5

Section 01

Roubaix (F) to Ronse

  • 37km
  • 253m
  • 224m
  • 29m
  • difficulty family

After leaving Lille, the capital of French Flanders, take the greenway of the Canal de Roubaix, which will become the RAVeL of the Canal de l'Espierre once you enter the territory of Wallonia at the Leers-Nord lock (Estaimpuis). Here you can relax at the Maison du Canal. This peaceful tavern welcomes you to try its regional beer menu in an old lock house.

Along the Canal de l'Espierre, you can immerse yourself into the history of the region with its small locks and drawbridges that will let your imagination float across the water. This canal, whose exploitation was stopped in 1985, was classified as Walloon heritage in 2000. The bucolic and peaceful side of this magical place invites you to slow down and take in your surroundings.

When you arrive at Espierre-Helchin/Spiere-Helkijn, join the left bank of the Scheldt, situated in Flemish territory. By now the sweet quietude of the canals is gone, and you will need to concentrate on the river traffic around you. Following the course of the river, you weave along the border between Flanders and Wallonia. Shortly after Escanaffles you will see the magnificent pedestrian footbridge of the old railway bridge of line 83, which once linked Avelgem to Renaix/Ronse and is now partly converted into a greenway. Cross the Scheldt to enter Wallonia and leave the waterside for the last time to enter the Natural Park of the Land of the Hills. Cross the rural town of Mont-de-l'Enclus, whose landscapes attract many hikers. Finally, you will arrive at Renaix/Ronse, the pearl of the Flemish Ardennes and the end of this stage. You will find many resources and services here.

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This route mostly takes you along the RAVeL of the Canal de l'Espierre, the Scheldt and the line 83 in Wallonia. Some parts of this route are also along quiet roads that form part of the Wallonia Picardy cycle network and the cycle network of the provinces of West and East Flanders. On these roads it is fairly easy to follow the waymarks and markings.

This stage begins in Wallonia, just after the Franco-Belgian border, at the Leers-Nord lock, on the rue du Canal in Leers-Nord (Commune d'Estaimpuis). Once you arrive at waymark 30 of the Wallonia Picardy cycle network, simply follow waymarks 31, 98 and 35 on the RAVeL of the Canal de l'Espierre, which runs for about 7 km. At waymark 35, continue along the Canal de l'Espierre and head towards waymark 95 of the West Flanders network.

At Espierre-Helchin/Spiere-Helkijn, exit the Canal de l’Espierre, then cross the bridge along the cycle path to reach waymark 77. Take the first street on the left to join the banks of the Scheldt (on its left bank) and follow waymarks 23, 86, 2, 35 and 12, in sequence. At waymark 12, you will reach the shared cycle-pedestrian bridge of the old railway line 83. Cross the Scheldt river via the bridge and join, back in Wallonia, the RAVeL of the line 83 and the waymarked Wallonia Picardy network. Follow waymarks 13, 6, 25, 24, 46, 17, 18 (Amougies centre), 19 and 22 to the centre of Russeignies. Here, you will briefly leave the waymarked network to head towards Renaix by taking the Chaussée de Renaix for a little over 1km. You will arrive at a crossroads, at which point you will have reached Flanders.

At this junction you have two options to get to the centre of Renaix/Ronse:

Continue straight ahead and follow the road signs.

Continue straight on the Rozenaaksesteenweg for a little over 1 km. You will reach waymark 24 of the East Flanders cycle network. Then follow waymarks 93, 29 and 34 to the station of Renaix/Ronse.

Another possibility is to follow the route indicated on the interactive map or the gpx file below, which will guide you to the starting point of the second stage, which is at the beginning of line 87 at the exit of Renaix/Ronse.

Starting point

Leers-Nord lock, rue du Canal in Leers-Nord (Estaimpuis)

By train

From Estaimbourg train station (about 5 km South of the starting point, take the N510 towards Pecq for about 600 m). Then take the first left, in the direction of Leers-Nord. Follow waymarks 45, 36, 34, 32 and 30. When leaving Herseaux Station, approximately 6.5 km North of the starting point, proceed to the N512 crossing (Chaussée d'Estaimpuis). Turn left after a little over 300 m, then take the 3rd right (at the traffic lights). Then follow waymarks 29, 33, 34, 32 and 30.

Practical info

Bike rental and maintenance along the route

MAISON DU CYCLE
Bike rental     Maintenance
Chaussée du Risquons-Tout 189, 7700 Mouscron
CYCLES ROLAND
Bike rental     Maintenance
Arthur Roelandstraat 11, 7711 Mouscron (Dottignies)
+3269561374
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CYCLES MORJEAN
Bike rental     Maintenance
Chaussée de la Libération 5/A, 57750 Mont de l'Enclus (Orroir)
+3261212950
www.montdelenclus.be
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Train station

Gare de Renaix (Ronse)
West Churchillplein 6, 9600 Ronse
Gare d’Estaimbourg
Rue de la station
Gare de Froyennes
Rue de la gare, 7503 Froyennes

Tourism office

Toerisme Ronse
De Biesestraat 2 – 9600 Ronse
Maison du Tourisme de la Wallonie picarde
Quai Saint-Brice 35, 7500 Tournai