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Cycle the Rhone Cycle Route with a Cicerone guidebook

Cover of The River Rhone Cycle Route
7 Oct 2016
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm
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The River Rhone Cycle Route

From the Alps to the Mediterranean

by Mike Wells
Book published by Cicerone Press

Guidebook to cycling the Rhone Cycle Route, an 895km ride through France and Switzerland from the Swiss Alps to the Mediterranean Sea. Divided into 20 stages, each approximately 45km long, the route can be completed by most cyclists in 10-14 days. Includes information on preparation, navigation, accommodation and amenities on route.

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Size: 17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm
Weight: 280g

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Guide to The River Rhone Cycle Route, an 895km bicycle ride starting high in the Alps of central Switzerland and finishing at the Mediterranean Sea, near Marseille. The route - which is mostly downhill - is divided into 20 stages (averaging 45km per stage) and can be completed by most cyclists in 12-14 days. The described route uses two waymarked national cycle trails: the Swiss R1 Rhone Route and the French ViaRhôna, which together have been adopted by the ECF (European Cyclists' Federation) as EuroVélo route EV17. 

The guide provides detailed route descriptions and 1:150,000 mapping for each stage, together with plenty of practical advice such as preparing for the journey, transport options there and back, what to take, accommodation en route and more. A Swiss/French glossary is also included.

Taking in dramatic mountain vistas, Lake Geneva's enchanting beauty and the coastal delights of southern France, the route showcases some of the region's most spectacular scenery, making it a veritable gem for any tour cyclist looking to stretch their legs in stunning surrounds. If a visual feast is not enough, cyclists can indulge in the gastronomic wonders of the region. And need we mention the fact that the Rhone flows through some of the greatest wine producing regions of both Switzerland and France?

  • Seasons
    Except for stage 1 in the high Swiss Alps, the route can be cycled between April and October. Stage 1 can only be cycled when Furkapass is snow free, usually mid-May to mid-October.
  • Centres
    A point-to-point route passing through Martigny, Montreax, Geneva, Lyon, Vienne, Valence, Montélimar and Arles.
  • Difficulty
    A straightforward route that is generally downhill or level, (though there are a few short ascents). Mostly asphalt surfaces in good condition suitable for hybrid or touring cycles. Much of the route follows dedicated off-road cycle tracks, suitable for family cycling, though there are a few short sections where main roads are used.
  • Must See
    The Rhone glacier, Furka pass, Lake Geneva, Château de Chillon, Montreux, Lausanne, Geneva, Lyon, Vienne, Valence, Montélimar, vineyards of the Côtes du Rhone, papal city of Avignon. Roman Arles, Camargue delta.

June 2017

Stage 9, page 143. Between Le Port de Groslée and the Villebois dam, a new fully

waymarked section of the ViaRhona was inaugurated in June 2016. This follows a
route different to that in the guide, making a large detour away from the Rhone
to pass through Morestel and Arandon. This route is 40km in length, compared to
24.5km for the route described in the book. A map of the new route and
information on points of interest and facilities can be found at under stage 7.


The Rhone Cycle Route
Natural environment
Getting there and back
Food and drink
Amenities and services
What to take
Safety and emergencies
About this guide
The route
Stage 1 Furkapass to Brig
Stage 2 Brig to Sierre
Stage 3 Sierre to Martigny
Stage 4 Martigny to Montreux
Stage 5 Montreux to Morges
Stage 6 Morges to Geneva
Stage 5A Le Bouveret to Thonon-les-Bains
Stage 6A Thonon-les-Bains to Geneva
Stage 7 Geneva to Seyssel
Stage 8 Seyssel to Champagneux dam
Stage 9 Champagneux dam to Lagnieu
Stage 10 Lagnieu to Lyon
Stage 11 Lyon to Vienne
Stage 12 Vienne to Sablons
Stage 13 Sablons to Tournon-sur-Rhône
Stage 14 Tournon-sur-Rhône to Valence
Stage 15 Valence to Le Pouzin
Stage 16 Le Pouzin to Montélimar
Stage 17 Montélimar to Pont-St Esprit
Stage 18 Pont-St Esprit to Avignon
Stage 19 Avignon to Arles
Stage 20 Arles to Port-St Louis-du-Rhône
Appendix A Stage summary table
Appendix B Facilities summary table
Appendix C Twelve-day schedule
Appendix D Tourist information offices
Appendix E Youth hostels and gîtes d’étape
Appendix F Useful contacts
Appendix G Language glossary
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