Active families can enjoy France from the bike saddle by following bite size chunks of Veloscenic, a 270-mile cycleway linking Paris and Mont-Saint-Michel.
The route takes on special significance this year, with the final leg arriving at Mont-Saint-Michel, which will complete 10 years of development work to restore the tidal flow which cuts-off the iconic island from the mainland at high tide.
Veloscenic is a long-distance route that is easy to navigate, with 80 miles of traffic-free greenways and 125 miles of shared paths to suit families and amateur cyclists.
Opened in 2012, the cycleway follows an original pilgrimage route through the regions of Ile-de-France, Centre-Val de Loire, Pays de la Loire and Basse-Normandie, passing a staggering five UNESCO World Heritage Sites en route.
The full route takes around one week to complete, but families can limit themselves to short stretches – seven are described as family friendly – and discover spectacular scenery and sample the essence of traditional French life, history and culture.
To find out more head to www.veloscenic.com, a comprehensive English website with an easy-to-use trip planner and interactive search, plus advice on where to rent a bike, where to eat, places to visit (including local markets) and connecting train stations. There is technical information on each stage with a difficulty rating, elevation and GPS tracks to navigate.
Four Veloscenic routes for families
Head towards the light at Chartres – 22 miles
This short stretch leads to Chartres along the royal valley of Eure along tiny roads, stop-off at delightful gardens, passing Maintenon Castle and its impressive aqueduct. Arrive in Chartres by dusk and watch the city bathed in thousands of lights, with creative illuminations that run from 11 April until 10 September 2015.
Amble along in Percheron country – 47 miles
A family-friendly section following a network of green lanes virtually the entire way, through the Perche Regional Park with lush green countryside dotted with villages, mills and mansions. Swap two wheels for four on a carriage tour with Celine Maudet, or walk part of the way with a donkey!
Awaken your senses – 41 miles
Follow a delightful greenway, formerly a railway track, and be seduced by charming villages such as Mortain and Ducey. Stop-off the sample delicious local delicacies direct from the farm.
Cruise to Mont Saint-Michel – 19 miles
Keep the famous silhouette of Mont Saint-Michel in vision, pedalling through the surrounding grasslands with superb sea vistas before reaching the newly-restored, iconic landmark.
Trains booked through Voyages SNCF (www.voyages-sncf.com; 0844 848 5 848) from London-Paris and back from Pontorson (the nearest station to Mont Saint-Michel) to London (via Paris) start at £89.50 per person. Alternatively, Brittany Ferries (www.brittanyferries.com; 0871 244 1400) offers return channel crossings to Caen, Cherbourg and Saint Malo from £110pp for a car and two passengers.