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La Rochelle coast and countryside

Cycling the Velo Francette route from Saumur to Niort

From the pearl of the Loire Valley, to the gateway to the Poitevin marshes, enjoy a bike ride to discover part of the Velo Francette itinerary!

Reference VF0601
  • Itinerant trip
  • 6 days
  • Moderate
  • From April to October
  • Minimum age 14 years old
GPSGPS-app available
835€ / pers.
  • Itinerary
  • From Saumur to Niort, take the time to discover the Velo Francette itinerary by bike and let yourself be guided by the authenticity and gentleness of the itinerary.

    You start your journey with a glimpse of the Loire castles, Saumur, to appreciate later the calm, the generous nature and the cultural heritage that Montreuil-Bellay and its citadel offers or the majestic castle of Thouars overlooking the Thouet.
    Continue on the Velo Francette route, without losing sight of the Thouet, to the small town of character, Airvault.
    Then dive into the medieval atmosphere of the city of Parthenay, located on one of the roads to Santiago de Compostela, and take the opportunity to stroll through the cobbled streets of the capital of the game, before ending your journey in the south of the Gâtine country, where stands Niort, its ancient dungeon and market.

    Through bucolic landscapes, this part of the Velo Francette transports you through time.
    A stay that rhymes with fresh air, authenticity and culture!

    Day 1


    Arrival in Saumur

    Discover the charming old town of Saumur and its magnificent castle crowning the city. Saumur is not only the capitale of the equestrian art but also a gastronomy center surrounded by a rich wine area.

    Day 2


    Saumur - Thouars

    You leave Saumur and its castle resting on its "emerald rock" and start by following the Thouet river through abundant and calm nature. A break is essential in Montreuil-Bellay and its castle with majestic architecture. The building, which overlooks the Thouet, offers you a splendid setting for your lunch.

    Continue your route in the afternoon and enjoy the cool shade of the Ballastière lake and the generous flora that surrounds it. After a beautiful climb, you end your day in Thouars and its castle of the Dukes of La Trémoille.

    Day 3


    Thouars - Airvault

    This morning, you leave Thouars and enjoy a magnificent view of the castle of the Dukes of La Trémoïlle overlooking the Thouet and follow the river throughout the day.
    Plan to take a small supply of food for this day!

    You will ride to Saint Généroux where you can admire its old bridge and its pre-Romanesque church. Pedal a few more kilometers to reach Airvault. You will enjoy this small village, his old castle from the 11th to 14th century, take time to explore and discover the magic of this building filled of magic and history, and walk in the small steep streets.

    Day 4


    Airvault - Parthenay

    Your day begins by riding to Saint-Loup-sur-Thouet, appreciate its splendid 17th century castle and its French gardens.
    Continue your journey following the Velo Francette signs to the Cébron lake, a peaceful haven with bucolic landscapes.

    Your arrival in Parthenay by the bottom of the city allows you to pass the old gate and the fortifications. You will then discover cobbled streets and half-timbered houses. Soak up the medieval atmosphere of the city which is transformed every summer into the capital of the game.

    Day 5


    Parthenay - Niort

    This stage of the Velo Francette itinerary goes west to reach the Vendée. On the horizon this morning takes shape the country of Gâtine, between authentic villages, country roads and generous nature, the relief becomes more marked.
    Visit Mazières-en-Gâtine with its Romanesque church and halfway along the route allow yourself a stop at Champdeniers, a village overlooking the valley with its old tannery site and its castle.

    You will reach the river banks of the Sèvre Niortaise at Ternanteuil, then ride to the town of Niort. Gateway to the Poitevin marshes, you will appreciate the pleasant and welcoming atmosphere of the city.
    Take the time to stroll through the narrow streets of Niort and admire its ancient dungeon and its churches, in particular the church of Saint-André with its bell tower which embellishes the capital of Deux Sèvres.

    Day 6


    Departure from Niort

    After your breakfast, take time to discover the charms and animation of downtown Niort.
    The train will bring you back to your departure point if you wish. You can also extend your stay.
  • Accommodation
  • Category B

    You will be accommodated in 3-Star hotels or Bed and Breakfasts. We have selected the accommodations for their charm, and their quality. Breakfast is included.
    * Example of the type of accommodation
  • Bikes, luggage and documents
  • Bikes

    On your arrival day, we provide you with:

    • a touring bike adjusted to your size or a tandem
    • equipped : front rack pack with an integrated file compartment, saddlebag, helmet (on demand), reflective vest, repairing toolkit with patches etc.

    We also provide you with the appropriate equipment for your children : baby seat, bike trailer or trailer bike depending on their age and size.

    Electric bikes are also available for adults (+1m55).

    You can of course also bring your own bikes, in this case a reduction will be applied (see the Tarif tab)


    Our services include luggage transport in order to let you enjoy your trip comfortably and without stress :
    • We transport your luggage from one accommodation to the next using a private vehicle.
    • Your luggage is directly delivered in your accommodation before you arrive.
    • We provide a saddlebag for the things you shall need during the day.

    Our word of advice : as we know from experience, we strongly recommend you to avoid wearing a backpack during your cycling trip.
    If you expect to arrive at the next accommodation before 5 p.m., we recommend that you take an extra set of clothes with you in your bicycle bag.

    Travel documents

    A cycling holiday is the best way to explore a region and discover its culture, landscapes and local traditions.

    Your tour is self-guided to give you the freedom to ride at your own pace. You will be provided all the information you need to enjoy the itinerary and its points of interests.

    We can provide you with travel documents in paper format (for a supplement of €15 for printing and postage), which include:
    • a roadbook with maps that we drew at the easiest scale to follow on a bike
    • a roadbook with step-by-step description giving the direction to follow at each intersection and highlighting the points of interest

    Example of a map and of a step-by-step description

    Our GPS App

    For this trip, you can also use our smartphone app featuring GPS guidance (without extra fee).

    You will find in the app all the information given in the map and step-by-step roadbooks. You will be located on the itinerary with the GPS device of your phone. The route and directions to follow will be both viewable on the screen of your phone and announced aloud. As you ride along the itinerary, you will be given information about visits, restaurants, services and useful alerts on the way.

    -> You need to have a smartphone and download Le Velo Voyageur app on your Apple or Android store before the trip. All details concerning the downloading and the use of the application will be given after we have confirmed the booking and the balance is paid. Once the trip is downloaded, the GPS guidance can be used off-line.
  • Practical information
  • To get to departure point:

    • By plane: flight to Paris or Nantes and then train to Saumur.
    • By train: Train from Paris Montparnasse station. The estimated duration of the trip is 2h30. To plan your trip, www.raileurope.com.


    If you drive to Saumur, you can park your car in a secured car park located in the city center, close to your accommodation and the train station. The daily rate is and decreases depending on the duration. The location and contact details of the car park will be given in your travel documents.

    To get back to starting point:

    Regional trains take you back to your starting point if you wish. They are accessible with booking in advance and bicycles are free (subject to availability).

    We can also organise a transfer in a private vehicule on demand.

    Meeting time:

    The first day is an arrival day without cycling. You arrive whenever you want depending on from where you come. Please note that rooms are usually available in the middle of the afternoon depending on your accommodation. We thank you to advise us if you plan to arrive late.

  • Download
    the trip description