The Glénat editions have just published a guide detailing the Véloscénie (from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel by bike), the opportunity to discover the Paris region, Normandy and everything in between. And among these rarely explored territories are the Eure-et-Loir, its small and large heritage, the Perche and its side roads.
It was Marie Paturel, a journalist from Isère, used to cycling and already the author of guides on the Drôme by bike, the Alpine region, Lyon and Auvergne, who designed the guide dedicated to Véloscénie. She and the photographer, Lionel Montico, cycled or drove the 450 km that separate Paris from Mont-Saint-Michel. Both have imagined the ten new loops that allow you to survey the countryside of the three regions that cross Véloscénie (Île-de-France, Center Val-de-Loire and Normandy).
The loops, the added value of the guide
The Republican Echo tested a few kilometers of this Véloscénie and these loops. The starting point is fixed at Frazé, under an inclement sky in this month of April. Fortunately, the rain seems to have calmed down when it’s time to get on the Eurelian electric bikes and the helmets provided by C’Chartres Tourisme.
After a quick explanation of how the bike works (knowing how to switch from low to high electric assistance and combine with traditional gears to move forward as best as possible without wearing down the battery too much), it’s time to pedal, for two to three kilometers only because the first stop is in front of the Saint-Martin de La Croix-du-Perche church. Philippe Rossat, director of C’Chartres tourisme invites cyclists to admire the vault and its painted decorations, unique in the sector.
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A dozen kilometers are thus traveled during this morning which ends with a stop for culture and lunch in Thiron-Gardais. You may have the opportunity to meet the owner, Stéphane, who now lives year-round in his house which is next to the royal and military college of Thiron-Gardais.
Even if he gives two minutes to The Republican Echo and to the other visitors, it is his colleague who explains in a few minutes the origin, the evolution and the renovation of the place. You can learn there that at the time, the name of Thiron was spelled without H and that the future emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, almost studied in Eure-et-Loir rather than in Brienne-le-Château (Aube). But the most interesting remains the discovery of the order of Tiron and the rustic and hard life of the students of the college.
After filling your stomach, in a restaurant or following the directions of the guide. Marie Paturel suggests the abbey inn or the space near the tourism point, it’s time to set off again for twenty new kilometres.The Véloscénie guide is on sale for a price of 15 euros. It allows you to discover the essential points of the journey between Paris and Mont-Saint-Michel and ten loops that can be done between one and three days.
Admittedly, the sky is clearing and patches of blue stand out, but the wind is getting stronger and the usefulness of the electric assistance is becoming obvious. False rising flats follow one another, always on roads without cycle paths but on municipal or low-traffic roads and therefore suitable for a family audience. This is the characteristic of Véloscénie, discovering the countryside gently and safely.
The name La Véloscénie contracts the words: “Vélo” and “Scénie” (which relates to the stage, to the show). This name translates the mythical character, which invites to the wonder of the spectacle of nature and the high places crossed. It indicates the scale of the landscapes, the idea of a stage show that we cycle through.
These are bucolic landscapes, rapeseed fields that pass before the eyes of cyclists between Thiron-Gardais and Nogent-le-Rotrou. The heritage becomes more natural and less architectural, until the arrival in Nogent-le-Rotrou. The walk ends on the heights of the city, in the park of the castle of the counts of Perche.
This is an opportunity to taste the specialties sometimes unearthed on the road.
Philippe Rossat recalls that a service will soon delight gourmets. “We work with La Poste so that what passers-by buy on farms, for example, is then sent to their homes. It would allow them to spend locally and not carry everything around in their bags. We hope to successfully install this service in the summer of 2023.”
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Nogent-le-Rotrou is located on the Véloscénie route but also benefits from a loop composed by Marie Paturel. This is 149 kilometers long for 1,040 meters of elevation gain. According to the author, the circuit is passable in three days. The route passes through Montlandon, Senonches, La Ferté-Vidame, La Loupe, Marolles-les-Buis before returning to Nogent-le-Rotrou.
The book from Glénat editions offers a map that can be downloaded to a smartphone via a QR code. There is also the possibility of following the detailed indications of Marie Paturel in the paper guide.A loop around Nogent-le-Rotrou was designed by the author of the guide, Marie Paturel. Vacationers will be able to discover the castle.
All directions are clarified in the book. However, if you don’t feel like taking your guide out of the bag at each intersection, you can rely on the green signs to point you in the right direction.
If no precise figures are available as to the frequentation of the Eurelian portions of the Véloscénie, C’Chartres tourisme estimates it at a 20% increase each year. And to ensure even greater success, a bicycle deposit system will be organized this summer in the tourist offices of Chartres, Nogent-le-Rotrou, Bonneval and Châteaudun.
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It will not be essential to return the bike to the same place where you rented it. “Cyclists don’t need to make a loop, which can deter them. Vacationers will be able to drop off their bikes at a tourist office, which will transport them to their place of origin,” says Philippe Rossat. This novelty will not be free, the supplement will be equivalent to one day of rental or 30 euros, a weekday and 50 euros during the weekend.