Paris to Mont St Michel Cycling Holiday
Start / FinishRambouillet / Mont St Michel
Distance235 miles/378 kms
Surely one of the most enjoyable cycle routes in France, this 10 day cycling adventure from Rambouillet, a small town south west of Paris, to Mont Saint Michel on the Normandy coast, takes advantage of some excellent ‘voies vertes’ – car-free cycle paths. En-route, cyclists will enjoy sublime scenery and memorable overnight stops in wonderful old towns such as Chartres and Alençon.
A network of wonderful cycle paths connects the French capital to Mont Saint Michel on the Normandy coast and this cycling holiday makes full use of these ‘voie vertes’ or greenways, offering relaxed, traffic-free cycling through charming countryside. Along the way you’ll pedal through verdant countryside punctuated with quaint villages full of rustic French charm, such as Illiers-Combray and Bellême, as well as historic medieval towns such as Chartres and Alençon.
At the end of the ride, the fortified island monastery of Mont Saint Michel awaits, connected or disconnected from the mainland depending on the state of the tide. This iconic site makes a fitting finale to this highly enjoyable cycling holiday.
The ‘voie vertes’ or greenways are mostly former railways lines that have been repurposed as scenic, car-free cycle paths. They are wide, smooth and when there are hills, the gradients are gradual – ideal for cycle touring. The longest day of riding is about 36 miles, so this tour is well within the reach of anyone with a good level of fitness.
Itinerary & Map
Day 1: Arrive Rambouillet
On arrival, make your way to Rambouillet and check-in to your first hotel. Rambouillet is within striking distance of Paris, yet is a real breath of fresh air after the busy streets of the French capital. It’s surrounded by the greenery of a former royal hunting forest and has an elegant town centre and chateau to discover.
Day 2: Rambouillet – Chartres, 31 miles/50 kms
For your first day of cycling you’ll first head west to Epernon and then Maintenon, with its regal palace – once the home of Louis the 14th’s secret wife. The route continues through pleasant scenery to Chartres, your home for the night. Chartres is steeped in history and its old town boasts a magnificent Gothic cathedral that shouldn’t be missed.
Day 3: Chartres – Illiers-Combray, 20 miles/32 kms
Today’s ride is fairly short, so you’ll have some time to see more of Chartres before heading out onto the quiet country roads in this rural wheat-growing region. Your destination is Illiers-Combray, a typical, small, well-preserved village, full of character and charm.
Day 4: Illiers-Combray – Nogent le Rotrou, 27 miles/43 kms
You’ll be cycling through the delightful countryside of the Perche today, passing pastoral farmland, forests and wild meadows admiring picturesque chateaux and manor houses along the way. Your destination is the quaint market town of Nogent le Rotrou where a medieval castle – Chateau St Jean – casts an imposing shadow across the charming old town.
Day 5: Nogent le Rotrou – Bellême, 24-26 miles/38-42 kms
Continuing westwards you’ll enter the green, rolling countryside of the Basse Normandie – or Lower Normandy – and the central portion of your trip. It’s a region of beautiful landscape and rich culture. You’ll be stopping for the night at Bellême, a charming medieval hillside village with atmospheric streets and great views across the Perche.
Day 6: Belleme – Alençon, 32 miles/52 kms
Today you’ll cycle into the Perche Regional Park and through the valleys of the Rivers Huisne and Sarthe before joining the ‘voie verte’ cycling path. This pleasant, car-free greenway takes you all the way to the bustling provincial town of Alencon.
Day 7: Alencon – Bagnoles de L’Orne, 32 miles/51 kms
Leaving Alençon, you’ll be entering the Normandy Regional Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty, for another day of relaxed cycling. A highlight of the day will be the impressive Chateau de Carrouges, complete with mote and offering an insight into 7 centuries of history. You will spend the night in the pleasant, lakeside spa town of Bagnoles de L’Orne, with its elegant ‘Belle Epoque’ architecture.
Day 8: Bagnoles de L’Orne – St. Hilaire du Harcouët, 39 miles/62 kms
Today’s route leads you along more, traffic- free, ‘voie verte’ cycle paths into the commune of Mortain, and towards the Normandy Coast. This area is known for its fruit production and much of the route will be lined with orchards and ancient farmlands. Your destination is the small city of St. Hilaire du Harcouët, nestled between the Rivers Airon and Selune.
Day 9: St. Hilaire du Harcouët – Mont St Michel/Pontorson, 30 miles/48 kms
It’s your last day of riding and you’ll bow out in style, following ‘voie verte’ cycle paths all the way to Mont St Michel. Views of this splendid landmark unfold from afar as you make your way towards the coast. You’ll surely want to explore the fortified island commune with its ancient abbey. You will spend the night either in Mt St Michel itself or the nearby town of Pontorson.
Day 10: Mont St Michel
After breakfast it’s time to check out and head for home or your next adventure.
Dates & Prices
|2019 Arrival Dates|
|Arrivals Sunday, Monday & Tuesday between 03 March to 15 October|
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|Deposit per person||£150|
9 x Breakfast, 1 x Dinner (day 3)
Maps & route information.
Bike hire (see supplements)
Entrance fees to monuments
Extra night Rambouillet, single, comfort (£131)
Extra night Mont-Saint-Michel, double/twin, comfort (£79)
Extra night Mont-Saint-Michel, single, comfort (£147)
Bike with lock & pannier. See practical information (£231)
Electic bike with pannier & lock (£362)
The bikes provided on this tour are modern, alloy framed hybrid models with 21 speeds and comfortable saddle with upright riding position.
The bikes also come equipped with rear panniers, handlebar bag or map holder, high-visibility jacket, repair kit and odometer.
E-bikes are also available to rent.
We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively, helmets are supplied on arrival.
Children under the age of 12 are required to wear a helmet in France and we always advocate their use for riders of all ages.
Below you will find examples of the types of accommodation typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard.
Comfort: Comfortable hotels and guesthouses.
Rambouillet: Best Western Amarys
Chartres: Hotel Le Boeuf Couronne
Illiers Combray: Hotel Les Aubepines
Nogent Le Rotrou: Hotel Sully
Belleme: Normandy Country Club
Alencon: Hotel Des Ducs
Bagnoles De L’Orne: Bagnoles Hotel
St Hilaire Du Harcouet: Hotel Le Cygne
Le Mont Saint Michel: Hotel Vert
- Date - 21/11/2018
- Name - Robert Payne
- Service rating - 4.0
- Service comment - ok
- Product rating - 3.0
- Product comment - Lets rate the bike,
The ladies bikes had very poor brakes and could not be adjusted.
One of men's bikes had major issues.
The tires were not inflated properly, problems with rear derailer
kept dropping the chain, the front map pouch kept falling down and had the be held up with a bungee cord, the bike stand was falling off and couldn't get at it to tighten( another bungee cord required)
Please update your maps as roads have changed, stop signs have changed to round about etc.
When we entered into Chartres they guided us around the town when it was rush hour , when the hotel was just across the town square.
We arrived in Rambouillet on a Sunday to find that there was no taxis to get us and all our luggage to the hotel.
We thought that the ride was supposed to place us in the center of the towns to experience the culture, that was not the case in Belleme
There were no services at the Golf and country club and we were miles to town
- Date - 30/07/2018
- Name - Mike Scanlan
- Service rating - 4.0
- Service comment - Good. Clear information and itinerary- perhaps would have been good to have the itinerary a little earlier for planning purposes, but nevertheless it was helpful.
- Product rating - 4.0
- Product comment - Bikes were good and comfortable. Maps were clear as well as directions. Only had one problem, leaving Chartres, because the road was closed for maintenance so did a detour. Hotels very friendly and some of the hotel restaurants were excellent. Eg Hotel Le Cygne at St. Hilaire du Harcouet. Particularly liked the Hotel L’Auberpines at Illiers-Combray which was delightful. Only let down was the Normandie Country Club at Belleme. It felt deserted. The swimming pool and health area has closed down and no open restaurant so we had a 30 minute walk each way into the town to get food. The taxi service transporting our bags was excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed our 8 day’s of cycling through beautiful countryside ending at the beautiful Mont St. Michel.