Nantes to La Rochelle Cycling Holiday

A superb coastal cycling adventure full of salt air, sea views, fascinating coastal towns and natural beauty. Follow this popular section of the Vélodyssée cycle route from quirky, vibrant Nantes, through the natural beauty of the Vendée region to historic La Rochelle.

Enjoy easy, scenic cycling along a rugged coastline of sandy coves, jagged cliffs and picturesque towns and villages. The route leads you to Pornic, with it's fabulous harbour and seafood. Tide times allowing, you'll cross the 4km, Passage-du-Gois causeway to visit the protected island of Noirmoutier before spending a night in the beguiling port of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie.

Nantes to La Rochelle Cycling HolidayPassage du Gois (high tide)

Salt marshes and the extensive Olonne pine forest provide differing backdrops to your ride to the 'Vendée-Globe' port of Les-Sables-d'Olonne, while oyster farms and a pleasant, canal-side cycle path sum up the route to historic La Rochelle.

Opt for the extended 8 night version to enjoy an extra day of cycling around the serenely beautiful Ile-de-Rey, close to La Rochelle.

You'll be cycling between 40 and 72 kilometres per day with very little climbing. E-bikes are an available option worth considering if you have any concerns about the daily distances.

Nantes to La Rochelle Cycling Holiday

A superb coastal cycling adventure full of salt air, sea views, fascinating coastal towns and natural beauty. Follow this popular section of the Vélodyssée cycle route from quirky, vibrant Nantes, through the natural beauty of the Vendée region to historic La Rochelle.

Enjoy easy, scenic cycling along a rugged coastline of sandy coves, jagged cliffs and picturesque towns and villages. The route leads you to Pornic, with it's fabulous harbour and seafood. Tide times allowing, you'll cross the 4km, Passage-du-Gois causeway to visit the protected island of Noirmoutier before spending a night in the beguiling port of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie.

Nantes to La Rochelle Cycling HolidayPassage du Gois (high tide)

Salt marshes and the extensive Olonne pine forest provide differing backdrops to your ride to the 'Vendée-Globe' port of Les-Sables-d'Olonne, while oyster farms and a pleasant, canal-side cycle path sum up the route to historic La Rochelle.

Opt for the extended 8 night version to enjoy an extra day of cycling around the serenely beautiful Ile-de-Rey, close to La Rochelle.

You'll be cycling between 40 and 72 kilometres per day with very little climbing. E-bikes are an available option worth considering if you have any concerns about the daily distances.

Itinerary

This tour is available in 7 and 8 night durations. If you book the 7 night duration you head for home on the morning of day 8 in the itinerary described below. This means of course that you do not do the round trip on the Ile de Rey on day 8. If you opt for the 8 night trip you do the full itinerary described below.

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Day 1 : Arrive Nantes

Check into your centrally located hotel and then get out and discover the youthful, energetic, art-loving city of Nantes. Must sees include the grand fortress, Château des ducs de Bretagne, which also houses the Nantes History Museum. Not far from there on the Ile de Nantes in the middle of the Loire river you should also take in the unique and amazing Machines de l’Ile, an amazing world of larger than life mechanical fantasy creatures. If nature is more your thing then head for Jardin des Plantes, one of the largest botanical gardens in France.

Day 2 : Nantes - Saint Brévin
40 miles/65 km

After breakfast you mount up and follow the cycle route out of the city. After a while you reach the banks of the Loire river, now quite wide as it approaches the Atlantic Ocean. A little further on you enjoy a delightful ride along an idyllic cycle path beside the Martinière Canal. The final stage of today's ride is alongside the Loire estuary. The aroma of salt air and conifer trees is an indication you are almost at your overnight stop in the pleasant seaside town of Saint Brévins.

Day 3 : Saint Brévin - Bouin
34 miles/53 km

The day starts with a level ride close to the extensive beach of Saint Brévin. After about 10 kms the route veers inland, cutting across the peninsula of La Plaine-sur-Mer to the more rugged coastline of Bourgneuf Bay. Pornic is an attractive little harbour town that is worth a look around. As you are now on the Vendée Atlantic Oyster Road you may be tempted to sample this polarising fruit of the sea! The route then continues down the coast, following a network of quiet lanes and cycle paths. Your overnight stop will be in the small village of Bouin, a couple of kilometres inland from the coastline.

Day 4 : Bouin - Saint Gilles Vroix de Vie
38 miles/62 km

Today's interesting and varied ride will lead you across the 4 kilometre long tidal causeway known as the Passage du Gols to Noirmoutier Island. The causeway only reveals itself for about 3 hours each day, so you will need to check the tide times the day before to see what time you can cross. . Noirmoutier Island is protected and attracts flocks of migrating birds. If the tide times for the causeway are not convenient, you can use the alternative mainland route that bisects the Marais Vendéen, a vast wetland of 45,000 hectares, passing through the market town of Beauvoir, dating from the 17th century. Both routes then follow the coastline south to the seductive coastal port of Saint Gilles Vroix de Vie where you will overnight. In the evening take a stroll around the marina, perhaps stopping off in one of the restaurants to sample the local speciality - sardines.

Day 5 : Saint Gilles Vroix de Vie - Les Sables d'Olonne
25 miles/40 km

More easy and idyllic cycling today as you continue to follow the coastal path southwards. The ocean is never far away and you'll pass some amazing beaches - if it's hot you may consider packing beachwear in your pannier. at Brem the route leaves the coast and ventures through the extensive and serene Olonne pine forest. The forest was planted on the orders of Louis XV in the 1700's and today offers pleasant cycling in dappled sunlight on quiet paths. Your destination today is the port town of Les Sables d'Olonne with it's fantastic beach and impressive marina. It is from here that the worlds most challenging non-stop, single-handed, round the world yacht race starts and finishes each Autumn - The Vendée Globe.

Day 6 : Les Sables d'Olonne - La Tranche sur Mer
28 miles/45 km

The day starts with some pleasant shoreline cycling undulating with the terrain and offering some fabulous sea views. If you love oysters its worth a quick diversion from the town of La Guittiere down to it's tiny port, where you can purchase this delicacy directly from the farms on Le payré estuary. You then embark on a delightful, meandering ride through the marshlands to the town of Les Blanchards. From here an equally enjoyable forest path guides you to your overnight stop in the coastal town of La Tranche sur Mer. Thanks to it's glorious beaches the town ranks as one the Vendée region's most popular resorts. You are sure to enjoy your stay in this bustling little place.

Day 7 : La Tranche sur Mer - La Rochelle
42 miles/68 km

Today's route leads you through the Belle Henriette lagoon, a wetland sanctuary for many protected birds. You then turn inland along a series of quiet lanes to circumvent the sizeable Sévre Niortaise river estuary. An idyllic canal-side cycle path leads you first to the small town of Marans, where you may wish to stop for lunch, before turning south and leading you all the way to tonight's overnight stop in La Rochelle. This historic old port town with its attractive quayside and picturesque tower makes a fitting end to your Vendée cycling adventure.


Day 8 : Ile de Rey loop ride
19 to 37 miles/30 to 60 kms

7 Night Holiday Ends This Morning after Breakfast.

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 9 : Departure

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.

Helmets are not provided, so you will need to bring your own.

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: Comfortable 3 star hotels.

Nantes: Hotel Voltaire Opéra

Saint Brevin: Hotel Spa de Béryl

Bouin: Domaine le Martinet

Saint Gilles Croix de Vie: Hotel le Ceytia

Les Sables d'Olonne: Hotel les Roches Noires

La Tranche sur Mer: Hotel les Cols Verts

La Rochelle: Hotel San Nicolas

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

Fly to Nantes airport and then take the bus into the city (journey time 35 mins).

At end of the holiday take a direct train back to Nantes for your flight home (journey time 2 hrs 26 mins). It's also possible to fly home from Bordeaux airport but the journey time from La Rochelle is a little longer (3 hrs 16 mins).

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