This is one of three long-distance rides across France inspired by the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela – or rather, not Santiago but Saint Jacques.
Taking a diagonal course from Metz to the Spanish border, the 1600km V56 is an exercise in country laning. Some 80% of it is on the quietest of quiet roads, with most of the remainder on rail trails and towpaths. It deliberately steers clear of cities, medieval Limoges being the one exception. As such, it’s a meandering and enjoyable exploration of la France profonde.
Each département is at a different stage of signposting the route. There are numerous gaps where a final route hasn’t yet been identified, or where it’s waiting on the construction of a new voie verte. We’ve filled the gaps here with the suggestions of cycle.travel’s route-planner, but bear in mind that they may not correspond to the final route, and that you won’t encounter signs along these sections.