Day 4 Rieux to Port Saint Pere (76kms) (190m ascent)
A short day, to take into account an afternoon ferry trip across the Loire River. And to provide some rest. It is flat again today! I hope that when we do encounter some hills that riders are not put off.
Today we will not be riding on the bike path at all. There is no bike path option. Instead we ride south east towards Nantes along rural roads. We avoid the traffic and stay out of the city to cross the Loire River at Coueron. The free 20 minute journey takes us to Le Pellerin.
After the ferry ride, we have about 3/4 hour cycling through flat farmlands to reach Port Saint Pere. Our campsite tonight is Le Camping de la Moriniere, overlooking the L’Acheneau river.
Day 5 Port Saint Pere to Saint Vincent Sur Graon (91kms) (230m ascent)
Once again there is no bike path option today.
It is a longish day, but another flat day, although a little bit more undulating than the past 3 days. We will be cycling in the western plain. Staying out of the big towns (east of Challans and west of La Roche sur Yon) but nipping through enough smaller towns and villages to get the full French rural experience.
Today’s campsite is in a wooded enclave behind the small town of Saint Vincent Sur Graron. It looks like there is a bar in town. Whose round is it?
Day 6 Saint Vincent Sur Graon to Rochefort
Mark’s beauty sleep day. It is a longish day, but the additional time on the bike will be compensated for by not having to erect tents and having a bed to sleep in. It is also another pancake flat day. There are options today. Tonight we finish in the coastal town of Rochefort.
Option 1 (Majority bike path) (113kms) (50m ascent)
We pick up the Bike Route #8 at Lucon where we ride alongside the Canal du Lucon to Triaize where the towpath merges with bike route EV1 alongside the Canal du Marans a La Rochelle. This takes us into the seaside town of La Rochelle where the bike path follows the coast for a while before winding inland to finish in Rochefort. This is the longest of the options, but is also the flattest.
Option 2 (some bike path) (96kms) (70m ascent) (preferred option)
17kms shorter and negligibly more ascent (20m over option 1). This route utilises about 27kms of bike path #8 and EV1 from Lucon to Marans. From Marans it is rural riding all the way to Rochefort.
Option 3 (no bike path) (92kms) (90m ascent)
This is marginally shorter and doesn’t involve any bike paths, so it will be a quicker ride. There are also no significant hills. We ride into Lucon, but instead of taking the canal path we remain on roads and pretty much follow the same route as option 2.
Hotels in Rochefort
There are the usual chain hotels:
Ibis and Campanile who are both charging approximately 50Euros per night (not incl. breakfast):
I also found a small ‘mom & pop’ type hotel which appears to be offering rooms at about 35Euros, but not much information:
There are a plethora of more expensive hotels ranging from about 70 – 100Euros per night.