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Plan your cycle ride from London to Paris

30 September 2008

As documented in this blog, Mark and I have had a great time, spending three days cycling from London's Trafalgar Square to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Hopefully this journey has inspired some of you to take up the challenge for yourselves.

To help get you on the road to Paris, here are some further details, incorporating useful web links. It is best to check prices on the outbound ferry and the inbound train before booking, as the cheapest fares are generally non-refundable and non-amendable.

Ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe

  • Route is operated by Transmanche Ferries.
  • Crossing takes about 4 hours.
  • Cost for passenger and bike (without cabin) is approx. £17 (September 2008).
  • For extra comfort, cabins can be booked for an additional fee.

Eurostar

  • Eurostar operate frequent services from Paris (Gare du Nord) to London (St Pancras).
  • Journey time is usually about 2:15 hours.
  • Prices vary considerably depending on how far in advance the booking is made. If booking several weeks in advance, a non-flexible standard single ticked can cost from £50 (September 2008).

Suggestions

  • As our experience testifies, it is easy to underestimate the journey from London to Newhaven. Cycle routes in the UK, including this one, tend not to have very consistent signposting and you should therefore allow plenty of extra time and pack a suitable map.
  • You may choose to split the London to Newhaven leg over two days, or at least spend the first night in Newhaven, then take an early crossing to France on the second day.
  • Dieppe is a beautiful town so, if you want a more leisurely pace, why not spend the second night in Dieppe?
  • The 40 km Avenue Verte is a wonderful traffic-free path designed for pedestrians and cyclists. It is clearly signposted in both directions. If you're in the area already, why not just enjoy the quiet ride between Dieppe and Forges-les-Eaux?
  • We would advise you to always pack some food and water as you head out on to the road. Some stretches of the route (for example the Avenue Verte), can take you dozens of kilometres without passing shops or cafés.
  • You may be able to reduce the weight of your luggage by leaving behind your bulky bike lock. Most hotels will be happy to store your bike overnight in a secure garage. Check with them before you travel.
  • Even if you do not intend to ride by night, always take your bike lights. We did not intend to ride in the dark at all, but ended up doing so on all three evenings.

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