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La Vélodyssée: A 1200 km long cycle route along the Atlantic coast

Find my cycling route

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FAQ

Navigating the route: GPS tracks and Guidebooks

Gps tracks of La VélodysséeTIP#1: WHERE CAN I FIND THE GPS TRACKS FOR THE DIFFERENT STAGES OF LA VÉLODYSSÉE?

There are two possibilities: 1/ you can download the GPS tracklog of each stage in .gpx format (shown below the map for each stage of the route) or 2/ you can download the traces for the 3 main sections of La Vélodyssée from the page "The GPS tracklog".

TIP #2: HOW CAN I VIEW THE GPS TRACES?

The GPS traces available on the website can be viewed on your bike GPS device (see the instructions provided) or on your smartphone via an application.

TIP #3: ARE THERE ANY GUIDEBOOKS ON LA VÉLODYSSÉE?

Guide du Routard

Yes! Several major publishers of cycling and travel guides have published guidebooks on La Vélodyssée (see the "Practical Information" section: Le Routard, Chamina, Itinérance à Vélo etc. However, these guides only exist in French and Spanish (for the moment).
You can also print out the stage and section notes by clicking on the ‘Print notes’ button.

TIP #4: IS IT POSSIBLE TO RECEIVE ANY DOCUMENTATION (MAPS, GUIDES ETC.)?

We don’t have any documentation to send by post. All the information we have is available directly on our website.
>> To obtain more detailed information on a specific area, we recommend contacting the local Tourist Office in the relevant ‘département’ or local area.

Tourist services (accommodation, bike rentals, tourist offices, visits)  

TIP #5: IS IT POSSIBLE TO RENT A BIKE IN ONE PLACE AND LEAVE IT IN ANOTHER?

Yes, there are facilities for this! 1/ certain bike rental companies offer one-way packages: they deliver and collect the bicycles which they rent out; and 2/ specialised transporters. See the list here.

TIP #6: ARE THERE ANY LUGGAGE TRANSFER SERVICES?

All Accueil Vélo accredited accommodation providers are able to provide a luggage transfer service to your next accommodation. This service may be offered free of charge or at a cost. NB. Make sure you inform the accommodation provider of this before your stay.
You may also use the services of a transporter specialised in luggage transfers for bike holidays.

TIP #7: WHAT IS THE ACCUEIL VÉLO BRAND?

Accueil Vélo accomodation

This quality label enables you to identify tourist service providers offering services adapted to the needs of cycle tourists. This may be a form of tourist accommodation (hotels, camp sites, gîtes, B&Bs ...), a bike rental company (and soon, a bike repair service), a Tourist Office or a visitor attraction or leisure centre.
The accredited service must be situated less than 5km from La Vélodyssée and must offer a number of specific services to cycle tourists (see the service list here).
>> On the La Vélodyssée website you will find only the names of service providers who have obtained Accueil Vélo accreditation.
>> On the route, these establishments can be recognised by the Accueil Vélo logo displayed at their entrance (as shown in the photo on the right).

Tourism professionals: if you would like to appear on our website/obtain the Accueil Vélo accreditation, consult the France Vélo Tourisme website.

Cycle path landscaping info (surface, signposting, etc.)

TIP #8 : WHAT’S THE SURFACE LIKE ?

This information is available for each stage – consult the comments in the « Details » tab.

TIP #9: WHAT IF I’M HAVING DIFFICULTY FOLLOWING THE SIGNPOSTS?

Signposting on La VélodysséeLa Vélodyssée is signposted throughout its entire length from North to South and in both directions. Local regional technicians maintain and improve the bike signage very regularly. However, a fault in the signposting may still occur…Tip n°1: find your way by considering the continuity of the route (main road, same type of surface etc.). Tip n°2: look in the distance and see if you can see the next signpost. Tip n° 3: find the signpost for the opposite direction. Put yourselves in the position of the cyclists coming towards you. There is a strong possibility that you will find the signs. 
Generally speaking, the advice for a cycling trip is the same as that for a hike: it is advisable to have maps or GPS tracks with you.

Your bike

TIP #10: CONSIDER USING AN ELECTRIC-BIKE!

Electric bikes (or E-bikes) are legally considered to be cycles if they respect the European directive: 250W maximum power, the electric motor is for assistance only, and you have to pedal to propel the bike forward. An E-bike will be your greatest ally during the steep hilly stages, even if there are very few of these along La Vélodyssée (mainly in the Basque Country and in Brittany), or if you are doing a long journey and you aren’t used to this. Take a look at this (non-exhaustive) list of E-bike rental companies.

Preparing for your trip

Bike on trainTIP #11: CAN I TRANSPORT MY BIKE BY TRAIN?

Beware: not all local/regional/national trains or buses are equipped to carry bikes. This depends on the age of the equipment, the local territorial planning policy, as well as the economic interest in providing such a service on any particular line. 

On the railways, many local TER trains and a certain number of mainline and high speed TGV trains do have coaches equipped with a bike storage facility. NB. Places are limited and subject to certain conditions.

Good to know: If your train doesn’t offer a storage facility, you can transport your bike folded up or disassembled. Bike bags sized a maximum of 90x120 cm are carried free of charge. 

Certain local and long distance bus lines are equipped with bike racks, or can transport your bike in the luggage compartment. Others only accept cycles which are disassembled and placed in a bike bag.

Details of these services can be found in the section "Getting to the cycle route" or on the route stage pages in the ‘Practical information’ tab.

TIP #12: WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL ON LA VÉLODYSSÉE?

If you possibly can, avoid the high season (15 July – 15 August): it will be very difficult at that time to book a room for one night. The pre and late season periods are the most pleasant times: less risk of sunburn, fewer cars on the roads and in the towns, and less of a wait at the camp site showers!

TIP #13: AM I TOO OLD/TOO YOUNG/NOT SPORTY ENOUGH?

Good news! Every individual in a normal physical condition can easily cover a distance of 40 km per day. This distance, covered at a gentle average cycling speed of 10 km/hr leaves time for plenty of stops and opportunities to take advantage of the surrounding countryside. As the days go by, you’ll be able to extend the distance. 
With children, it’s best to start with stages of between 15 and 25 km per day.

TIP #14: SHOULD WE DO LA VÉLODYSSÉE FROM NORTH TO SOUTH OR FROM SOUTH TO NORTH?

Both are possible! By convention the cycle route is described from North to South on the route stage pages on this website and in the cycling guides on La Vélodyssée. But, of course, you can also travel northwards from the Basque Country to Brittany. The route is signposted in both directions.

Travelling with a dog

TIP #15: IS IT POSSIBLE TO CYCLE LA VELODYSSEE WITH MY DOG? WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD BE TAKEN WHEN TRAVELLING WITH AN ANIMAL?

travelling with a dog on La Vélodyssée

Yes, you can take your dog with you on La Vélodyssée! However, you do need to take certain precautions. 
French law requires dogs to be kept on a lead on public footpaths and in public places. The penalty is a 1st class fine (maximum 38 €), or a 2nd class fine (maximum 150 €) if the animal is a 1st or 2nd category dog (Pitt Bull, Staffordshire terrier or Rottweiler). In this case, the dog must also be muzzled. Above all, you must be careful when other users come towards you or pass by you. In the Gironde, dogs are not allowed on the surfaced cycle pathway, but they can walk on the route shoulders and must be kept under the owner’s control. 

TIP #16: WILL MY DOG BE ACCEPTED EVERYWHERE (CAMP SITES, VISITOR ATTRACTIONS ETC)?

Every accommodation has its own internal regulations. So when booking, it is essential to enquire whether dogs are accepted or not. A surcharge may be made.
If the accommodation does accept dogs, your animal must be vaccinated against rabies and you may be required to show its vaccination passport. Dogs must also be kept on a lead. Category 1 and 2 dogs are forbidden.  
In addition, dogs are not allowed in food stores or on several beaches during the summer.

 

Crédits photos : © La Vélodyssée, © France Vélo Tourisme