The Avenue Verte: An Update

The Avenue Verte, a route between London and Paris for cyclists and walkers was signposted along it’s entire length just over 12 months ago. Ideally, you should now be able to jump on your bike in London or Seaford/Newhaven and just follow the signs to Paris but the signposting seems patchy so you could well get lost. However, help is now available in the form of the official guide to the Avenue Verte which has recently been published by Sustrans. It’s a good little book and has a wealth of useful information including maps, directions and accommodation addresses so would be an essential purchase if you’re going to cycle to Paris, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.

Avenue Verte signpost on National Cycle Route 2

Avenue Verte signpost on National Cycle Route 2

The route is still being developed and, at present, only about 40% is traffic-free although this proportion should increase over the next few years, albeit gradually. Some of the route is on quiet country roads which is fine but, some is on of bridle paths which are not suitable for road bikes, especially if loaded with panniers. I haven’t yet read the book cover to cover but is seems that alternatives to these bridle paths aren’t always suggested which is a shame as cyclists may either have to walk or spend time trying to devise detours.

The start/end points in the capital cities are the London Eye and Notre Dame Cathedral. The route from London to Newhaven makes use of National Cycle Routes 4, 20, 21 and 2 and includes the Wandle Trail, Worth Way, Forest Way and the Cuckoo Trail. The total distance is 99 miles. Then it’s a ferry across the English Channel from Newhaven to Dieppe and a further 148 or 188 miles to Paris depending on which way you go.

The route from Dieppe to Paris is in three sections. The first, from Dieppe to Gournay is 51 miles and includes the superb 27 mile traffic-free stretch between Arques-la-Bataille and Forges-les-Eaux. The second starts just south of Gournay where the Avenue Verte splits into two. There is a 74 mile option which takes a westerly approach to Paris or a 114 mile option which goes eastwards for quite a long way before turning south westerly towards Paris. The two routes join at St Germain on the outskirts of Paris. The third section, from St Germain to Notre Dame Cathedral is 23 miles.

Having the choice of two routes could be an advantage in that you can cycle to Paris on one route and return using the alternative. This could appeal to those of us living in the Seahaven area who just want to cycle from Dieppe to Paris and back.

You can buy the Avenue Verte guide book from Sustrans. The link is: http://shop.sustrans.org.uk/products/6353-avenue-verte–london-to-paris-by-bike

Bonne chance!

Clive Aberdour

4 replies
  1. Clive
    Clive says:

    Thanks for your comment Chris. I wouldn’t disagree with you although it rather depends on what you mean by it being better. I’ve also been devising a cycle friendly route between Dieppe and Paris over the past few years with a group of cycling friends and have come to the conclusion that there are several good routes to Paris depending on how long you want to take, (1, 2 or 3 days), whether you want to visit interesting places such as Monet’s house and garden en route, whether you want to avoid hills, go through forests, etc, etc. However, they all finish with the same entry into central Paris through Parc de Saint Cloud and Bois de Bolougne, just like Donald Hirsch’s route. One difference is that I prefer to cross the Seine at the bridge before the Eiffel Tower, Pont de Bir-Hakeim as you get an excellent view of the Eiffel Tower and a wonderful photo opportunity.

    The Avenue Verte is still under development and I’m sure will be improved over time. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see work starting on converting the old railway line from Forges-les-Eaux to Gournay and onto Gisors in the near future.

    It may not be as short as some other routes but does that matter? The Avenue Verte appears to go through some interesting places and, for many cyclists, it will be appealing that they can just follow a sign-posted route to Paris with a little help from the official guide. I’ll certainly be following it next June with some friends and will provide Cycle Seahaven with my findings.

  2. Paul
    Paul says:

    Hi
    My son got an Avenue Verte London to Paris guide book for his 14th birthday. We are looking forward to taking our trip. We hope to build up our mileage and should be ready for Easter/Whitsun 2014. We will probably stay in B&B’s and take 3 days.
    Paul & Jamie

  3. Clive
    Clive says:

    Good luck Paul and Jamie with your ride along the Avenue Verte next year. I plan on doing the route in June so would welcome any tips you may have after you’ve completed your ride.

    Bonne chance!

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