Seaside, Nature & small heritage
1 week or more
700 Km
I cycle often
Les Sables-d'Olonne
Les Sables-d'Olonne
Discover a new French cycling circuit combining coast and countryside. The tour starts and ends at the same place as the great sailors competing in the prestigious Vendée Globe yacht race, a gruelling single-handed round-the-world competition! Riding along the Vendée Vélo Tour cycle route, rest assured, you will stick to dry land! That said, enjoy invigorating sea breezes as you set off, before heading inland via the Marais Poitevin marshes to reach the Bocage Vendéen, its landscapes marked by traditional hedge-divided fields. After that, the secretive Sèvre Nantaise River serves as your guide along a hilly section dotted with villages designated Petites Cités de Caractères for their historic character. Crossing polders (reclaimed marshlands), return to the ocean for a final foray onto Noirmoutier Island. This cycle route provides a lovely adventure to tackle either in one go, or in several stints. It’s easily accessible for those wanting to come by train, along with their bikes, from the cities of Paris, Nantes, Bordeaux or La Rochelle.

Elevation of the route

2008 m 2003 m

Waytypes of the cycle route

Cycle path: 250,90 km By road: 427,20 km

Surface of the cycle route

Lisse: 199,09 km Rugueux: 377,79 km Accidenté: 69,69 km Inconnu: 31,54 km

The Vendée Vélo Tour, a major cycling circuit combining coast and countryside


signpost Signposting along the cycle route

The Vendée Vélo Tour is signposted along the entire way, but signage varies by area:

  • From Bouin to the Pont du Brault (a bridge on this section), you need to follow the signposting for La Vélodyssée – also indicated on signposts as EuroVelo 1 – leading you along beside the Atlantic. 
  • From the Pont du Brault bridge to Bouin, you need to follow signposting for the Vendée à Vélo cycling network, following the directions given.

sunny_snowing Weather

The best conditions for enjoying this cycle route are to be had between spring and autumn. Riding beside the ocean, while prevailing winds are generally westerly to north-westerly, it’s perhaps more natural to tackle that Atlantic-side stretch riding north-south.

train Trains and transport along the Vendée Vélo Tour

To reach the start point (Les Sables-d'Olonne):

You can reach Les Sables-d'Olonne by train from: La Roche-sur-Yon (30 mins, TER) | Nantes (1h21, TER) | La Rochelle (2h15, 2 TER) | Paris ( 3h44, TGV) | Bordeaux (4h, INTERCITÉS, TER),

Main train lines and stations along the cycle route 

Along the Atlantic stretch, this cycle route is well served by trains, but the more easterly, inland part is not so well connected. Also, take note that at busy times, transporting your bike(s) on TER regional trains can be complicated.

Main train stations:

  • Les Sables-d'Olonne
  • Fromentine / Île de Noirmoutier : Bus Nantes <> Noirmoutier with bike-rack (you need to reserve space(s) for your bike(s) in advance, via the website)
  • Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie : regional train line Nantes <> St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie
  • Cugand / Clissonregional train line Nantes <> Cholet
  • Pouzauges : regional train line Tours <> La Roche-sur-Yon

Consult our tips and advice for transporting your bike by train.

Reaching the cycle route from Nantes or La Rochelle

The cycle route isn’t far from these two cities, with cycle paths from them allowing you to link up easily with the Vendée Vélo Tour:

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