For the time being, follow the signs indicating Le Thouet à Vélo (signs for La Vélo Francette will be added in due course). For much of the way, this stage takes you along roads shared with motorised traffic, but with a cycle track at St-Jean-de-Thouars and a stretch of greenway through Soulièvres Park. There are some slopes: through L’Enfer Wood, at the level of the Château de Marsay; after crossing the Thouet at St-Généroux; just after Availles-Thouarsais; and cycling up to Airvault.
Take special care along the lovely descent before Argentine.
SNCF Train Services
Thouars station: on the regional TER line 14 Les Sables-d’Olonne > Bressuire > Saumur
Thouars: designated a Ville d’Art & d’Histoire thanks to its rich cultural heritage: the château des Ducs de Trémoïlle; the historic Chouans bridge; the churches dedicated to St Laon and St Médard; the local Ecomusée du Moulin de Crevant; the Imbert Floral Gardens; the Henri Barré Museum (on local history and crafts)
Missé: St-Pierre Church; the picnic area near the château
St-Généroux: the medieval bridge and church
Argentine: the pretty, hill-surrounded village
Availles-Thouarsais: the limestone cliffs; the truffle-producing traditions; a very pleasant picnic spot beside the Thouet River, with toilets provided.
Soulièvres: Soulièvres Park and Meadow; the Pont de Vernay bridge
Airvault: designated a Petite Cité de caractère, the village of Airvault grew up around the Augustinian abbey here, one of the greatest in the Poitou region. Visit the village’s medieval centre, including the abbey church, the covered market, the underground fountain, the Musée Jacques Guidez (on Poitou crafts and traditions), and the market, held Saturday mornings in the covered market