The Moselle Cycle Route
From the source to the Rhine at Koblenz
By Mike Wells
A guidebook to the Moselle Cycle Route. Cycle the entire length of the Moselle river, from its source in the Vosges Mountains in eastern France to its confluence with the Rhine at the west German city of Koblenz. Suitable for cyclists of all experience levels, the 512km route is well-waymarked and the route is mostly on well-surfaced cycle tracks.
Seasonsroute can be cycled at any time of year, but best between April and October
Centresroute from Col de Bussang to Koblenz, passing through Nancy, Metz and Trier, with extra excursions from Konz and Koblenz
Difficultya straightforward cycle ride, mostly off-road on well-surfaced (mainly asphalt) cycle tracks with little ascent; suitable for all levels of cyclist, on all types of bike, although racing cyclists may wish to use the alternative routes described in the guide to avoid a few short sections of gravel.
Must Seethe Vosges Mountains; Lorraine; Luxembourg; the German Rheinland; the great cities of Nancy and Metz; the spectacular Mosel gorge; the Hunsrück and Eiffel Mountains.
This guidebook covers the entirety of the Moselle river’s course, from its source in the Vosges Mountains of eastern France to its confluence with the Rhine at the west German city of Koblenz. The well-waymarked route reaches historic Nancy and Metz, crosses into Luxembourg and continues through the spectacular Mosel gorge, where the river cuts a sinuous path between the Hunsrück and Eifel Mountains.
The great attraction to a cyclist of following a river from its source is that, once you have reached the start, it's all downhill. From the easily reached source near the Col de Bussang, the Moselle cycle route descends over 650m to the Rhine at Koblenz. At Koblenz, the route can be linked with The Rhine Cycle Route.
In addition to the main route, excursions are described to visit Toul on the Boucles de Moselle, Luxembourg Ville in the Duchy of Luxembourg and through the Saar and Rhine gorges.
Accommodation and places to eat and drink en route are plentiful. Mostly off-road and on well-surfaced cycle tracks (mainly asphalt), the cycling is straightforward, and suitable for both experienced long-distance cyclists, and for those who have not done much cycle touring and wish to start with a straightforward, easily followed route. On occasions where roads are used, these are usually quiet country roads.
The Moselle cycle route mostly follows French and German national cycle trails, with a high standard of waymarking for most of the journey. This guidebook breaks the route into 14 stages, averaging just over 36km per stage. A fit cyclist, covering 2 stages per day, should be able to complete the trip in a week. In addition, there are two variants and two excursions that visit attractive locations just off the main route. Allowing two weeks would enable these to be included, provide more time for sightseeing and allow the route to be cycled at a leisurely pace.
- 14 stages covering 512km (with an additional two alternative stages, via Toul and Luxembourg City, and two off-route excursions through the Saar and Rhine gorges)
- interesting historical and cultural notes on the many places passed en route
- English–French–German language glossary
- lists of contact details for tourist offices and youth hostels
Getting there and back
Food and drink
Amenities and services
What to take
Safety and emergencies
About this guide
Stage 1 Col de Bussang to Remiremont
Stage 2 Remiremont to Épinal
Stage 3 Épinal to Charmes
Stage 4 Charmes to Nancy
Stage 4A Charmes to Toul
Stage 5A Toul to Pont-à-Mousson
Stage 5 Nancy to Pont-à-Mousson
Stage 6 Pont-à-Mousson to Metz
Stage 7 Metz to Thionville
Stage 8 Thionville to Remich
Stage 9 Remich to Trier
Stage 9A Remich to Trier via Luxembourg City
Excursion 1 Konz to Merzig: the Saar Valley
Stage 10 Trier to Leiwen
Stage 11 Leiwen to Bernkastel-Kues
Stage 12 Bernkastel-Kues to Zell
Stage 13 Zell to Cochem
Stage 14 Cochem to Koblenz
Excursion 2 Koblenz to St Goar: the Rhine Gorge
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Language glossary
Appendix C Useful contacts
Appendix D Principal tourist offices
Appendix E Youth hostels
There is no specific series of maps that provides comprehensive coverage of the whole route. For France, sheet 516 of the Michelin map Alsace, Lorraine (at a scale of 1:200,000) or sheets 314 and 307 (at a scale of 1:150,000) give an overview of the route across Lorraine without specifically showing cycle routes. As the route is under development, things change frequently and the best way to ascertain the up-to-date position is via the Lorraine tourist office, which publishes a map showing sections open, those under construction and those planned (http://lorraine.voie.verte.free.fr).
For the latter stages between Metz and Koblenz, Esterbauer Bikeline publish a cycling guide (see below), which includes strip maps of the route along both sides of the river at 1:75,000. The stretch from Schengen, on the Franco–Luxembourg–German border, to Koblenz, is also covered by a laminated folding strip map of the Mosel-Radweg (sheet 198), published by Publicpress publications (www.publicpress.de). They publish a similar map for the Saar-Radweg (sheet 617). Although these are at 1:50,000, they contain less detail and are less accurate than Bikeline guides.
Various online maps are available to download, at a scale of your choice. Particularly useful is Open Street Map (www.openstreetmap.org) which has a cycle route option showing the route in its entirety, including the planned but not yet constructed stages. This can be a little misleading, as when a track is built it does not always take the exact route originally proposed, and moreover it leaves you to make your own choice of alternative road routes to bypass missing sections.
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Stage 7; new route around Metz Port (very bottom p107 and most of p109).
A new section of cycle track has been constructed just N of Metz. This avoids 2km of cycling on a road busy with trucks through Metz port and past a huge Ikea warehouse. It adds 1km to the stage but is a significant improvement to the route. It is waymarked throughout as Véloroute Charles-le-Téméraire.
After passing under the combined road and rail bridge (bottom of p107), turn R onto a new cycle track following the Moselle (do not follow road bearing L away from river). Continue beside the river for 1.6km, then follow the cycle track bearing L and ascending to cross a new bridge over the entrance channel to Metz port. Bear R to regain the riverbank and after 1km follow the track bearing L away from the river parallel with a canal R that takes coal barges to La Maxe power station. The cycle track emerges onto a road and continues ahead to reach a crossroads. Turn R over the canal, (rejoining the route described in the guide) and R again on an asphalt track between two small canals. Continue as per description at the bottom of p109.
Latest information about getting to Fellering by train
Since autumn 2014, the best way to reach Fellering by train from London with a bicycle is to travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord. Trains which carry cycles run hourly throughout the day with a journey time of approximately 3hrs. Reservations for your cycle are required (through Eurostar baggage +44 844 822 5822) at a cost of £30. There is no need for bicycles to be boxed and cycles travel in a dedicated compartment in the same train as the one you travel on.
After arrival in Paris you need to cycle from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon following three 'grands boulevards' (wide 19th-century avenues) on an almost straight 4km route. Go ahead opposite the main entrance to Gare de Nord along semi-pedestrianised Boulevard de Denain. At the end turn L into Boulevard de Magenta and follow this to reach Place de la Republique. Continue round this square and leave on opposite side by Boulevard du Temple, becoming Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire and Boulevard Beaumarchais, to reach Place de la Bastille. Continue ahead again on Rue de Lyon to reach Gare de Lyon station.
TGV Lyria trains, which run from Paris Gare de Lyon to Basle via Mulhouse, have four cycle spaces per train, with mandatory reservation (€10). There are six direct trains per day which take 2hr45min to reach Mulhouse, from where local trains take you on to Fellering. Total journey time from London to Fellering, allowing an hour to cycle through Paris, is typically 8hr30min.
December 2015, Seven Day Cyclist
The Moselle Cycle Route: "Am I tempted? Well, yes. This is not an area I know awfully well. Who better to take me there than Mike Wells and Cicerone?
I have used Cicerone guides for many years and have never been disappointed. The information and mapping reflect the fact that Cicerone authors know their regions very well. In my experience a Cicerone guide is a grand companion on a cycle tour and a pleasant friend in the lounge."
Read the full article here: http://sevendaycyclist.co.uk/the-moselle-cycle-route/
A great review from thewashingmachinepost - read the full review here."author and cyclist mike wells, in keeping with the format applied to almost all of the excellent cicerone guides, explains the moselle route in great detail, presaged by a brief history of the regions through which it travels. the latter is most helpful in identifying the heritage of many of the elderly buildings that can be seen along the way, and given the ideal travelling size of these guides, it's simplicity itself to pull the book out along the way to check prudent details... as has been consistent in the majority of the cicerone guides i have been privileged to review, the moselle cycle route is every bit worth purchasing even by the armchair explorer... should i ever be overcome by the wanderlust that seems to inhabit the minds of cicerone's authors, i have the ideal script to follow."monday 15 september 2014
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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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