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

Find my cycling route

No stage matches your requirements

Trip focus Coastal cycling

  • Easy
  • 41 km
  • Return trip by bus
  • 3 days

Section La Rochelle - Royan Stages Marennes - La Palmyre La Palmyre - Royan

1st cycling holidays with the kids: forests and seaside

A breath of fresh sea air between two estuaries and the ocean – now there’s a good idea for your first family cycling holiday.

For a successful first getaway by bike with the children, what could be better than a cycle route through varied, outstanding scenery: pine trees, sand dunes, long beaches, cove-indented coastlines and seaside villas …
The La Coubre Lighthouse and La Palmyre Zoo provide two cultural and entertaining stop- off points.

Itinerary highlight: the La Coubre lighthouse and its eco-museum
Built in 1904, the current lighthouse was at that time located 1.8 km from the coast. From the top of its 300 steps, you’ll have a stunning 360° panoramic view of the Gironde Estuary, La Coubre Forest, the Arvert peninsula and Oléron Island. At the foot of the tower, the eco-museum recounts the adventures and history of the lighthouse. The site is Accueil Vélo (Cyclists Welcome) accredited.

Day 1: Ronce-Les-Bains <> La Palmyre (23 km)

Leave your car safely at the Post Office car park in La Tremblade. Then it’s off on your adventure! To get to La Vélodyssée, take the little road which leads to the ‘rond-point des bateaux’ roundabout (this is the little connection point shown in purple on the cycle route stage map). Once you have gone over the roundabout, La Vélodyssée takes you on to Ronce-les-Bains, then into the heart of La Coubre forest.

You’ll soon be tempted to stop off: the Galon d’or beach, where the children will easily imagine themselves kite-surfing. The Pointe Espagnole, where the beach is simply breathtaking. Or La Coubre lighthouse where the ‘small number of steps’ will be quickly forgotten as soon as you reach the top…

Stop for a picnic at Baie de Bonne Anse, one of the biggest tidal lagoons, and then it’s just a short ride to reach La Palmyre.

Here, you can end the day building a sandcastle on the beach, before settling in at one of the Accueil Vélo accredited establishments (see list of accommodation between Marennes and La Palmyre).

 Good to know: if you want to travel light, you can get information at Accueil Vélo accredited lodgings about having your luggage transported from one stage to another (fee paying service).

Day 2: Safari and cycling La Palmyre <> Royan (18 km)

Option 1: Start the day by visiting La Palmyre zoo, one of the biggest in Europe with over 1600 animals from all five continents. It is rated as the second best zoo in France by Tripadvisor!

 Good to know: the zoo has designated bicycle parking facilities.

In the afternoon, head off towards Royan, star of the ‘Coast of Beauty’ and spend the evening there, followed by a night at an Accueil Vélo accredited establishment (see list of accommodation between La Palmyre and Royan).

Option 2: spend all day and another night at La Palmyre. There are plenty of activities for kids, and cycle paths abound.


Day 3: A relaxing day in Royan, then return to Ronce-les-Bains by bus

Option 1: You are already in Royan: your programme for the day includes sightseeing and relaxation! If you’ve had enough of cycling and you feel like a ‘change of air’ - fair enough. We suggest a boat trip to the Cordouan Lighthouse - an entirely different, yet unforgettable adventure! Several companies offer crossings sailing from Royan. Information available from the lighthouse website.

When you get back, why not take a well-deserved a break on the beach, unless you fancy a turn on the big wheel? (For that, you have to visit between April and September).

Option 2: You arrive in Royan after a short (15 km) cycle ride. We bet, however, that those 15km will take longer than expected… because taking a few nice photos of the family on their bikes is irresistible on this seaside itinerary!

In both cases, to get back to your starting point, one of you will have to go back to Ronce-les-Bains via the CARA bus line number 22 so that you can pick up the vehicle you left at the place of departure. The others can take a relaxed stroll around Royan. The town was recently awarded the ‘Ville d’Art et d’Histoire’ (Town of Art and History) label, for its 1950s architecture.





Customise your own trip from our suggestions!

The suggestions given here represent just a few of the many ways in which you can design your holiday, reach the cycle route, rent bikes, find accommodation or a place to eat ….

For more information on transport or Accueil Vélo accredited establishments, check our special pages:


For more information...

What if you don’t have an internet connection to find the route maps or accommodation contact details on our website? There are many La Vélodyssée guides and information sheets available - for totally hassle-free cycling, take them along with you! There’s no better source of information than the families, experienced cyclists, seniors or young people who have previously done all or part of the route. Read about them in our Testimonials section.


You & Us

If you have a technical question, feel free to contact us.

Do you want to share your experiences ? Send us your comments !

>> Click on the "Contact" tab at the bottom of the page.


> Sabine (June 2015): "It was just perfect for a first cycling holiday experience with young children.”  Read more


Photos credits: © S. ANDRIEU