Avenue Verte 160k & 236k
Your very own Tour de France starts at the London Eye. Launched in 2012 to celebrate the London Olympics, this capital-to-capital ride takes the familiar Sustrans recipe of quiet lanes, off-road routes and scenic detours and gives it a unique Gallic twist.
The ride from London to the ferry at Newhaven is enjoyable, and a few tweaks – detailed in this guide – make it even better. From Dieppe to Paris, though, this is a truly memorable route. The best rail trail you’ve ever cycled, the historic towns of France’s eerily quiet Vexin region, and peaceful rolling lanes together lead to a classic approach to Paris au bord de la Seine. All are ideal for novices and experienced rouleurs alike.
Dedicating a full week to this holiday will give you enough time to enjoy the French countryside and spend a while in Paris, too. The ferry crossing and return journey mean that this route requires a little more planning than most, but it’s worth it.
We’ve split this guide into two sections: one in England, one in France.
The route is well chosen for some cyclists, but inevitably involves compromises, particularly on the English side. It’s a rare cyclist who will feel equally at ease with London’s busy traffic, Crawley’s tortuous route past industrial units, and the wilder bridleways of Sussex. Consider skipping the London section by taking a train to Coulsdon South, and following our alternative route which avoids Gatwick and Crawley. If your bike is narrow-tyred or you’re uncomfortable on rough surfaces, we would additionally suggest making short diversions in Sussex.
UK route 160k
Climbing 1200m, max 12.2%
Passing Through - The London Eye, Clapham Common, Wadle Trail, Carshalton, Coulsden, Redhill, Crawley, East Grinstead, Groombridge, Heathfield, Cuckoo Trail, Polegate, Alfiston, Seaford, Newhaven
French route 236k