The Via Romea Francigena, or Francigene Roman Way, is a historic route that has linked Canterbury to Rome for 2,000 years. At its peak in the Middle Ages, this pilgrimage route became increasingly important as it was used for trade. From the 18th century onwards, however, it was gradually forgotten as new communication routes were developed. The Via Francigena was revived in 1994 when the Council of Europe certified it as a Cultural Route.
Although popular with hikers, the route was also developed into a 3,200-kilometre (1,988 mi) cycle route. The result is the EuroVelo 5, a cycle route with plenty of European flair that passes through seven countries – three more than the original route.
In France, the EuroVelo 5 crosses Alsace and Moselle. In this Collection, I present this 390-kilometre (242 mi) section between Sarreguemines and Basel in six stages.
The first two days cruise along the water, following the canals that lead to Strasbourg. As the European capital, and with its medieval architecture, the city is a perfect symbol of the route's modern yet historic character. Stages 3 to 5 take you away from the water's edge to join the Véloroute du vignoble d'Alsace. Over the course of three days, you'll discover a number of charming Alsatian villages, interspersed with beautiful undulating paths through the vineyards. On the last day, you’ll return to the Rhine plain and its rivers, ending your journey in Basel. In this city at the crossroads of France, Germany and Switzerland, you'll once again experience the grandeur of European history.
The metropolis has good transport connections. Even though Sarreguemines is a smaller town, it has a railway station with links to Strasbourg and Saarbrücken in Germany.
EuroVelo 5 is a perfectly laid-out route on which you'll have no trouble finding accommodation or supplies. You can travel light on any type of bike. Don't forget to take tools with you for repairs and to fix a puncture.
You can do this adventure from April to November. Avoid winter, which can be harsh in Alsace. Personally, I'd recommend autumn, when the Alsatian vineyards are at their most beautiful.
All that's left for you to do is give your bike a final overhaul and you'll be ready to ride in the footsteps of the ancient pilgrims who crossed Europe from north to south. Bon voyage!
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: November 2, 2023
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
The principle of this first stage is simple: go through the Saar coalfields canal in its entirety. As its name suggests, this waterway was created from the Saar to transport coal from the old Saarbrücken deposit. Today, its entire course is bordered by a cycle path that EuroVelo 5 uses for around sixty…
If the day before honored the canal of the Saar coal mines, this stage makes you follow another throughout the day. 314 kilometers long, the Marne-Rhine canal hosts a cycle path from Gondrexange to Strasbourg, over nearly 90 kilometers.
This is the distance you cover on this second day. You follow the…
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This stage is much shorter than that of the day before for two reasons: to rest from the 90 kilometers of the previous stage and to have time to visit Strasbourg quietly. Set aside the morning to visit the Alsatian capital, its magnificent cathedral, the Petite France district and its beautiful half…
This stage is perhaps the most beautiful of your journey. Like the day before, you follow the vineyard cycle route for a good part of the route.
The small Alsatian villages follow one another throughout the day. Besides their half-timbered houses, many of them have magnificent fortifications. Barr, Andlau…
The fifth stage takes you out of the heart of the Alsace vineyard. Rouffach, at the thirteenth kilometer, is the last typically wine-growing village on the route. However, the landscapes of vines do not stop immediately. Shortly after Soultzmatt, the road rises in the middle of the vines to offer you…
The last leg of your journey has arrived. Leave Mulhouse following the Canal du Rhône au Rhin before heading south on roads with little traffic. You pass through the streets of small towns such as Halbsheim or Sierentz. A few forays across the fields allow you to rediscover a bit of nature, as between…
Bike Touring Collection by SCHLÖSSER UND GÄRTEN BADEN-WÜRTTEMBERG
Bike Touring Collection by Johanna
Road Cycling Collection by Mark Beaumont
Road Cycling Collection by Mountainhotel Saint Roch