The Tour of Gironde by Bike is more than a cycle route, it is a total immersion in Gironde land. There are those who devour its 480 km in one go and those who savor each portion with pleasure, little by little. The tour of Gironde by bike, to each his own tempo!
Through the paths you take, the Gironde reveals itself to be wine-growing, architectural, oceanic and resolutely heritage. You will discover no less than 10 unmissable Girondin sites, including 6 on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This tour of Gironde by bike takes up part of the routes of the Velodyssey and Canal of the 2 Seas by Bike as well as other departmental tracks. Its last advantage: 90% of its route is on its own site (sections not shared with motorists), which makes it an ideal route for the family.
Our practical advice
To help you prepare for your Tour de Gironde by bike, our experts have concocted a practical Guide.
Our slow favorites for a refreshing break
The Tour de Gironde by bike is to everyone's own tempo, so don't hesitate to stop in the shade from time to time. Moreover, we have selected nature spots for you:
Bordeaux stage: The nature reserve of the marshes of Bruges
In Entre-deux-Mers: Lake Laubesc in Cassac
In South Gironde: Prade Lake in Bazas, Gât mort lagoon in Louchats or even the valley of the Leyre
On the Bassin d'Arcachon: The Domaine de Juillet and Graveyron or nature reserve of salt meadows of Arès-Lège
In the Médoc: the Cousseau pond national nature reserve ou the lagoon of Contaut
In Haute-Gironde: Terres d'Oiseaux
The stages of the Tour de Gironde by bike
First stage of the Tour de Gironde by bike: Bordeaux
We have chosen to start in Bordeaux, our first stage on the Tour de Gironde by bike, but of course you are free to start your Tour wherever you wish.
The departure of Bordeaux is carried out by the quays and the stone bridge; a cycle lane runs along the Garonne and ends on the Roger Lapébie track, named after a famous Girondin cyclist, winner of the Tour de France in 1937. This track built on the right-of-way of the railway of local interest allowed revitalize this sector by converting several of its stations into places to eat, shop, accommodation and showrooms. The Station Vélo de Créon offers many services along the way.
Second stage, the Abbaye de la Sauve-Majeure
This National Monument, a masterpiece of Romanesque art erected in 1079, was an important stopover on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Its bell tower offers a superb view of the entire Entre-deux-Mers.
Between Sauveterre-de-Guyenne and La Réole, the cycle route crosses slightly hilly and very picturesque landscapes. La Reole, a medieval city on the banks of the Garonne, founded in 977, is the smallest City of Art and History in France.
La Réole, medieval town on the route of the Tour de Gironde by bike
Founded in 977, La Réole is the smallest City of Art and History in France. Its rich heritage, from the former Benedictine monastery to the old Town Hall, can be discovered by strolling through the alleys.
At Fontet, the route joins the Canal de Garonne. It is here that “The Canal des 2 Mers à vélo” continues its journey under a canopy of plane trees to Toulouse, or even to Sète on the Mediterranean. The Tour de Gironde by bike takes the direction of Bazas by a cycle route. A detour via Castets-et-Castillon allows you to see the beginning of the Canal with its locks and to take advantage of all the services that this small port offers.
At Bazas, you cross the Saint James Way of Vézelay, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO under the Routes of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, as is the Cathedral of Saint-Jean-Baptiste. We take advantage of the visit to taste the tasty Boeuf de Bazas!
The route then crosses the Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park. The pignada, a pine forest, has been planted by man since the XNUMXth century. The crossing of Uzeste makes it possible to admire the collegiate church which shelters the tomb of Clement V. In Villandraut, it is the Castle of the pope Clement V which deserves a detour. in Hostens, the Domaine Gérard Lagors offers both relaxation and swimming and all the services necessary for the comfort of cyclists.
The Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park, a portion of nature
A first-rate eco-tourist destination, this vast territory occupied by the pine forest offers many healthy stops along the Leyre or at the Gérard Lagors departmental estate.
The route then follows the Leyre and its gallery forest to the delta which emerges in Arcachon Bay.
The Tour de Gironde by bike at the gates of the Bassin d'Arcachon
An inland sea of exceptional richness that has become the 6th Marine Nature Park in France, whose reputation for oysters is second to none, the Bassin d'Arcachon alternates natural spaces, seaside resorts and oyster-farming villages full of charm. The route allows you to discover the salt meadows in Arès or the natural domain of Juillet and Graveyron.
After the picturesque oyster-farming villages of Arcachon bay , the route runs along the Côte d'Argent to the Pointe de Grave. Sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, the immense forest of maritime pines and the great lakes offer an idyllic setting.
The Médoc lakes
Lac d'Hourtin-Carcans is quite simply the largest freshwater lake in France, connected by a canal to Lac de Lacanau. Grandiose and protected spaces like the Etang de Cousseau nature reserve or the Contaut lagoon.
The seaside resorts of Porge, Lacanau, Carcans, Hourtin, Vendays-Montalivet and Soulac-sur-Mer are all stops for discovery and relaxation. Crossing the Gironde Estuary from Verdon to Royan is a unique experience thanks to the ferry.
The Cordouan lighthouse in sight
The oldest lighthouse in Europe (2018th century) and the last lighthouse at sea open to the public, its exceptional architecture makes it an ideal candidate for registration with UNESCO in XNUMX. Just recognition for the "Versailles of the Sea", to which you can get there by boat from Le Verdon-Sur-Mer or Royan.
The route runs along the largest estuary in Western Europe between cliffs, hillsides of vines, large marshes and squares, these large typical fishing nets. The stage begins in Royan by small roads up to Talmont-sur-Gironde, "Most beautiful village in France", Mortagne-sur-Gironde and Vitrezay, gateway to the Gironde.
After a visit to the Terres d'Oiseaux ornithological park, a beautiful landscaped greenway leads to the citadel of Blaye, fortified by Vauban and distinguished by UNESCO (with Fort Pâté and Fort Médoc) as Verrou Vauban. A ferry allows you to cross the estuary from Blaye to Lamarque.
The citadel of Blaye UNESCO
Overlooking the largest estuary in Western Europe, this defensive complex fortified by Vauban between 1685 and 1689 is part of the "Verrou Vauban" inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. not to be missed: the visit to the underground passages.
After crossing the Gironde estuary, the route leads directly to the heart of the Médoc vineyards where villages and wine chateaux with world-famous names follow one another. Fort Medoc, is above all, not to be missed. A visit and tasting break is essential before continuing towards more urbanized areas, but no less interesting. The arrival in Bordeaux is in apotheosis on the quays of the Garonne.
Margaux and Fort Médoc, the latest wonders of the Tour de Gironde by bike
Even if Château Margaux, Premier Grand Cru Classé, can be admired from afar, the Médoc vineyard is rich in discoveries, including Fort Médoc, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List under the "Verrou Vauban" scheme.
Back in Bordeaux, the trip ends here.