Make it a sociable and sustainable adventure to share among friends on part of France’s longest cycling route. You will discover fortified castles, cathedrals, forests and foodie stops.
Whether you do it for a day or a week, this voie verte or greenway is full of great places mixing a rich heritage with the flavourful bounty of the local terroir. This inviting route is an integral part of the Hauts-de-France landscape, a place where fresh air, history and delicious food are the watchwords.
This Scandibérique is the French part of the Eurovélo 3 route that stretches for 1700km be-tween Scandinavia and France. It begins at the edge of the Parc Naturel Régional de l’Avesnois, on the Belgian border and crosses Hauts-de-France before continuing to Paris and then snaking south-west across France to the Spanish border. It’s quite surprising to discover such unspoilt countryside just an hour from the busy city of Lille .
Avesnois Nature Park © Hauts-de-France Tourisme Frédérik Astier
At the start of the voie verte, the eco-cycling inn at the former railway station in Ferrière-la-Grande is a well-equipped welcome centre where you’ll receive all you need in the way of advice. As you head through the heart of the Parc Naturel Régional de l’Avesnois towards ValJoly, the route is dotted by historic surprises. ValJoly itself is an oasis of relaxation where you and your crew will find an array of activities. Lovers of local beer will also be glad of the many tasting opportunities in the region – so many, they’re impossible to miss!
Cycling along the canal that runs alongside the Oise, you’ll spot Noyon, famed for its Gothic cathedral and canonical district.
Noyon, couple walking next to the Cathedral © Hauts-de-France Tourisme Nicolas Bryant
The next stage is Compiègne with its imperial château and its historic centre. Want to feel more grounded? Hug a few trees. Love local produce? Head for the Brasserie Saint-Médard.
The magic continues in Halatte forest and in Senlis, courted by kings, praised by writers and a favourite spot with film directors for its timbered houses, Gallo-Roman amphitheatres and walls, cathedral, royal castle and private mansions, all of which make it the perfect place to amble around.
The journey continues into the Forêt d’Ermenonville with its pine trees and its heather, locat-ed north of Paris and close to the A1 motorway.
Ermenonville forest © Hauts-de-France Tourisme - Vincent Colin
At the edge of the forest, make a cultural stop-off at the Abbaye Royale de Chaalis, in Ermenonville and in the Parc Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
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