Cycling Paris, Roubaix and Flanders

Paris - Cologne

Country

France, Belgium, Germany

Region

Flanders

Distance

557km

Time

5 Days

Elevation

3430hm

Difficulty

Medium

Contributor

Anna E.

Short Description

Embark on a five-day cycling odyssey from Paris to Cologne through picturesque landscapes and rich historical sites. Starting in Paris, the journey winds through Compiegne’s Château de Pierrefonds and arrives in St. Quentin with its Basilique Saint-Quentin. Day two leads through Cambrai’s Gothic cathedral to Roubaix, famed for its industrial heritage and the iconic Velodrome. Crossing into Belgium on day three, discover Tournai’s Notre Dame Cathedral before reaching Brussels’ Grand Place and Manneken Pis. Day four explores Namur’s Citadel en route to Liège, known for its market squares and Santiago Calatrava’s Liège-Guillemins station. The final day traverses the Ardennes to Aachen, culminating in Cologne’s magnificent Cologne Cathedral. This journey not only celebrates natural beauty and architectural marvels but also immerses cyclists in the cultural tapestry of France, Belgium, and Germany, promising unforgettable memories of European charm and history.

Route overview

Insights

Adjustability route

Easy to adjust

Recommended time of year

April to October

Anything to consider?

If you are keen, you can include way more of the famous cobble and climbs of Paris-Roubaix or Tour of Flanders.

Travel to start

Train to Paris

Travel from finish

Train from Cologne

Highlights

Trouée d'Arenberg, Paterberg

Food

Easy to get

Road Surface

If you're not on the cobbles, good, on the cobbles, it's cobbles.
Reommended Bike Type

Recommended Bike Type

Something with wider tyres.
Stage

Stage

Travel to start

(Close to) Paris

Stop

St. Quentin

Distance

120km

Elevation

590hm

Before we even started, I had a flat tire that I fixed in the train.
In the beginning, the tour was more on bigger roads which meant quite some traffic. Over time, roads became smaller and it was more fun. For lunch, I had a second flat tire, which was fixed quickly.

Then, it started pouring rain. I think I was never soaked so fast.
After 45min of heavy rain, luckily it stopped. In between, we had to take some bigger roads and the end was a gravel section.

Stage

Stage

Travel to start

St. Quentin

Stop

Caudry

Distance

38km

Elevation

280hm

We didn’t ride this part due to very bad weather.

Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Caudry

Stop

Roubaix

Distance

86km

Elevation

290hm

Since it was heavily raining in St. Quentin, we decided to take a train and escape the worst part. Worked out quite well, but Anna and I traded rain for heavy head wind.
The track was great though, and we cycled on the famous Paris-Roubaix roads and tackled the most infamous Pavé sector, Tourée d‘Arenberg. Finishing the day in style with a round (and a half 😉 on the velodrome in Roubaix.

Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Roubaix

Stop

Brussels

Distance

106km

Elevation

590hm

Rain all day. Partwise heavy rain. Besides that, it was amazing to be on the famous Flanders roads. Especially the first part was amazing. There are signs everywhere where to go and wonderful roads for cyclist.
The second part became a bit dull, cause Komoot sent us straight along a big road that was easy traffic wise. But just boring and not really nice.
Even with the bad weather, it was a fun day cycling with Anna.

Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Brussels

Stop

Liege

Distance

100km

Elevation

820hm

Due to the shitty weather forecast, Anna and I decided to take the shortest possible distance. Maybe not the best idea. The track was quite dull: first a long stretch along an autobahn (for cyclist doable, but not nice), then a short nice part, then all straight along some bigger roads. Grey weather, drizzle, and boring landscape. Sometimes, there are days like this when cycling. We pushed through, though.

Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Liege

Stop

(Close to) Cologne

Distance

107km

Elevation

860hm

Early start, since Anna and I had to catch trains. Therefore, it was even colder than the last days. And the day started with a climb and rain. I struggled with cold. But as we pushed forward, it got better, as did the weather.
The track was nothing spectacular. No traffic, mostly quiet roads. Landscape, I honestly don’t know. It was mostly grey, in grey with a pinch of grey. The sun decided to make her entrance the last 2km.