From London to Paris by bicycle: a tale of two cities

a street in Paris

This fantastic long-distance route connects two of the world’s most iconic cities, both famed for their culture, architecture and history. Cycle the Avenue Verte route and you’ll journey from the glittering glass of the London Eye to the gothic buttresses of Notre Dame.

Avenue Verte is a stunning long-distance route. The 250 mile ride takes riders on a challenging but rewarding journey through towns, villages and beautiful countryside on both sides of the Channel. The route is a mixture of traffic-free stretches on old railway-paths and riverside routes with some on-road sections, mainly quiet lanes.

Begin your journey beside the Thames

Starting in London you’ll be rewarded with some of the most fantastic sights in the capital as you look down the river towards Westminster and the Houses of Parliament. From there you’ll exit the capital on the leafy, traffic-free Wandle Trail.

Once out of London you’ll travel across bucolic southern England on your way to Newhaven to get the ferry. This section includes the Cuckoo Trail, which is a haven for wildlife, including of course the eponymous bird. You’ll also be able to spot the famous white chalk cliffs before leaving the UK behind on your way to France.

Arriving in France

You’ll first set foot in France in Dieppe, a lively little harbour with plenty of places to sample tasty seafood. Once in France you’ll join the Avenue Verte du Pays de Bray, a wide, superbly surfaced path and one of the best cycle paths you’ll find on your journey. The route takes you through picturesque Norman villages and up into green, rolling hills with fruit farms dotted around. Normandy is a great place to sample local cheese or a little cider (once you’re done cycling for the day).

At Saint-Germer-de-Fly the route splits and you can choose between western and eastern options. The western option is shorter (74 miles or 120kms) and follows a traffic-free path down the Epte valley then minor roads and tracks will take you across the sleepy, rolling countryside of the Vexin, a protected regional park.

The longer eastern option (114 miles or 184kms) passes through the wonderful cathedral city of Beauvais and the splendidly ancient towns of Senlis and Chantilly, then heads over to the pretty river Oise for a final stretch.

The final stretch to Paris

The route options rejoin for the final 40 miles (60kms) to Paris. This stretch is largely traffic-free and takes in lovely sections of the River Seine, often captured on canvas by the Impressionist painters.

Once in Paris itself you follow cycle paths along the Saint-Denis and Saint-Martin canals before cycling along quiet streets to the river Seine. You’ll finish your journey at the jaw-dropping Notre Dame Cathedral, one of France’s most revered and famous buildings.

Spend a few leisurely days in Paris exploring the winding backstreets of Montmartre, marvelling at the Sacre Coeur or viewing the Impressionist paintings in the Musée d'Orsay before hopping on the Eurostar back to London.

Buy the new, updated Avenue Verte guidebook