A 800km network across French Flanders is so easy to follow (and ride) you don’t even need a map to find the country’s favourite village, inspiring landscapes and great food
I’m sitting down to a picnic breakfast at a sun-flecked table beside the River Lys in Flanders. Consulting my map, I write the following numbers on something approximating a waxed luggage tag: “22-37-71-34-33-32-31-30-08-01-33”. I put the map away, slip the tag around my bike’s handlebars and I’m set for the morning. I’ve never been to this part of Flanders before – it’s the lesser-known French part, on the northernmost tip of the country, bordering Belgium – but I’m now confident I can cycle today from my table in the riverside town of Saint-Venant, through Haverskerque, across the Nieppe forest, down into Merville and finally into the town of Estaires.