V52 is a quiet route following river valleys and canal towpaths from Paris to Strasbourg.
It’s not yet complete; as yet there’s nothing between Paris and Dormans (near Épernay), and even after that, several of the canal towpaths remain unimproved and rather bumpy.
With a little effort, though, you could make a fine Paris–Strasbourg tour out of this. It runs through the heart of champagne country along the Marne valley, following the Canal Latéral à la Marne. The Canal de la Marne au Rhin takes us along the valley of the Saulx, a tributary of the Marne.
A brief spell on country roads leads across the watershed, crossing the Meuse briefly before following the Moselle downstream on an excellent riverside path. From here we return to the banks of the Canal de la Marne au Rhin; the Germanic placenames serve as a reminder that this is the heart of Alsace.
This is a route to watch, with the potential to become one of France’s most popular cycle routes. If you don’t mind a little improvisation and are prepared to navigate around occasionally bumpy towpaths, you could consider it for a tour today.
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