480 km of cycle path to discover all the jewels of Gironde. Sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Natural Regional Park, exceptional natural sites, prestigious vineyards, wild and authentic ocean coast and no forgetting the French south-west gastronomy that will delight you all along your stay. All the jewels of Gironde can be seen along it - the Gironde Estuary to Royan, the quays of the Garonne in Bordeaux, the vineyards of Blayais, Médoc and Entre-deux-Mers, le Canal de Garonne, the forest of the Landes de Gascogne Natural Regional Park, Arcachon Bay and the coastline with its beaches, dunes and great lakes.
Day 1: Arrival in Bordeaux
Accommodation in charming guesthouse or 3 star hotel in the heart of Bordeaux. You will get your bike as well as your route notes that will indicate your circuit. Bordeaux, the former "Burdigala" Roman, inseparable from its vineyard ... radiates plenty of stones in her dress to provide fireworks. The Garonne River, heart of the city, welcomes walkers on the banks or boat trips. Everyone can take ownership of the docks, hoping to see the landing of a cruise ship.
Day 2: Bordeaux - Sauveterre, ~55-60 km
You will leave Bordeaux with the track that runs along the Garonne River and its beautiful landscaped quays, then you will follow the greenway trail, winding through the hillsides of the Entre-Deux-Mers through Creon and Sauveterre de Guyenne, which are magnificent fortified walled towns. Finally, by small roads surrounded by vineyards, you will drive to your accommodation.
Day 3: Sauveterre - Bazas, ~40-50 km
Between Sauveterre-de-Guyenne and La Réole, the cycle route passes through gently rolling and highly picturesque landscapes. La Réole, a medieval town founded in 977 on the banks of the Garonne, is the smallest ‘Town of Art and History’ in France. At Fontet, the route joins the Canal de Garonne. It is here that ‘Le Canal des 2 Mers à vélo’ cycle route continues on its way under a canopy of plane trees until reaching Toulouse, or even Sète and the Mediterranean. ‘Bike around Bordeaux’ cycle route, however, goes towards Bazas via a ‘Véloroute’ cycle route. By taking a detour through Castets-et-Castillon, you’ll be able to see the beginning of the Canal with its locks and to take advantage of all the services that this small port has to offer. Bazas is a famous medieval town with a beautiful cathedral, and an important place for the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage trail.
Day 4: Bazas - Origne, ~50 km
Departure from Bazas to join the cycle path in Uzeste. Passing through Uzeste, you can admire the collegiate church housing the tomb of Pope Clement V (it is also worth visiting his château in Villandraut). After crossing Villandraut and the river Le Ciron, you come in the pignada, a logged pine forest, planted by man since the 19th century. The itinerary goes on to Budos, then through the valleys carved out by the River Ciron, to Leogats and Nouaillan. You then carry on to Balizac where you enter the Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park, before reaching Origne for the night. Stay in the charming little village of Origne in a charming guest house in the center of the village offering a range of services here in the heart of the Gironde countryside.
Day 5: Origne - Le Barp, ~30 km
You will be riding along a lovely little forest road offering great variety and taking you westwards. Heading towards Louchats, the pine forest becomes denser and the scent of pine resin richer. Leave your bicycle at the site of the lagoons of Gât-Mort and discover the water beneath the carpet of fern. Make a stop at the lakes of Hostens offer plenty of shade by the shore, perfect for an afternoon nap. The road will then take you, between pine trees and heather, to the small town of Le Barp. Stay in a charming little hotel**, stone built, with a swimming pool. Mr. Bourrissoux, the owner, with an irreproachable reception, may serve you a much appreciated local food on the terrace shaded by suspended vines and cooled by a fountain.
Day 6: Le Barp - Arcachon, ~45 km
The itinerary follows a little road where the pine forest gradually thins to find back the cycle track in Salles along the Eyre River you will follow until Mios. You will then reach the Arcachon Bay at the Parc Ornithologique du Teich, maritime window of the Regional Natural Park. The sites for picnicking are not lacking, just choose! You will choose to take the coastal path, taking advantage of the salty and marine air of the bay, going through the typical oyster ports like Gujan Mestras to join Arcachon by the small and beautiful oyster-farming ports. Lined with tamarisks, arbutus, willow and wild prunes, the walk will also delight lovers of botany. You will be expected in the heart of Arcachon, in a hotel ***, for an evening on the seafront.
Day 7: Arcachon - Pilat dune - Arcachon, ~24 km
You will start your trip by cycling to the Pilat dune, the largest dune in Europe at 105 meters high, 2700 meters long and 500 meters wide. The dune, formed recently (only 35 meters high in 1855), is still not stable and moves towards the forest at a rate of 3 to 4 meters a year. Having left your bikes for a moment, you can climb to the summit using steps or by a marked path. You will follow beaches on a magnificent track and you will join the “Pyla sur Mer” then Moulleau, a suburb to the west of Arcachon, a very lively place in summer with chic boutiques and trendy cafés. You will be surprised by the Notre dame des Passes church, of byzantine style, built at the top of a sand dune by the Dominicans. It houses the Vierge de l’Avent, one of the 3 statues in France representing a Virgin Mary heavy with child. You then return to Arcachon and your hotel.
Day 8: Arcachon - Lacanau, ~45 km
From Arcachon, take the boat to cross the Bay of Arcachon to reach the Cap Ferret and ride throughout the other side of the Bay. Leave your bicycle to walk up to the top of the lighthouse. Keep going cycling to reach the very pretty oyster village of l’Herbe, the reservoirs as well as the Tapper’s Shack. A cycle track between ocean and forest and along the fine sand beaches where the ocean comes to smash in magnificent rollers, will slowly lead you, après des baignades bien méritées, to the seaside resorts of Le Porge and Lacanau Océan renowned for its surf spot.
Day 9: Lacanau - Montalivet, ~40 km
Get on your bike and go on the journey to the north following the Vélodyssée. Here the road continues on a bike path among the pines, between lakes and oceans. Leave the lake of Lacanau and join a charming shady trail cut in the dunes of the seaside resort of Carcans Maubuisson and the lake of Hourtin. Follow the lake and then the ‘route des phares’ and after a last ocean break at Hourtin Plage, head north to Montalivet.
Day 10: Montalivet - Royan, ~40 km
Sandy beaches as far as the eye can see. The seaside resorts of Le Porge, Lacanau, Carcans, Hourtin, Vendays-Montalivet and Soulac-sur-Mer are just some of the stops along the way where you can explore and relax. You can then cross the Gironde Estuary from Verdun in a unique ferry ride to discover Royan in the evening (its marina, cathedral considered as a masterpiece of modern architecture).
Day 11: Royan - Mortagne, ~35 km
You will leave Royan by taking the ‘boulevard Garnier’ and its beautiful villas from the XIX century. You will stop at the Park of the estuary, ‘pole nature’ de la Charente Maritime. You will enjoy its unique feel and wooden area, dominating the estuary. The park offers interactive exhibition and animations allowing you to discover ‘everything’ about the estuary. You will cross Saint-Seurin d’Uzet, the old capital of Caviar, with its port almost located in the center of the village. More south, you will visit the wine-maker of Mortagne to discover all about the Pineau, Cognac and Charentais wine. Mortagne-sur-Gironde, lays on the white cliffs, its fishing and sailing port make it a unique site in the area. You will stay in a charming guest house, opposite the port…In the guest house the rooms are spacious, bright with own suit.
Day 12: Mortagne - Blaye, ~60 km
Go on along the Estuary on a very nice cycling path between marshes and dykes until Vitrezay, the gateway to Gironde. After a visit to the ‘Terres d’Oiseaux’ bird sanctuary, a beautiful ‘Voie Verte’ cycle track leads to the Blaye Citadel, built by Vauban and listed by UNESCO (alongside Fort Pâté and Fort Médoc) as the Vauban lock”. A ferry crosses the estuary from Blaye to Lamarque the next day.
Day 13: Blaye - Bordeaux, ~50 km
After crossing the Gironde Estuary, the itinerary leads directly to the heart of the Médoc vineyards, where villages and world-famous wine-making châteaux abound. Fort Médoc is not to be missed. A visit and wine-tasting break is an absolute must before heading on towards more urbanized, but equally interesting areas. The route’s grand finale is the approach to Bordeaux along the quays of the Garonne.
Day 14: Unfortunately departure or extra nights in Bordeaux
13 nights in carefully chosen 3*** hotels or guest houses (1x 2** hotel)
luggage transport (1 piece per person)
2 crossing of the Gironde estuary by boat
the Arcachon bay crossing by boat
carefully chosen roads and paths
detailed documentation, plans, maps, etc.
self-guided tour - 14 days / 13 nights
arrival every day
route (1)-(2): ~480 km
flat and sometimes gently hilly, on bicycle paths and small roads along canals and rivers
how to get there
by car: to Bordeaux
by train: to Bordeaux
by plane: to Bordeaux
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