.

Picardy and Champagne

Shortest Day - 57 km / 36 miles
Longest Day - 85 km / 53 miles
Total: 8 Days / 6 Days cycling; 397 km / 248 miles

What you can expect

Picardy is often passed through on the way south but is an interesting and historic area. Lying just north of Paris it has a wealth of fine houses, abbeys and castles and plenty of unspoilt countryside. Champagne lies just to the east and so we cover this area in our tour. The two regions were involved in the fighting of WWI and reminders are frequently seen. We pass some of these, as well as the splendid chateau at Chantilly and ancient towns of Roman origins such as Laon, as well as the majestic city of Reims. This tour is of moderate distances with only one longer day, but the countryside, whilst undulating, is not difficult cycling country. There are a wealth of attractions along the way each day. 6 days' cycling; 7 nights’ half board with wine; luggage transport, full back-up and assistance throughout the day.

More detail

FULLY SUPPORTED AND SELF GUIDED OPTIONS

Day 1: Arrival.

Day 2: The town of Senlis is often used as a film location as it is so unspoilt. It is easily accessible being just north of Paris. Having assembled here yesterday we head out of town through oak forests to the nearby Chateau of Chantilly. A sophisticated town adjoins the chateau and is well worth a look around. Turning north our objective is Compiegne which we reach by quiet roads. (57 km / 36 miles).

Day 3: A few kilometres out of town in a clearing in the forest is the railway carriage in which the 1918 armistice was signed (and France’s surrender in 1940). This area was close to the fighting and as he day goes on we see more and more reminders of the events of the Great War. The cycling is fantastic today with fine views in every direction and we arrive at the hilltop town of Laon in good time for a stroll around its ancient streets, before supper and a good night’s sleep. (62 km / 39 miles).

Day 4: Today we ride across the regional border from Picardy into Champagne and almost immediately see row upon row of immaculate vines on the gently rolling hillsides. Reims is a fine city with an impressive cathedral and many old houses and quiet corners tucked away, as well as the usual spread of patisseries and cafes in which to refuel! All of the major champagne houses are represented here and you can take a tour of their underground cellars, some of which stretch for literally miles underneath the city. (63 km / 39 miles).

Day 5: We cross to the other major champagne producing town, Epernay, with a day spent along river banks and gentle hills with open views over the surrounding countryside. (70 km / 44 miles).

Day 6: This is a longer day in the saddle but a delight, passing historic abbeys and the largest US war cemetery from the First World War. The views are long-distance over the wheatfields of the area which makes for great riding to Soissons, which has its origins in Roman times. (85 km / 53 miles).

Day 7: Our last day returns us to Senlis, passing the royal Abbaye de Chaalis. Once again the roads we use see scarcely any traffic. And so concludes our tour of Picardy and Champagne, a gentle introduction into an historic area of France. (60 km / 37 miles).

Day 8: Depart.

Transfers to / from: Senlis, Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

Single Supplement (see our FAQ page): £225

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