4 great reasons to explore the Vélo Francette
Are you tempted by the joys of cycle tourism? Then the Vélo Francette in Atlantic Loire Valley is just for you. The perfect cycleway to experience the restorative and idyllic pleasures of slow tourism!
A slower pace of life
Whether you’re cycling solo, with a companion or joined by family or friends, the Vélo Francette will take you all the way from Ouistreham on the north coast to La Rochelle in the west. Most of this route, one of France’s newest cycling trails, passes through the Atlantic Loire Valley region, with 235 kilometres to explore by bike. If it’s absolute peace and calm you’re after, then look no further. Here you can live to the rhythm of nature, cycling from town to village and passing through the departments of Mayenne, Anjou and Vendée..
Indeed, the words of French chanteur Yves Montand’s La Bicyclette could well be the anthem of the Vélo Francette linking Daon in Mayenne with Montreuil-Bellay, a ‘small town of character’, in Anjou.
Comfortably seated on the saddle of your road bike or electric two-wheeler, choose your own pace as you follow the way-posted route on this delightful cycleway. The country landscapes scroll by gently, punctuated by the beautiful residences, châteaux and locks you’ll see en route.
Follow the meandering river
Imagine a tow path stretching over 100 kilometres with a peaceful river on one side and the welcome shade of leafy trees when the sun is at its zenith on the other. This leg of the trail will take you along the banks of some of the most breathtaking rivers in France: the Mayenne, the Maine, the Sarthe, and not forgetting the iconic Loire.
Providing an almost flat trail, the Vélo Francette is a comfortable route for first-time cycle tourists or for a biking family with young children.
You will love cycling over bridges, crossing locks, riding along unpaved tracks, traversing the impressive rail viaduct near Laval and finding a table at a local village bistro. The majority of the route follows green ways that you don’t have to share with motorists.
Simple and authentic experiences
Don’t forget to take a break from the cycle path to go out and discover the local heritage and the folk who keep it alive.
Excursions include a visit to Laval with its medieval castle, wine tasting in a local cooperative and a dip in the Roman baths in Entrammes. Other highlights include Angers with its château and Terra Botanica amusement park and Saumur which also boasts a château plus its acclaimed Cadre Noir equestrian centre.
Treasure the terroir along the Vélo Francette
Stopping for a bite to eat is one of the best reasons to take a break in the middle of the day or after a strenuous few hours cycling on the Vélo Francette.
In Pays de la Loire, you are truly spoilt for choice in terms of cafés and restaurants. Local eateries often give regional cuisine pride of place on the menu, such as this unusual restaurant located at La Benâtre lock in Origné.
And when night falls, fear not: Pays de la Loire is replete with various types of accommodation so you should find something to appeal to everyone in your group. Maybe you fancy a cosy night in a local guest house or perhaps camping in the great outdoors is more your style?
Whatever you decide, rest assured that your break in Atlantic Loire Valley along the Vélo Francette will send you home with your muscles relaxed and your batteries recharged!
Visit the website cycling.lavelofrancette