The Vendean part of the Vélodyssée: 200kms of cycling route
The Vélodyssée is the longest bike route in France, stretching along the Atlantic coast from Brittany to the Basque region. With 1 200km of cycle routes, (of which 200km are in the Vendée) over 70% is reserved especially for bicycles. It is completely free of cars and offers an exceptional cycling experience where nature is a beautiful backdrop.
Heading for England, Spain and the Black sea
The Vélodyssée is a complete European itinerary. By using it, you will travel on part of Eurovéloroute 1, which connects Norway to Portugal, passing through Great Britain, France, and Spain.
You will also be connected with several international routes such as Eurovéloroute 4 (from the English Channel to the Black Sea) and 6 (Eurovéloroutes des fleuves from Nantes).
The Vélodyssée route in the Vendée
The Vélodyssée stretches for 200 km along the Vendée coastline and includes 125km of cycle lanes (reserved only for cyclists). From Bouin to Saint Michel en l’Herm, then via Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, Les Sables d'Olonne, and La Tranche sur Mer. Travelling at your own pace you can appreciate the beautiful coastal scenery.
The "Vendean Marshes" are part of the Velodyssée: Bouin - La Barre de Monts
The previous stage comes from Pornic and arrives at Bouin. This is the last section of the Vélodyssée in the Bourgneuf Bay. This 34 km stage passes through the Port du Bec or Port Chinois. If you decide to continue towards L’ile de Noirmoutier, you will discover the Passage du Gois. This submersible road can only be used at low tide. Alternatively, you can explore further inland until you reach La Barre de Monts.
The wild coastal veloroute: la Barre de Monts to Saint Gilles Croix de Vie
This 35 km stage of the Vélodyssée begins in the woods. You will cross a pine forest and dunes area before finding yourself on the Grande Plage of Saint Jean de Monts. The route then continues along the Corniche Vendéenne, a more rugged rocky coastline. The stage then ends with Saint Hilaire de Riez and Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, authentic fishing towns.
Along your way you will come across, Biotopia, an interesting place to discover the forest and the coast. Then on towards, the Jardin du Vent, with its old mill and an artistic trail to uncover. At Explora park you can try some tree top activities. Along this rugged coast, the "Cinq Pineaux" and “Trou du diable” unusual rock formations are visible. Saint Gilles Croix de Vie is home to the legendary sardine cannery “Gendreau”. Its brand "La Perle des Dieux" (the pearl of God) are renowned through the region.
The Vélodyssée takes you on a search of local produces: Saint Gilles Croix de Vie - Les Sables d'Olonne
Here the Vélodyssée travels 37 km along the coast to Brétignolles sur Mer, before arriving at Brem sur Mer. The path then continues in the Olonne forest before arriving in the town of Les Sables d'Olonne near to the port.
Along the way: the interesting maritime heritage in Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, is that of the history surrounding sardines, or little blue fish famous to the town. Then, why not stop off at the Saint Nicolas wine estate of Éric Sage. Or even take a tour of the estate and sample some of his Vendean wine. The adventure park of Sel les Salines offers either a boat or canoe trip in the salt marshes. And finally, the “Ile Penotte” in Les Sables d’Olonne, well worth the detour to see the quarter, where the walls are filled with mosaics of seashells.
Coastal History of the Vendée: les Sables d'Olonne - la Tranche sur mer
This time the Vélodyssée covers 44 km, which leaves Les Sables d'Olonne and follows the stunning coastline with beautiful sea view. You will arrive at the oyster port of La Guittière, before joining the national forest of Longeville sur Mer. Crossing the forest you then arrive at La Tranche sur Mer.
Along the way: in Talmont Saint Hilaire, you can discover a Medieval castle offering various activities. Stopping off at the Port de la Guittière, why not taste some fresh oysters. In Saint Vincent sur Jard you will discover the house of Georges Clemenceau, also known as "the Tiger". If you feel like having a short break, why not stop off at one of the beautiful beaches of Les Conches or Veillon ? And during the summer season, how about a free concert in La Tranche sur Mer as the sun goes down.
The Vélodyssée goes deeper in the wetlands: La Tranche sur Mer – Marans
This last stage of the Vélodyssée straddles the Vendée and Charente-Maritime. Departing from La Tranche sur Mer, you will join La Faute sur Mer via the Nature reserve of the “la Belle Henriette”. Heading now for Pointe d´Arçay, you will then arrive in the Marais poitevin, or the dry marsh side. The veloroute will then cross the marshes until you arrive in Marans.
Along the way: The "Belle Henriette" an ornithological nature reserve, the unusual Abbey Royale of Saint Michel en l’Herm...