Duration: 5 days / 4 nights
Return: Paris – London on Eurostar
Cycling from London to Paris is one of the great cycle experiences in Europe. Passing through picturesque Kent countryside, we cross the Channel and continue through the small villages and medieval market towns of Northern France.
With long days in the saddle and some strenuous hillclimbs, the sight of the Eiffel Tower, our finishing point, will evoke a real sense of achievement.
Day 1: London – Dover – Dunkirk
An early start from London allows us to avoid the morning traffic as we pass through the outskirts of the city onto quieter roads. It is not long before we are among the rolling fields and villages of rural Kent, passing orchards and traditional oast houses where hops are stored. We follow country roads across the hills of the North Downs to Dover and the coast. Taking the ferry to Dunkirk, we have dinner on board and cycle the short distance to our hotel. Night hotel.
(Dinner on ferry not included)
Day 2: Dunkirk – Cambrai
We head south from Dunkirk, riding roughly parallel to the Belgian border. A long day in the saddle lies ahead, but the terrain is fairly flat as we pass through small villages and farmland, with some areas of shady woodland. There are some undulating roads midway through our morning, which stretch the legs a little!
The area we pass through saw a great deal of action in WW1 and many road-names in towns and villages testify to the history. This region used to be part of Flanders; you will notice many placenames which are more Flemish than French. Our afternoon is predominantly flat as we ride southeast, though a few hills await us before Cambrai, a town which dates back to Roman times. Night hotel.
Day 3: Cambrai – Soissons
Today is shorter, but hillier as we cross beautiful rolling landscapes, where fields of crops stretch for miles. Narrow hedgerow-lined lanes take us through small villages, many of them with ancient crumbling buildings, and we follow wider boulevards through historic towns with striking churches and town halls. The last section of our route runs through an area involved in the WW1 Battles of the Aisne, and many of the villages have cemeteries and memorials to the fallen. With roughly ten miles to go, we tackle one of the day’s most challenging climbs, which winds through woodland out into open fields with wonderful views. A wonderful descent then then takes us to Soissons, an ancient town which lies on the River Aisne. Night hotel.
Day 4: Soissons – Paris
Our final day’s cycling takes us southwest, on more undulating roads through small villages and farmland. There are a few short sharp hills in the morning, but the terrain then rolls gently along as we head towards busier roads. As we reach the suburbs of Paris we look out for the distinctive landmarks of the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré Coeur standing out on the skyline. Reaching the suburb of St. Denis we come to the River Seine; following its northern esplanade in the shadow of the Bois du Boulogne, we ride until we reach the Pont d’Iena and finish beneath the lofty arches of the Eiffel Tower. We check into our hotel and enjoy a great celebration to mark our achievements. Night hotel.
(Dinner not included)
Day 5: Paris – London
After breakfast you are free to explore the city; popular attractions include the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Louvre.
You are responsible for getting yourself and your bags to the Gare du Nord in good time for our Eurostar train back to St Pancras, where we meet the bikes. Those who prefer will be transferred back to the start point to pick up transport.
(Lunch not included)
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.