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Greenways & Canals bike trips

A selection of bucolic bike trips

Immerse yourself in a unique experience by exploring the canals and greenways by bike. These signposted routes offer an ideal alternative for cyclists in search of tranquillity, safety and unforgettable discoveries. Pedal along peaceful canals, watching life come alive on the banks. The signposted routes guide you through bucolic landscapes, away from the hustle and bustle of traffic, for a safe and peaceful cycling experience.

Bike canals, a trip along the water and surrounded by nature

Hop on the saddle and ride along the canals by bike. Erected largely between the 17th and 19th centuries, the main purpose of the canals was to transport goods before the advent of the railway. The greenways built along the canals are often old towpaths from which men or animals pulled boats. Curled up in a well preserved natural environment, the canals are interspersed with ports, localities steeped in history and admirable works of art such as locks, bridges and tunnels. A little-known heritage that fascinates those keen on technique and architecture and delights curious minds.

Ecological, the bike trip allows you to reconnect with Nature. And precisely, cycling the canals is the guarantee of exploring untamed and peaceful environments where Nature is omnipresent and exuberant. Lulled by the song of birds and the crystal clear flow of rivers, you move in an enchanting setting. Calm and tranquility are the hallmarks of your cycling itineraries along this river path. You are breathing at the top of your lungs. Along the water, the flowery locks, boats and barges that sail in silence are soothing traveling companions. By crisscrossing the canals, you soak up regions where, in harmony, the green of the vegetation and the blue of the water dominate the landscape.

Cycling canals, flat, secure and marked routes

Traveling the greenways and the canals by bike is to safely wander away from car traffic and away from the stressful bustle of big cities. Along the canals, you find routes dedicated to cycling and other non-motorized means of travel such as walking and horse riding.
As these routes follow rivers, the terrain is flat. This is an additional argument for families and beginners who want to learn about bicycle-touring.

In recent years, we have witnessed a real boom in cycle routes across France and the European continent. We are tempted to say that bicycle-touring  has the wind at its back. To extend the network of greenways, local authorities have set up and marked out numerous routes for bicycle travelers. Cycling along the canals has never been easier. On a European scale, a genuine cycling network of greenways has emerged. To date, around fifteen EuroVelo-certified routes invite travelers to cycle around Europe.

If you want to enjoy a bike trip while traveling on secure, signposted, flat paths and away from car traffic, don’t wait any longer: explore the greenways and canals by bike.

10 essential stays along greenways and canals by bike:

  • The Nantes to Brest Canal From the City of the Dukes to the North of Finistère, the Nantes to Brest canal plunges you into the heart of Brittany. Comprising 238 locks, the 364-kilometer long route combines large wilderness and villages with well-preserved historical heritage.
  • Loire by Bike This is the most famous cycling route in France. 900 kilometers long, it connects Nevers with the Loire estuary which leads to the Atlantic Ocean. The route offers a wide variety of landscapes and crosses the Loire Valley nicknamed the Valley of the Kings because of its large number of castles. It is the westernmost section of EuroVelo 6 which links Saint Brévin to Constanta in Romania.
  • La ViaRhôna From the shores of Lake Geneva, you cycle to the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. The Rhône is your loyal fellow traveler during this 815 kilometer getaway. And the route is varied, from alpine panoramas to the Camargue through the typical landscapes of Provence: lavender fields, olive groves, vineyards and hilltop villages.
  • La Vélo Francette From the coasts of the English Channel to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, the Vélofrancette allows you to discover a little-known France, that of the countryside. On a route of 600 kilometers, sometimes along rivers and often in the heart of nature, you cross Normandy, the Pays de la Loire and part of New Aquitaine to La Rochelle.
  • The Indre by Bike Over 200 kilometers, the Indre by Bike invites you to discover one of the most beautiful valleys of the Loire Valley. Between the magnificent castles of Chenonceaux and Azay le Rideau, you ride to meet a bucolic region full of charm.
  • The Vélodyssée The Vélodyssée is a cycle route that laps the Atlantic from Brittany to the Basque Country on a route of 1,200 kilometers. 70% of the time, you ride on dedicated greenways. The Vélodyssée is the French part of the EuroVelo 1 route which links Norway to Portugal.
  • The Canal du Midi From Toulouse, you ride towards the big blue on towpaths that run along the Canal du Midi. Historical curiosities and rich gastronomy are on the menu of this ride which breathes the sweetness and the joviality of the South of France. The 250 kilometers of canals invite relaxation and contemplation.
  • The Danube by Bike Between Passau and Vienna, you travel on one of the most emblematic greenways in Europe. To the rhythm of the Danube, you travel along the second largest river in Europe between vineyards and green valleys to the Austrian capital Vienna. Very well marked and flat, this course is ideal for beginners.
  • The Ille et Rance Canal This greenway begins in the city center of Rennes and guides the bike traveler on the banks of the Ille et Rance canal in lush greenery. Flowery locks and cities like the medieval city of Dinan punctuate this rejuvenating journey. By a greenway which prolongs the channel of Ille and Rance you can push your trip until Dinard to contemplate the sea.
  • The Vélomaritime From Roscoff to the gates of Belgium, the Vélomaritime follows the coast of the English Channel and then the North Sea on a route of 1,500 kilometers. Marked by an astonishing mosaic of coastal landscapes, the Vélomaritime guides you through three French regions: Brittany, Normandy and Hauts de France. It is the westernmost part of EuroVelo 4 which takes travelers to Kiev in Ukraine.