Paris to Mont St Michel Cycling Holiday

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.

Chartres

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.

Paris to Mont St Michel Cycling Holiday

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.

Chartres

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

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 with its stained glass windows 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 or 26 miles/38 or 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 : Bellême – 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 Alençon.

Day 7 : Alençon – 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 moat 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 be

Day 9 : St. Hilaire du Harcouët – Pontorson (Mont Saint Michel)
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 the charming twn of Pontorson, 10km inland from Mont Saint Michel. Views of the 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 in Pontorson.

Day 10 : Departure

After breakfast it’s time to check out and head for home or your next adventure.

Bikes

Regular bikes provided are modern alloy framed models with 27 speeds. The bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.

Electric bikes are also available.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively, helmets are provided on arrival.

Accommodation

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

Pontorson: TBA

Getting there

Fly to Paris or take the Eurostar. From Paris, take a train to Rambouillet. At the end of the trip take the train back to Paris from Pontorson

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