Trip focus Bike and Heritage
- 86.7 km
- Return trip by train
- 4 days
The artistic route along the Loire
Take your kids to discover Nantes, with its vibrant culture and fascinating neighbourhoods, then show them the River Loire and its unique bird sanctuary dotted with original and amusing artworks. And finally reward them with the Atlantic Ocean and its array of large and small sandy beaches!
Highlight of the route: Les Machines de l’Ile artistic project
Explore the magical world of the 'Ile de Nantes’ housed on the site of former industrial shipyards.
Climb the 12 m high Grand Elephant and explore the Galerie des Machines or take a voyage on the Marine World Carrousel.
This is an Accueil Vélo accredited site.
Day 1 - Nantes > St-Jean de Boiseau (15 km)
Welcome to Nantes ! You can leave your vehicle outside the city centre in a free car park (eg. Quai de la Jonelière) and follow the La Vélodyssée signs to the city centre. Or arrive directly in the centre by train and hire a bike upon arrival.
Don’t miss the Château des ducs de Bretagne which can store your bags while you visit. After lunch in the Bouffay district, head off for the Ile de Nantes to discover the River Loire and the mechanical elephant at the Machines de l’Ile !
Leave the Ile from the south, following either the La Vélodyssée or Loire à Vélo signage –both these cycle paths take the same route. Stop off at the picturesque village of Trentemoult with its brightly coloured houses.
Go on for 15km to Saint-Jean de Boiseau and spend the night in one of our Accueil Vélo accredited accommodation spots.
Day 2 - St-Jean de Boiseau > Paimboeuf (28 km)
Back in the saddle, set off for the canal de la Martinière which runs alongside the River Loire! This unusual itinerary combines a bird sanctuary with the Estuary Trail artworks such as the tilting yacht, the Misconceivable, at Le Pellerin!
The Quai Vert in Frossay is the perfect place for a picnic, or you can paddle around in a canoe or go on a nature walk with a guide!
Join the banks of the Loire again at Paimboeuf and spend the night at the Camping l’Estuaire camp site which offers a number of bike-friendly facilities.
Day 3 - Paimboeuf > St-Brevin-les-Pins (18.4 km)
Start the day with a stroll round the village of Paimboeuf to discover the lighthouse and the brightly coloured facades clustered around this former outer harbour of Nantes. Pedalling alongside the River Loire, you’ll then come to the Jardin étoilé, an Estuary Trail artwork by Kinya Maruyama based on the Ursa Major star constellation.
Set off from the Paimboeuf fishing village towards the sea. A temporary route along country roads leads to Saint Nazaire. In Saint-Brevin lies the vast Loire Estuary where the Saint-Nazaire bridge heralds the entrance to the Atlantic Ocean! Pause to observe the strange Serpent d’Océan hidden behind the Marime Museum (in bad weather, possibility of an afternoon visit).
After so much effort, what could be nicer than a picnic on the beach overlooking the sea? Enjoy an afternoon walk amidst the shady pine trees, have a go at sand yachting with the family, or take a dip in the ocean (lifeguard-supervised beach).
Spend the night in Accueil Vélo accredited accommodation spots.
Day 4 - St-Brevin-les-Pins > Pornic (25.6 km)
Leave the long, sandy beaches of Saint Brevin and make for Pornic and its sailing harbour! A multitude of restaurants await you on the old port.
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.
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Photos credits: © LAD / V. Bauza, © La Vélodyssée / J. DAMASE, © La Vélodyssée / A. LAMOUREUX