EuroVelo 19 Meuse Cycle Route (French section)

The Euro Velo 19 Meuse Cycle Route – La Meuse à Velo – goes from the Meuse River's source in Pouilly-en-Bassigny, France to its mouth at the Hook of Holland (full report below).

Distance: The full signposted international route runs 1152 kilometres through France, Belgium and Holland. Through France you're looking at around 403km from Pouilly-en-Bassigny to the Belgian border just north of Givet, a wonderful traverse through the Champagne-Ardennes region and including the delightful Ardennes bike path.

Difficulty: This is an easy river route if you're following it from source to sea. It's suited to riders of all abilities, including families if you break the stages up into bite-size chunks. For a little more elevation, ride it in reverse.

Download the GPX file for the French section (GPX files for Belgian and Dutch sections are on the official website).

Road book for Euro Velo 19 French section.

Euro Velo 19 Meuse Cycle Route

Becky Allen and Mark Goodson cycled La Meuse à Velo from Langres to Givet. Here are Becky's words and Mark's photos.

In 2019, the Meuse cycle route became the latest long-distance cycle route to join the EuroVelo family. We spent 8 days riding the French section of EV19 from Langres to the source of the Meuse and on to the Belgian border at Givet.

I’m not sure what we expected of the Meuse cycle route as we headed out of Reims towards Langres on the train. Despite being one of France’s longest rivers – only the Rhine and the Loire flow further – the Meuse isn’t a name that most people know well.

Perhaps because we’d once ridden parts of the river in Belgium, or perhaps because the Meuse cycle route is often described as a river-side ramble, we probably expected 8 days of relatively gentle towpath riding. We were, of course, slightly wrong.

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

If we’d dredged up our school geography lessons, we’d have realised that even great rivers start as small puddles, and that before they form flood plains, or become wide and navigable enough to need a towpath, they have to carve a course through often hilly countryside. And so it was with the Meuse.

The route starts at Langres – the nearest railway station to the source – so it’s a morning’s ride before you reach the source at Pouilly-en-Bassigny. For the first third of the route, you scarcely see the Meuse. Each time the road crosses its course becomes cause for celebration. How much has it grown? How large a bridge does it merit? Here, the small river is calm and cold, running over chalk and marl, and the cycling is on small, quiet country roads through sparsely populated, rolling farmland.

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

From Neufchâteau, the Meuse and the cycle route change character a little. Still running over chalk and marl, the river sits in a wider floodplain. It’s bigger, wilder and more unruly, often breaking its banks after heavy rain. The cycle route continues to rise and fall but towns and villages start to grow along its course.

Its final section in France is a radically different affair. After the Haute-Marne, the Vosges and the Meuse, the Ardennes is a steeply hilly and densely forested départment. Now a mature river, the Meuse has cut its way through the hard siliceous rock, and amid the dramatic scenery, the route follows the flat, tarmac voie verte for 120km from Remilly-Aillicourt all the way to Givet on the Belgian border.

Apart from a few short gravel sections, the route is well surfaced throughout, including small rural roads, a few busier roads, and traffic-free voies vertes. It’s brilliantly signposted and we didn’t lose our way once in 444km.

Day 0 – Reims to Langres

The easiest way to reach the start is by train from Reims. It’s also a great opportunity to see one of France’s great gothic cathedrals and stock up on picnic food at the city’s market, the Halles du Boulingrin (open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday). Built in the 1920s, the vaulted market hall is hymn to the best French fruit, veg, cheese and sausage.

Reims market

Reims market

After getting off the train at Langres and having to push our bikes up the steep hill into the town centre, we stayed in a lovely 17th century Le Chapitre B&B (review here) near the cathedral.

Presenting ourselves at the tourist office for a 2-hour guided tour with Maud, a former local school teacher, we had a grand tour of this very beautiful Renaissance town in the pouring rain. Standing on the ramparts, Maud told us that on a clear day, you could see the Vosges and – if you’re really lucky – Mont Blanc. That evening, through the deluge, we could barely make out the bottom of the hill.

Luckily the Cafe Le Foy, where we ate our supper, had the heating on and we ended the evening dry again, and ready to saddle up and start riding the following morning. 

Day 1 – Langres to Montigny-le-Roi (48km)
Route: small, quiet rural roads

After a good night’s sleep and breakfast in the sunny conservatory, we set off for the first leg of the route. Our B&B made us a picnic, but there’s also an Intermarche on the route as it heads out of Langres. Wherever you get it, though, do take a picnic as there’s next to nothing by way of shops on this section.

Leaving Langres, the route – perfectly signed throughout – crosses the railway line and heads south down the Canal entre Bourgogne et Champagne (the last bit of flat ground we’d see for several days) before rising to one of the four reservoirs built to feed the canal and which now also provides holiday makers with boating, fishing and bathing.

Between here and the source of the Meuse, the route wends its way across the Langres plateau through an arable landscape of wheat, purple flax and fields already cut for hay, on tiny roads with verges covered in red poppies, purple scabious and yellow vetches.

The roads were wonderfully quiet with only the sound of skylarks and crickets for company, and a couple of hours later we reached the source, had our picnic and dipped our hands in the Meuse for the very first time.

Source of the Meuse River, La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

By the time our route met the young river again some 10km later, the Meuse already merited a small stone bridge. Some 3m wide, the Meuse was shallow, reedy and full of damsel flies – but unmistakably a river in the making.

At the end of day, we diverted 2.5 km off the route for the short climb up to our hotel in Montigny-le-Roy, where we sat outside with a beer overlooking the countryside to come, before having supper in the hotel’s cheery bistro.

Overnight at Hotel-restaurant Arcombelle – read our review.

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Day 2: Montigny-le-Roi to Neufchateau (60km)
Route: Quiet country lanes, a short gravel section and one slightly busier road – the D1 into Neufchateau

After the previous day’s solitary pedalling, we met our first fellow travellers over breakfast – a quartet of cyclists from Turin, one of whom was carrying her dog in a bike basket. A small, aged Yorkshire Terrier, the dog, she said, doubled as her coach as it always barked when she slipped to the back of the pack.

From the hotel, where we stocked up with picnic basics, we left town on the D132 to rejoin the waymarked route but were barely into our stride before we spotted a lamb, alone in a field and horribly tangled in plastic fencing. We cut it loose with a pen knife and the Italians – who’d stopped to say hello – gave it some water from their dog bowl.

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

The rest of morning’s ride took us through gentle, rolling farmland along quiet roads and even quieter villages of barns and churches, until we reached Bourmont. Although there’s a cafe and bakery in the new part of town, we decided to head uphill into the old town – a stiff climb but with the reward of some beautiful old buildings and a grand view.

The old town has just earned a the badge of “Little town of character” and we popped into the Mairie to speak to its heritage officer, Francois, about the challenges of revitalising the small French towns that tourists love but the French no longer want to live in.

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

The afternoon’s route followed the railway line on small roads and good gravel tracks before turning right for a steady 20 minute climb up through shady beech forest into the parallel valley and a fast descent into Sommerecourt. Here the route heads left over the River Mouzon and left again onto the D1.

At Pompierre, looking at the road book, we spotted the short brutal climb ahead and instead decided to stay on the D1 into Neufchâteau. It’s a dead straight road, busier than the official route, but rolling and with lovely views of Mouzon valley. Stopping along the D1 we spoke to the Italians again who had made the same decision, and a pair of Dutch cyclists who had stuck to the waymarked route but had to push their bikes up the climb.

Our hotel – the Rialto (read our review) – was the first thing we spotted as we rolled into town, and the terrace gave us a shady spot for recovery beer and supper, while the staff locked our bikes away beside the kitchen and gave us a form to fill in with every imaginable ingredient so we could order our picnic salad boxes for the next morning. 

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Day 3: Neufchâteau to Commercy (70km)
Route: Quiet country lanes, a short gravel section and one slightly busier road – the D1 into Neufchateau

It being another hot day, and we being slightly lazy, we decided against the climb into Frébécourt and instead stuck to the D164 to Coussey before rejoining the waymarked route to Domremy-la-Pucelle. Here the village, and the next town of Vaucouleurs, major in Joan of Arc's history. Her birthplace is a tiny, whitewashed 14th century cottage in Domremy-la-Pucelle, next door to the lovely little church where she was baptised.

Joan of Arc birthplace Meuse

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

At the next village - Greux – the route heads right onto smaller roads again and – after a short climb – through the small village of Sauvigny and its spectacular fontaine-lavoir. Fully restored 10 years ago, the lavoir (built in 1839) was designed by architect Pierre Thiébaut who drew inspiration from the art of ancient Greece.

Here the route is largely flat and follows the widening river valley, crossing and recrossing the Meuse – which is becoming ever broader – several times. There's more interest in the villages along the route, including a 11th century fortified church in Champougny and a small chateau in Chalaines. We had a coffee in Vaucouleurs but opted for a picnic spot just ouside Ugny-sur-Meuse where there was a little beach that allowed us to have quick dip in the river.

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Apart from one long drag before the next village – Void Vacon – the afternoon’s route was flatter. After crossing the Marne-Rhin canal and the Canal de l’Est, passing Euville with its huge art nouveau Mairie and the late 19th century catholic church of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul, we reached the lively little town of Commercy, where our first stop was its art nouveau pharmacy in search of a French alternative to Sudacrem.

Commercy’s central square is dominated by the Chateau Stanislas, which burned down in 1944 and was restored by the town during the 1970s. Commercy’s other claim to fame is as the birthplace of the madeleine, the bite-sized pillowy cake celebrated by Proust and much beloved by the French.

So, although our hotel, the Hotel Restaurant de la Madeleine hotel-restaurant that night was in a “Zone Artisanal” on the edge of town, it was next door to a Lidl and the Boîte à Madeleine, Commercy’s only remaining artisanal madeleine maker. Read our hotel review here.

Day 4 – Commercy to Monthairons (46.5km)
Route: Canal towpaths, very small roads and one busier road with some heavy traffic – the D34 – between Saint-Mihiel and Monthairons

To get the day off to a flying start, we had a short tour (and tasting) at the madeleine factory with Stefan Zins. Set up by his grandfather in 1951, the business is now run by Stefan and his brother Thierry, along with Thierry's son Adrien – a fourth generation madeleine maker.

Originally invented by Stanislas's cook, the madeleine spread through France thanks to Commercy's central position along the rail line from Paris to Strasbourg, madeleine makers selling cakes to passengers when the trains pulled in at Commercy station.

Today, the Zins are Commercy's last remaining artisanal madeleine makers, and the family is hugely proud of their product. Made with the best local ingredients and the same recipe for more than 60 years, all that's changed is the equipment they use, which allows them to produce more than 100,000 madeleines a day – the same number Stefan's grandfather baked in a year.

Stoked up with madeleines and coffee, we rode out of town (via a book shop en route to buy a local IGN 1:25,000 map) along thecanal for the first six kilometres before rejoining the road at Lérouville and riding through quiet, gently rolling farmland to Ailly. There, we stopped in the bus shelter to plot a course that avoided the next steep climb on the waymarked route.

Instead of following the signed route from Ailly to Saint-Mihiel, we continued along the D171b, took the first left onto the D7a through Han-sur-Meuse and Koeur-la-Petite, a small village with a lovely church and gayoir (a large stone pond once used to wash horses).

At Koeur-la-Grande, we turned right onto the D171 and after crossing the river (just before Bislée) we turned left down the towpath and followed the poplar-lined grass and gravel track all the way to St-Mihiel where we rewarded ourselves with a Breton lunch of pancakes and cider at the tidy little restaurant Le Pont Aven.

Before saddling up we visited the vast, slate-roofed Abbey church which dominates the town centre and the smaller church of Saint-Etienne, both of which are famous for their work by the 16th C religious sculptor and Saint-Mihiel native, Ligier Richier. In the Abbey church is his sculpture of St John supporting the Virgin Mary Swooning, carved from a single block of walnut; and in Sainte-Etienne the fabulous ensemble of 13 figures depicting the burial of Jesus, this time carved from Meuse limestone.

From Saint-Mihiel the route follows the D34 along the valley – fast cycling but also the busiest stretch of road we’d encountered thus far and one used by a fair number of HGVs. Around 1k after Monthairons, we started to see the walled boundary of parkland, inside which was our lodging for the night – the fabulous Hostellerie du Château des Monthairons (read our review).

The 19th century castle was bought by the Thouvenin family in 1985, and opened as a hotel-restaurant in 1989. The much-loved family business is now run by Benoît Thouvenin, a chef, and his sister Catherine, along with her husband and pastry chef Hervé Pierrat, and her sister-in-law Élise Thouvenin, the room manager. Their pride and passion shows in everything about the place.

Our first floor room – complete with four poster bed and a bathroom with our first bath of the trip – looked out over the parkland, with its lovely copper beeches and areas of hay meadow uncut except for a small path leading down seats beside a side branch of Meuse. The staff were extraordinarily kind, in the most unfussy of ways; the meal – accompanied by côtes de Meuse wines – was by a huge margin the culinary highlight of the trip; and the cheese chariot will stay in our memories for a very long time.  

Day 5 – Monthairons to Vacherauville (38km)
Route: A short section on the busier D34 from Monthairons to Dugny-sur-Meuse, then voie verte (plus quiet roads for our diversion to Douamont Ossuary)

Because this leg of the journey included diversions to the battlefields of Verdun, the day required an early start. The hotel staff laid out breakfast for us earlier than their normal 7.30am start, but despite the hour it was a princely breakfast of fresh cherries, madeleines from Commercy, cheeses, meat, and plates groaning under the weight of half a dozen different forms of brioche loaf. Tearing ourselves away from it was never going to be easy.

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Remounting the bikes, which had spent the night stabled in one of the courtyard buildings, we rejoined the busy D34 along the valley floor and after less than 6km headed right onto a smaller road into Belleray where, after crossing the river and the canal, the route turns left along along a newly opened section of tarmac voie verte that runs for 12km into and out of Verdun. Once on the voie verte, the route dispenses with its usual North/South route marking.

At Verdun, we’d planned a couple of detours for sightseeing. First, we visited the underground citadel which, although built in the 17th century, its 7km of tunnels are most famous as a command centre during the first world war. The cool of the tunnels – 7C – meant we had to wear most of the clothes in our panniers and while the citadel itself is interesting, the 30 minute tour on little battery-powered cars is ripe for a revamp.

Meuse cycle route Euro Velo 19 Verdun battlefields

Meuse cycle route Euro Velo 19 Verdun battlefields

Ossuaire de Douamont, Verdun memorial

The same’s not true for the monuments in the battlefield itself, and although it means a 12km detour from the route it’s an extraordinary site to visit. At Bras-sur-Meuse we diverted from the voie verte and took the D913, which climbs steadily up through forests planted after the first world war. At the top is the Ossuaire de Douamont: laid out on the southern slope is a vast cemetery with 16,000 graves; within the ossuary itself – a baguette-shaped building with a central tower – are the remains of 210,000 other French soldiers. Climbing the tower gives a panoramic view of the wooded ridge and there’s an excellent 30-minute film about the soldiers’ lives – and deaths – during the Battle of Verdun. 

If you have time for more, a couple of kilometres from the Ossuary are the recently-refurbished museum at the Monument of Verdun, the Fort of Douamont, and the half dozen chapels that commemorate the villages destroyed by the fighting and never rebuilt.

We had a simple lunch at the Abri des Pèlerins, before retracing the D913 back downhill to Bras, where we picked up the voie verte again and after a just a couple of kilometres pulled off at Vacherauville at our Logis Hotel Restaurant Le Relais for supper, sleep and a spot of laundry. Read our hotel review here.  

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Day 6 – Vacherauville to Sedan (96km)
Route: voie verte and quiet, rural roads

This was – for several reasons – bar far the toughest day. At Vacherauville we rejoined the voie verte and – when that ran out after a couple of kilometres – popped back onto quiet roads along the left flank of the Meuse valley.

After a short detour to Dun-sur-Meuse for coffee and a visit to the town’s small German WW1 cemetery, we picked up the route again and just shy of Stenay, Mark’s rear wheel began complaining in a worrisome way. In Stenay we’d arranged to meet Elodie from the Meuse tourist office, and after having lunch and a beer tasting at the Beer Museum, which occupies a beautiful old maltings near the river, we decided to inspect the bike.

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Stenay Beer Museum

Stenay Beer Museum

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Once the rear wheel was off, we realised that fixing the problem needed a chain whip – not something you’d normally take on a week-long tour – but by a huge stroke of luck, Elodie was still in the car park and ferried Mark and his ailing wheel to a bike shop on the edge of town. Thirty minutes later we were back on the road, only to discover that we’d miscalculated the day’s mileage. Instead of 30km remaining, we had nearly 50km of riding left and – while you wouldn’t know it from the road book – they’re a pretty hilly 50km.

Eight kilometres before the end of the day, we were delighted to join the voie verte at Remilly-Aillicourt (the start of the Trans-Ardennes bike path) and finally rolled into Sedan at 7pm, where we were hugely grateful that our lodging – the hotel within the massive Chateau-fort de Sedan – was the town’s major landmark and therefore easy to locate. Safe within the walls of the largest medieval fortress in Europe, we had a well-earned beer and listened to a local choir. Read our hotel review here. 

Sedan fort hotel

Day 7 – Sedan to Monthermé (48km)
Route: Voie verte 

Before setting off, we took a tour of the château-fort and although not usually fans of audio guides, this was fascinating. It gave us a real feel for the fort as a building and how its defences had evolved in the face of ever more powerful artillery.

After six days of rolling riding, having the river running downstream alongside us for the last two days of our journey to the Belgian border was a joy.

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Short sections of this part of the route are shared with local traffic, but for the most part it’s shared only with an increasing number of cyclists, attracted by 120km of flat, river-side cycle path through a steep-sided, wooded and picturesque valley. All manner of bikes and cyclists are here, from tourers and tri-barred road bikes to recumbents and a Dutch man who’d strapped a large plastic suitcase to his rack.

We took a short diversion into Charleville-Mézières, but its beautiful 17th century Place Ducale was largely deserted due to a 400-strong yellow vest demonstration.

Along the route there are plenty of reminders of the river’s industrial heritage – from timber mills and forestry to forges and nail factories. Rolling into Monthermé for the night, we found the small town populated by hobbling trail runners, some 2000 of whom had just competed int the 2019 Ardennes Mega Trail – a 12km, 34km, 54km or 100km race through the Ardennes’ rivers and forests. 

We stayed overnight in Les Boucles de Meuse – read our review.

Les Boucles de Meuse

Day 8 – Monthermé to Givet (60.5km)
Route: Voie verte 

Our final leg was a leisurely 60.5k from Monthermé to Givet. Along with the Stenay-Sedan section, we found the first half of this section the most beautiful of all. The river twists and turns through an ever steepening valley, through the two elegant riverside villages of Fumay and Haybes.

Trans-Ardennes bike path

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Trans-Ardennes bike path

Gradually the valley opens out again, agriculture returns and at Ham – where you can see the brand-new voie verte around the Chooz loop and the two cooling towers of its nuclear power station – you head onto the road for 4km before rejoining the river for the final 5km into Givet. 

Less than 3km downstream the Meuse slides into Belgium and on through the Netherlands into the Rhine delta and the North Sea, another 450k away. But for us, it was the end of the road.

Givet hotel suggestion in Givet: Orchidee Rose B&B.

The Meuse à velo – what you need to know

Meuse Cycle Route

What is the Meuse cycle route?

The Meuse cycle route is a fully signposted international route that runs 1152 kilometres through France, Belgium and Holland. The French section starts at Langres, the railway station nearest the source, finds the source of the river at Pouilly-en-Bassigny before winding its way to the Belgian border just north of Givet.

Where is it?

Running south-north, the river Meuse is in eastern France. From Langres in the Haute-Marne, it has a brief foray into the Vosges before traveling the length of the Meuse department and finally heading through the Ardennes.

How far is it?

444km, including the section from Langres station to the source of the Meuse at Pouilly-en-Bassigny.

How hard is it?

Overall, moderate. Two thirds of the route from Langres to Remilly-Aillicourt are over rolling countryside with a few stiff climbs; the final 120k of route is a 120k of flat, easy riding on the voie verte that hugs the river.

There’s a useful guide with profiles for each stage here

What bike do I need?

We rode the route on a touring bike and an adventure bike, but provided you have some low gears to tackle the hills, most bikes would do the job. The surface – apart from a couple of short gravel sections – is almost entirely tarmacked roads and voie verte/greenway routes.

Meuse cycle route - La Meuse a velo Euro Velo 19

Where to stay?

On the early sections of the route, between Langres and Neufchâteau, accommodation isn’t plentiful, so it pays to plan ahead (and book ahead in high season). After Verdun, there is more choice. See the map embedded in the top of this page for more ideas and links.

Here are reviews of the hotels and B&Bs we used:

Reims: Hotel Novotel Suites Reims Centre 
Langres: Le Chapitre B&B
Montigny-le-Roi: Hotel-restaurant Arcombelle
Neufchâteau: Le Rialto
Commercy: Hotel Restaurant de la Madeleine
Monthairons: Château des Monthairons
Vacherauville: Logis Hotel Restaurant Le Relais
Sedan: Hotel du Château-fort de Sedan
Monthermé: Les Boucles de Meuse
Givet: Suggested hotel - Orchidee Rose B&B

Where to eat

Again, some stretches are more plentiful than others. Keep some snacks in your panniers in case you get caught out for lunch, and always remember to try and arrive between noon and 2pm in case restaurants top serving. Beware of closures (boulangeries and restaurants) on Mondays. 

Here is were we ate:

Reims: Brasserie Excelsior Reims
Langres: Cafe de Foy
Montigny-le-Roi: Hotel-restaurant Arcombelle (see review above)
Neufchâteau: Le Rialto (see review above)
Commercy: Hotel Restaurant de la Madeleine (see review above)
Saint-Mihiel: Le Pont Aven
Monthairons: Château des Monthairons (see review above)
Douamont: L’abri des Pèlerins
Vacherauville: Logis Hotel Restaurant Le Relais (see review above)
Stenay: Taverne du Musée de la Biere
Sedan: Hotel du Château-fort de Sedan (see review above)
Monthermé: Les Boucles de Meuse (see review above)
Haybes: Le Saint Hubert
Givet: Hotel Le Roosevelt

Other bike route links

Useful leaflets detailing day rides around Langres and the rest of the Haute-Marne are available from here and here.

The Commission diocesaine d’art also produce a nice guide on the Meuse’s most remarkable churches, many of which are on or near the cycle route. See here

How do I get back on a one-way ride?

No single rail line links Langres and Givet, so we opted to use Reims as a hub. 

The local TER from Langres to Reims takes 2h40, and the train from Givet to Reims via Charleville-Mezieres is similar.

You do not need bike reservations on TER trains – you just buy your own ticket and board into the velo carriages.

If you don’t want to ride the whole route, another line links Reims and Verdun, and you can reach Sedan by train from Charleville-Mezieres.

We drove to Reims after taking the car on the DFDS ferry across the Channel. However you can also get to Reims via train from Paris. Note fast TGV trains from Paris to Reims can be problematic with fully assembled bikes. However it is possible to take local TER trains (no bike reservation needed) from Paris Gare de l’Est to Épernay and then from Épernay to Reims.

More on trains and booking links here.

Meuse River cycling train

Luggage transfer

No formal luggage transfer service exists along the route, though if your hotel or B&B is a member of the accueil velo network, then they should be able to help you arrange luggage transfer locally. Otherwise, ask in advance about local taxi services as these will often be able to carry your luggage ahead to your next hotel. 

Bike hire

See our bike hire pages (or the map above) for links to rental outlets along the route or use our bespoke service. 

Other top tips

  • Pack lightly, think through which items you will certainly need. Don’t take items “just in case”
  • Clothing made from synthetic fabrics is typically lighter and easier to dry, allowing you to handwash and dry items overnight
  • Take sunblock and insect repellant/bite cream as large sections of the route go through very small hamlets and villages with no pharmacy
  • Invest in proper cycle clothing, including padded shorts and a top with pockets for maps, snacks, phone, etc. Likewise cycle-specific rain gear will keep you out of the wind and dry quickly
  • Make sure you have sufficient chargers and adapters for your shared devices. A “power brick” (external battery) is really useful since running navigation software on a smartphone quickly runs the battery down
  • The route is very well signposted and navigation by smartphone helps, but you may wish to invest in an IGN map for sections where the voie verte is being extended or you might wish to divert around one or two stiff climbs!
  • Be willing to improvise alternative routes and diversions. This is part of the fun and can save you time and effort – but be mindful of main roads, which in France often carry heavy traffic
  • Even if you plan to stop for a cafe lunch, make sure you always have some food in your panniers
  • Fill up water bottles whenever you can, but if you run out of water don’t be afraid to stop and knock on someone’s door to ask for a refill (cheat sheet here)
  • If you want to travel really light you can wear your cycling shoes in the evening, but it’s nice to have something else to change into
  • Make sure your bike is serviced and in good order before the ride
  • Check – and double check – the mileage of your stages

7 things for your Meuse cycle route holiday itinerary

1. Rampart ramble

For a gentle warmup, and far-reaching views over the surrounding countryside, cycle or walk along the 3.5k-long ramparts that encircle the lovely Renaissance town of Langres.

2. Sweet treats

Madeleines – those small, pillowy cakes that are perfect in your panniers as emergency rations – were invented in Commercy. Here, you can visit la Boîte à Madeleine – one the few remaining artisanal madeleine makers – to watch them being made by the fourth generation of the Zins family and have a tasting.

3. R&R

Budget permitting, treat yourself to a night at the Château des Monthairons. Family-run for the past 30 years, the castle, its grounds, the food and the welcome are exceptional. (Read our review).

Château des Monthairons

4. Battle of Verdun

There’s a huge amount of sightseeing you could do around Verdun, but among the most interesting – and affecting – is the Ossuary of Douamont in the former battlefields north-east of the town.

5. French countryside at its best

It will stretch your legs and lungs a little, but the countryside between Stenay and Sedan is some of the loveliest along the route. Rolling farmland, woodland, big skies and great views will reward the effort.

6. Sensational stronghold

The Château-fort of Sedan is the largest fortress in Europe – both a beautiful and hugely-impressive site. You can take an audio-guided tour, stay at the hotel within the fort itself, or just sit and enjoy a coffee.

Trans Ardennes voie verte

7. The Trans-Ardennes bike path

Between Remilly-Aillicourt and Givet are 120km of flat, traffic-free and riding suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Another 10km between Remilly-Aillicourt and Mouzon will be opening soon. The section between Monthermé and Haybes is particularly picturesque. More info here.

Download the GPX file for the French section 
(GPX files for Belgian and Dutch sections are on the official website).

Road book for Euro Velo 19 French section.

More river and canal bike routes in France 

On the blog

Alpine French School

Cycling for Softies

BSpoke Cycling holidays

Cycle South West France

Cicerone cycling books

Cycling in France books


Velo Voyageur

Maps for cycling in France

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