QUIET, EASY & TRAFFIC-FREE CYCLE ROUTES IN NORTHERN FRANCE, £9.99
QUIET, EASY & TRAFFIC-FREE CYCLE ROUTES IN SOUTHERN FRANCE, £9.99
France has invested a lot of money into creating & converting various routes into cycle tracks, providing generally good surfaces with picnic stops, water points as well as other facilities along the way. Many of these excellent routes have been formed from old railway lines as well as from canal & river tow paths which due to their fairly level nature make for easy to use cycle routes. In selecting these 50 cycle routes I have tended to choose the routes that are mainly along these railway or canal/ river trails as they are obviously free of motor traffic making for a more quiet & pleasant experience. Where the route has to pass along a road, minor roads have been chosen wherever possible. The routes have suggested stopovers at either aires (for motorhomes) or at campsites. As the majority of the routes are along railway or canal/ river trails, they tend to be linear, i.e. not circuits, so the distances involved would be doubled as you have to return along the same track to get back to the starting point.
The brief local directions given to the aires are suggested routes; please check individual roads for any width/ weight restrictions that may apply to your vehicle as variations to the routes can often be taken. GPS coordinates (in Decimal Degrees) are also given for the aires as these are sometimes difficult to find due to the lack of signage in many locations.
The guidebook has detailed descriptions of each cycle route together with tourist information, route maps, photos & GPS coordinates. Full information is given on each aire visited as well as a review, facilities, prices, opening times as well as alternative nearby campsites.
The Guides each contain 200 pages, over 180 photos & 50 pages of maps.
The books each have:
50 Cycle routes along old railway lines, tow paths & Green lanes
Full description of each route
Details of aires with services available & No. of pitches
GPS Coordinates, Detailed descriptions & Reviews of stopovers
Photos, Route Maps, Campsite addresses & opening times
Aire addresses, opening times & prices
Details of places to visit along the route
Royalties from these books go towards the running of this website & its monthly newsletter
Also available in kindle
"QUIET, EASY & TRAFFIC-FREE CYCLE ROUTES" INDEX:
Foreword, Types of service points, Staying at an aire
Guide for using Aires
List of Routes by Region & Department:
NORTHERN FRANCE SOUTHERN FRANCE
BRITTANY NOUVELLE AQUITAINE
FINISTERE 2 routes Poitou-Charentes
MORBIHAN 4 routes CHARENTE-MARITIME 4 routes
NORMANDY INDRE 2 routes
CALVADOS 2 routes CORREZE 2 routes
MANCHE 2 routes HAUTE VIENNE 1 route
SEINE-MARITIME 4 routes Aquitaine
DORDOGNE 3 routes
HAUTS DE FRANCE GIRONDE 5 routes
Picardy LANDES 1 routes
AISNE 4 routes LOT et GARONNE 2 routes
OISE 3 routes
Nord-Pas-de-Calais ALLIER 3 routes
NORD 3 routes CANTAL 1 routes
HAUTE LOIRE 3 routes
MEURTHE-ET-MOSELLE 1 route AIN 2 routes
MOSELLE 2 routes ARDECHE 4 routes
VOSGES 2 routes LOIRE 1 routes
PAYS DE LA LOIRE OCCITANIE
MAYENNE 6 routes Midi-Pyrenees
SARTHE 1 route ARIEGE 2 routes
AVEYRON 2 routes
CENTRE-VAL DE LOIRE HAUTE-GARONNE 2 routes
INDRE-ET-LOIRE 4 routes GERS 1 route
LOIRET 2 routes Languedoc
GARD 2 routes
BURGUNDY & FRANCHE-COMTE HERAULT 4 routes
COTE D’OR 1 route
SAONE-ET-LOIRE 6 routes PACA
HAUTE-SAONE 1 route BOUCHES-RHONE 1 routes
VAUCLUSE 2 routes
Crit’Air Anti-Pollution Scheme
Type of Routes
About the Author & Other Books
Some of the Cycle Routes:
Note: Book images are in black & white
L’ORNE RIVER & CAEN CANAL: ST REMY to OUISTREHAM 69 kms
This level ride follows the Swiss Normandy green lane, a former railway line, along the l’Orne river north from St Remy sur l’Orne to the city of Caen & then to the coast at Ouistreham alongside the Canal de Caen passing some of the sites associated with the D-Day landings, a total distance of 52 kms. There is also a short section that can be taken south to the pretty village of Clecy & on to Pont d’Ouilly, a distance of 17 kms, though the section from Clecy to Pont d’Ouilly is along minor roads. The modern aire in St Remy is chosen as a stopover making the two routes St. Remy to Ouistreham (49 kms) & St Remy to Pont d’Ouilly (20 kms).
COMPIEGNE to VER SUR LAUNETTE 60 kms
A continuation of the cycle route following the Oise river along tarmac tracks, mainly traffic free passing a water orientated landscape with the river, ponds & water meadows, the latter half of the route passing mainly through well shaded forests. The 60 km route has been divided into two halves by using a pleasant riverside parking area that accepts motorhomes in Pont-Sainte-Maxence (there being no suitable aires on the route). Thus the two routes are Pont-Sainte-Maxence to Ver sur Launette (32 kms), this route has a couple of sections on minor roads, & Pont-Sainte-Maxence to Compiegne (28 kms). If you prefer to stay overnight at an aire, then the aire at Morienval is the closest good aire (details below).
Pont-Sainte-Maxence is a small port on the Oise river, its main point of interest is the Royal Abbey of Moncel dating from the 14th C & although the Abbey church was destroyed during the French Revolution, the refectory (with frescoes), dormitories, vaulted cellars & other rooms still house displays of life in the Abbey & convent. There are also two private châteaux in the town dating from the 18th C as well as several Art Deco buildings that can be seen by taking the Discovery Walk.
VOIE VERTE DE MAYENNE: AMBRIERES to LA CHAPELLE-ANTHENAISE 40 kms
This ‘Green Lane of Mayenne’ cycle route runs along a traffic free former railway line with a compacted gravel surface stretching 40 kms from Ambrieres-les-Vallées in the north to La Chapelle-Anthenaise at the southern end. There are few satisfactory aires in this area so the choice is either to use the campsite in Mayenne or the pleasant aire at Deux Evailles - which isn’t actually on the route, but is not far from the village of Commer that has a convenient parking area. The route is therefore split in two by starting from Commer, the routes being Commer to Ambrieres-les-Vallées (23 kms) & Commer to La Chapelle-Anthenaise (17 kms).
INDRE et LOIRE (37)
INDRE RIVER: LOCHES to MONTBAZON 38 kms
This popular cycle route follows the Indre river from the medieval city of Loches to the small town of Montbazon using a well signposted route along departmental (D) & communal ( C) minor roads with little traffic to worry about. The route has been split into two by using the small municipal aire at Reignac sur Indre as a stopover, the two routes being Reignac sur Indre to Loches (17 kms) & Reignac sur Indre to Montbazon (21 kms).
COTE D’OR (21)
MARNE-SAONE CANAL: LAMARCHE to PERCEY LE GRAND 48kms
The Marne-Saone canal has a cycleway along its towpath for over 220 kms passing through five French departments from Champagne into the heart of Burgundy. This section of 48kms runs from Lamarche sur Saone to Percey le Grand following the towpath past lush green fields, quaint old villages & historic châteaux. The cycleway is well signposted & the surface is generally good but is a bit rough on the last 5 kms. The aire at Lamarche sur Saone has been chosen for a stopover/ starting point.
LA FLOW VELO: SAINTES TO COGNAC (38 kms)
The ‘Flow Velo’ is a 290 km long cycle route that goes from the Perigord region to the Atlantic coast but 75% is along roads so this section has been chosen as it is a traffic free route. This continuation of the ‘Flow Velo’ cycle route is a very level, mainly traffic-free section between the towns of Saintes & Cognac, following either the towpath of the Charente river or along quiet minor roads that connect these sections. The 38km route is split in two by using either the aire or the campsite in Dompierre sur Charente, therefore the two routes are Dompierre sur Charente to Saintes (15 kms) & Dompierre sur Charente to Cognac (23 kms).
CANAL DE BERRY: MONTLUCON to VALLON EN SULLY (22 kms)
This ‘Green Lane’ cycleway follows the tow path of the Canal de Berry from Vallon de Sully in the north to the town of Montlucon in the south a 22 km (44 km return) ride. The tarmac track follows the canal past locks, bridges, lock keepers houses & through quaint Allier villages, the best aire for this route is the municipal aire at Estivareilles within a short distance of the tow path, thus the two routes are Estivareilles to Montlucon (11kms) & Estivareilles to Vallon en Sully (11 kms).
VOIE VERTE: ESPALION to BERTHOLENE (23 kms)
This ‘Green Lane’ has been created along an old railway line that was opened in 1908 & offers varied and magnificent landscapes along a 23 km long route (46 kms return). There are 6 tunnels, 5 viaducts, large curving sections, a highest point at nearly 600 m altitude, the route rising 225 m between the Causse in Bozouls and the Lot valley in Espalion. The path is mainly gravel with plenty of signposts en-route but please note that some of the tunnels may not be lit so make sure that you have lights on your bike. The very good aire at Bozouls is used as a stopover which splits the route in two, the routes being Bozouls to Espalion (8 kms) & Bozouls to Bertholene (15 kms).
MÉDITERRANÉE Á VELO: CAVAILLON to CASTELLET EN LUBERON (49 kms)
The ‘Mediterranean by Bike’ cycle route runs from Monaco in the east to Argeles sur Mer in the west offering a unique experience of many aspects of the Mediterranean coast. This section of the route follows the old railway line between the town of Cavaillon to the small village of Castellet en Luberon. The route is divided in two by using the modern CampingCarPark aire in Goult, thus the two routes are Goult to Cavaillon (18 kms) & Goult to Castellet en Luberon (31 kms).