More than 300 km/185 mi long, mainly along rivers
The second stage of the ‘Vélo Francette’: a new, uninterrupted track in West France. The route is completely marked and to a large extent follows rivers and other waterways. Cycling along wonderful towns and picturesque villages in this unspoiled part of France is going to be lovely. You follow no less than 3 diverse tracks. This is ‘slow travel’ in the literal sense of the word.
Route 1: The Loire valley from Angers to Saumur (58 km/39 mi)
A beautiful part of the Loire Valley is included too. Here you enjoy the clear, natural light on the impressive heritage in this exceptionally beautiful region.
You individually travel to Angers. Check in at your hotel. Have you arrived early, take a stroll through the town centre of this historic Anjou town, situated on both sides of the river Maine.
You leave Angers through a park along the Maine. Having arrived at Bouchemaine, with its pleasant restaurants, you follow the Loire eastward. After crossing the river a magnificent tour close to the royal river lies ahead of you. After Gennes you stay on the south bank of the Loire. Near Saint-Hillaire-Saint-Florent there is a moderate climb across the system of canals cut out of tuff stone where the ‘Champignons de Paris’ are cultivated. After this you enter Saumur, the pearl of Anjou.
Challenge : 67km,135m ascent, 126m descent
From Saumur you follow a pleasant track along the river Thouet. Along quiet country roads you cycle among sloping vineyards to Montreuil-Bellay situated somewhat higher. This charming fortified little town rightly figures on the list of ‘most beautiful villages of France’. In a very relaxed way you go via Taizon to Thouars, a ‘Ville d’Art’ where travellers once had to pay toll to cross the bridge. Nowadays nothing stands in your way to enter the town free and for nothing and look for a good (outdoor) café.
Challenge : 47km, 127m ascent, 57m descent
You leave town along the river bank and enjoy the splashing rapids, the closely wooded slopes and the picturesque, monumental buildings. You arrive via quiet tracks at the village of Airvault with its monastery, covered market and subterranean well. Somewhat further on you are surprised by St-Loup-sur-Thouet with its moated castle. On Lac du Cébron you can relax comfortably before going on along the river. After a railway viaduct you reach, higher up, the medieval fortified town of Parthenay.
Challenge : 67km, 496m ascent, 419m descent
You travel south west through the somewhat hilly Pays Gatine. After many a bend you are rewarded by beautiful views of the original hedge country. Via quiet roads you go to the surprising Champdeniers-St-denis with its beautiful heritage and excellent facilities. You continue your way and near Ternanteuil you reach again the banks of the Sèvre Niortaise. There is one big bend before Niort comes into sight dominating the horizon with its donjon and two enormous towers.
Challenge : 54km, 300m ascent, 449m descent
You stay close to the side of the winding Sèvre Niortaise, following alternatively footpaths and country roads. On the way Rousille and La Garette offer excellent possibilities to have a break. You can consider to take a somewhat longer break in Marais Poitevin: the beautiful riverside village Coulon, where you find several restaurants. After crossing the vast, surrounding swamp you get, after Irleau, to the river again canalized near Damvix. It’s your guide to the Atlantic Ocean.
Challenge : 63km, 45m ascent, 61m descent
First, on the way to the ocean, you follow the canals of Marans and Rompsey. The destination is La Rochelle, the capital of Charente-Maritime energetic/vibrant and full of character, well known for its mild climate. This relaxed track of course deserves an appropriate grand finale: a dive into the Atlantic Ocean. After all there is enough time left for a walk to the lively Vieux Port full of outdoor cafés, busy shopping streets and many town monuments.
Challenge : 27km, 27m ascent, 30m descent
After breakfast, end of your cycling trip. Some time left? We advise you to extend your stay in order to take the time to visit the beautiful Île de Ré.
All accommodations are carefully selected because of their location, atmosphere and/or unique services.
We choose comfortable 2*/3* hotels or B&Bs where all rooms have private en-suite bathroom and every morning breakfast are included.
For this trip you can choose between Comfort and Comfort +. The accommodations for a Comfort+ trip, will be in 3*/4 * hotels wherever possible (supplement applied).
The bike rental includes the drop-off fee for the bike’s return
7 Nights included
2/3 Star Hotels or 3/4 Star Hotels (supplement applied)
Tourist tax included
Breakfast included, Halfboard optional on request
Maps and tourist information on all the places of interest
24/7 Bilingual Emergency hotline
Luggage transport to your next accommodations. Luggage accepted per person: 1 suitcase or travel bag (20 kg maximum)
Parking informations on request
GPS tracks are available on request
The international Paris airports Charles de Gaulle in the North and Orly in the South are served by a large number of scheduled and low cost airlines.They are connected with Paris by metro and bus services. From Paris you can take a train to Angers, see below.
From Paris to Angers (approx. 3h10 - 300 km/185 mi). Acces to driving routes see the website ViaMichelin.
It was beautiful ride through the country side and along rivers. A couple days were challenging due to a lot of hills (constant up and down). Riding through all the villages was great ! Shawn H.