La Vélobuissonnière from Alençon to Saumur links Veloscenie, the Loire à Velo and Velo Francette bike routes.
Distance: 245km (39km is on dedicated bike paths, 206km is on shared local backroads)
La Vélobuissonnière from Alençon to Saumur is a fabulous little bike route, linking the Veloscenie Paris to Mont St Michel route to the Loire à Velo and Velo Francette (Caen to la Rochelle) bike routes. It also links onto the wonderful Sarthe à velo bike route – arguably one of France's hidden velotourisme delights.
It's branded La Vélobuissonnière but it also doubles as route V44 on the national cycling network. It is fully signposted from Alençon to Saumur (and includes signage for the routes it shares and crosses).
This is a real 'backroads' route through rural villages, farming areas and small (and often ancient) towns – there are 39-odd kilometres of voies vertes (greenway/dedicated bike paths), but the remaining 206km is local backroads.
There are train stations at Le Mans, Alencon and Saumur all have train stations (and local TERs trains that take bikes without reservations). The TGV also services Le Mans on the Paris-Nantes and Paris-Brest routes. A local bus service – bus 26 – between Le Mans and Saumur also takes bikes.
There is a downloadable brochure here (in French and English).