Along the right bank of the Gironde and through famous vineyards
Preliminary and conclusions as well:
• Cycling from Royan to Bordeaux via Blaye is a nice alternative to La Vélodyssée to reach Bordeaux following the Gironde and through plenty of vineyards. Blaye is about halfway at 80 km.
• The route is indicated as “Canal des Deux Mers à Vélo” and continues to Sète (actually after Toulouse the canal is referred to as “le Canal Du Midi”)
• To find a way through the maze of cycle paths around the Gironde and Bordeaux, the tourism Department of the Gironde had the idea to create the “Tour de Gironde” (see map). visit: https://www.gironde-tourisme.fr/decouvrir/la-gironde-a-velo/le-tour-de-gironde-a-velo/. So this tour incorporates:
o La Vélodyssée
o La Voie Verte (VV) le Tour du Bassin d’Arcachon (actually also part of the VD)
o La VV from Mios to Biganos
o La VV Roger Lapébie
• However, since it is also in France difficult to make the various administrative levels communicate with each other and to come up with a clear story (and execute accordingly), there may still be some puzzling to do to find your way – the French use therefore the wonderful expression: “à découvrir “.
• MOST IMPORTANT about the route:
1. to our pleasant surprise it is very well signposted, as “Canal des Deux Mers à Vélo”!
2. is also wonderful!
3. With one serious climb and some more undulating trails afterwards. But again, nothing weighs up against so much beauty!
4. With one monstrosity along the way: the nuclear power station of Braud-et-Saint-Louis, visible from Vitrezay. (So better stay overnight well ahead or cycle straight to Blaye!)
• The route is a bit too long to do in 1 day. You should also enjoy! Possible places to overnight:
o Hotel/Restaurant l’Ecluse in Saint-Fort-Sur-Gironde (actually in the picturesque Port Maubert) or:
o Domaine d’Aliénor or Domaine de l’Estuaire or Chez Brown, all in St-Thomas-de-Conac or:
o Le Domaine du Meunier in Mortagne-sur-Gironde or:
o Domaine de Port de Conac or:
o Straight to Blaye (there is a beautiful Logis de France for 110 € wobf in La Citadelle)
SOME MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE ROUTE:
• You start in Royan along the beautiful beach of La Grande Conche with some interesting corners to explore in the residential quarters in front. Meschers-sur-Gironde is a smaller but even posher version of Royan.
• Talmont-sur-Gironde is “un des plus beaux villages” and worth a longer stop! Definitely visit the church and the Office de Tourisme! And picnic is not necessary today as there is a good selection of affordable fish restaurants!
• On the bike you can further admire the vineyards to the south of Talmont, peacefully! Day trippers don’t come that far on foot!
• Barzan may be an alternative (but by far not that beautiful) if only then lunchtime…
• Right after Barzan comes the steepest climb and the route continues to go up and down until Chenac and Mortagne-sur-Gironde. (according to our Garmin that day we climbed 442 m!). From then on flat. Have certainly another stop in Port Maubert!
• After Vitrezay you’ve seen the best of the day! From Callonges to Braud-et-St-Louis you have the world’s longest 6 km: with headwind one long stretch of agony! Etuliers: a town to bike through quickly. The remaining end to Blaye is ok.
• In Blaye visit the Unesco classified Citadelle!
• After crossing the Gironde (double check the hours on the website!) you arrive in “la Région de Médoc” with world famous names all over it! Strangely enough though, there are few facilities here! Only in Lamarque (where you arrive by ferry) and Arsac! The village of Margaux is not much of a town, even… But you cycle through beautiful vineyards wherein dispersed hermetically closed “domaines” or “châteaux”; this time of the year seems just about leading the vines in the right direction.
• And so you arrive in the suburbs of Bordeaux. All well signposted.