On yer Bike

get ahead of the tour de france

The Tour de France started from Mont Saint-Michel in 2016, but cyclists could get there ahead of the pack this summer along the Veloscenic, a 270-mile cycleway linking Paris and Mont Saint-Michel, easily accessible from the UK and readily broken down into bite-sized chunks. 

Around a third of all foreign cyclists sampling Veloscenic last year were Brits, who appreciate a long-distance route that is easy to navigate and offers something for all abilities. Its 80 miles of traffic-free greenways and 125 miles of shared paths (with very little traffic) suit families and amateur cyclists, while there are two advanced sections that challenge even the hard core.

Veloscenic opened in 2012 and follows the traces of the original pilgrimage route, encompassing four regions (Ile-de-France, Centre-Val de Loire, Pays de la Loire, Basse-Normandie) and eight departments, with a staggering five UNESCO World Heritage Sites en route. Those finishing in the west will see the fruit of ten years of development work at Mont Saint-Michel completed this summer, restoring the tidal flow which cuts-off the iconic island from the mainland at high tide. Veloscenic offers a rare opportunity to cycle through spectacular scenery and sample the essence of traditional French life, history and culture. The adventurous will be suitably challenged by tackling the entire route which takes around a week; while others can limit themselves to shorter stretches, with plenty of interesting detours (for example, to Versailles). 

Getting thereTrains booked through Voyages SNCF (www.voyages-sncf.com; 0844 848 5 848) from London-Paris and back from Pontorson (the nearest station to Mont Saint-Michel) to London (via Paris) start at £89.50 per person. 

Alternatively, Brittany Ferries (www.brittanyferries.com0871 244 1400) offers return channel crossings to Caen, Cherbourg and Saint Malo from £110pp for a car and two passengers.   

For more information visit www.veloscenic.com.

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