Iconic Cycle Routes
Whether you are just starting your cycling career or you've been an avid cyclist for years, there are lots of iconic cycle routes to choose from, renown for their challenging terrain, climate or simply because of their jaw-droppingly beautiful views.
Head to Brazil and ride along the coast to Rio for tropical climates and striking coastline views or pedal through Italy, passing sunny vineyards, traditional quaint villages and fields full with vibrant fruits. The Stelvio cycle is known for its dramatic zig-zag roads, a milestone challenge for many a cyclist, whilst closer to home, you can cycle the length of the UK - from Land's End to John O'Groats. There is a whole, thrilling portfolio of cycle routes to choose from!
So where on earth, excuse the pun, do you cycle first?
To make things a little easier, we've given you the lowdown on one of the most distinct European cycle challenges and our most popular cycle routes, the London to Paris Cycle.
Get to know what's in store when you cycle from one capital to the next, and all the challenging yet incredible moments in between! It may even get you feeling inspired to experience the London to Paris Cycle for yourself.
Cycling London to Paris: the 411
The journey from one capital to the next gives plentiful opportunities to embrace gorgeous, rolling countrysides and picturesque views of both England and France as we cross from one to the other.
Setting off from London at sparrow's cough, we meander through the outskirts of London and out of the buzzing city to charming rural landscapes in Kent.
Once the scenic cycle through orchards and down charming country roads, takes us to Dover, we board the ferry to Dunkirk. With the chance to grab a delicious bite and a fleeting break from the wheels, all the while, with panoramic views of the Channel. There is a short cycle from the ferry port to the hotel in Dunkirk, where we rest up for the night ready for the following day of cycling in the French terrain.
Waking up to a hearty breakfast, you are ready to venture on the (approx) 100-mile cycle ahead of you for the day. Pedalling through peaceful winding roads and passing through authentic villages and vibrant farmland. Dunkirk endured the wrath of WW1 and 2, with remnants of war-scorn damage still existing today and a beautiful stretch of beach juxtaposed with distant memories of the Battle of Dunkirk horrors.
Many poignant nods to the landscape's dark history are what makes this cycle all the more precious. Remaining parallel to the Belgian border for the entirety of today's ride, we enjoy a predominantly flat ride until we reach the lively city of Cambrai. Cambrai is in an intriguing location, being close to several European capitals - with Brussels 67 miles away, Paris is 99 miles, and London is 170 miles. We settle for the night in this fascinating piece of France.
We head out of Cambrai, taking a historically significant route with fantastic views of the River Somme.
This is where you sense the magnitude and historic prominence of the land we are travelling through.
The frequent hills met on this leg of the cycle make for a challenging day, yet the historic prevalence of the sights we see along the way, amongst pretty villages and ancient buildings, triumphs. Our route drifts through pretty woodland, pristine cemeteries, and miles of fields emboldened with colour. Reaching the final leg of today's cycle, Soissons, an ancient town situated on the River Aisne. Soissons was the former capital of France and has an abundance of religious heritage prevailed from the medieval era and Gothic architecture including the Cathedral of St Gervais and St Protais. A combination that makes for a pretty and intriguing town.
Our fourth and final day of cycling takes us from Soissons to the finish line in the city of Paree! More weaving through quaint villages and rustic farmlands, we hit a few hills before nearing our urban finishing post. Look out for iconic landmarks as your wheels hit the Parisian streets and excitement kicks in. We marvel at the stunning Arc de Triomphe and pedal down the renown Champs-Elysées to the iron finish, Eiffel Tower. Success! Our last night in France leaves room for us to tuck into a celebration meal and catch some well-earned Z's!
Revel in the streets of Paris. Ticking all the tourist hot spots off your list, and embracing the city of love before you hop on the Euro-star train back to London, where you will be reunited with your beloved bike.
A jam-packed and emotive ride through France, we're sure you'll agree. A perfect mix of challenging yet rewarding moments that take you from one capital to the next.
What add this Cycle to the Bucket List?
So you've had a whistle-stop account of the London to Paris cycle, but what really makes this trip so special?
A real privilege of the London to Paris cycle is the opportunity to ride through the poignant history of the World War, as the route takes you through some of the most famous battlegrounds of WWI.
Street names in towns and villages you pass are commemorated with names of fallen heroes and famous battlegrounds and cemeteries, dotted with poppies and lined with striking white crosses marking the graves of soldiers who lost their lives in the War.
Pedalling your way through a now serene landscape traversed by the River Somme is a moment that participants often describe as the most moving and memorable experience of the cycle.
Along with the moving sentiments of war-torn landscapes that you are to cycle through, the route holds prestige in the cycling world for a more recent phenomenon, the Tour de France. The Tour de France began in 1903 and to this day sees renown and respected cyclists, from across the world, cycle the famous route across France.
Covering the golden grounds that many professional cyclists have travelled over the years is, for many, a huge draw to the London to Paris Cycle.
And you can earn your cycling stripes by tackling a route where cycling heroes across time have pedalled. All the while, raising funds for incredible charities.
For many a cyclist, reaching the end of your London to Paris Charity Challenge is the street of dreams. Sweeping through the very heart of Paris, the grandest of all boulevards is the traditional finish line of the Tour de France. What better way to end your challenge than with a huge sense of achievement at the feet of the iron towers?
Preparing for your cycle
We definitely recommend getting some miles on the bike in before you cycle from London to Paris. It always pays off undertaking sufficient training ahead of the main event, for the benefit of your team and to enhance your experience. The more prepared and physically fit you are ahead of your challenge, the more likely you will enjoy your cycle and be able to focus on the gorgeous views along the way. You'll be sure to reach the finish line, at the iconic Eiffel Tower, with time for celebrations in the beautiful city of love!
You can get involved in Cycle Training Weekends that are aimed at helping participants get used to riding with our experienced leaders, increasing confidence and gauging fitness levels.
Want to get involved in the next London to Paris Cycle?
We've got lots of exciting cycle challenges setting off this month, from Paris to Geneva, to the Classic Cols of the Tour de France and it can be difficult to know which one to take on first. If you are feeling inspired to take on the London to Paris Cycle, Discover Adventure have got it covered!
Check out how to sign up for our next London to Paris Cycle