Articles and Photos by David "Q." May All rights reserved ©2012
Cycle information current in 2012
Route 7: The Best Route from Paris to England, joining eventually the Avenue Verte Paris - London.
Bicycle Northwest from Paris to Auvers-sur-Oise, Pontoise, Chantilly, and beyond to Beauvais, Dieppe, and London.
To reach the railway station, turn left just after the railway bridge. (D4 - Rue du Général de Gaulle) and continue 200 meters.
To reach the RER station in Pontoise, ride southeast on D4. This becomes D947 and D14 in Pontoise. Keep left, straight ahead and ride over the elevated section. Stay along the Oise, passing by the bridge over the Oise and take the first right (sign: Gare). Turn left in 400 meters to reach the station entrance (7.2 km from Auvers-sur-Oise).
By riding to Chantilly or Senlis or even Compiègne, a loop can be made back to Paris following in reverse the directions for Route 1. Given the distances from central Paris, for most riders this will be a two- or even three-day trip.
After crossing the rail line in Auvers-sur-Oise, turn right immediately onto D4 (Rue Rajon). Continue 5.1 km until the Y, where you must angle right onto Rue de President Wilson. At the bridge (5.8 km), turn right and cross the Oise into L'Isle Adam.
At the first cross street, turn left and walk your bike on the sidewalk for one block before the street becomes one way. Angle left at the Y. (As an alternative, walk your bicycle up the Grand Rue, and turn left at the church and at the second street turn right.) Join another street that goes due East. Pass a pond to your left and come to a traffic circle. Continue straight, following D922 over the Autoroute. At the traffic circle you must go left to continue in the same direction as before on D922, bypassing Mours, or go straight through to go through Mours to rejoin D922. After passing under the rail line, at the traffic circle go right.
You enter Beaumont-sur-Oise. A bike path starts and goes up a hill. Soon the bike path ends. At the traffic circle continue straight, slightly to the right on Rue de l'Isle Adam, one way in your direction. This joins Ave. Camot angling to the left and you shortly angle to the right, still on D922, Rue de Paris. You reach another roundabout with a tree planted on a hexagonal brick platform with narrow steps. D922 bears right one block, then left (sign for Viarmes, etc. after the turn). You now pass some restaurants and a bakery. The street is one way in your direction.
After the traffic circle near the village of Les Oliviers there is a Y. Branch right (sign for Noisy s/ Oise) on a pretty road with almost no traffic. (It would be possible to stay straight on D922 — less scenic and more traffic but faster.) Pass by the sign for Beaumont-sur-Oise on the left that leads in one block back to D922. The road (Grande Rue) narrows through Ansières-sur-Oise. One block after a little roundabout with, in the middle, a Christ on a cross, bear left (sign: C1, Abbaye de Royaumont). Cross route D922. (If you have been riding on D922 it is easy to miss this left turn. The road angles across and there is a blue sign with a white arrow on it. If you miss it, turn left at the traffic circle on D909.) This road becomes unpaved for a short distance, and reaches D909.
A left here on D909 will take you in 600 meters to the entrance on the right for the Ancient Abbaye of Royaumont, which has two Michelin stars**. To continue to Chantilly from there, come back to D909, turn right, and follow D909 for 10 km.
If you are skipping the Abbaye de Royaumont,and if you would prefer a route deep in the countryside and forest, partly unpaved, continue straight across D909. After the curve, turn left and ride through Bailon to a T (2.3Km). Turn left(*Rue Santiago Solas). Continue northward past D118, and at the second large traffic circle (5.0 km) bear obliquely right on Av. de Goubieux. After several name changes this reaches a T at D909 (6.6 km). Turn right and continue into Chantilly (11.1 km).
If you are continuing on to Senlis, rather than following the shorter and pastoral D924 (9.7 km from this point, 9.2 km from the center of town), you can ride in the forest: Turn right just after the rail line before Chantilly, turn left at the traffic circle, onto the Ave. de la Plaine des Aigles, after some jogs, continue to the the cobblestoned Carrefour des Lions. Turn right on D924A, and at the next intersection turn left on D138. Ride to the T and turn right onto Rue de la Garenne and follow this, with jogs and name changes into D1017. Turn left to reach Senlis (12 km).
To link Senlis with Compiègne, head northeast on the Route de Compiènge.
And to make a circuit back to Paris, see my discussion on the page for Route 1, Northeast. on how to link to these towns to Gressy (north of Claye-Souilly on that route).
See the end of the introductory information on Continuations for a discussion of, and links to, alternative routes.
Strong riders, able to cover 80 to 105 kilometers per day, can reach Dieppe from central Paris in two full days. The second day could be only 80 km if Beauvais is skipped, but it would be a shame to miss the Cathedral. Slower-paced riders will wish to take three or four days, perhaps breaking their trip at Auvers-sur-Oise and Forges-les-Eaux.
It is also possible to continue from Auvers-sur-Oise to Dieppe using the Avenue Verte. This would be 14 kilometers longer than the direct route that skips Beauvais, and thus is the same distance as my route that does visit Beauvais. The city of Gisors on that route has one Michelin star, as compared to two for Beauvais. To join that route you would cycle south from Auvers-sur-Oise through Pointoise. (See the Avenue Verte site refrenced above.)Section 1: From Auvers-sur-Oise to Beauvais (about 49 kilometers):
You have a choice of routes towards Beauvais from Anvers-sur-Oise. If you were to follow the Oise north-east, you can avoid some of the hills, but the distance your ride would be be longer. I favor the direct, shorter route, which has very little traffic and passes through fewer towns. Before Beauvais there are only three hills and none of the climbs are more than 150 meters. You will be riding among fields
To continue from Auvers-sur-Oise towards the north, after the railroad bridge turn left (west) on D4. In a few blocks (300 meters), branch right onto D928, which begins climbing. A cycle lane begins, ending after your climb is complete. In about 5.7 km from the rail bridge in Auvers-sur-Oise you reach a large roundabout in Hérouville, and D928 ends. Continue northward on D927 (sign Vallangoujard, Meru, etc.). D927 is well sign-posted towards Méru and then Beauvais.
You cross under the Autoroute and enter the ample town of Méru. You will see the railroad station on your right, 21 km from Auvers-sur-Oise. It can be accessed by an underground passage from the parking lot. on your right; or to avoid carrying your bicycle down the stairs, ride on the street that runs beside the tracks to the T. Turn right, cross under the tracks, and turn right again. There is hourly train service to Paris (Gare du Nord) on weekdays, every two hours on weekends. Bicycles are carried on all trains in the cars with a green and white bicycle pictogram. The same line serves Beauvais.
Continue north on D927. There are no navigation difficulties until you reach the Beauvais area . I suggest the following route into Beauvais, which will avoid climbs, heavy traffic in narrow roads or four-lane highways, and is no longer:
Just after you cross the autoroute and curve back to almost touch it, and then curve left, you reach a traffic circle. Go left, that is, take the third exit onto D2 (sign: Auteuil). Continue 4.3 km, passing by D93, and at D35 turn right (sign: Vaux). Follow this into Beauvais. Approaching Beauvais it becomes the Rue de Deportès, and curves sharply to the left, descending, and then back to the right. At the Y you fork to the right (the left fork is one way against you). (Don't ride on the bike band; it is too close to car doors.)
At the traffic circle continue straight for one block, then turn left on Rue Desgroux (sign: Beauvais Centre). Cross the tracks, and take the second turn left on Bd. Saint-Jean (or you will get caught up in a maze of one-way streets). (The train station is a right turn here, about 500 meters east.) This turns right (north) and in four or so blocks becomes Bd. Antoine Loisel. Continue three more blocks past a large parking lot on the right, and turn right on Rue Saint-Pierre to reach the Cathedral (another 10.8 km). You are 49 kilometers from Auvers-sur-Oise. The Tourist Office is 200 meters further on, on the right (1 rue Beauregard).
Michelin gives Beauvais two stars. The Saint-Pierre Cathedral*** is a masterpiece of Gothic art and contains a complicated astronomical clock. The Saint-Etienne church* combines romanesque and flamboyant styles.
In larger towns it is generally not safe to leave a bicycle locked on the street. If you are spending the night in Beauvais, make advance arrangements to lock your bicycle there in a courtyard or storage room while you see the town.
Note: If your schedule does not permit a visit to Beauvais or you wish to avoid bigger towns, you may cycle directly to Saint-Germer-de-Fly from Méru in 40 km on D129, (62 km from Auvers-sur-Oise). This saves 14 kilometers.
From Beauvais to Dieppe, I would suggest following the route described on www.avenueverte.com. I have copied this route onto the map above as a blue line, but you will find more details, photos, and some lodging information on the AV site. Their route is not the shortest by any means, but it is often more interesting, and it avoids main highways if possible. If you are in a hurry you might wish to ride the more direct routes, usually with only light traffic.
The roadside imagery on Google, from 2010, did not show route signs at important turns along the AV, but they may have been put in place since then. (If you ride this section before I do, please email me.) In any event, my experience has been that it is always helpful to mark the route out on a map before leaving -- or to put it into your GPS.
The Avenue Verte site breaks the bike route up into pages covering sections of short length, so I will list them below with the appropriate links:
Beauvais to Saint-Aubin-en-Bray (19.8 km): http://www.avenuevertelondonparis.com/etapes/beauvais-st-aubin-en-bray
Saint-Aubin-en-Bray to Saint-Germer-de-Fly (8 km): http://www.avenuevertelondonparis.com/etapes/st-aubin-en-bray-gournay-en-bray
Saint-Germer-de-Fly to Gournay-en-Bray (11.3 km): http://www.avenuevertelondonparis.com/etapes/neuf-marche-gournay-en-bray
Note: An off route detour adding perhaps 25 km to the trip can be made to the fabulous half-timbered village of Gerberoy**. A closer destination would be Beauvoir-en-Lyons*. For forest lovers, there's Lyon-la-Foret* village and its fabulous beech tree forest. Gerberoy and Lyon-la-Foret are on the official register of the most beautiful villages in France.
Gournay-en-Bray to Forges-les-Eaux (26.6 km): http://www.avenuevertelondonparis.com/etapes/gournay-en-bray-forges-les-eaux
Forges-les-Eaux to Neufchâtel-en-Bray (18.6 km): http://www.avenuevertelondonparis.com/etapes/forges-les-eaux-neufchatel-en-bray
Saint-Vasst d'Equiqueville to Arques-la-Bataille (12.6 km): http://www.avenuevertelondonparis.com/etapes/st-vaast-dequiqueville-arques-la-bataille
Arques-la-Bataille to Dieppe (8.7 km): http://www.avenuevertelondonparis.com/etapes/arques-la-bataille-dieppe
Dieppe has two Michelin stars.
Ships of the L D Lines (http://ldlines.co.uk) ply the Channel from Dieppe to Newhaven twice daily (possibly 3 times daily in summer), at approximately 5:30 AM and 6:00 PM (Check departure time online with dates due to tidal restrictions.) It is a four hour trip across the Channel, but keep in mind that it will be an hour earlier when you arrive due to the time change. You will need to lodge, obviously, in either Dieppe or Newhaven. The price of the ferry in the fall of 2012, for a person and bicycle, was €35.
The Avenue Verte web site outlines a route in England from Newhaven to London. They also mention the excellent British site http://www.sustrans.org.uk (Sustrans = sustainable transportation). On the Sustrans site, enter "Newhaven" in the blue box with the text "Search our mapping". This will bring up waymarked bicycle routes from Newhaven, including those to London. If you click the print symbol, a printable format of the map will appear. However, after examining these, I would urge you to strongly consider the route of Chris Smith /www.travelloglewes.co.uk/index.php?page=london--lewes--paris-bike-ride. That is the route that I plan to ride this summer. Close to London, it is usually the same as the Sustrans National Route #21 (though with suggested alternate routes to avoid mud if the weather has been rainy), but towards Newhaven it is much shorter (117 kilometers - 77 miles) and more scenic than Route #21. Chris's pages also have information on nearby points of interest and lodging.