Oyster village of Le Canon, on the Arcachon Bay (France), summer 2017
Soulac sur mer beach
France, Charente-Maritime (17), La Rochelle, bassin à flot du Vieux Port
Transporter bridge crossing the Charente, Rochefort
CAP FERRET (France), Crowded Beach at Summer Time Aerial View
ESY-025340106 - © - FreeProd
Surfer riding a huge wave during World surf league competition in Lacanau, France
7 days cycling along the Charente and Côte d'Argent
This is a section of the Velodyssey®, the cycle route that begins in England and ends at the Spanish border. The port of La Rochelle is the departure point, from where you will head to the royal city of Rochefort, at the mouth of the Charente, before reaching Marennes and its oyster farms. In the shade of pine trees, on a dream of a cycle path, you continue on to Royan. A ferry will then take you across the Gironde to Pointe de Grave, followed by cycle paths through pine forests and alongside the ocean, punctuated with charming seaside resorts such Soulac-sur-Mer and Lacanau Ocean, that will take you to the salt meadows and oyster farms so typical of the Arcachon basin.
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Jump in the saddle in the Old Port of La Rochelle. Once past the Marina in Minimes, the cycle path will take you along the beach in Aytré followed by the Chatelaillon beach lined with charming Belle-Epoque villas. The Marais d’Yves Nature Reserve then offers the chance to explore a wild environment of marshes and reed beds that are home to a multitude of species. You are now 2 stages from Rochefort, where the quartier de l’Arsenal and Corderie Royale bear witness to a rich maritime heritage.
As the day’s stage is short, there is plenty of time for you to enjoy time to enjoy Rochefort or follow the MyTripTailor advice below. Leaving the city, you will find the Transporter Bridge of Martou, the last existing bridge of its kind in France. Shortly after the suspension bridge of Tonnay-Charente, reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, you can cross the Charente via the old railway bridge of La Cèpe to reach Marennes directly by the greenway. The view at the top of the church belfry is superb!
MyTripTailor advice: In Marennes, children will love the Château de la Gataudière adventure park as a break from the cycling!
After crossing the Seudre as you leave Marennes, you join a dream cycle path along the Côte Sauvage, in the shade of the pines of the Forest of the Coubre. You could also be tempted by a swim in the sea! After the Coubre lighthouse, Bonne Anse Bay, constantly shaped by the winds and currents of the Gironde estuary and the ocean, offers some beautiful views. The unforgettable bike path then winds between coastal forests and pretty beaches to Royan.
Enjoy your mini-cruise on the ferry between Royan and Pointe de Grave! You are now in Gironde. But don’t jump on your bike without enjoying the vast panorama on the mouth of the river, Royan opposite and the Cordouan lighthouse at sea (the oldest surviving active lighthouse in France).
Next, it ‘s just cycle paths, undergrowth and seashore to Hourtin-Plage. Passing by Soulac-sur-Mer, enjoy the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-fin-des-Terres and the numerous swish villas.
Heading south through the forest of Hourtin, you have the choice of a dip in the sea to your right, or in a fresh water lake (the largest in France) to your left. There are also plenty of picnic areas and games for children throughout your route. Before arriving in Lacanau Océan, follow the Etang de Cousseau Nature Reserve interpretation trail for a perfect introduction of the Landes de Gascogne’s natural environment.
Another beautiful stage with a scenic cycle path that weaves through pine forest, in unspoilt nature, away from any traffic. After the Grand Crohot, the last beach on the Atlantic coast, you can head to the salt meadow nature reserve of Ares and Lège-Cap-Ferret where fauna and flora live to the rhythm of the tides. You then find yourself in more of an urban environment until Andernos-les-Bains, where it’s time to savour a fantastic dozen or so oysters from the Arcachon basin!
The last stage of your trek begins quietly: you only have to follow the green way to Biganos, the old railroad track. The ornithological reserve in Teich nestles in the delta of the Leyre where fresh water mixes with salt water to the rhythm of the tides and you find exceptional flora and a remarkable (but discrete) fauna. Arriving in Arcachon and its ville d’été (the waterfront), you will cross the ville d’hiver dotted with sumptuous late 19th century villas.
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