Cycling from London to Paris with Ride25

France and cycling go together like bread and butter, and an ever-increasing number of cyclists are looking to get a slice of the action. A London to Paris is a prestigious feather in any cyclist’s cap (or should I say chapeau?), meaning there’s never been a better time to pick up your bike and plan a cycling holiday in France.

The country has the perfect blend of beauty and history. Rolling hills, chateaus and picturesque villages line any route you may choose to ride, and as proud inventors of the Tour de France – the world’s most famous cycling event – the French are welcoming to cyclists. Add a bunch of well implemented cycling infrastructure to the mix and you’re guaranteed great trip.

The UK’s capital needs no introduction, and makes a majestic and inspiring start to your ride. You’ll be heading south toward the coast on a route that features a few hills, so make sure you’re prepared. Our recommendations for gear to bring with you is as follows:

  • A base layer in case the weather changes
  • Gloves
  • A helmet
  • Sunglasses, ideally with UV protection
  • Spare inner tubes – there’s nothing worse than getting caught short!
  • Puncture repair kit, tyre levers and a cycle pump
  • Water bottles
  • A GPS unit with your route loaded in or, if you’re feeling traditional, a paper map

For routes we recommend the Avenue Verte, which is a well thought out route between London and Paris. Most of the route is on dedicated cycle tracks which makes it more inviting for beginners, and the bits that are on roads prioritise quiet, attractive ones. A chap called Donald Hirsch has published a variation on this route too which is slightly shorter and well worth a look.

French Road

Heading south from London towards the coast whisks you through various suburbs, through Richmond and Guilford, over the incredible South Downs and onto the ferry port town of Newhaven. This ride is quite long at 80 miles and has some light climbs, but offers tasty treats in the famous seaside town of Brighton if you fancy a stop.

When you see the iconic white cliffs of Newhaven it’s time to hunker down for the night: rest your legs and get geared up for day 2.

The ferry to Newhaven is a great opportunity for the group to catch up, chat about the ride so far, compare aches and pains, look at maps, and do whatever else needs to be done. The fried breakfast makes good fuel for the ride ahead too. Seeing the Dieppe Cliffs on the horizon is one of our highlights of this ride. It’s such a commanding view and promises such great cycling – make sure you head to the front of the ferry to get the best view.

Newheaven Cliffs

 

When you hit the shore and climb back on the saddle you’ll weave through Dieppe, up a long (but gentle) hill, and into France’s famed countryside. You’ll ride through a selection of small and attractive towns before arriving at Forges-les-Eaux.

Forges-les-Eaux is home to a 19th century church, a 17th century convent, a chateau and three museums if you fancy a touristic poke around before hitting the road. We’d also recommend heading to a boulangerie for a traditional French patisserie breakfast – you’ve definitely burned enough calories on your ride so far to not feel guilty about it!

Some of the other towns you pass through are noteworthy too. Gournay-en-Bray is one for the history buffs, as it contains ruins of a 12th century monastery, a 16th century church, and fortifications from the 13th century. Pop music aficionados among you may recognise the castle in Vigny: this is where Rihanna filmed the video for her song ‘Te Amo’!

The final stretch to Paris takes you through more idyllic villages and forests into the suburbs of Paris, some of which are so filled with grandeur that you’ll want to stop and stare at the architecture. Trying to pronounce the names of others will keep your brain ticking over too: Le Coudray-Saint-Gerner, Jouy-sous-Thelle, Neuilly-en-Vexin, Triel-sur-Seine.

Nothing compares to the sensation of arriving in the world’s most romantic city, though: you’ll see familiar sights in every direction on your way to the Eiffel Tower, our recommended finishing point.

Ride25 offer cycling holidays in Europe, and London to Paris is one of our most popular routes. If you fancy a cycling holiday with full vehicle support, comfortable hotels each evening (with 3 course meals) and great camaraderie, give us a call.

 

Paris
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