The beauties of the Vendée by bike
The beauties of the Vendée by bike - Cycle tourism - Atlantic Loire Valley
Explore the plains, countryside, marshes and coastline of the Vendée over more than 1,000 kilometres of cycle paths. This network – the largest in France – allows you to discover the extraordinary diversity of the land of the Chouans.
The Vendée coast...
How about starting your two-wheeled getaway in the very north of the department, with the Marais Breton Vendéen? Leaving Bouin and its amazing Chinese Port, you can cycle down along the coastline for a seaside adventure. The different circuits that follow on from one another reveal the marvels of the Côte de la Lumière or Coast of Light, such as the large beach at Saint-Jean-de-Monts, the Vendée corniche, the sardine-landing port of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, the surfing spots at Brétignolles, the Olonne salt marshes and more. Further on is the buzzing seaside resort of Sables d'Olonne, followed by the Payré estuary, the low houses at Jard-sur-Mer, La Tranche-sur-Mer (also known as "Little California") and the points at Arçay and Aiguillon on the very edge of Charente Maritime. Depending on the route you take, it is possible to stop off at the islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier, which also have an abundant network of cycle trails!
...through the salt marshes...
The south or Sud-Vendée, which is home to part of the Marais Poitevin, can also be explored by bike. The "wetland" area has an amazing landscape of canals that visitors can explore, scattered with boats, little villages and pollarded ash trees. Built on a height, the majestic Maillezais abbey, whose ruins attest to its past grandeur, overlooks this enchanting setting. A little further on, from Poirée-sur-Velluire, you can reach Fontenay-le-Comte, considered by some to be the most beautiful town in the Vendée. Don't miss the royal abbey of Eleanor of Aquitaine in Nieul-sur-l'Autize, the Mervent-Vouvant forest and its legends, the Petite Cité de Caractère (a French designation for small and especially characterful towns) of Faymoreau and the viaduct at Coquilleau.
...not forgetting the countryside
Heading back north, the Vendée countryside unveils woods, little villages, tarns, heritage monuments, moors and bucolic trails. You can choose to start at Réaumur to reach the châteaux of Saint-Mesmin and La Flocellière, then go on to Tiffauges, the fiefdom of the formidable Blue Beard. On the way, treat yourself to a stop at Puy du Fou, awarded the world's best theme park in 2014. Then head to the banks of the Sèvre, the Pays de Montaigu and Grande and Petite Maine, bordered by mills, the romantic shores of Boulogne, La Roche-sur-Yon and its place Napoléon, inhabited by strange mechanical animals, the medieval town of Essarts and even Bazoges-en-Pareds, a charming Petite Cité de Caractère... When it comes to a variety of landscapes, the Vendée has a whole range of them!