Cycling from London to Paris is one of the great cycle experiences in Europe. Passing through picturesque Kent countryside, we cross the Channel and continue through the small villages and medieval market towns of Northern France. With long days in the saddle and some strenuous hill-climbs, the sight of the Eiffel Tower, our finishing point, will evoke a real sense of achievement. Our last day in Paris allows us to explore the sights and soak up the romantic atmosphere of this majestic city as it prepares for the finale of the Tour De France!
GOSH London to Paris
BESPOKE • 5 DAYS
Taking on this iconic cycle challenge from London to Paris whilst raising vital funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital. There's always a great sense of personal achievement reaching Paris just using pedal power but to know that you've also helped a great charity in the process only adds to the experience. The camaraderie of these challenges is legandary and has to be experienced to be fully understood.
An early start allows us to avoid the morning traffic as we pass through the outskirts of London onto quieter roads. It’s not long before we’re pedalling through the Surrey countryside and onto the North Downs near Guildford. Our route undulates relatively gently, though there are some steeper climbs to test our legs. Heading predominantly southwest, we enter Hampshire and pass through Alton. Look out for steam trains, as this old market town is also the terminus of the famed Watercress Line. We pass Jane Austen’s house in the lovely village of Chawton soon afterwards, and continue our ride south across the sweeping South Downs, where more hills await us. Finally reaching the outskirts of Portsmouth, we make our way to the harbour for the overnight ferry to Caen. Night ferry. (Breakfast on ferry not included)
We ride west along the coast to the small town of Arromanches, heart of the Normandy Landings. Parts of the mulberry harbour built here can still be seen out at sea and on the beach. We ride to Juno and Gold beaches, then head back east on small roads towards Pegasus Bridge, near Caen, where the first house to be liberated from the Germans in June 1944 still stands. Now a café and museum, there is an opportunity to visit and see the original bridge, time permitting. We then continue east, on quiet rolling roads that take us through farmland and apple orchards – this area produces lots of cider and calvados! We see Lisieux’s 11th-century cathedral as we approach the end of today’s ride; approximately two-thirds of the town was destroyed by allied troops in the D-Day bombardment but the cathedral survived unscathed. Night hotel.
Another long day ahead of us today, as we ride through lovely, typically French rural countryside. Passing through picturesque hamlets and small towns, it’s hard to picture this peaceful countryside dominated by the battles of World War Two. There are some short sharp climbs, though our legs should take them in their stride by now! We ride west through rolling farmland and wooded valleys to the ancient cathedral city of Evreux. Night hotel.
Our last day: Paris beckons! We cycle east, crossing the River Eure and riding through small towns as we pass through the valley of the Seine. Nearing the city, we cross the River Seine and cycle through the suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt. As we head towards the centre of this iconic city, we look out for the distinctive landmarks of the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré Coeur standing out on the skyline. We pass the Arc de Triomphe and down the famed Champs-Elysées to our finish beneath the lofty arches of the Eiffel Tower – an impressive end to our challenge. After checking into our hotel we enjoy a great celebration to mark our achievements. Night hotel.
After breakfast you are free to explore the famous sights of Paris a little more and soak up some more cycling vibes as the final stage of the Tour De france rolls into Paris! You are responsible for getting yourself and your bags to the Gare du Nord in time for your evening Eurostar train back to St Pancras, where you will be reunited with your bike.
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders and support crew, including mechanics. Our leaders are selected for their knowledge and experience, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises; they are also trained in first aid. The crew will have mobile phones and/or radios where appropriate, medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary.
The number of crew and support vehicles looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but the team will be looking after every aspect of your trip whether that’s transporting your luggage, ensuring your route is well-marked, making you lunch and sorting out any mechanical problems. Support vehicles are with the group all of the time, and carry all luggage and spares.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary, should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration - such as medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.
We usually stay in hotels or lodges of a 2-3* standard or equivalent. Standards may vary between the hotels but they are generally comfortable and convenient for our route. Hotels are often on the outskirts of towns to minimise unnecessary extra mileage and avoid traffic.
Accommodation is usually on a twin-share basis in hotels convenient to our route. Please tell us if you know somebody else on the trip that you would like to share with and we will try our best to accommodate your request. If you don't know anyone else in the group don't worry, we always pair you up with someone of the same gender, and a similar age where possible. We do not charge a single supplement if you are a solo traveller in a shared room.
There may be a limited number of single rooms subject to request, on a first-come first-served basis, after you have booked. Extra charges will apply.
We like to support local businesses and will source food locally. Lunches will be in restaurants along the route and dinners are usually eaten at the hotel. Do make sure you eat enough to give you the energy for your exertions. Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply.
We have a Passenger Portal which will give you more details of the challenge itself. It also enables you to see any outstanding information we need, the countdown to your challenge departure, see your outstanding balance, make payments and update your contact details. You can access this via the following link - Passenger Portal Log in.
We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
If you are still to buy some kit don’t forget that Cotswold Outdoor, Snow and Rock, Cycle Surgery and Runners Need offer all Discover Adventure participants 15% off any purchases you make with them. Please ask us for the code if you do not have this already.
Travel Insurance is compulsory on our challenges; we strongly suggest that you arrange insurance cover as soon as your booking with us is confirmed. Should you need to cancel on medical grounds, you will need insurance to cover the costs involved (registration fee and any trip costs depending on cancellation date).
You should also ensure that you have adequate cover for the type of challenge you are taking part in as well as medical emergencies, evacuation and repatriation.
You can obtain a quote with Insure to Travel from our website here, or you may choose to take out your own travel insurance, just remember to let us know the policy number and emergency phone number!
For more information about travel insurance, please click here.