use of Sustrans off-road cycle tracks in England and voies vertes (rural cycle routes) in France: it uses the slightly longer Newhaven-Dieppe crossing. Cycling from London to Paris draws on the best of both worlds: England and France; the bright lights and vibrant attractions of the city and the delightful scenery of Kent, Sussex, Hauts-de-France and Normandy. The journey offers a wonderful cycling experience, as well as a unique insight into the cultures of both nations.

  • Contents

    The routes
    Natural environment
    Getting there and back
    Food and drink
    Amenities and services
    What to take
    Safety and emergencies
    About this guide
    Classic route (via Dover–Calais)
    Stage 1 Tower of London to Rochester
    Stage 2 Rochester to Ashford
    Stage 3 Ashford to Dover
    Stage 4 Calais to Desvres
    Stage 5 Desvres to Hesdin
    Stage 6 Hesdin to Abbeville
    Stage 7 Abbeville to Amiens
    Stage 8 Amiens to Beauvais
    Stage 9 Beauvais to Chantilly
    Stage 10 Chantilly to St Denis market
    Stage 11 St Denis market to Eiffel Tower
    Avenue Verte (via Newhaven–Dieppe)
    Stage 1 London Eye to Redhill
    Stage 2 Redhill to Eridge
    Stage 3 Eridge to Newhaven
    Stage 4 Dieppe to Neufchâtel-en-Bray
    Stage 5 Neufchâtel-en-Bray to Gournay-en-Bray
    Stage 6 Gournay-en-Bray to Gisors
    Stage 7 Gisors to Neuville-sur-Oise
    Stage 8 Neuville-sur-Oise to St Denis station
    Stage 9 St Denis station to Notre Dame cathedral

    Appendix A Facilities summary tables
    Appendix B Tourist information offices
    Appendix C Youth hostels
    Appendix D Useful contacts
    Appendix E Language glossary

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Mike Wells

Mike Wells has been a keen long-distance walker and cyclist for over 20 years. He has walked all the major British trails, the GR5 through the Alps from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean and has explored the Italian Dolomites' Alta Via routes. He has also walked in Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Norway and Chilean Patagonia.
Mike has cycled the C2C route across northern England as well as the Camino and Ruta de la Plata to Santiago de la Compostela. He has completed an end to end traverse of Cuba, a circumnavigation of Iceland and a trip across Lapland to the North Cape.

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