Itinerary from Saumur to Cognac
The Vélo Francette offers you a beautiful architectural heritage and invites you to cross the French countryside. After the towpaths of the Marais Poitevin, you will be able to smell the sea spray at the gates of La Rochelle, a beautiful port city.
Your cycling trip begins in the city of Saumur on the Loire River before continuing through the Thouet Valley.
From La Rochelle, the marked Flow vélo itinerary takes over to Saintes in the Charente and ends in the beautiful city of Cognac.
The itinerary is entirely marked and alternates between small roads with little traffic and towpaths.
Discover a magnificent route adapted to all levels.
Points of interest of the route :
- The Thouet Valley
- Montreuil Bellay
- The Marais Poitevin
- La Rochelle, Saumur, Thouars and Cognac
- The Atlantic coast
- Visits to wine cellars and wine tasting
- the vineyards of Cognac
- The gastronomy
- The island of Ré
Day 1 - Arrival in Saumur
Check-in at the hotel from 3pm. Take time to visit the city of Saumur, to admire its castle and its half-timbered houses.
Day 2 - Loop of Saumur
Bikes are available at the accommodation. After a short introduction, you will be able to leave for a first bicycle tour around Saumur.
You will have the opportunity to visit a wine cellar and taste some Saumur wine. You will use the cycle tracks and the small roads along the Loire.
Night in Saumur.
Day 3 - From Saumur to Thouars - 45 km
You start your journey in the Thouet valley by leaving Saumur on a beautiful greenway. You drive to the beautiful medieval city of Montreuil-Bellay. You will cross medieval bridges during this journey which leads you to the city of art and history of Thouars.
Night in Thouars hotel or charming guesthouse.
Day 4 - From Thouars to Parthenay - 67 km
This tour takes you to the Cébron lake and to St Loup sur Thouet. You will be able to admire and visit one of the most beautiful castles of France from the Henri IV - Louis XIII period. In Saint Généroux, take the time to admire the 10th century church, one of the oldest in Poitou. The stage ends in Parthenay, citadel of the Thouet. The city is located on one of the paths of St Jacques de Compostelle.
Night in Parthenay in a hotel.
Day 5 - From Parthenay to Niort - 53 km
This stage invites you to discover the Gâtine, a land of granite with many trees, which smells of apples and chestnuts. The small valleys offer us a beautiful fantastic landscape which probably hides some elves and fairies. You arrive in Niort, city at the gates of the Poitevin marshes. You will be able to admire its impressive keep and its covered market which comes to life on market days.
Night in Niort in a hotel.
Day 6 - The Marais Poitevin from Niort to Coulon - 18 km
Your cycling trip continues on the Vélo Francette along the Sèvre Niortaise in a green haven on cycle paths that then follow the canals. You cross the village-street of La Garette before ending this short stage in Coulon.
If you wish to prolong the pleasure by bike, you can discover the wild marsh, its poplars, its pollarded ashes, its fauna and its flora for a 25 km course.
Have you thought of taking the option of a 2-hour guided boat ride at dusk or dawn (depending on availability)?
Night in Coulon in a hotel.
Day 7 - Coulon - Fontenay le Comte - 28 km
Departure from Coulon to reach the Vendée region by small roads with little traffic. You will arrive in the charming village of Maillezais known for its 11th century abbey.
You will reach Fontenay le Comte, city of art and history, by following the Sèvre niortaise river.
Night in Fontenay le Comte.
Day 8 - Fontenay le Comte to La Rochelle - 55 km
This is a very pleasant cycling stage along the Vendée to Marans. You will then ride along the Marans Canal and the Rompsay Canal to reach the old port of La Rochelle and the Atlantic coast.
Night in La Rochelle hotel.
Day 9 - From La Rochelle to Ile de Ré by bike - 25 to 90 km
This stage in the discovery of the island of Ré by bike offers several variations of routes to make the most of the island's beauty.
A loop circuit guides you to the villages of La Flotte en Ré and its fishermen's boats, then to Saint Martin with its fortifications and its fort. You will cross the oyster beds and the salt marshes on the numerous bicycle paths of the island. Possible return by La Couarde and Bois plage.
Night in La Rochelle.
Day 10 - La Rochelle - Rochefort - 55 km
This tour guides you along the famous Vélodyssée route to Chatelaillon and Fouras before crossing the Baie d'Yves nature reserve. In Fouras, it is possible to plan a visit to the island of Aix which was the last retreat of Napoleon 1st. End of your bike tour in Rochefort, city of art and history built in the 17th century around shipbuilding.
Night in Rochefort.
Day 11 - Rochefort - Saintes - 60 km
You leave the Vélodyssée along the Seudre canal through the oyster beds on the cycle tracks of the wild coast. You will be able to admire the charm of the Saintonge and the Charente back country. You will cross Rétaud, Thézac and Chermignac before reaching Saintes, a city with a thousand-year-old heritage.
Night in Saintes.
Day 12 - Saintes - Cognac - 38 km
This stage takes place on the Flow Vélo to the Chapelle des Pots, where the craft of ceramics has been perpetuated since the 13th century. The roads are small, the landscape is changing and slightly hilly. You ride through the Cognac vineyards that make the reputation of this region with possibility of visit and tasting. Night in Cognac.
Day 13 - Visit of the Hennessy house
This last day is dedicated to the visit of the city of Cognac and the Hennessy house.
Hennessy has been making exceptional cognacs for 250 years and has the expertise of a long and uninterrupted line of Master Blenders.
You will then be able to stroll along the banks of the Charente River and admire the Saint-Jacques Towers and the Château de Cognac.
Night in Cognac.
Day 14 - End of the tour in Cognac
End of your cycling trip after breakfast and return to Cognac according to the option chosen.