The Gironde Estuary by bike[ Cycle route Canal des deux mers à vélo ]
- 153 km
This enticing section of the Canal des 2 Mers à Vélo cycle route transports you from the seaside atmosphere of the postwar resort of Royan to the splendid Ancien Régime quays of Bordeaux. The route running beside the Gironde Estuary is not completely laid out at time of writing, so you have to deal with a few stretches of small, rough, steep tracks for the moment. Or opt for the easier provisional link leading south of the Gironde Estuary via Lacanau, on to Bordeaux.
Stages of « The Gironde Estuary by bike »
Past Royan’s port, this stage begins at Royan’s Grande Conche Beach. Head along the seafront on a lovely shaded cycle path. The cycle route then threads between tracks and quiet roads to Meschers-sur-Gironde before reaching Talmont-sur-Gironde, an astonishing look-out post onto the estuary and part of the association of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. Caillaud Cliff and the square fishing nets suspended above the waters add to the atmosphere. The stage continues via quiet, sometimes steep roads and tracks to Mortagne-sur-Gironde, a port well protected from the temperamental Gironde.Difficulty: Intermediate View details
From Mortagne-sur-Gironde to Vitrezay, the scenery is characterized by great expanses of marshes backed by hills covered with vineyards and crops. A number of little marinas along here provide access to the Gironde Estuary and offer places to pause.Difficulty: Intermediate View details
Reaching the port of Vitrezay, you leave the département (French county) of Charente-Maritime, continuing on the Canal des 2 Mers à Vélo cycle route into the département of Gironde. Bypassing the electricity-producing nuclear power station of the Blayais, a beautiful greenway leads to Blaye and its citadel designed by the great 17th-century engineer Vauban. The citadel and other forts along the Gironde remind you of warring times. A small ferry crosses the estuary from Blaye to Lamarque.Difficulty: Intermediate View details
From Blaye, cross the Gironde Estuary by ferry to Lamarque, in the midst of the Médoc, a peninsula packed with some of the greatest wine territories (or appellations) in the world. A provisional route takes you along quiet roads through the Médoc’s vines, fields and heaths to the edge of the city of Bordeaux, at Blanquefort. From here, a cycle track leads you gently to the heart of the great wine town. Bordeaux is a splendid, dynamic city, its exceptional architectural heritage listed as a World Heritage Site. Amidst its grand quarters, sample its many lively, trendy cultural and gastronomic offerings.Difficulty: Intermediate View details