1 February 2011

Cycling in Normandy on Voies Vertes

The authorities in both France and England are looking for feedback regarding the facilities for cyclists at the ferry ports and what they think of the signage, as well as views on the paths themselves. So when you reach the ports you are likely to be handed a questionnaire. Complete this and you will help to shape the cycle newtork of Europe!

The French are well advanced in setting up a nation-wide network of Voies Vertes (Green Ways) for cycling and walking. There are still gaps in this network but some excellent sections have now been completed and some of the best are in Upper Normandy (Haute-Normandie) and Lower Normandie (Basse-Normandie).

Normandy is easily reached by ferry from England. You can either book as a foot passenger and pay a small extra fee for your bike, or, if you want the freedom to try out different routes you might like to take your bikes by car. Just make sure that when you book you complete the section confirming you will be carrying bikes. This is especially important if the bikes are roof-mounted, as you will need to be allocated a high space on the ferry.

Ferry crossings to France from the UK.

The longest of these routes is the Véloroute du littoral en Seine-Maritime which runs for 172 km from Le Tréport to Le Havre along the coast. It's not a true Voie Verte becaus some of it is on quiet roads, hence the title "Véloroute". If you don't take a car you can join this route 40 km south of Le Tréport at Dieppe, which can be reached using Transmanche ferries from Newhaven, and from Le Havre the ferry travels to Portsmouth. Or of course you can travel in the reverse direction.

Or maybe you'd like to try some shorter options. For example there's the Voie Verte de la Seine à l'Eure, a 20 km voie verte south of Rouen, along the banks of the Eure. Or how about a gentle 13 km ride along the Voies Vertes de la Vallée de la Charentonne in central Haute Normandie.

As you can see these Voies Vertes cater for all levels of cycling ability, so they are perfect for a family trip or a good long ride for the more enthusiastic. Normandy is a beautiful region of France and can really be appreciated by bike. It is a region of wooded valleys, forests and rolling hills, dotted with pretty timbered houses in old villages.

For more information on all the Voies Vertes in Upper Normandie.
For more information on all the Voies Vertes in Lower Normandie.

Both the sites are currently only in French, although there are plans to present them in English and German.

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