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The Gironde Estuary by bike: Royan / Talmont-sur-Gironde / Mortagne-sur-Gironde

[ Cycle routes Canal des deux mers à vélo ] [ The Gironde Estuary by bike ]
  • 38.6 km
  • intermediaire Level Intermediate

Past Royan’s port, this stage begins at Royan’s Grande Conche Beach. Head along the seafront on a lovely shaded cycle path. The cycle route then threads between tracks and quiet roads to Meschers-sur-Gironde before reaching Talmont-sur-Gironde, an astonishing look-out post onto the estuary and part of the association of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. Caillaud Cliff and the square fishing nets suspended above the waters add to the atmosphere. The stage continues via quiet, sometimes steep roads and tracks to Mortagne-sur-Gironde, a port well protected from the temperamental Gironde.

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The route
Follow the cycle track to leave Royan.
Then use a mix of quiet roads and tracks up to Talmont-sur-Gironde.
From Caillaud Cliff to Mortagne-sur-Gironde, the route is steeper, going along a mix of tracks, greenways and quiet but rough small roads.
Between Les Monards and Mortagne-sur-Gironde, the paths along the route are, for the time being, very rough.

Take care:
- Be especially careful when crossing at Port-des-Monards: the RD 145 road here is narrow and winding and can be dangerous.
- Take particular care at the place named Chez Gautron: crossing the RD 145 here requires caution; then you have to negotiate a steep, 10% grassy slope for  210 metres, forcing you to dismount from your bike.

SNCF train stations

Royan station :
TER regional trains and Intercités trains serve Saintes (7 to 10 trains daily) ; Correspondence from Saintes to Angoulême/Poitiers/Tours/Paris/Niort/La Rochelle/Nantes
 

Check timetables

 

Tourist offices

Office de Tourisme de Royan 

Office de Tourisme de Talmont

Office de Tourisme de Saint Georges de Didonne
Office de Tourisme de Meschers sur Gironde

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Royan, symbol of seaside pleasures

Royan boulevard Garnier Bombardments in 1945 left Royan 85% destroyed, but after the war, the seaside town became a ‘laboratory for research into town planning’. Great architects like Le Corbusier and Niemeyer helped rebuild the town in modern style. The seafront, its cycle track and La Grande Conche Beach, the church of Notre-Dame by Guillaume Gillet (1955/1958), the central market and the station all contributed to making Royan the most ‘50s’ town in France. Since 2010, it has been recognized for its cultural riches as a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire.

 

Shad and white estuary shrimps

le phare de cordouan Shad is a big, blueish-grey fish that travels up the Gironde Estuary from March to July to spawn in the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers. To taste it, it’s best eaten either grilled, or served with a sorrel or gribiche sauce (the latter including eggs and capers). As to the white Gironde Estuary shrimps, they are often flavoured with aniseed and are delicious to nibble on with an aperitif.

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