The Veloscenie cycle route from Paris to Normandy | EUROtoday

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The cycle route that runs from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy is wheely excellent says journey author and eager bike owner Amy McPherson…

Just an hour from Paris by practice, introduced me to the center of the Perche Regional Nature Park in Normandy the place I deliberate to cycle a part of the Veloscenic route, la Véloscénie in French. This 450KM cycle route runs between Paris and Mont Saint-Michel, winding its means by way of three nature parks and 5 UNESCO listed heritage websites. Along the journey you dip out and in of cities and villages that appear to step again in time, and it's a good way to decelerate and absorb a gentler tempo of life, and to style the flavors of the countryside.

There are round 20 factors alongside the route the place you may rent bikes, and we began our journey on the station of Nogent-le-Rotrou, taking the relaxed possibility of e-bikes.

The Fabulous Greenway

It's so quiet I couldn't assist pondering. The mild silence was virtually tangible. I used to be pedaling alongside a stretch of cycle means, the wheels of my bike whirring gently on the earthen path lined by bushes that had been simply sprouting their crisp Spring greens. The solely sound was from the serenading songbirds darting out and in of low bushes.

The majority of the Veloscenic route inside the Perche Regional Nature Park is traffic-free greenway, constructed on a stretch of disused railway line. From metal bridges to outdated station homes that at the moment are both non-public houses or eating places alongside the way in which, elements of the rail heritage embellished our passage.

From Nogent-le-Rotrou, it’s a simple journey to the small village of Rémalard-en-Perche, a spot of slim roads lined with stone homes sporting pastel-colored shutters. The Huisne river trickles gently by, nurturing the farms and the panorama of the Perche.

Other than the forgotten villages and hamlets, this stretch of the cycle means has no important landmarks to talk of. However, that’s the fantastic thing about such expeditions. There is a shock each nook, whether or not or not it’s an historic church or a set of ruins. And as ever in France, at all times a beautiful little place to eat.

Regional specialties and group cafés

Our arrival in Rémalard-en-Perche gave us an opportunity to cease and gas for lunch. Right by the cycle means, the outdated practice station home is now a small restaurant suitably named At the practice station. {A photograph} of the station constructing within the late 19th century reveals the railway tracks that ran previous doorstep, and the constructing itself has hardly altered apart from contemporary paint and the modernized inside.

The menu of contemporary tomato salad, duck filet and French toastcompletely crammed the hole after a morning's train and set us as much as proceed alongside the mild cycle path, dropping ourselves among the many greenery.

“You know, in the Orne department, we really love cyclists,” stated our information Perrine Peigney. “The Véloscénie isn't just popular with visitors, Parisians come here because it's so close to the city, but local people love it too and many of them really enjoy this relaxing ride. There are so many other great cycle routes in the department, and there are many businesses that are great supporters of cycling tourists.”

We stopped for a espresso break within the city of Courgeon, the place Café de la Place is run by Denis Hurtaud and his son, who had been impressed to maneuver right here from La Rochelle after a vacation biking the Veloscenic route. They had been so in love with the cycle route and the panorama that they determined to create this café as a group hub and welcome cyclists passing by way of.

“My next project is to provide camping accommodation for the cyclists on the Véloscénie,” stated Denis, as we loved espresso underneath an outdated linden tree. “They can stay for the night, have a shower, have something to eat. It’ll be fully tailored for cyclists.”

After this fast break, it was time to benefit from the truth that we had been in Normandy – and you can’t have a vacation in Normandy with out attempting cider.

Perche ciders

After a quick return to the greenway, we turned off-piste to cycle by way of an orchard of apples and pears to achieve the tasting room of cider producer Maison Ferré.

Grégoire Ferré is passionate concerning the cider enterprise he began 20 years in the past. A tour of the natural farm revealed that he’s not nearly producing cider, however he’s ardent about understanding cider from the bottom up – from the soil to the breed of apples and pears, and maintain the well being of the bushes and therefore the standard of the fruit. There is nonetheless, one more reason why cider is particular right here. The AOC label of Perche ciders is a newly created nationwide recognition on this deliciously bubbly cider that’s thought-about the Champagne of the cider world.

And it actually is nice. Take it from somebody who doesn't usually like cider!

Blood sausage from Mortagne-au-Perche

We spent the night time within the historic city of Mortagne-au-Perche, at Hôtel du Tribunal, considered one of France's Home Bike (Cyclists Welcome) lodging.

When it involves supporting cyclists, the French do it so nicely. These bike owner pleasant resorts don't simply “welcome” a bike owner. There are instruments if it’s essential do some upkeep, in addition to safe bike parking that isn't simply an empty room with a door. The wonderful breakfast buffet is greater than the same old bread, butter, and occasional, they know that cyclists would require a complete day of gas.

The subsequent day, we took time to go to this stunning city, dwelling to the attractive church of Notre-Dame, with its atmospheric cloisters and a splendidly preserved medieval heart, however it’s the Black pudding, the black pudding of Mortagne that’s king. So a lot so, that this delicacy is given its personal annual competition, the Foire au Boudin de Mortagne, held each Spring.

Popping into the native butchers we every bagged a portion of the black pudding, surprisingly transportable for biking adventures (and stuffed with protein and fat wanted for power)! On the beautiful city sq. there’s additionally a small ice cream parlor and a terrific delicatessen for extra peckish delights.

I imply, what good is a biking vacation if you happen to can't eat your means by way of it?

A fast taster for subsequent time

After one other day by way of greenways and nation roads, we ended the journey at Alençon, a beautiful city with a historical past of lace making. We left our trusty bikes and took the practice again to Paris. This two-day taster of an journey left me dreaming of a two-week journey. To cycle all the way in which from Paris, to ultimately roll in the direction of the coast with the silhouette of Mont Saint-Michel to welcome me. Oh the dream! I'll be again…;

Hotel tip: Amy stayed in a single day in Paris on the 25 Hours Hotel Paris Gare du Nord. This colourful resort has all of the enjoyable components of a few days in Paris, earlier than or after your Veloscenic journey! Have we talked about free mini bar?

Amy McPherson is a London primarily based journey author whose work has been featured in worldwide publications. Cats, biking and meals options closely in her writing and her weblog at:

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The Veloscenie cycle route from Paris to Normandy