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la vélodysée

In this Article

The Vélodyssée: 1,200 km of cycling from Brittany to the Basque Country

In this Article

Published on 11 July 2024

La Vélodyssée, the French section of the Atlantic Coast Route - EuroVelo 1, is a cycle route that crosses Brittany and follows the Atlantic coast to the Basque Coast, offering a superb route. From the flower-filled locks of the Nantes to Brest canal through the Landes forest and the Atlantic islands, La Vélodyssée follows an itinerary that runs alongside the ocean, offering remarkable panoramas between land and sea, fully signposted from end to end. At 1,200 km long, La Vélodyssée is ideal for a cycling trip with the ocean as your companion! Between Roscoff and Hendaye, nearly 80% of the route is on paths reserved exclusively for cyclists. Don't wait any longer to explore the riches of the regions by following the longest developed cycle route in France.


La Vélodyssée, in numbers

📅 2012: official opening of the route;

🚲 1,200 km of cycle route, developed in both directions;

🗺️ crosses 3 regions and 9 departments;

💯 100% of the route signposted and secured;

⛑️ 76% of the route on greenways or cycle paths;

🔗 part of the Atlantic Coast Route (EuroVelo 1) with 5 connected cycle routes;

🔁 includes 5 loops of 25 to 80 km attached to La Vélodyssée;

🚲 40 to 80 km is the average number of kilometers cyclists cover per day depending on their physical condition.

Where does La Vélodyssée start?

La Vélodyssée starts in Roscoff, a charming port town located in the Finistère department, Brittany. This cycle route then extends southward, traveling the French Atlantic coast for over 1,200 km to Hendaye, at the Spanish border.

carte la vélodysée

What is the most beautiful part of La Vélodyssée?

To be honest, it's hard to answer that question. La Vélodyssée offers varied and beautiful landscapes throughout its route. Each section has its own charm and features that can be appreciated by different types of cyclists and cycle tourists. It's difficult to objectively determine the "most beautiful" part of La Vélodyssée, as it largely depends on personal preferences and interests.

However, here are some highlights of this route:

- the Bloscon point with its view over the Bay of Morlaix;

- the Nantes to Brest Canal;

- the Breton marsh and the Poitevin marsh;

- the Pointe de l'Aiguillon, between sea and marsh;

- the Coubre lighthouse and its 300 steps;

- the Cordouan lighthouse, nicknamed King of Lighthouses;

- the Arcachon basin and the Pilat dune;

- the Landes forest with its numerous lakes;

- the Sainte-Madeleine de Bidart chapel and its belvedere overlooking the ocean;

- the Basque coast with its panorama over the ocean and the Pyrenees.

Each part of La Vélodyssée has something unique to offer, whether it's coastal panoramas, picturesque villages, historical sites, or preserved natural areas. The choice of the "most beautiful" part therefore depends on what each person is looking for in their cycling experience along this famous cycle route.

How to prepare for your first cycling trip?

Determine the duration and timing of the trip

The duration of your trip greatly influences the necessary equipment. Indeed, organizing a week-long trip differs from organizing a month-long trip! It is therefore important to establish the duration of your trip as well as the time of year planned.

The weather plays a crucial role in how you travel. The equipment required for high temperatures will not be the same as for the rainy season. Consequently, it is essential to take the expected weather conditions into account to prepare adequately.

Choose the ideal bike for La Vélodyssée

In general, the La Vélodyssée route is suitable for riding, but in some areas of Brittany, Loire-Atlantique, and Charente-Maritime, the track surface can be uneven and gravelly, sometimes less smooth than asphalt.

For a touring trip on La Vélodyssée, we therefore recommend using a hybrid bike, touring bike, or gravel bike equipped with tires at least 28 mm wide.

👉 Discover our selection of the best Gravel bikes

Equip your bike properly

To prepare for your trip, equip your bike with essential items such as a helmet, waterproof panniers, a tent, and other necessities. Once you have determined the duration of your trip and the time of year, you will better know what to pack.

For a first trip, it is indeed better to opt for waterproof panniers rather than a trailer as this will save you from having to pull extra weight while pedaling.

Have a full check-up

Whether you travel solo by bike or with your family, for a day or several days, it is crucial not to neglect the condition of your bike to ensure your safety.

For a day trip, at least check:

- the brakes;

- the lighting;

- the gears;

- the condition and pressure of the tires (we recommend good puncture-resistant tires such as Schwalbe marathon plus).

For a multi-day trip, if you are not a mechanical expert, a full check-up by a specialist is essential. It will also be an opportunity to check:

- the bike's transmission;

- the wheels;

- the tightening of bike parts.

💡 Also consider:

- adjusting your bike to your size (saddle and handlebars);

- investing in a comfortable saddle and good cycling shorts;

- carrying a small repair kit;

- having a lock for all your food and sightseeing stops.

Travel light in bikepacking

Take only the essentials and avoid overloading yourself with superfluous items! If you travel more than 25 km a day, there's no need to overburden yourself! Don't forget the essentials: a windbreaker, socks, and glasses. Opt for comfortable clothing rather than stylish outfits and don't bring your entire wardrobe. Above all, make sure to bring equipment to repair your bike, as an incident can always occur!

voyager en bikepacking

La Vélodyssée and its 1,200 km of cycling from Brittany to the Basque Country is an invitation to discover the diversity of French landscapes. By traveling this mythical route, cyclists cross regions with strong identities, from the wild coasts of Brittany to the sunny beaches of the Basque Country, through the mysterious forests of the Landes and the charming towns and villages of the Atlantic coast. Each kilometer offers a new discovery, a new wonder. La Vélodyssée perfectly embodies the spirit of slow and sustainable travel, where each pedal stroke brings you closer to nature and the hidden treasures of our heritage.

To be perfectly prepared, feel free to discover in this article all our additional tips for traveling long distances by bike and enjoying life in bikepacking.


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