La Vélo Francette, from Caen to La Rochelle

Ride across beautiful and varied landscapes by bike between Normandy and the Atlantic.

Highlights

Caen, a city packed with medieval heritage
Angers, city of art and history
The Loire Valley and its magnificent castles
La Rochelle, a true open-air museum
A fully marked route

The Great Vélo Francette

This 617-kilometer long bike route smoothly crosses a rural and unknown France, between groves and rivers.

Created in 2015, this fully marked route has just been recognized as the best European bike route by the organizers of the Dutch Fiets En Wandelbeurs fair. It is true that cyclists who use their tires on these 617 kilometers of tracks take a big bowl of greenery!

During this adventure, you have the chance to discover:

  • Caen, a city packed with medieval heritage
  • The spectacular landscapes of the Suisse Normande
  • Domfront, an example of urban architecture from the Middle Ages
  • Laval and its majestic castle
  • Angers, city of art and history
  • The Loire Valley, beautiful garden of France
  • Niort and the Dungeon of Aliénor d’Aquitaine
  • The Poitevin Swamp, exceptional territory for its ecological wealth and cultural heritage
  • La Rochelle, a city full of history, a true open-air museum

Away from the motorways of tourism, on the tracks and the cross roads is another France. Going from one village to another, along the small rivers or through the meadows, the Vélo Francette allows you to discover it.

Map Velo Francette

Carte itinéraire Velo Francette Caen La Rochelle
Niveau FitFit
Day 1

CAEN

Arrive on your own to Caen, easily accessible by train. Caen, city of William the Conqueror, offers a concentrate of medieval heritage between the ducal castle, the abbey to Men and the Abbey to the Ladies. Learn more about 20th century history with the Memorial for Peace.

Meeting with our local guide

Before your first ride, we invite you to meet one of our guides, at your place of departure. A time of exchange, a privileged moment to give you our last practical tips, must-see places and experiences, to answer all your questions, take care of your bike fitting to begin your trip.

Day 2

From CAEN to PONT D’OUILLY 52km 323m Niveau Forme

From Caen, discover the spectacular landscapes of the Suisse Normande. Cliffs, gorges, green reliefs, drawn by the Orne, accompany you throughout the day. The predominance of green everywhere is the charm of the Suisse Normande. Your journey ends in the charming town of Pont-d’Ouilly.

Day 3

From PONT D’OUILLY to DOMFRONT 50km 408m Niveau Loisir

Let yourself be guided by the meanders of the Orne, Noireau or Varenne. Arrived at Domfront, take the time to enjoy the heart of the fortified city, an example of urban architecture from the Middle Ages.

Day 4

From DOMFRONT to LAVAL 83km 382m Niveau Forme

A day in the Mayenne valley. Leave Domfront in the morning to stroll along the river to Laval, its majestic castle is reflected in the river Mayenne from a rocky outcrop. Save some time at the end of the day to visit the Lactopole, the largest milk and cheese museum in the world.

Day 5

From LAVAL to LE LION D’ANGERS 71km 339m Niveau Loisir

Today you continue along the Mayenne. A stop halfway to Château-Gontier allows you to discover this ancient city over its winding streets. Upon your arrival at the Lion d’Angers a visit of the National Stud Farm will be the opportunity to discover some of its activities such as crafts forging, saddlery, breeding methods of stallions and breeds.

Day 6

From LE LION D’ANGERS to SAUMUR 94km 363m Niveau Forme

After breakfast, here is your first day in the Loire Valley, where landscapes where nature and man have created the famous harmony of the “gardens of France”. In Gennes, you can choose to ride to Saumur either by the right bank or by the left bank. Two possibilities, to vary the pleasures and to grasp the differences of nuances from one shore to another.

Day 7

From SAUMUR to AIRVAULT 75km 420m Niveau Forme

Along the Thouet in a beautiful greenway to the exit of Saumur, La Vélo Francette then uses agricultural and small roads. Through villages, vineyards, notably those of Saumur, the stage continues through the fortified city of Anjou, Montreuil-Bellay, labeled “Most Beautiful Detours in France” and “Small City of Character”.

From Montreuil-Bellay, after a descent to find the Thouet, head toThouars. Once the historic center of Thouars visited, do not miss Imbert floral park, a true balcony on the river. Leaving this city of Art & History, you will take the full measure of the charms of the banks of the Thouet, this bike route mixes here and there bucolic glimpses of the falls of Thouet, valleys and built heritage.

Day 8

From AIRVAULT to GERMOND-ROUVRE 72km 676m Niveau Forme

On this day the lake of Cébron provides a beautiful space for relaxation, before approaching by the banks of the Thouet and its railway viaduct, the stately medieval city of Parthenay. In Parthenay, La Vélo Francette’s itinerary continues towards Niort. The country of Gâtine is characterized by a more marked relief, revealing each turn of magnificent points of view on its preserved nature and the grove. A stage on small country roads to enjoy.

Day 9

From GERMOND-ROUVRE to SAINT-HILAIRE-LA-PALUD 54km 189m Niveau Loisir

The route arrives on the banks of the Sèvre Niortaise at Ternanteuil, alternating small roads and farm tracks, and weaves into a meander before settling on the left bank for its arrival at Niort, at the foot of the dungeons. After a journey in the marsh, the route finds the Sèvre Niortaise after Irleau. Your stage ends in Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud.

Day 10

From SAINT-HILAIRE-LA-PALUD to LA ROCHELLE 63km 102m Niveau Loisir

The Sèvre niortaise remains the common thread on this stage, only left twice for the Nouveau Béjou canal and the Pomère canal. The course is punctuated by the ballet of spinning skiffs to the discovery of the wet marsh. The arrival in Marans, by the docks, allows to quickly take in this city living to the rhythm of the water. The route runs along the canal from Marans to the sea before arriving in La Rochelle via the Rompsay canal.

Day 11

LA ROCHELLE

End of your stay after breakfast.

Comfort Range

Our quality standard at Abicyclette. This type of accommodation includes 2 and 3 stars hotels. Depending on the itinerary, you might spend some nights in approved guesthouses. You enjoy a double bedroom with private bathroom and toilet and adapted welcome for you and your bikes.

Accommodation example
Chambre d'hôtes Clos Saint-Martin façade Chambre d'hôtes Le Clos du Piheux Anjou - Thorigné Hôtel Le Londres Hôtel François 1er

Starting from 1810€/participant in Self Guided option | See detailed prices

Essential Range

You want to enjoy your itinerary without anything fancy. Our ”essential” range offers a simple accommodation for a good night’s rest in a simple hotel, guesthouse, rest house or hostel.


Quote on request | Contact us

Privilege Range

Opt for total comfort in charming 3 and 4 star hotels which offer all the services you need and a special welcome for you and your bikes.


Quote on request | Contact us

Price includes

  • Accommodation: 10 nights in a Double room
  • 10 breakfasts
  • 2 dinners
  • Luggage transfer
  • Phone assistance 24/7
  • Access to our exclusive travel application to follow your route, inform you about places of interest, restaurants, facilitate your assistance in case of emergency, find all your travel documents and our practical advice.
  • Application fee
  • Taxes
  • The itinerary trackable on the following supports:
    • Loan of a Bicycle GPS uploaded with full itinerary of the trip
    • Topo maps
    • Cycling practical guide including restaurant recommendations for lunch & dinner
  • Additional services included:
    • Day 1 : A personalized greeting with our team at the beginning of the trip to receive your travel documents
  • Price does not include

    • bike rental (see option)
    • Breakfast on day 1
    • Lunches
    • Dinners not included in "Price includes"
    • Drinks, visits & other personal expenses

    Homemade and fully tested itineraries
    • Routes selected for their cycling and touristic interest entirely tested and away from traffic
    • Accomodations selected for their hospitality, atmosphere, services and quality meals
    • A flexible organisation to suit you needs and wishes: You choose the date you want to you leave on! We check the availability of each accomodation to make sure it is possible.

    Close assistance
    • One of our guides greets you on your first day. He will hand out all the needed documents for the trip (hotel vouchers, maps of the area,GPS, practical guide), get you settled on your bikes (for rental bikes).
    • Phone assistance, you can reach the Abicyclette team 7 days a week
    • A Luggage transfer service from 09:00 and with a delivery before 18:00 (one luggage and one bagback per person maximum)

    Follow your itinerary anyway you like – modern, practical, traditional

    • We loan you a GPS so that you can easily follow your itinerary without having to look for your way around (bike support included)/ Twonav Anima hiking GPS /
    • A practical cycling guide with all the useful information (addresses, highlights for the day and touristic information)
    • French topo maps of the area (IGN 1/100 000e) to have a global view of your itinerary

    On our guided tours (for groups on demand), we accompany you every step of the way
    • One of our state qualified instructor and professional cycling guide accompanies you every step of the way
    • Full board (all meals covered unless asked otherwise)
    • A picnic buffet set up for lunch with a wide choice of fresh and local produce

     

    We offer a high-end bike rental service. Our bikes are suited for road and gravel road long-distance cycling. Fully equipped and highly reliable, they are faithful travel companions.


    Touring bike

    An upright and easy going position

    Mixed aluminum frame, telescopic fork. Straight handlebars. Disc brakes. Transmission Shimano 24 to 30 speeds.

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet
    • 1 back bag 20L (waterproof)
    • 1 front bag 4L with plastic map holder (waterproof)
    • 1 lock
    • 1 repair kit (patches, tube, tire lever)
    • 1 multi tools box
    • 1 pump
    • 1 bike computer
    • 1 bike water bottle
    Vélo Rando Abicyclette Voyages

    Trekking bike

    A layed out and dynamic position

    Mixed aluminum frame, telescopic fork. Straight handlebars. Disc brakes. Transmission Shimano 24 to 30 speeds.

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet
    • 1 back bag 20L (waterproof)
    • 1 front bag 4L with plastic map holder (waterproof)
    • 1 lock
    • 1 repair kit (patches, tube, tire lever)
    • 1 multi tools box
    • 1 pump
    • 1 bike computer
    • 1 bike water bottle
    Vélo Abicyclette Voyages

    Ebike

    With an autonomy of almost 120km, cycling has never been so easy!

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet
    • 1 back bag 20L (waterproof)
    • 1 front bag 4L with plastic map holder (waterproof)
    • 1 lock
    • 1 repair kit (patches, tube, tire lever)
    • 1 multi tools box
    • 1 pump
    • 1 bike computer
    • 1 bike water bottle
    EBIKE VELO DE VILLE

    Children Bike

    Recommended bike size (to be confirmed when booking) :

    • 16 inches from 105cm to 120cm (or 6 to 7 years old)
    • 20 inches from 120cm to 135cm (or 7 to 10 years old)
    • 24 inches from 135cm to 145cm (or 10 to 12 years old)
    • SPORT XS bike (adult frame) from 145cm to 155cm (from age 10)

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet
    • 1 inner tube
    • 1 bike water bottle
    Vélo enfant 24 pouces pour vacances à vélo

    Bike trailer

    Thule Chariot Cross 2
    Children’s trailers can only be rented for installation on one of our bikes.
    We do not provide this service on any other bike. There is too much risk of incompatibility and breakage.
    Por one or 2 children.
    Max child trailer load: 45kg.

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet (or 2 if 2 kids)
    • 1 inner tube
    • 1 bike water bottle (or 2)
    • Accessories on request: baby hammock. A padded hammock that supports baby’s sides and offers maximum stability (1 to 10 months). Use only the newborn hammock for walking.

    Getting here

    Departure city : CAEN

    Coming by car

    • at 2h45 from PARIS
    • at 5h45 from BORDEAUX
    • at 6h from LYON

    Parking*

    • Parking Hôtel de Ville – CAEN
    • Parking Indigo Caen République – CAEN

    Coming by train

    • Caen train station - 2h from Paris

    Coming by plane

    • Caen airport

    Arrival city : LA ROCHELLE

    Coming by car

    • at 4h45 from PARIS
    • at 2h from BORDEAUX
    • at 6h from LYON

    Coming by train

    • La Rochelle train station - 3h15 from Paris

    Coming by plane

    • La Rochelle airport

    *Parking: Since many of our clients travel by train or plane, we do not include parking in our packages. In addition, many accommodations don’t have the capacity to park a vehicle for the duration of your cycling vacation. So if you’re planning to arrive by car, we suggest you check parking options when you make your reservation. If you reserve a parking space at the first or last accommodation of your stay, you must pay the accommodation provider on site.

    * Abicyclette Voyages accompanies you on demand, including transportation solutions.

    How to get back to the starting point

    • By train from La Rochelle to Caen in 6h40
    • Return by car in 4h30 to your starting point
    • Private shuttle: see detailed fares or contact us

    Recommended equipment

    Bike

    • All-Terrain Bike (ATB) or Touring Bike or Gravel Bike
    • 18 to 30-speed transmission
    • 26- to 29-inch wheels
    • Tires: 35 to 42 section, reinforced against punctures
    • Disc brakes recommended
    • 2 bottle cages
    • Bell
    • Front and rear lighting

    Clothing and equipment

    • Helmet (supplied with bike rental unless otherwise specified locally)
    • 1 bike mount for smartphone to use the mobile route planner application
    • Suitable cycling clothing:
      • bib, shorts or tights: elastic and breathable, to facilitate movement and wick away perspiration
      • Breathable T-shirts, synthetic or merino wool
      • Breathable windbreaker
    • Thermal or fleece jacket
    • Waterproof jacket
    • 1 pair of sunglasses
    • 1 pair of cycling shoes
    • 1 backpack or 1 or 2 carrier bags
    • 1 or 2 water bottles (supplied with bike rental in France)
    • 1 lock (supplied with bike rental)
    • Technical details, recommended by the team for optimum comfort:
      • 1 pair of gloves or mittens, depending on season and destination
      • Padded bib (chamois)
      • High-visibility vest or fluorescent belt
      • Neck warmer and cap

    Bike maintenance

    • Emergency repair kit: 2 or 3 inner tubes, patches, pump, tire levers, multi-tools
    • Maintenance kit: rag, oil, brake pads

    Other

    • A suitcase for your belongings carried in the vehicle (limited to one per person)
    • Street clothes
    • 1 pair of evening shoes
    • Fleece jacket for the evening
    • Toiletry bag
    • Telephone and charger

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