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The Tour de Gironde à Vélo to Bordeaux

480 km(s) 8 à 10 j Difficulty : Easy
Stage 1 A cycle lane runs alongside the Garonne and ends at the Roger Lapébie cycle path, named after a famous cyclist from Gironde who won the Tour de France in 1937. This path, built on the right-of-way of the local railway line, has helped to revitalise the area by converting several of its stations into restaurants, shops, accommodation and exhibition halls. The Créon cycle station offers a host of services along the way.

Stage 2 Between Sauveterre-de-Guyenne and La Réole, the cycle route passes through gently undulating, highly picturesque countryside. La Réole, a medieval town on the banks of the Garonne founded in 977, is France's smallest Town of Art and History. At Fontet, the route joins the Garonne Canal. This is where the "Canal des 2 Mers à vélo" continues under a canopy of plane trees all the way to Toulouse, or even to Sète and the Mediterranean. The Tour du Gironde à vélo heads for Bazas on a cycle route. A diversion to Castets-et-Castillon allows you to see the beginning of the Canal with its locks and to take advantage of all the services this small port has to offer. Bazas is a famous medieval town, with a beautiful cathedral and a major pilgrimage site on the way to Santiago de Compostela.
Step 3 The route passes through the Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park. The pignada, a forest of working pines, has been planted by man since the 19th century. Passing through Uzeste, you can admire the collegiate church housing the tomb of Pope Clement V (in Villandraut, it's the Château that's worth a visit). In Hostens, the Domaine Gérard Lagors offers both relaxation and bathing, as well as all the services needed to make cycling as comfortable as possible. The route then follows the Leyre and its gallery forest to the delta, which flows into the Bay of Arcachon.

Step 4 After the picturesque oyster-farming villages of the Bassin d'Arcachon and exceptional natural areas such as the Domaine de Certes and Domaine de Graveyron, the route follows the Côte d'Argent to the Pointe de Grave. Endless sandy beaches, a vast forest of maritime pines and large lakes provide an idyllic backdrop. The seaside resorts of Le Porge, Lacanau, Carcans, Hourtin, Vendays-Montalivet and Soulac-sur-Mer are all great places to discover and relax. Crossing the Gironde Estuary from Le Verdon to Royan is a unique experience thanks to the ferry.
Step 5 The route follows the largest estuary in Western Europe, between cliffs, vineyards, large marshes and carrelets, the typical large fishing nets. The route starts in Royan and takes in Talmont-sur-Gironde, "France's most beautiful village", Mortagne-sur-Gironde and Vitrezay, the gateway to the Gironde. After a visit to the Terres d'Oiseaux ornithological park, a beautifully landscaped greenway leads to the citadel of Blaye, fortified by Vauban and designated by UNESCO (along with Fort Pâté and Fort Médoc) as a Verrou Vauban. A ferry takes you across the estuary from Blaye to Lamarque.

Step 6 After crossing the Gironde estuary, the route leads directly to the heart of the Médoc vineyards, where one world-famous wine-producing village and château follows another. Fort Médoc, above all, is not to be missed. Take a break for a wine-tasting visit before continuing on to more urbanised, but equally interesting, areas. The grand finale in Bordeaux is the quays of the Garonne.

The Tour de Gironde à Vélo is a 480km discovery itinerary, which can be done as a day trip or as part of a longer break: from the vineyards to the ocean, it allows you to discover 10 must-sees, including 6 UNESCO World Heritage sites. It takes in some of the routes of the Vélodyssée and the Canal des 2 Mers à Vélo, as well as other departmental cycle paths. The fact that 90% of the route is exclusive right-of-way makes it ideal for families. The main stages: Bordeaux, Entre-deux-Mers, the Canal de Garonne, the Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park, the Bassin d’Arcachon, the Atlantic coast, the Gironde Estuary and the Médoc vineyards before returning to Bordeaux.