Waytypes of the stage
Up until the exit to the town of Parthenay, follow the signs for Le Thouet à Vélo, but then switch to the signs for La Vélo Francette. Most of this stage is on roads shared with motorised traffic, with two stretches on dedicated cycle tracks around Parthenay, beside the Thouet, plus a short portion on a greenway at Mazières-en-Gâtine.
Parthenay SNCF station. Many places nearby can be reached by bus: line 10 Thouars <> Parthenay / line 12 Thouars <> Parthenay <> Niort / line 32 Thouars <> Poitiers
Parthenay: the historic St-Jacques Quarter and its medieval gateway; the old château; the churches of St-Pierre and Ste-Croix; the ramparts
Mazières-en-Gâtine: the church with its Romanesque apse; the Château du Petit Chêne, with its golf course; the washhouses; the Belvédère des Rouleaux, for views over the blue-stone quarry
Soutiers: stop at the Jardin Val de Flore. The floral garden extends over 3 hectares beside La Viette River, in a lovely natural setting.
Saint-Marc-la-Lande: The impressive collegiate church, dating back to the early 16th century, is the biggest Flamboyant Gothic edifice in the county of Deux-Sèvres. Also visit the Commanderie des Antonins (built for a medieval monastic order), the conservation orchard and the medicinal plants garden
Champdeniers-St-Denis: This hilltop village looks down on the Vallée de l’Egray to the south. Tanneries were established here in medieval times; nowadays you can still see vestiges of tanneries from the 17th century. Also see the washhouses, the underground river, the fairground and the Château de Nuchèze.