This New 260-mile French Cycling Route Will Take You From Paris to Normandy

Take the scenic route and bike through 130 French towns.

Two people ride bikes along the Seine in Saint Denis
Photo: David Darrault/La Seine à Vélo

There’s now one more way to explore northern France: a 260-mile cycling route that starts at the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris and winds through more 130 towns along the Seine River and deep into Normandy.

La Seine à Vélo passes by Claude Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny, the Museum of Impressionism, and Château de Malmaison, the former home of Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress Josephine. The chateau was the French government's headquarters from 1800 to 1802 and was Napoleon's last residence in France.

La Seine à Vélo cycle route map from Paris to Normandy
Courtesy of La Seine à Vélo

The route, which has been in the works since 2015, takes cyclists through urban, rural, and industrial landscapes in an area that has long served as an inspiration to some of the world’s greatest artists, including Claude Monet, Edgar Degas Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Victor Hugo.

The product of a collaboration among 15 French territories, the route is just one of a number of new cycling paths that have been recently introduced as people increasingly look to socially distanced outdoor activities to fill their time.

In Italy, for example, a new 87-mile bike route circles the country’s largest lake, Lake Garda. In the U.S., a new 1,287-mile bike trail connects Yellowstone National Park with Minneapolis. And additional bike trails also have opened in California.

People enjoying drinks outdoors after cycling
David Darrault/La Seine à Vélo

Organizers plan to release a guide to the full La Seine à Vélo route early next year. In the meantime, they’ve released guides to portions of the path on their website. The site includes photos of what to expect on the trail as well as distance and time estimates and information on lodging and dining options.

Don’t have a bike? Don’t worry. There are several spots to rent bikes along the route.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets, and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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