Cycling holidays in the shadow of the 'Sun King'!
Paris, city of all the arts and capital of France, is the departure point of your self-guided bike tour in the most beautiful city of France. Discover must-see castles like for example ‘Vaux le Vicomte and its French gardens ‘à la française”, or the impressive castle of Fontainebleau. Pedal along the Seine, emblematic river winding through the area. Cycle through the imperial forest of Fontainebleau and explore the little villages that will find you on your journey. At the heart of the countryside of Paris, along cycle tracks, pedal at your own pace and enjoy the calm and atmosphere of the surroundings. Your cycle holidays in Paris take you then to the royal city of Dourdan and invite you to cycle in the vast forest of Rambouillet. You will discover is impressive castle and gardens. From step to step, your biking tours in Paris, going through the valley of Chevreuse, take you to the Palace of Versailles where the Roi Soleil, King Louis XIV, awaits you. His masterpiece is fascinating. Enjoy some extra nights before or after your cycling tour to discover some highlights in Paris.
Day 1: Arrival in Melun or Fontainbleau
Arrive at your accommodation where you will find the road book and bikes waiting for you. Just a few kilometers from Paris, Melun and Fontainebleau open the doors of the Paris royal countryside. Established for over 2000 years in one of the meanders of the Seine, Melun offers a green heart at the gates of the famous forest of Fontainebleau, with walks along the banks, a recent river port and a market rich in regional products, including the famous 'Brie de Melun', a rare Protected Designation of Origin of Île-de-France.
Day 2: Palaces of Vaux le Vicomte, Blandy, and Fontainebleau, ~37 or 57 km/23 or 36 miles
Today starts your cycling holiday towards the unmissable castle of Vaux le Vicomte and its French gardens where you should enjoy a lunch break at the restaurant of the chateau. Go through Melun and discover its river port and its 6 km long banks where the river Seine winds surrounded by gardens and small squares. Then continue your journey towards the Castle of Blandy, a rare example of medieval military architecture in Île-de-France area. Your cycling journey then continues along the banks of the river Seine on small country roads. Pedal along medieval villages of Fontaine le Port and Samois-sur-Seine and rejoin the park of the Castle of Fontainebleau along a bike path. You will end your day discovering this impressive castle. With over 1500 rooms set amid 130 hectares of grounds and gardens, the royal and imperial Palace of Fontainebleau can boast eight centuries of continuous occupation by sovereigns. Kings and queens, emperors and empresses endeavored to embellish the palace, built around the original keep. The castle and its grounds are listed UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.
Day 3: Fontainebleau - Etampes, ~54 km/34 miles
Today you cycle through the imperial forest of Fontainebleau. With an area of 25000 hectares it remains a pure delight for nature lovers, famous for its dense and diverse flora. Discover the small village of Barbizon and continue your journey to explore other small villages such as Dannemois where the famous singer ‘Claude François’ lived, known for his French version song of “my way”. End your day cycling along a bike path that leads you right to your third step city Etampes, which is the only city of art and history of the department Essonne. It has indeed a rich built heritage and landscape that witness the history of a city. Etampes was also one of the centers of the Royal Estate at the High Middle Ages. From that time, the city retains the Notre-Dame church that crypt dates from the eleventh century, many religious buildings in the twelfth century and exceptional quatrefoil keep.
Day 4: Etampes - Rambouillet, ~54 km/34 miles
Your cycling holidays in Paris takes you this time towards the forest of Rambouillet, where, it is said, there is a wild group of wallabies. From Etampes, you borrow a bike path along a charming little river and will continue on country roads that allow you to enjoy the quiet surroundings. Discover the royal city of Dourdan, which is also ‘gate city of the Regional natural park of the high Valley of Chevreuse’. Find its castle, the gate of Chartres, its architecture of the nineteenth century and the city walls. Your day then ends in the heart of the forest of Rambouillet, opposite its impressive castle. Between Versailles and Chartres, at the heart of more than 20 000 hectares of woods, Rambouillet castle and its park welcomed great lords and kings, emperors and presidents like for example François 1er, Louis XVI, Napoleon I and Felix Faure.
Day 5: Rambouillet - Versailles, ~50 km/31 miles
After a few kilometers you go through the heart of the Valley of Chevreuse and cycle to discover all its treasures: churches, abbeys, castles, mansions or wash houses ... Around typical small villages, the countryside and the woods still dominate. Discover picturesque villages and head towards the surprising Palace of Versailles. End your Paris cycling holidays to discover the masterpiece of Louis XIV. You will then have the opportunity to cycle the inside of the park of the palace. The Palace of Versailles, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30 years, is one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. Discover the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Chapel, the King and Queen's Grand Apartments... It housed the French government, most notably its royalty, during the reigns of Louis XIV, the famous French ‘Sun King’, Louis XV and Louis XVI. After the French Revolution in 1789, it ceased to be a permanent royal residence.
Day 6: End of the tour
You have the possibility to stay for some more days in Versailles or in Paris in a 3*** hotel at the edge of the canal Saint Martin.
5 nights in good 3*** and 4**** hotels and guest houses
5x tourist tax
luggage transfer (1 piece per person)
detailed documentation with maps
self-guided tour - 6 days / 5 nights
arrival every day
route (1)-(2): ~195-215 km/122-134 miles
flat and sometimes hilly
how to get there
by car: motorway to Paris
by train: with TGV to Paris
by plane: airports Paris
individually from Paris to Melun at the beginning and from Versailles to Paris at the end with the RER
some of our bike tour suggestions