Published by Lyn on 11 September 2011
The Vendée in the Pays-de-la-Loire has released a booklet of cycling routes across the department, writes Lynette Eyb.
The booklet, Les Sentiers Cyclables, features 22 cycle routes across the department for cyclists of all abilities. Each bike route is rated for difficulty, with each route profile carrying distance and terrain information. The booklet is in French, but the maps are clear and easy to follow, and the accompanying information is presented clearly, making it easy for non-French-speakers to figure out.
Cycle routes cover some 900km of the Vendée, with those featured in the booklet broken down into three sections:
Le circuit du littoral (the Coastal circuit): 190km of bike routes that cross dunes, forests and marsh/wetlands;
Le circuit du Marais Poitevin: 140km of cycle paths starting in the Bay de l’Aiguillon and crossing the canals of the wetlands; covers routes up to the Abbey of Maillezais and the huge forest of Mervent-Vouvant. This bike circuit also calls at Luçon;
Le circuit du Bocage: 553km long and passing some of the area's key historical attractions, including Puy du Fou, the Logis de la Chabotterie, and Château de Tiffauges.
Copies of the booklet can be ordered by writing to the local tourist board, Comité Départemental du Tourisme de Vendée, at 45 Bd des Etats-Unis. BP123 85006 La Roche sur Yon Cedex, by calling +33 (0)2 51 47 88 20 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also download the booklet from the French section here of the tourist board's website - click the green box on the right with 'télécharger' underneath it.
The Vendée Guide website, which is not linked to the tourist board, also has an interactive map of the cycle routes.
More on cycling the Vendée and Pays-de-la-Loire
See our links to bike hire shops in Pays-de-la-Loire.
For more information on seeing the Loire by bike, see John Higginson's Cycling the River Loire (UK, US) – and see his article for us. There's also Richard Peace's Cycling Southern France (UK, US) which covers bike routes from the Mediteranean to the Loire, and Lonely Planet's Cycling France. Michelin's French Atlantic Coast also touches on the Vendée.
For generic tourist guides to Vendée, see Angela Bird's The Vendée and Surrounding Area. There's also Judy Smith's Vendée and Charente-Maritime Landmark guide. See also the Footprint and DK Eyewitness guides to the Loire. For French readers, there's Le Petit Futé's Vendée.
For maps, Michelin have a Loire regional map, as well as a Loire-Atlantique/Vendée map. IGN also has a Vendée map as well as a 2011 Pays de la Loire map.