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Introducing: Avenue Verte - the new cycle route from London to Paris

Posted by at 07:39 on Wednesday 21 July 2010

Update [28 Feb 2013]: See our latest article testing out the new English extension of the Avenue Verte cycle route: Cycling London to Paris on the Avenue Verte

Picnics on village greens in the Downs. Photo: Holly GeePicnics on village greens in the Downs. Photo: Holly GeeThere is nothing more immediately stress busting than jumping on your bike the moment you leave the workplace for a holiday. And now, thanks to the new 'Avenue Verte' cycle way from London to Paris, everyone's got a great reason to do so.

Avenue Verte is a traffic free Franco-British cycling initiative. The scheme aims to link London to Paris by a traffic free cycle route by 2012. Although not yet complete, the route is substantial enough to offer a fantastic means to get to some quaint holidaying spots in Northern France.

The Avenue Verte London to Paris Cycle Routes Photo © France vélo tourismeThe Avenue Verte London to Paris Cycle Routes Photo © France vélo tourisme

From London the cycle way follows National Cycle Network route 21 from St Paul's cathedral to Surrey, over the North and South Downs to Newhaven. The path is littered with village pubs, windmills, rolling green hills and woodland – England at its finest. Once into the South Downs and nearing the coast there are plenty of campsites to stop for the night or you can book into the Telscombe Youth Hostel, a converted alms house overlooking the sea just above Newhaven.

Beachy Head from the Newhaven ferry. Photo: Holly GeeBeachy Head from the Newhaven ferry. Photo: Holly Gee

The ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe sails 14 times a week, takes from two hours and costs from £40 return if you book well ahead. Beachy Head is even higher & grander than the white cliffs of Dover and truly spectacular to view from the sea during this crossing.

Thankfully Dieppe is a small enough port to negotiate by bike and the cycle way from here is clearly signposted. Once in Dieppe you have a 40km stretch of traffic free cycling to enjoy. The route is an old railway line, which has been paved and weaves its way through apple orchards, crumbling farm houses and past a few rather spectacular chateaus.

Cycling through farms of North France. Photo: Holly GeeCycling through farms of North France. Photo: Holly Gee

The path is smooth, wide, no where near a road and practically empty during the week. 40km from Dieppe you reach the town of Forges-les-Eaux where there is a municiple campsite and lots of traditional guesthouses. If you want to stop earlier there is also a campsite attached to a farm near the town of Neufchatel-en-Bray. The region is packed full of fun for all ages and Forges-les-Eaux puts on many hearty events from June through to October including medieval fairs, cider festivals and outdoor concerts.

By 2012 the traffic free cycle way will hopefully extend all the way to Notre Dame in Paris. But for now, you can opt for the 150km ride on roads into Paris or re-trace your steps back to London. If you fancy some detours there are more traffic free routes around Dieppe and Newhaven that you can find details of on the Avenue Verte website.

Getting there: Book your ferry ticket from Newhaven to Dieppe via greentraveller's safe and secure Ferry Journey section.

>> See all Greentraveller's Cycling Holidays

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