10 November 2019
La Vélodyssée is a long-distance cycling route that runs along the Atlantic Ocean, from Norway to Portugal, and goes through the Marais poitevin for 75 kilometres. From the Aiguillon Bay in Vendée to La Rochelle, two steps of this maritime bicycle path allow you to discover the coastal Marais poitevin.
A bike trip along the Ocean
Logo of la Vélodyssée
With more than 1,200 kilometres on the French territory, la Vélodyssée gives you the possibility to see the Atlantic coast. From Roscoff in Brittany to the Spanish border on the far south of the French Basque country, you will enjoy bike routes, the majority of which is vehicle-free (more than 70% of the trip). It is the longest marked cycling route in the territory and offers a great variety of landscapes along the road: you can see canals, moors, forests, marshes or even dunes one time after another. On the route from Les Sables-d’Olonne to La Rochelle, you go through the Marais poitevin from Longeville-sur-Mer to Marans.
Focus on La Vélodyssée in the Marais poitevin
Two local steps allow you to discover the dry part of the Marsh, along the Atlantic coast through the city of Marans which delineates the two coastal departments.
Starting from La-Tranche-sur-Mer, not far from the Aiguillon Bay, its exceptional fauna and flora, you cycle surrounded by marshes, in this environment located between land and sea and so typical of the marsh landscapes. If you want to and are ready for, you can also cycle to Arçay Pointe, a sand point between the Ocean and the Lay river. The dry marsh takes over and brings you through a nice and sunny route to Marans, while going through Saint-Michel-en-l’Herm, where you will be able to discover the Royal Abbey and its 13 centuries of History.
Bike ride on the Vélodyssée at the Brault locks in Marans.
As a route point between the two sections of La Vélodyssée that go through the Marsh, Marans is a fluvial city where the Sèvre Niortaise river and canals going to the sea flow together, bringing happiness to the visitors, especially in summer. The marina changes with the tides, while the historical centre and the peculiar bell tower are places to visit. You will also find an accommodation labelled “Accueil Vélo” which ensures high quality services and where you will be able to taste brown eggs which are part of must-see curiosities.
Cyclist on the dock at Marans
On the second part of the route, the “green” cycle track follows the canal from Marans to La Rochelle, initially dug in the 18th century to link both cities to the Ocean. Between the canals and the coast, there is no difficulty, with a peak rising to only 33 metres above sea level. You will gradually leave the Marais poitevin Régional Natural Park to discover La Rochelle and its marina, mythic and pleasant at every time of the year.
The Marais poitevin is truly the country of cycling because La Vélodyssée joins Marans, another road bike: La Vélo Francette, the latter connecting the Marais to Normandy thanks to a 630 km route.
If you need to book a bike, you can do it online!
With its diverse and magnificent landscapes, the Marais poitevin is easy to discover by bike thanks to numerous bike routes. For a fresh halt, you can enjoy a boat ride and discover the canals of the Green Venice or even the beaches of the South-Vendée coast.
For those who wish combine hiking and discovery of heritage, Original Vélo Tour offers guided bike rides: another way to discover this area! Original Velo Tour is marked Valeurs Parc naturel régional.