Cycling from Guildford

Cycling routes throughout the South East, accessible from Guildford in a day


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Dieppe to Paris: A 3 day ride along the Route Donald Hirsch

To download the GPS file for this route click here
Click here to view photos of the route

View Cycling Dieppe Paris Day By Day in a larger map
Summary This route follows the route pioneered by Donald Hirsch: it is fully described in a PDF guide downloadable from Donald's website, which also includes a link to the route on bikely.com. Hence I do not repeat the directions here. Rather I have included on the Google map the GPS download from my own ride, together with some photos of the route below.

NOTE 1: Donald's latest PDF guide takes a slightly different route around Versailles.

NOTE 2: The official Avenue Verte cycle route was opened in June 2012, a year after my trip. It follows the same route from Dieppe to St Germer de Fly, but is quite different beyond there, offering two possibilities, one heading south along the Epte valley to Bray-et-Lu, then east to Cergy; the other following quite a long loop to the east via Beauvais and Chantilly, also ending at Cergy. From Cergy, the route is via the long meander of the Seine, reaching Central Paris from the north along the St Denis canal. See websites here and here. Both are in French, but Google Translate does a pretty good translation. I haven't tried these new routes, so can't vouch for them.
Distance/time:
Approx 130 miles from Dieppe to the Eiffel Tower. I took 3 days in June 2011. The ferry from Newhaven arrived in Dieppe about 1500, giving enough time to cycle 25 miles along the Avenue Verte to my first overnight in Hotel le Grand Cerf in Neuchatel-en-Bray (bookable through the Logis de France website). Day 2 was 55 miles to the cycle-friendly B&B le Clos in the small village of Fays-les-Etangs. The final day was 50 miles, entering Paris via forest tracks. I left Fay around 9am and arrived at the Eiffel Tower about 1600, giving ample time to catch the evening Eurostar.
Start: Dieppe
Reached by ferry from Newhaven, 1 daytime sailing per day, departing around 1000, arriving around 1500 French time (sailing times vary with tides). I was lucky enough to get a lift for me and my bike to the port, but if you want to cycle all the way, Newhaven can be reached from Guildford via my Route 3 via the Downslink to Brighton, then the first part of Route F to the port.
Finish: Eiffel Tower, Paris
Transport: I booked an evening Eurostar back from Gare du Nord to St Pancras. I reached the Gare du Nord by using the cycle path beside the road paralleling the Seine then bus/cycle lane to the Ile de la Cité (with a diversion to walk through the Tuilleries Jardins), then using the bus/cycle lane up Boulevard Sebastopol and Bd de Magenta (where the main danger came from Parisian cyclists charging by in busy traffic) (see track on my Google map). You can book your bike to come back on the same train for £30 (June 2011), but you must check your bike in at least 90 minutes before the train departure time. Take it to the GEOPARTS/SERNAM office at the end of Platform 2 ('Voie 2') at the Gare. On arrival at St Pancras, if you are quick, you can collect your bike from carriage 9/10, otherwise collect from the freight office. From St Pancras it’s a short ride across town to Waterloo and the train home.
Conditions under the tyre: The Avenue Verte from Dieppe to Forges-les-Eaux: an excellent, flat, tarmac track following a disused railway. Then various generally quiet D roads. Once beyond the town of Marines, and approaching Paris, there is more traffic, so care is needed. But much of the approach to Paris is on good traffic free tracks through the various forest parks, to emerge via the Hippodrome (racecourse) du Longchamps into central Paris.
Route variations: Donald offers various options to avoid busier stretches. I stayed on the D1 out of Dieppe to the start of the Avenue Verte, and (on a Saturday afternoon) found it pretty quiet. I did use the quieter options between Forges-les-Eaux and Menerval, and between Gournay and St-Germer-de-Fly. ( I went wrong on the latter: I show the correction on the map)
Finding your way
I mainly used Donald Hirsch's PDF guide, and the GPS routes which can be downloaded from the link above the map on this site. I also took IGN Green Topo 1:100K Maps 107 and 108 available from Elstead Maps . These cover the route except for a small section just after Forges. I think I could have got by without the maps, though they are useful for general planning. Intriguingly, someone seems to have put up blue Sustrans style arrows marking the route.
Photo guide
At Newhaven Ferry Port
At Newhaven Ferry Port

Cycling down to the Ferry
Cycling down to the Ferry

Entry ramp to ferry
Entry ramp to ferry

On board
On board

Bike are stored at the bow end, and are secured by straps during the voyage. Seems OK to leave panniers etc in place.
Bike are stored at the bow end, and are secured by straps during the voyage. Seems OK to leave panniers etc in place.

Sun deck
Sun deck

Leaving blighty
Leaving blighty

Disembarking at Dieppe
Disembarking at Dieppe

Road into town, Dieppe
Road into town, Dieppe

D1 outside Dieppe
D1 outside Dieppe

Arques La Bataille, where the Avenue Verte starts
Arques La Bataille, where the Avenue Verte starts

On the Avenue Verte
On the Avenue Verte

On the Avenue Verte
On the Avenue Verte

Typical sign for Avenue Verte
Typical sign for Avenue Verte

PK signs denote kilometres to Gare St Lazare, Paris
PK signs denote kilometres to Gare St Lazare, Paris

Typical countryside along the Avenue Verte
Typical countryside along the Avenue Verte

Typical old station
Typical old station

Another typical old station
Another typical old station

Typical Avenue Verte
Typical Avenue Verte

Arriving in Neuchatel-en-Bray
Arriving in Neuchatel-en-Bray

A grand day out
A grand day out

Town square, Neuchatel-en-Bray (the digital display reads 33 deg C)
Town square, Neuchatel-en-Bray (the digital display reads 33 deg C)

View from Hotel le Grand Cerf
View from Hotel le Grand Cerf

Bikes are stored in the lock up garage
Bikes are stored in the lock up garage

Avenue Verte: PN signs denote Passages a Niveau or crossing points
Avenue Verte: PN signs denote Passages a Niveau or crossing points

End of the disused railway outside Forges-les-Eaux
End of the disused railway outside Forges-les-Eaux

End of the Avenue Verte at the old station in Forges-les-Eaux
End of the Avenue Verte at the old station in Forges-les-Eaux

Typical road between Forges and Gournay
Typical road between Forges and Gournay

Menerval, on the D16 between Forges and Gournay
Menerval, on the D16 between Forges and Gournay

Poppies en route
Poppies en route

Turn in Auchy on the 'quiet route' from Gournay to St Germer
Turn in Auchy on the 'quiet route' from Gournay to St Germer

The church in St Germer de Fly
The church in St Germer de Fly

French vernacular, St Germer de Fly
French vernacular, St Germer de Fly

D129 SW of St Germer
D129 SW of St Germer

Mairie, Coudray St Germer
Mairie, Coudray St Germer

D129 between La Houssoye and Jouy-la-Grande
D129 between La Houssoye and Jouy-la-Grande

The welcoming garden of Le Clos B&B Fay-les-Etang
The welcoming garden of Le Clos B&B Fay-les-Etang

Le Clos B&B, Fay-les-Etang
Le Clos B&B, Fay-les-Etang

D3/D28 towards Marines
D3/D28 towards Marines

Town Centre, Marines
Town Centre, Marines

Courdimanches
Courdimanches

Path climbing from the D190 to the D1 bridge over the Seine at Poissy
Path climbing from the D190 to the D1 bridge over the Seine at Poissy

Seine from the D1 bridge, Poissy
Seine from the D1 bridge, Poissy

D1 bridge
D1 bridge

Medan/Villennes road
Medan/Villennes road

Poissy hospital
Poissy hospital

Entrance to Paris forest, Poissy
Entrance to Paris forest, Poissy

You soon join a tarmac path
You soon join a tarmac path

Track down to stables from Etoile de Beaumont
Track down to stables from Etoile de Beaumont

Start of Route des Princesses
Start of Route des Princesses

Someone has put up blue Sustrans-type arrows alng the route
Someone has put up blue Sustrans-type arrows along the route

Mairie, Marnes-la-Coquette
Mairie, Marnes-la-Coquette

In Parc St Cloud
In Parc St Cloud

Montparnasse Tower, seen from Parc St Cloud
Montparnasse Tower, seen from Parc St Cloud

First sight of Eiffel Tower from Rue Gounod
First sight of Eiffel Tower from Rue Gounod

Old aqueduct over Seine
Old aqueduct over Seine

Crossing the aqueduct
Crossing the aqueduct

Stairs down from aqueduct (run your bike down the side)
Stairs down from aqueduct (run your bike down the side)

On the Hippodrome
On the Hippodrome

Typical Paris cycle path
Typical Paris cycle path

Finally made it!
Finally made it!

Cycle path beside Seine, on way to Gare du Nord
Cycle path beside Seine, on way to Gare du Nord

At Notre Dame
At Notre Dame

Cycle Path near Gare du Nord
Cycle Path near Gare du Nord

At Gare du Nord
At Gare du Nord

Follow the yellow brick road to Voie 2
Follow the yellow brick road to Voie 2

Carry on down Voie 2....
Carry on down Voie 2....

....and carry on...
....and carry on...

...to the 'SERNAM' office
...to the 'SERNAM' office

Arrived back at St Pancras
Arrived back at St Pancras

On Waterloo Bridge
On Waterloo Bridge