With 700 km of cycle trails from the Swiss border to the Mediterranean, the ViaRhôna provides a chance to discover the whole diversity of landscapes alongside the river Rhône.
Frédéric Rollet, national coordinator of the AF3V
Could you tell us more about the ViaRhôna?
This cycle trail enables cyclists to travel alongside the river Rhône from Switzerland to the sea, on marked-out trails specially dedicated to bicycles. Its construction has been underway since 1997 as the amount of landscaping work is colossal. Today, between 35 and 40% of the trail is complete, with sizeable portions in the Rhône-Alps region. As an association representing the interests of cyclists, the AF3V has been following this progress closely and monitoring the quality of the cycle trails, accessible by all…
In what ways is this project ambitious?
The ViaRhôna has been one of the flagship projects in terms of cycle touring in France. It's a very ambitious project as the work required is often more complex than that needed for a motorway, including environmental, technical and industrial constraints. The end result is worth it though: certain sections provide an opportunity to discover some highly protected areas including natural areas, beaches and marinas, etc. It's a marvellous way to discover the region.
Which day-long cycle tour would you recommend, setting off from Lyon?
Beginning with the river banks in Lyon you can head north via the Feyssine Park , to the Miribel-Jonage park where you can have a picnic, before turning and heading back when you reach the Herbens bridge in Meyzieu and returning via the Jonage Canal, a journey covering approximately 40 km. You can also go further: cycle as far as Jons, then continue to the railway station in Montluel some 5-6 km away to head back to Lyon by train.
Could you recommend a longer journey?
You can reach the Drôme from Givors or Vienne, which is a superb trip! Take your bike on the train as far as Givors (free of charge), and then pick up the ViaRhôna, taking you through Condrieu, the magnificent Côtes Roties with their mouth-watering wines, and also the Ile du Beurre nature reserves and the charming little villages along the river. You can go as far as Pierrelatte, a distance of approximately 200 km, and return by train. You'll see a completely different side to the Rhône!