Avenue Verte Official Guide: Review

Avenue Verte Book Review_0001Since my previous update about the Avenue Verte I have studied the official guide in more detail and would advise anyone thinking of cycling to Paris along this route to take this excellent guide with them. 

It measures 17 x 12 cms and has 144 pages so is small enough to fit into a pocket yet is full of useful information. This includes directions,  route profiles,  accommodation addresses and detailed maps (1:10,000,  1:25,000 and 1:100,000) covering the entire route.

It’s spiral bound and folds back on itself so ought to be easy to use when on the ride. However,  there is a front cover which could prove to be a nuisance as it protrudes by about 3½ cms when the guide is folded back. It’s an attractive cover which opens up to show an overview map indicating the page numbers of the detailed maps so may be of use when familiarising oneself with the guide. It’s likely to get damaged on a ride when attempting to stuff the guide into a pocket so it may be better to dispense with the cover

The first few pages are the Introduction with the nitty-gritty starting on page 15 and continuing through to page 140. These pages are divided into twelve chapters,  each one being “based around a comfortable day’s ride” according to the guide. That’s not to say that it takes twelve days to cycle the entire route as it divides into two just south of Gournay. One branch,  known as the Western option,  goes through Gisors and Cergy. The other branch,  which is longer,  is known as the Eastern option and goes through Beauvais and Senlis. Therefore,  if you cycle from London to Paris using the shorter Western option it would take 8 days if you kept to the daily distances in the guide. They range from 23 to 42 miles so rather less than touring cyclists would achieve.

That’s not a problem as it doesn’t really matter where a chapter starts and finishes;  simply follow the directions until reaching your overnight stop which might be in the middle of a chapter. 

At the start of each chapter is ‘Route Info’ which gives information about the terrain and route surface followed by a diagram showing the ‘Profile’ of the route,  all useful stuff. The next section entitled ‘What to See &  Do’ makes for some interesting reading. This is followed by ‘Directions’ and ‘Accommodation’,  interspersed with clear and detailed maps which look really helpful. Also, there are some pictures of interesting places to be found en-route which may be worth visiting if there’s time.

All in all,  this looks to be an excellent guide to the Avenue Verte with just the right level of detail for route information. The fact that it is a compact size and spiral bound is a bonus although I’ll probably ditch the cover when I next cycle to Paris.

The guide is available from SUSTRANS for £12 plus £2.50 postage.

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