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You are here: Home Your journey Our weekend and holiday ideas 2 days by bike between La Rochelle and the Poitevin marshlands, for lovers of historical heritage

2 days by bike between La Rochelle and the Poitevin marshlands, for lovers of historical heritage

Is the sun out? Then why not spend the weekend with your other half enjoying a bike ride along La Vélo Francette? From La Rochelle to Marans, the canal will be your guide, helping you to discover numerous structures designed for life on and around the river: locks, canal aqueducts, reservoirs, ports, as well as the town of Marans, its heritage, and its parks and gardens.

Practical information

Number of days: 2 days / 1 night

Start / Finish: La Rochelle

Distance: approximately 55 km

Caen railway station: 3h15 from Paris

Accueil Vélo accomodation: The chambres d’hôtes Barbecane, a peaceful haven alongside the canal


Bike travel in Suisse NormandeDay 1: From La Rochelle to Marans for lunch (26.3 km)

See the map of the cycle route

After leaving La Rochelle take a break midway at the Andilly locks, a remarkable site, which was renovated at the end of 2015. Here, the canal from Marans to La Rochelle meets the Canal du Curé, the site of a crucial lock system at this canal crossroads.

Welcome to Marans, a warm and welcoming meeting place! On arrival in Marans you will notice the port-style architecture around the sailing base and the quaysides. The port of Marans was once a trading hub. Today, it has its own marina with berths for up to 200 vessels.

But, don't hang around any longer, leave your bike at your accommodation: the maison d’hôtes Barbecane. Charlène, the owner, will share her love of the Poitevin marshlands and Marans with you. We are sure you will adore the welcoming ambiance of this house!

Dine on the Marans quayside. There is a wide range of restaurants to suit every taste: fast food, local cuisine, gourmet dining, bars, etc.

In the afternoon, wend your way to the Bois Dinot. This 1.5 hectare fully signed route is a real cosmopolitan experience where the marshland's trees, shrubs and plants grow freely with a diversity that fills the senses.

To end your day, head for the Marans jetties where you can hire a motorboat, a pedalo or a canoe for a trip on the Sèvre Niortaise.

From September to June, you can prepare for the next day by obtaining your town guide from the Marans Tourist Office (closed on Sundays, except in the Summer).

Not to be missed today:

· A siesta in the shade of the willow trees that line the canals, along the waterside
· The boat trip
· The visit to Bois Dinot


Day 2: A historic tour of Marans and back to La Rochelle (26.3 km)

See the map of the cycle route

After a restful night and an ample breakfast at Barbecane, head for the centre of Marans. Use your town guide to help you enjoy the charm of the narrow streets, market, shops and the Romanesque church, which is recognised as a historic monument, and the modern church with its glass and steel bell tower!

Just outside the town, take time to visit the last working windmill in the Aunis region: the Moulin de Beauregard. Your master miller guide will reveal all the site's hidden secrets: you will be mesmerised by the sound of the mechanism and even taste the organic wheat flour produced by the mill!

Plan your picnic and take a break in the Town Hall gardens before getting back on your bikes and retracing your steps to La Rochelle. These gardens for all seasons are home to 300 less common species and cover an area of 4,624m². To keep the town in bloom, the team of gardeners produce more than 20,000 plants in the municipal greenhouses.

Now you are refreshed, it's time to head back to La Rochelle!


Not to be missed today:

· The tour of historic Marans, with your (free) town guide
· The visit to the Moulin de Beauregard
· The Marans gardens - a town awarded 4 flowers in the France in bloom competition


For more information:

Please contact or visit the Aunis Marais Poitevin Tourist Office!