A trail of two cities
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.