Cycling along the Seine at your own pace
Do you prefer riding along peacefully beside the water or pedalling away like crazy? It really makes no difference, as whatever your level, the Seine à Vélo cycle route is accessible to all and very clearly signposted along its 400km from Paris to the sea, passing via the Eure. Whether cycling with children, friends or alone, take the route at your own pace. Each stage through Normandy provides breathtaking landscapes, amazing heritage monuments and great recreational activities, plus relaxing and culinary pauses to savour. So, are you ready for your cycling holidays in the Eure?
Cycle beside the great river, through 37 Eure municipalities
Crossing the Eure, the Seine à Vélo counts 120km of cycle route and several exceptional stages, taking you past Claude Monet’s village, Richard the Lionheart’s Château-Gaillard and the Léry-Poses outdoor leisure centre.
12 unmissable places along the Seine à Vélo cycle route through the Eure
Within c.5km of the cycle route, there’s a wide choice of accessible activities, entertainment, walks and cultural possibilities… Many unmissable heritage sites are dotted along the way, while the options linked to water activities will delight the whole family.
The famous Impressionist village of Giverny
Known around the world, Giverny, that paradise for Impressionism, can be visited on foot to make the very most of its lanes and the place’s artistic atmosphere. A must is a visit to the Fondation Claude-Monet, including the great artist Monet’s home and gardens.
For sports enthusiasts: Giverny can also be discovered from the slopes above the village. You’ll need to climb to get up on high to admire the views.
For art lovers: the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny boasts a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. It also stages concerts and workshops for adults and children.
Vernon: where Normandy begins
Located on the Seine’s south bank, Vernon is a pretty little town with playgrounds for children, quays on which to linger and a cultural heritage to admire, what with the Musée Poulain arts museum, Notre-Dame collegiate church, typical timber-frame houses, the Tour des Archives, the Château des Tourelles, the vestiges of an historic bridge and the Vieux-Moulin, a watermill built out over the river.
For foodies: Vernon’s big market takes place Saturday mornings
For sports enthusiasts: if you’re on for tackling quite a slope, don’t miss a visit to the Château de Bizy.
Sailing, canoeing and other water sports are also possible via Yatch club or SPN Vernon Canoë-Kayak.
For an historic little trip: the Givernon, a little tourist train, takes you along a meander in the Seine, allowing you to explore the cultural heritage at Vernon and Giverny.
The charms of Le Petit Andely and Le Grand Andely
Quite stretched out, the town of Les Andelys consists of two parts, Le Petit Andely and Le Grand Andely. Pedalling along the Seine’s quays here and branching off into the streets beyond, explore the town’s striking heritage: the dome of Saint-Jacques Hospital; the church of Saint-Sauveur; the many timber-frame houses; the Musée Nicolas Poussin, an art museum named after the place’s most famous artistic son.
For swimmers: Les Andelys’s outdoor pool is located right on the Seine à Vélo cycle route, beside the river. Open in the summer season, you access it via Rue Gilles-Nicolle.
For those keen on technology: thanks to a virtual reality app, visit Château Gaillard as it was in the 13th century! Download the app onto your smartphone via the tourist office.
The mighty Château-Gaillard
Looking down from its 90m clifftop location above the Seine, Château-Gaillard plunges you back into history and Richard the Lionheart’s extraordinary story. The views over the Seine Valley are stunning. The tour here is not to be missed.
By bike or on foot: it is possible to climb up to the castle thanks to a trail that starts just opposite the tourist office at Le Petit Andely.
The magical atmosphere at the Moulin d’Andé
Built in the 12th century, the Moulin d’Andé is listed as a French historic monument and stands in an enchanting country setting. Note that this site isn’t visible from the street and is only open to the public on Saturdays.
Léry-Poses outdoor leisure centre with its many activities
The centre’s 1,300 hectares, 650 of which are taken up by various lakes, are dedicated to outdoor leisure pleasures, including swimming (with lifeguards to hand), canoeing, water-skiing using a lift, sailing and rock-climbing (with courses available), pedalos, volleyball or then pétanque. In addition there are picnic areas dotted around.
For keen bird-watchers: the centre encompasses the Réserve Ornithologique de la Grande Noë, c o unting some 200 different species and an important colony of great cormorants. Can be visited freely or on a guided tour.
For keen golfers: the centre also has its own 18-hole golf course extending over 75 hectares for you to practise your swing a stone’s throw from the Seine.
For keen anglers: the Seinoscope, located close to Poses Dam, allows you to observe the various fish species that travel up the Seine thanks to special glass windows under the water level giving views onto the fish pass here.
Two boat-museums recalling Seine mariners’ lives
Guided by former mariners, board Le Fauvette, a river tug boat listed as a French historic monument, to learn about life on such vessels in times past, seeing the wheelhouse, lodgings and engine room. As to the Midway barge, it focuses on the history of the Seine and the diverse types of navigation used on the river.
Biotropica animal park
No need to go to the ends of the earth to get close to crocodiles, sloths or piranhas. You just need to come to Biotropica in the Eure! On its 10-hectare estate, 1,300 animals from all the different continents thrive, some in the 5,000m2 tropical greenhouse where the temperature remains a constant 26°c year-round.
Pont-de-l’Arche, a medieval fortified town
Built from the year 1000 on, following the period of Viking invasions, this authentic fortified town played an important role in Normandy and French history. The medieval feel is still very marked, what with the narrow lanes, timber-frame houses, crenellated tower and Flamboyant Gothic church of Notre-Dame-des-Arts.
Don’t miss: Bonport Cistercian abbey, founded in the 12th century by Richard the Lionheart, at that time both Duke of Normandy and King of England.
Aizier leper colony with its distinctive atmosphere
For 350 years, the heights above the village of Aizier were reserved for a leper colony. Remnants of it are still visible, notably Saint Thomas’s chapel. The outdoor visitor trail has panels explaining the place’s history as you take in its extraodinary atmosphere. Some visitors even leave candles and offerings on the stone altar.
Trouville-la-Haule, where apples reign supreme
Once a month, this village holds a producers’ market for Normandy’s star fruit! Try succulent, sweet local varieties that you won’t find anywhere else.
Marais Vernier exceptional marshlands
The Seine à Vélo route crosses through the heart of the splendid Marais Vernier marshlands. This vast expanse so marked by fresh water attracts very many bird species, especially migratory birds such as mallards, falcons, teal, greylag geese and egrets.
An exceptional view: thanks to the ornithological observatory set up by the Fédération de Chasse and accessible to the general public, get a bit of height to be able to admire views across this special natural site.
Time to get cycling! Cycle along the Seine à Vélo cycle route as suits you, finding all the information you need on laseineavelo.fr. This website will prove indispensible for planning your cycling trip. It lists accommodation, bike-hire companies, shops, local producers, tourist sites and more all along the route.