Author Topic: Paris(ish) to Dieppe along L'Avenue Verte  (Read 7135 times)


Paris(ish) to Dieppe along L'Avenue Verte
« on: 09 October, 2018, 12:40:01 pm »
I'd heard about this route and even crossed over it on the way to Paris before, but my son ignited interest last month when he borrowed my bike to ride it one way Dieppe - Paris.

I wasn't bothered about central Paris or the roads into it so decided to reverse the journey for my trip. Looking at the options for getting to the start there was Eurostar, Newhaven - Dieppe and then train or flying. As the first two options would eat up most of the first day and thus require accomodation near Paris I went for the Vueling option. These are a Spanish outfit who compete with easyJet on the Gatwick - CdG route. The seat was a bargain £30 but the bike £46 on top! (although it still just undercut EJ) and free train travel to the airport as it's on my commute

I also passed through Gonesse which is the site of the tragic Concorde accident in 2000

Hardly a "Vert" start to the trip but certainly quick, I touched down 41 mins after take off. 45 mins later the bike was removed from its cardboard box, assembled, camping clobber attached and I was off. I plotted a direct but dull route to St Denis to intersect the Northbound route. The signage really is excellent all the way with a neat little AV London - Paris logo.

The first 10k is pretty dire until you reach the West Bank of the Seine.

It does a big very peaceful and pretty loop all the way round before eventually crossing over to Maisons Lafitte (Citee de le Cheval although I didn't see any) but very swanky anyway. Shortly after the route does one of its many off road diversions, but this time of year it was dry and well surfaced all the way. Once over the Seine again for the last time briefly along the Oise valley and some steep climbing to reach the outer suburbs at Cergy Pontoise. Now it got really rural with a mix of on and off road, and with light failing my thoughts turned to food as France doesn't do open in the evenings! I fortunately found a Boucherie / Epicerie just about to close for cheese wine crisps and bread. Mostly on quiet roads now with the occasional bit of agricultural route across fields (all part of the route) I eventually reached the main reason for the trip at Bray at Lu; the superbly surfaced ex railway line. Sadly it was dark by now but the character was unmistakable. In true Sustrans style they have put bizzare sculptures all the way along; on this section giant hedgehogs (literally!)

I had the vague goal of arriving at a campsite near Dangu even though their rates seemed quite steep. By the time I got there they were shut up and there didn't seem to be any other tents pitched so I went back to the trail and found a quiet spot in the woods. I eventually woke at 8 after a fitfull but warm night and rode 7km to my breakfast destination of Gisors. Note to self (and indeed anyone else) McDonalds in France don't open for breakfast! so it was up to the local hypermarket for a wrap and some coffee.

Gisors is a lovely historic town with a well preserved castle, well worth a stop. From there I was back on often lumpy roads for about 70k. 30 min into the ride a red squirrel ran across the road in front of me! This section is deliberately convoluted to take in the historic towns of St Germer de Fly and Gournay en Bray. Another reason is that the disused railway line from Gisors to Forge les Eaux has been re-opened (although it seems to be permanently closed for engineering work at the moment)

obviously not big churchgoers?

My second night was at Forge les Eaux which is a busy little town with a great campsite (no problem checking in this time and free wifi / charging sockets).

 The clear sky made for low early morning temperatures so I didn't hang about and was soon packed up and back to town for a pain choc and coffee. Now for the undeniable highlight of the trip, the superb ex railway all the way to Dieppe. The local stations are still there and signed, and at each crossing there is a distance sign to Dieppe but it's easy riding. I say the route goes all the way to Dieppe but the last 5k is still operational so there's a nice diversion around some lakes.

The route drops you in town by the station and it's a short ride to the port. I remember this in the 70's when it was a ferry terminal, since the opening of the Channel tunnel the harbour has been moved out under the cliffs and the maritime station and old ferry terminal has been demolished in favour of a yacht marina.

I had a passable lunch of Moules Frites before heading along to the ferry for the pleasant crossing back to Newhaven and then the train home.

this is all you need to know; I took the western arm of the route, it's a bit further via Beauvais; one for next time