La Rochelle to Bordeaux Cycling Holiday

Follow the Velodyssey Cycle Path from La Rochelle through the Charente Maritime, discovering idyllic islands, wide sandy beaches marshes, oyster farms and famous vineyards. Then cycle beside the Gironde Estuary into the Bordelais wine region, finishing your journey in the beautiful and vibrant city of Bordeaux.

If you like a diverse cycling holiday with a bit of everything then this lovely route from La Rochelle to Bordeaux will make an excellent choice. From La Rochelle you’ll enjoy a circular ride around the sand dunes, pine forests and exquisite villages of the sublime Ile de Ré, a small island, just offshore that could have been made with leisure cycling in mind.

Cycling on ILe de Ré

You then follow a cycle path south along the the Atlantic coast, passing through charming little ports and villages along the way. Stunning beaches are never far away on the first 4 days of this route so it’s a good idea to pack your swim things in the pannier in case you fancy a dip. The historic naval base at Rochefort, with it’s fascinating rope-works museum, makes for an interesting break and sea-food lovers will surely relish the overnight stay in Marennes, a town famous for its oyster farms.

The route then follows the wide Gironde estuary into wine country. Cognac can only be called Cognac if it is produced here using the double-distilled method and a little further on you’ll find yourself in the Cotes du Blaye and Premier Cotes du Blaye region. A patchwork of neat vineyards covers the undulating countryside, interrupted only by gorgeous limestone villages and ornate chateaux.

Finally, you cross the estuary to the celebrated Haut Médoc wine region and follow the cycle path into the centre of bustling and vibrant Bordeaux.

This is a leisurely route that can be enjoyed by anyone with an average level of fitness. Much of it is cycle path with the remainder on quiet country lanes.

La Rochelle to Bordeaux Cycling Holiday

Follow the Velodyssey Cycle Path from La Rochelle through the Charente Maritime, discovering idyllic islands, wide sandy beaches marshes, oyster farms and famous vineyards. Then cycle beside the Gironde Estuary into the Bordelais wine region, finishing your journey in the beautiful and vibrant city of Bordeaux.

If you like a diverse cycling holiday with a bit of everything then this lovely route from La Rochelle to Bordeaux will make an excellent choice. From La Rochelle you’ll enjoy a circular ride around the sand dunes, pine forests and exquisite villages of the sublime Ile de Ré, a small island, just offshore that could have been made with leisure cycling in mind.

Cycling on ILe de Ré

You then follow a cycle path south along the the Atlantic coast, passing through charming little ports and villages along the way. Stunning beaches are never far away on the first 4 days of this route so it’s a good idea to pack your swim things in the pannier in case you fancy a dip. The historic naval base at Rochefort, with it’s fascinating rope-works museum, makes for an interesting break and sea-food lovers will surely relish the overnight stay in Marennes, a town famous for its oyster farms.

The route then follows the wide Gironde estuary into wine country. Cognac can only be called Cognac if it is produced here using the double-distilled method and a little further on you’ll find yourself in the Cotes du Blaye and Premier Cotes du Blaye region. A patchwork of neat vineyards covers the undulating countryside, interrupted only by gorgeous limestone villages and ornate chateaux.

Finally, you cross the estuary to the celebrated Haut Médoc wine region and follow the cycle path into the centre of bustling and vibrant Bordeaux.

This is a leisurely route that can be enjoyed by anyone with an average level of fitness. Much of it is cycle path with the remainder on quiet country lanes.

Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive La Rochelle

After checking into your hotel, the rest of day is yours to discover the delightful port town of La Rochelle. The grand facades and whimsical turrets of the old limestone buildings in the historical centre create a unique atmosphere and a stroll around the narrow, winding streets is definitely time well-spent. If the weather is warm, you may be tempted to stroll out to the town beach for a swim and in the evening the bars and restaurants clustered around the Vieux Port draw tourists and locals alike.

Day 2 : Ile de Ré loop ride
19 to 37 miles/30 to 60 kms

This day is omitted if you opt for the 6 night holiday.

Today’s ride leads you on a gentle loop around the island of Ré. After crossing the 3km bridge from the mainland on a dedicated cycle path you enter a world of quaint, ocean-side villages, sandy beaches, oyster beds and salt marshes. It’s easy to shorten the route if you like, so take your time and stop whenever the mood grabs you. At the end of the day you’ll return to La Rochelle for a second night.

Day 3 : La Rochelle – Marennes
37 to 44 miles/59 to 70 kms

Today you bid La Rochelle ‘adieu’ and head south along the coast. Easy pedalling on quiet roads and cycle paths leads you past pleasant coastal towns such as Chatelaillon and Fouras – both of which have lovely sandy beaches if you fancy a swim. After Fouras, the route heads inland to the garrison town of Rochefort on the Charente River. Originally built around a naval base and dockyard the town has a distinctly nautical flavour, even though it is some 10 kms from the open ocean. We highly recommend a visit to the fascinating Royal Ropeworks Museum on the banks of the Charente and you can hardly miss the imposing Transporter Bridge built in 1900. A few more kilometres of enjoyable riding through open countryside delivers you to the pleasant town of Marennes, famous for it’s oyster farms and your home for the night.

Day 4 : Marennes – Royan
30 miles/48 kms

Shortly after leaving Marennes you cross a bridge and enter the forest of Coubra, over 5000 hectares of pine and holly oak trees. You’ll enjoy the pine scented air and dappled sunlight accompanying your ride south along the quiet cycle lane. If you fancy some beach time just take any of the right turns that punctuate the forest cycle path and after a few hundred meters you’ll arrive at the pristine white sand beach. You can also ascend the lighthouse at the southern end of the forest for some amazing views before cycling on along the coast to Royan, your overnight stop. The town has a lively waterfront and popular covered market.

Day 5 : Royan – Mortagne sur Gironde
22 miles/35 kms

Cycling out of Royan along the Boulevard Garnier you can admire the town’s beautiful beach and the stunning 19th century villas that have enjoyed this fabulous ocean view for centuries. A little furher on the route unveils some wonderful views across the wide and mighty Gironde Estuary. Stop in the tiny village of Talmont sur Gironde, perched on a rocky outcrop above the estuary, to admire the Romanesque church and colourful hollyhock displays. In Meshers sur Gironde the artisan cave dwellings, dug into the limestone cliffs, are worthy of a quick break before you carry on to your overnight stop in the charming village of Mortagne sur Gironde.

Day 6 : Mortagne sur Gironde – Blaye 38 miles/60 kms

Today’s route leads you along the estuary on a nice cycle path to Vitrezay. We suggest a visit to the bird sanctuary before continuing on the beautiful cycle path to Blaye. Once at Blaye you can’t miss the impressive Citadel fortification, built by Vauban to stand guard over the estuary. You’ll spend the night in the pleasant little town.

Day 7 : Blaye – Bordeaux
31 miles/50 kms

After breakfast you cross the estuary aboard a ferry and alight in the celebrated Haut Médoc wine region. Nearby you will find the famous Margaux vineyard. The route wends its way south, never straying too far from the estuary bank. You’ll pass through small wine villages, and seas of vineyards contained by traditional limestone walls. Eventually the rural countryside gives way to Bordelais suburbs and you follow the riverside cycle path right into the centre of Bordeaux past the impressive new vertical lift bridge.

There is so much to see here – and it’s difficult to list everything – but the historic stone bridge and the Place de la Bourse with its amazing water mirror are must sees as is Bordeaux’s newest attraction – La Cité du Vin, a permanent and very well done exhibition about the world’s wines. Finally, be sure to take a casual stroll or cycle through the labyrinth of narrow winding streets brimming with inviting little cafes, boutiques and restaurants. A night in Bordeaux is a fitting finale to this wonderful cycling holiday.

Day 8 : Bordeaux - End of trip

After breakfast it’s time to head for home or your next adventure.

Bikes

Regular bikes provided are modern alloy framed models with 21 speeds. The bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.

Electric bikes are also available.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively, helmets are provided on arrival.

Accommodation

Below you will find examples of the accommodations typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard.

Comfort: Good quality hotels and charming guesthouses.

La Rochelle: Mercure Vieux Port Sud Hotel

Marennes: Hotel Ibis Style

Royan: Hotel Foncillon

Mortagne: La Rive

Blaye: Hotel de la Citadelle

Bordeaux: Hotel de Normandie

Local taxes: Some hotels have started to charge a local/tourist tax. These taxes are not included in the sale price of the tour and must be paid directly by you at check-in or checkout at the hotels. The fee varies and is frequently changing but as a guide, you may be asked to pay between €1-€4 per person per night.

Getting there

Ideally you’d fly to La Rochelle and home from Bordeaux, however you could also fly home from La Rochelle as there are good rail connections between Bordeaux and La Rochelle.

Research flights from the UK here.

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