La Vélo Francette is a bike route linking Ouistreham in Normandy to the popular Atlantic Coast tourist resort of La Rochelle.
My self-guided do-it-yourself itinerary
Click the route on the map above to download the full GPX file
La Vélo Francette is a bike route linking the ferry port in Ouistreham (Caen) in Normandy to the popular tourist resort of La Rochelle in Poitou-Charentes.
La Vélo Francette is a 630km signposted route that provides cyclists from the north of France with easy access to the Loire and beyond.
The route is represented in orange on the illustration to the right.
It's another means of reaching the Atlantic Coast from the north, and it complements the more established La Vélodyssée.
Aside from its direct links to the Loire à Vélo route, it also provides links to the D-Day Beaches trail and the Paris to Mont St Michel Véloscénie route.
It crosses with the latter at Domfront, with Véloscénie then linking to the Mont St Michel to D-Day Beaches route and the Tour de Manche route.
It utilises part of pre-existing bike networks, combined with new sections of official route. It's also known as the V43.
From Angers to Saumur it shares the EV6, the official Loire bike route, before heading south into Deux-Sèvres.
In Caen it links with the EuroVelo 4 Central Europe route, and links with La Vélodyssée (EuroVelo 1) at La Rochelle.
In all it crosses seven departments: Calvados, Orne, Mayenne, Maine-et-Loire, Charente-Maritime, Vendée and Deux-Sèvres.
La Vélo Francette open up large swathes of Poitou-Charente – in particular the Deux-Sèvres (which is the department leading the development of the route) to cycle tourism.
The route also passes Marais Poitevin, one of the department's key attractions, and a peaceful cycling paradise set among the marshlands.
Poitou-Charente is home to Ile de Ré, a popular cycling destination, but large sections of the region remain undiscovered by cyclists, such as the wine routes of the Cognac – long overshadowed by the Bordeaux and St Emilion routes further south. (This may change, with Cognac now part of the Tour de Charente bike network).
Here is the official La Velo Francette website.
See here for luggage transfer services on this route.
La Vélo Francette - my day-by-day reports
I rode the full Vélo Francette route in May 2015 just prior to its official opening.
I've based this suggested self-guided do-it-yourself itinerary on my route.
Here are the links to my day-by-day accounts of the route.
- La Rochelle to Arçais on La Vélo Francette (and partly concurrently on La Velodyssee)- 74km
- Arçais to Niort on La Vélo Francette - 36km
- Niort to Parthenay on La Vélo Francette - 61km
- Parthenay to Thouars on La Vélo Francette -76km
- Thouars to Saumur on La Vélo Francette -51km
- Saumur to Angers on La Vélo Francette (and concurrently on Loire à Vélo) - 62km
- Cycling Angers to Mayenne on La Vélo Francette - 121km
- Cycling Mayenne to Domfront on La Vélo Francette - 42km
- Cycling Domfront to Pont-d'Ouilly on La Vélo Francette - 50km
- Cycling Pont-d'Ouilly to Caen on La Vélo Francette - 57km
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