Published by Lyn on 9 May 2017
Sustrans has published what is sure to be a popular addition to many panniers – a guide to the Avenue Verte London to Paris bike route. By Lynette Eyb.
UPDATE: A second edition of this book was published in April 2017 to include the following:
- Mainly minor rural road detour east of the complicated official section through Horley and Crawley.
- Spur route to Giverny (for Monet's garden) and Vernon.
- Shortcut through Paris, avoiding the official route through industrial northern Paris.
- Totally updated mapping and directions and new, expanded accommodation listings. Many accommodation listings in France are now 'Accueil Velo' rated - or Cyclists Welcome - with guaranteed cycle storage and accreditation is indicated in the listings. These are now highlighted in the listings.
- All new photos.
Orignial post (May 2013):
Avenue Verte: London to Paris by Bike (UK, US) is the official guidebook to a route that starts at the London Eye and ends at the doors of Notre Dame.
The pocket-sized book covers every section of the route (see our full overview of the official London to Paris bike route here). The UK section of the guidebook is straight-forward, taking in the 159km from London to Newhaven in 3 stages via Horley and Groombridge and ending at the ferry port.
On the French side of the Channel, it's an 82km, two-stage ride from the ferry at Dieppe to Gourney in the Seine-Maritime department of Upper Normandy. Here, the route breaks off in two directions before meeting in St-Germain in the Yvelines department of Île-de-France, north-west of Paris.
The western leg goes via The Vexin, a 120km two-stage ride to St Germain. The eastern option takes in Beauvais and Senlis in the Oise department of Picardy and L'Isle Adam in the Val-d'Oise department of Île-de-France before arriving 184km later in St Germain. From here it's a 37km homestretch to the French capital.
The entire route using the western option takes in 398km; the eastern option is longer at 462km.
Written by Rebecca Jones, Simon Pratt and Freewheeling France contributor Richard Peace, the Sustrans guidebook covers all this in painstaking detail.
An opening section introduces the route and explains how it ties in with the Sustrans and National Cycle Network routes on the English side. We also read about the signage and distances involved, and learn what to expect re the quality of the surfaces along the route. Useful websites are also recommended, while a section on taking bikes on trains in the UK, on Eurostar and on French trains is a worthy addition. There's a paragraph on bikes and ferries, and a plug for the European Bike Express.
Each stage of the route is then broken down in detail, with route overviews and highlights complemented by detailed directions and maps, and supplemented by accommodation suggestions and further tips on using local trains.
It's a thorough and well-planned cycling guidebook that will be indispensable if you're looking to cycle the Avenue Verte from London to Paris in its entirety. It will also be an invaluable resource if you're looking for a day bike ride in France or a shorter cycling holiday in Normandy, Picardy or Île-de-France.