Rambouillet Forest Overnighter

  • Distance

    42 Mi.

    (68 KM)
  • Days

    1.5

  • % Unpaved

    60%

  • % Singletrack

    2%

  • Difficulty (1-10)

    4

  • % Rideable (time)

    100%

  • Total Ascent

    1,834'

    (559 M)
  • High Point

    584'

    (178 M)

Contributed By

Gabriel Pereira

Gabriel Pereira

Guest Contributor

Gabriel is a French reporter, based in Paris. A gravel and MTB enthusiast, he spends most weekends exploring new trails in the nearby forests. Over the past few months, he and his girlfriend have also been riding bikes with their baby son, going on their first microadventures as a family, and planning for more. Instagram: @gabprr

From the hustle and bustle of Paris to the wildlife haven of the Rambouillet Forest, this overnight route follows quiet roads and gravel paths from the southwestern edge of the French capital.
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Riding bikes in Paris isn’t always easy. France may well be the home of the Tour de France, but cars and motorcycles are still the kings here. Fortunately, cycle lanes have developed quite rapidly in recent years and it’s now safer than ever to ramble in the city and beyond.

Take the coulée verte du sud parisien, the south Paris green corridor, until you reach the forest of Verrières-le-Buisson, where your adventure can really start. This small forest has it all: singletrack trails, wide gravel paths, steep descents, and more. And it’s ideally located less than eight miles from Paris. The trip continues through the Bièvres Valley, following the Véloscénie for a couple of miles, a bike route that links Paris and Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy. After Jouy-en-Josas, you’ll cross the plateau of Saclay. This wide-open space, full of corn and barley fields, is ideal for gravel bikes, even though the wind can be pretty annoying.

The route then goes through the Chevreuse Valley, truly a cycling heaven, with endless quiet roads, mountain bike paths, and picturesque villages. In Gometz, you will ride through another green corridor that runs along an old railway track, where genius inventor Jean Bertin created the “aerotrain,” a train without wheels, in the 1960s. The magnificent Rambouillet Forest is now very close. Crisscrossed by 57 miles of foot paths, as well as 37 miles of bicycle and horse riding trails, it’s one of the biggest forests in the Paris region. You’ll probably see red deer or wild boars before setting up camp under the oak and pine trees.

Difficulty

If you’re used to riding gravel bikes, this route will be no issue. You may have to push your bike once or twice on steep (but short) climbs, but it’s mostly all rideable. The reconnaissance of the course was made with a child trailer (see photos) and it was really enjoyable. As a whole, it’s rated 4 out of 10. There are resupply options all along the way. Technical difficulty: 3; physical demand: 4; resupply and logistics: 1.

Route Development: This route follows several sections of the “Véloscénie” that links Paris and Mont-Saint-Michel (Normandy), via Rambouillet. However, the “Véloscénie” is essentially a paved route, especially near Paris, so the idea was to find gravel roads and paths to spice it up.

Local OvernighterThis route is part of the Local Overnighter Project, which was created to expand our growing list of worldwide bikepacking routes—the first and largest of its kind—and create an independent map and catalog of great bikepacking overnighters, curated by you, from your own backyard. Our goal is to have accessible routes from every town and city in the world. Learn More
  • Highlights

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  • Must Know

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  • Camping

    home

  • Food/H2O

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  • Resources

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  • Being so close to Paris, but so far away at the same time, thanks to the beautiful forests
  • The plateau of Saclay, which seems to come straight out of a western movie
  • The green corridor between Gometz and Limours that follows an abandoned railway track
  • The luxurious vegetation in the Rambouillet Forest
  • End your trip with a swim in a natural pool at the Huttopia campsites
  • When to go: Rideable all year round, but the ideal period is in the summertime. The trails can get very muddy if it rains, especially in the Rambouillet Forest.
  • Logistics: The town of Rambouillet lies on the southwestern edge of the forest, just 1.8 mile from the Huttopia campsites. There are plenty of trains that will get you back to Paris in less than an hour.
  • Since 2009, the Rambouillet Forest has been classified as “protected.” Therefore, all forms of bivouac are forbidden. But the Huttopia Camp, in the heart of the forest, is a great place to pitch your tent, eat croissants, and even take a dip in their natural swimming pool.
  • Resupply options for food and water all along the way. See Map.

Additional Resources

Terms of Use: As with each bikepacking route guide published on BIKEPACKING.com, should you choose to cycle this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. While riding, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow the #leavenotrace guidelines. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. BIKEPACKING.com LLC, its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individual riders cycling or following this route.

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