Mighty rivers, green rolling countryside, iconic landmarks, and quaint towns – you will discover delightful corners of England and France when you cycle the Avenue Verte from London to Paris.
This Collection leads you 252 miles (406 km) through gorgeous scenery in both the South of England and North-Western France. You will follow some of Europe’s most infamous rivers, cross luscious valleys, and pass ancient woodlands along the way.
We have broken down the Avenue Verte into eight sections that are suitable for all levels of riders, young and old. If you want to cover longer distances, you can simply combine the routes together to cover more ground at once.
Following mostly along former railway lines and traffic-free paths, the route is fairly flat. However, you will cycle on gravel and sandy paths at times, so you may want to bring your all-terrain road bike.
Although the route is well signposted in both England and France, some parts are unmarked, so be sure to turn on komoot’s navigation. In England, look out for the National Cycle Network signs for routes 20 and 21, whilst in France you can follow the Avenue Verte Paris-London signs.
Starting from St Paul’s Cathedral and finishing at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, you will explore the rich cultures of England and France as you cycle to medieval fortresses, impressive aristocratic castles, and fascinating museums – not forgetting plenty of delicious local delicacies! Along the way, you will find plenty of towns, villages and cities to refuel and spend the night.
London has excellent rail connections with the rest of the UK, just bear in mind that you may need to reserve a space for your bike. It is free to make a reservation, but trains can become full in summer months so make sure to organize it ahead of time.
With its combination of culture, history and stunning scenery, the Avenue Verte is an ideal cycling adventure for everyone from novice families to avid cyclists all year round.
For more information on trains to London, visit: thetrainline.com/destinations/trains-to-london
For more information about the Avenue Verte, visit: avenuevertelondonparis.co.uk
St Paul's Cathedral’s iconic dome and pale stone facades, the impressive London Eye, crossing the Thames River, and discovering London’s diverse boroughs – your first day of cycling the Avenue Verte from London to Paris will lead you past some of the most iconic British landmarks in London.
Starting from the very heart of London, the first leg of your journey follows the River Thames as it meanders through central London before heading south towards Vauxhall. Here, you will find an abundance of interesting places to stop: from catching a classical concert at the South Bank Center to gazing upon Picasso's paintings at the Tate Modern.
Although our route follows cycle lanes where possible, central London streets are notoriously busy, especially during rush hour. Make sure to take care on the roads and pack your hi-vis clothes and helmet.
The roads become quieter as you head south through Kennington and Clapham, popular residential districts. Here, you will find many enjoyable cafes and restaurants serving delicious food from around the world.
After cycling through Clapham Common, a pretty green space amongst London’s urban jungle, you will join the Wandle Trail along the River Wandle as it flows out of the capital.
From Carshalton Ponds, the route climbs and falls through green fields, passing Redhill and Salford before arriving in Horley. A popular commuter town close to Gatwick Airport, Horley has a huge range of accommodation to spend the night as well as various restaurants serving everything from Italian classics to Portuguese delicacies.
Thick green forests blanketed by bluebells, quaint honey-colored villages with historic black and white timber houses, smooth cycle paths flanked by ancient trees – your second day of cycling the Avenue Verte takes you through beautiful British countryside and centuries of history.
Setting out from Horley, you will first cycle through the UK’s second busiest airport. Don’t forget to keep your eyes on the road as you watch the swooping aeroplanes taking off and landing.
Next, you will arrive in Crawley, a large former market town in East Sussex. You can learn about the town’s interesting history including during the Stone Age and Bronze Age at the Crawley Museum in Goffs Park.
There is a small climb as you head eastwards out of Crawley and into luscious countryside. Just on the outskirts of the town, you will join the National Cycle Route 21 as it passes through woodland, Crawley Down village and the historic town of East Grinstead.
You then continue along the traffic-free route leading gently downhill through lovely East Sussex nature, crossing the River Medway as it flows from High Weald to the Thames Estuary. Picnic tables along the route provide perfect opportunities to take a break and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Leaving the river at Groombridge, your final leg of the journey passes over rolling hills – your effort will be rewarded with wonderful views of green fields and woodland. If you get tired, you can stop in one of the pretty villages on-route for an afternoon tea.
Your final destination of the day is Mayfield and Fives Ashes villages. The village has all the amenities to make your stay comfortable such as welcoming pubs and a range of accommodation.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
“Allez!” – on stage three of cycling the Avenue Verte from London to Paris, you will cycle your final miles on the British Isles and continue your adventure on the other side of the Channel.
From Mayfield and Five Ashes, you will continue your ride on quiet country lanes and cycle paths, passing through idyllic farms, over meandering streams through pristine woodland. Your journey begins with a quick descent before climbing up to Heathfield town.
The stretch between Wellbroook and Heathfield can become muddy after bad weather, so you may prefer to push in some sections.
With various cafes, bakeries and shops, Heathfield is a pleasant place to take a break and refuel after the climb. Your hard work is rewarded with a 7.5 mile (12 km) stretch following a former railway track, the Cuckoo Trail.
Diverse wildlife, creative sculptures, wild flowers, and victorian railway bridges await you as you cycle the Cuckoo Trail from Heathfield to the outskirts of Polegate. As the route is mostly traffic-free, it is an ideal way to explore the picturesque Sussex scenery.
After passing the Arlington reservoir, you will head towards the coast. The route leads up and down gentle hills and through pretty villages such as Alfriston, Litligton, and Exceat. The views over the Cuckmere wetlands and surrounding meadows are particularly spectacular, especially at dusk and dawn.
Finally, you will pass the coastal town of Seaford with great sea-front cafes before arriving in Newhaven.
Ferries run from Newhaven to Dieppe in France three times per day during the summer at 9am, 5.30pm and 11pm. The crossing takes around four hours and costs upwards of £20 each way.
If you prefer to spend the night in Newhaven before travelling across the channel, the town offers plenty of accommodation and restaurants, as does Dieppe. You can find more information about the ferry crossing, here: dfdsseaways.co.uk/ferry-routes/ferry-to-france/newhaven-dieppe
Bienvenue en France! Stage four of the Avenue Verte from London to Paris is your first full day pedaling in France. You can expect glorious white stone cliff faces, magnificent Renaissance castles, and beautiful Normandy villages.
Today, you will cover 39 miles (63 km) through the pretty region of Normandy. Famed for its history of ancient 11th century battles, World War II beach landings, churches and castles, you will be spoilt for interesting places to visit along the way.
From Dieppe, you will climb and ascend towards the Deux Rivieres (two rivers), passing the pretty villages of Martin-Eglise, Arques la Bataille, Saint-Aubin-le-Cauf and Dampierre Saint-Nicolas. Look out for the unique churches and ancient chateau dotted along the route.
You will follow a traffic-free cycle path that follows La Bethune river as it meanders through green countryside heading gradually uphill. You can find plenty of regional delicacies in the villages to keep you energised: fresh baguettes, buttery croissants and fragrant Livarot cheese washed down with a glass of apple ‘cidre’.
Your journey along the picturesque river continues for almost 25 miles (40 km), until you reach Forges-les-Eaux, your final destination. Here, you can find comfortable accommodation, supermarkets and various bars and restaurants offering everything from fast food to French specialities. You can also find two bike shops – Velomesto and Vauquet Cycles.
Stage five of the Avenue Verte takes you deeper into the heart of Normandy, revealing more of the region’s culture, history, and beautiful nature. You will pass quaint villages with historic monuments, through straw-coloured fields and along quiet country lanes to the historic town of Gisors.
Today’s route is relatively flat: you will gain 380 meters (1246 feet) in elevation and lose 490 meters (1607 feet) over 36 miles (58 kilometers).
On route five, you will pass lovely villages every few miles as you cycle through the Epte Valley. Le Fosse, La Belliere, Pommereux, Menerval and Dampierre-en-Bray all await you with their unique charm, stunning churches and shops selling local produce.
The Epte Valley showcases some of Normandy’s finest nature. In fact, artist Claude Monet lived near the river Epte for more than forty years and the area inspired his famous Water Lilies series.
Just after you reach Neu Marche, there is a short climb towards Bouchevilliers as you continue to follow the meandering river Epte. The peaceful river is home to many species of wildlife and popular with local fishermen, which also inspired Monet’s painting ‘Fishing on the River Epte.’
Your final destination is Gisors, a historic town found where the river Epte meets the Troesne and Reveillon rivers. Gisors has many fascinating historical sites such as the Gisors castle and Church Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais.
You can also find a range of comfortable accommodation in Gisors, including hotels, Airbnb rentals and nearby campsites.
Route six will take you further into the Epte Valley, showcasing some of the region’s finest castles, churches and mansions. The comfortable ride will take you 29 miles (47 km) down quiet country lanes and bike paths, gaining a total 360 meters (1181 feet) in elevation throughout the day.
From Gisors, you will continue along the river Epte via the traffic free ‘Voie Verte de la Valleé de l’Epte’ bike path. This lovely section showcases the region’s nature in the best way possible – comfortably from your saddle.
Along the way, you will find plenty of quaint villages like Chateau-sur-Epte and Berthenoville, where you can stock up on fresh baked goods and local delicacies.
At Fourges, you will part ways with the river and head East towards the direction of Paris. With its mill on the banks of the river, Fourges is a pretty village well worth exploring.
From here, you have a small but gentle climb through woodland and luscious countryside before ascending into Chaussy, a little village with a local restaurant, shop and tourist information point.
You will continue through the pretty Normandy countryside, passing regal castles and historic manor houses such as the Manoir d’Hazelle and Chateau de Maudetour-en-Vexin.
The route then gently climbs and descends before a final downhill stretch into Avernes, an ancient town with honey-coloured cottages. Here, you will find plenty of accommodation options to make your stay comfortable and rest your legs for day seven.
Route seven of the Avenue Vertes from London to Paris leads you along trickling streams, through nature reserves with an abundance of wildlife before joining the River Seine, one of the world’s most famous rivers, as it flows towards Paris.
Today, you will pass many interesting towns and villages, each with their own unique charm, as you near towards Paris: Longeusse with its 12th-century church, Themericourt, a lively village with its regal chateau and museum dedicated to the historical country Vexin, and Vigny, home to a magnificent 16th-century castle.
The nature along the route also does not disappoint as it leads past woodland, the pretty l’aubette stream, glistening lakes and Les Roches Baudes nature reserve, a formation of unusual rocks.
After 10.5 (17 km) peaceful miles, you will arrive in Cergy le Haut, a small town with many restaurants, cafes, and independent shops. You will also find a bicycle shop en route.
Here, you will follow the river l’Oise until it meets the magnificent River Seine. Flowing 483 miles (777 kilometers) from Langres plateau to the English Channel, the River Seine is a vital artery of France.
After crossing the river, you will arrive in Maisons-Lafitte park. This pleasant stretch leads through tranquil parkland before arriving at Maisons-Lafitte. Here, you will find various accommodation options nearby, including camping, as well as a variety of restaurants serving international cuisine and French dishes.
The final leg of your journey following the Avenue Vertes from London to Paris is the shortest of all eight stages, allowing you to soak up the atmosphere of one of the greatest cities in the world – Paris.
Beginning the day from Maisons-Lafitte, you will cross the River Seine and cycle through Satrouville, Bezons, Colombes and Saint-Denis. Although the roads will become busier as you enter into the center of the city, the route follows cycle lanes and traffic-free paths as much as possible.
Along the way, you will pass pretty Parisian streets filled with cultural sites, famous outdoor cafes, galleries, international restaurants and parks. Paris is one of the most popular cities in the world for good reason – it combines culture, history and the very best of French culture.
From Saint-Denis, you will follow the Canal Saint-Denis along a traffic-free path before joining the Canal Saint-Martin into the very heart of Paris.
Here, you will recognize iconic attractions such as Louvre gallery, the Champs Elysees and Pont Neuf. You will also cycle through beautifully manicured parks and gardens.
Your final destination is one that everyone knows – the magnificent Eiffel Tower. This incredbile architectural feat marks the end of the Avenue Verte. When you are finished exploring the mesmerizing Parisian cobbled streets, you can return to London via the Eurostar train. For more information and tickets, visit: thetrainline.com/en/train-times/paris-to-london