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A bright future for EuroVelo 4 in France

24.05.2018
EV4 bretagne

The French part of the EuroVelo 4 – Central Europe Route follows the shoreline of the English Channel and the North Sea for more than 1400km, from Brittany to the Belgian border. The western part of this route is already well developed, but some work is still needed in Normandy (where the itinerary is developed at 85%) and in Hauts-de-France (where it is developed at 45%). Following an initiative of partners from Brittany and Normandy, over 30 public actors met on 19th April to launch a steering committee for the project in 2019.

Calvados Attractivité, the official agency for tourism in the department of Calvados (Normandy), initiated the meeting, with the help of the Départements & Régions Cyclables (DRC), EuroVelo’s National Coordination Centre in France. Their aim was to establish an itinerary committee for the EuroVelo 4 in 2019, but also to motivate the different stakeholders involved in the project. “We really believe in this project and we think that the mobilization of all the stakeholders will demonstrate this itinerary’s potential for success”, said Audrey Legardeur, head of Brittany’s regional committee for tourism (CRT Bretagne), while the vice-president of the Calvados department Michel Fricout declared himself ready to “take his pilgrim’s stick and go and meet all the relevant actors” if necessary.

EuroVelo 4 in Cancale © CRT Bretagne/P. Torset

EuroVelo 4 in Cancale © CRT Bretagne/P. Torset

Some work is to be done in 2018 in order to enable this itinerary committee to be launched successfully in 2019. The three objectives of the steering committee for 2018 are to prepare the partnership, to take the “Tour de Manche” (English Channel tour) identity of this cycling route and evolve towards a EuroVelo 4 identity, and to generate economic growth in the relevant territories. One of the key challenges for the set-up of the itinerary committee is to find a sustainable governance model, which gives a voice to all stakeholders. This is important for Karl Joly, head of Calvados Attractivité: “We do not want to be restrained by a rigid governance model for the EuroVelo 4. We insist on the importance of a flexible and positive governance which doesn’t depend solely on the project’s leader”.

EuroVelo 4 in Morlaix © CRT Bretagne/S.Bourcier

EuroVelo 4 in Morlaix © CRT Bretagne/S.Bourcier

But the touristic identity of the route is also very significant. Right now, cyclists know this section as the Tour de Manche, a popular cycling route in France and England, already promoted via its website. Careful marketing efforts are needed to define the EuroVelo identity of this route, and it should benefit the region by conferring a European resonance to the route and attracting more cyclotourists from nearby European countries. The next stage is in September, for the presentation of the French EuroVelo 4’s roadmap!

Based on this article.