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The land of the yellow bicycle – a weekend in La Rochelle

thierry llansades (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The land of the yellow bicycle – a weekend in La Rochelle

Bike Touring Collection by Florence CT



2-3 h

/ day

53.1 mi

1,000 ft

1,000 ft

Feel like taking to the open seas? This Collection is for you. I invite you to a weekend in La Rochelle, a coastal city in southwestern France. This 85-kilometre (53 mi) adventure, divided over two Tours, is aimed at lovers of seafood, water, watersports and anyone who enjoys an invigorating sea breeze. Welcome to the land of yellow bikes!

In La Rochelle, cycling is everywhere and for everyone. A big part of this is because the coastal city, in southwestern France, has made its famous yellow bikes available for people to use. And that's why I'm sharing this cycling hotspot. This Collection between land and sea is an attempt to combine emblematic places in and around La Rochelle. Each Tour has a coastal section and an inland section.

On the seaward side, you'll follow the broad outline of the Vélodyssée, a 1,300-kilometre (808 mi) cycle route along the Atlantic coast. This route benefits from numerous bicycle-friendly facilities and offers breathtakingly beautiful views in all seasons. Enjoy these views while sipping oysters in an oyster hut, or savouring an artisanal ice cream overlooking the sea. The region's coastline is made up of limestone cliffs and large coves that are ideal for swimming, such as Chef de Baie or Châtelaillon-plage.

On the land side, expect to be enchanted by the surrounding villages. The houses, with their light-coloured facades and orange tiles, are embellished by the hollyhock blooms that abound in the region in summer. The villages of La Jarne, Dompierre-sur-mer and Nieul-sur-mer are good examples, which you can discover by taking the back roads. You can also travel for several kilometres along the Marans canal. It links La Rochelle to the town of Marans, further to the north-east. Its primary function is to drain water from the surrounding communes into the sea, but it has been transformed into a wonderful walking area.

Once you've arrived at your stopover in Dompierre-sur-Mer, you can use the local gîtes and campsite to spend the night in peace. There are also plenty of opportunities to treat yourself and enjoy the pace of life in La Rochelle.

A mountain bike or a gravel bike are the best options for this route, as long as you have fairly chunky tyres. You’ll need a windbreaker and sunglasses. The terrain is flat and most of the Collection is on cycle paths or tracks.
La Rochelle station is served by many regional and national trains. An intermodal hub, it provides connections with many bus routes in the conurbation and the departmental network. Once there, you can hire a bike from the shop on the station forecourt, or from the tourist office at Le Gabut.

Finally, I recommend that you do this Collection with family or friends, whether you're a beginner or an experienced adventurer.

On The Map


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A weekend in La Rochelle – full route

53.0 mi

1,000 ft

1,000 ft

Last updated: August 31, 2023

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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  1. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: La Rochelle to Dompierre-sur-Mer – a weekend in La Rochelle

    31.3 mi
    8.3 mph
    575 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    During this first stage of 52 kilometers, you travel along the southern coast of La Rochelle before turning north, in the middle of the agricultural lands of the region. Most of the route uses cycle paths. On your way, you come across several unmissable sites in the La Rochelle region.


    You leave from

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  2. 02:41
    21.8 mi
    8.1 mph
    425 ft
    475 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    During this second day of 35 kilometers, you leave the Marans canal to approach the northern coast of La Rochelle, a real treat and a good dose of iodine! There is no notable difficulty on this Tour except to set foot on the ground when taking the Plomb footbridge.


    At the start, you leave Dompierre, heading

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    53.1 mi
  • Duration
    06:27 h
  • Elevation
    1,000 ft1,000 ft

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