Thiérache, Viaduc d'Ohis Axe vert ©CRTC Hauts-de-France - Jean-Francois DEROUBAIXThiérache, Viaduc d'Ohis Axe vert ©CRTC Hauts-de-France - Jean-Francois DEROUBAIX
©Balade sur l'axe vert en Thiérache, sous le viaduc d'Ohis| CRTC Hauts-de-France - Jean-Francois DEROUBAIX

A sense of complete freedom: the best cycle routes

At your own pace

Is there any better way to explore a region than by bike? Whether with family, friends or your other half, cycling lets you take things slow while also getting exercise. Hauts-de-France is teeming with all sorts of bike paths, including mountain bike trails, long-distance (Euro) cycle routes and picturesque signposted tourist paths. And it’s also home to a few classic professional bike tours, such as Paris-Roubaix, the 4 days of Dunkirk and the Grand Prix de Fourmies). Strap on your helmet, hop on your saddle and get pedalling with our favourite cycle routes in the region.

Northern France _ Cycle route © CRTC Hauts-de-France - Stéphane BOUILLANDNorthern France _ Cycle route © CRTC Hauts-de-France - Stéphane BOUILLAND
©Northern France, Cycle route | CRTC Hauts-de-France - Stéphane BOUILLAND

Adventures on two wheels

Love inhaling the crisp sea air but fed up of walking? The coastal bike path (part of the Vélomaritime from Roscoff to Dunkirk) is what you need. The ride is 19 miles long and takes you along small roads and farming paths from Sangatte to Wimereux, through Les Deux-Caps National Site. The stunning scenery will make it difficult to keep your eyes on where you’re going!

The Voie verte de l’Avesnois, in the Nord department, and the Voie Verte de l’Ailette, in the Aisne department, are two routes particularly suited to family bike rides. One is 21 miles and the other 11 miles, and both are perfectly safe: no cars, no stress, 100% pleasure!

A points-nœuds (node points) network is a series of interconnecting bike paths covering over 500 miles between Lys and Monts de Flandre, which also joins up with its Flemish and Walloonian counterparts! With no fixed route, you can go wherever you want and adapt your itinerary based on how you feel and what you fancy doing each day.

Obviously, you’re bound to work up an appetite and need to refuel as you ride through the Hauts-de-France region. Be sure to make a pit stop and enjoy the many local delicacies that will provide all the energy you need to keep on pedalling.

One last tip?

Our final idea is the legendary Paris-London bike route, a 292-mile ride between the two capitals. Naturally, a large part of the Avenue Verte (its official name) crosses Hauts-de-France. After passing through Normandy from Dieppe, the route enters Hauts-de-France at Saint-Germer-de-Fly, 16 miles west of Beauvais. This stage of the journey primarily takes place on an old railway track and cuts across rolling countryside full of ponds, large farms and timber houses that remind you of nearby Normandy. You then follow the Avelon river, which takes you to the garden of painter André Van Beek (a smaller version of Monet’s in Giverny, full of colourful footbridges, asters and water lilies), before arriving in Beauvais. From here, Paris beckons.

Local's tip

Aurore Caraby.Aurore Caraby.
Beauvais cathedral’s illuminations

 

From late June to mid-September, and again in December, you can’t miss out on seeing the night-time sound and light show called “Beauvais la cathédrale infinie”, designed by Skertzo. Personally, I love it! Why, you ask? Because it’s so magical and mesmerising. The alchemy is perfectly beautiful and harmonious. It’s simply incredible and the enchanting music and images really capture my imagination. I’m also fascinated by the technical side of it all, it’s so precise and meticulous!

Aurore, Communication and marketing manager at the Tourist Office, Expert in things to do in Beauvais
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