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

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

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.

Day 2

From CAEN to PONT-D'OUILLY 52km 520m 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 335m Niveau Loisir

You leave Pont-d’Ouilly and head south. Let yourself be guided by the meanders of the Orne, Noireau or Varenne. At Domfront, take the time to enjoy the heart of the walled city, an example of urban architecture of the Middle Ages.

Day 4

From DOMFRONT to LAVAL 80km 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 65km 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 80km 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 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 74km 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 ARCAIS 50km 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 Arcais.

Day 10

From ARCAIS to LA ROCHELLE 60km 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.

test

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
Hôtel Le Londres Hôtel François 1er

Starting from 1535€/participant in Self Guided option | See detailed prices

test

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

test

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

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 whenever you need
  • A luggage transfer service which respects your hours of rest (we pick them up after 10:00 and deliver them before 16:00)

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 /
    guide
  • 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

 

Getting here

Meeting point

Caen, Calvados (14)

Caen by car
  • From Paris by the A13 (240 km 2H45)
  • From Lyon by the A6/A13 (700 km 7H)
  • From Bordeaux by the A10/A28/A88 (615 km 5H45)
Caen by train*
  • Train Station in Caen (from Paris : 2H aprox.)
Caen by plane*
  • Airport in Caen

*Transport to your meeting point can be included as an option.

Recommended equipment

Bike
  • Trekking or hybrid bike
  • 21 to 30 speeds
  • 26 or 28 inch (700) wheels
Clothing and equipment
  • Helmet (included with the rental)
  • Clothing suitable for cycling
  • Warm jacket (eg fleece)
  • Rain proof jacket
  • 1 pair of sunglasses
  • 1 pair of cycling shoes
  • 1 small backpack or panniers
  • 1 or 2 water flasks (included with the rental)
  • 1 lock (included with the rental)
  • Our reccomendation for optimal comfort:
    • 1 pair of gloves
    • 1 special pair of pants (shammy leather)
    • 1 night see fluorescent vest
Bike maintenance
  • Emergency repair kit: 2 or 3 tubes, patches, pump, tire levers, multi-tools
  • Daily use kit: cloth, brake pads, oil
Other
  • Suitcase (for transporting personal effects in luggage transfers)
  • Change of clothes for the evening
  • Warm jacket for the evenings
  • Set of toiletries
  • Mobile phone and charger

You migh also be interested in