Day 1: Arrival in Cognac
You can fly to La Rochelle, Bordeaux or Paris and take the train to Cognac. Overnight at a centrally located hotel, a short taxi ride or 10-15 minutes walk from the train station. You may park your car in the hotel garage (supplement), or park for free in the street.
Day 2: Round tour Cognac 55 km long version / 49 km short version
You are leaving Cognac on small roads along the Charente river, heading for Jarnac. Follow the river on small roads passing hamlets and vineyards. Close to the river in the center of Jarnac, you can go to the head quarters of Courvoisier for a guided visit. Jarnac is the home town of the late French president François Mitterrand, who is also buried here. A museum, exposing the many gifts he received on official visits, is centrally located.
Day 3: Cognac – Saintes 44 km
Today you are leaving Cognac towards the west on slightly more hilly roads than yesterday. You may find a nice place for a picnic on the grass outside the monastery Abbaye de Fontdouce. The abbey is open for visitors. It is in romanesque style, typical of the region. In the afternoon, pretty down hill roads will bring you to the Charente river, where a small ferry will take you over to the opposite bank at Chaniers. Your hotel is centrally located at Saintes.
Day 4: Saintes – Rochefort 54 km
Saintes has the only Roman arena and theatre on the west coast of France. Leaving Saintes you will cycle on small, easy roads from village to village, most of them with a nice looking church, a castle and a café for refreshments. At the end of the day you will reach Rochefort, the French kings' most important naval port on the west coast in the 18th century. Your hotel is centrally located at Rochefort.
Day 5: Round tour Rochefort 60 km long version / 45 km short version
In Rochefort you can visit a true copy of the frigate “L’Hermione”, docked in the harbour. There is also an old rope factory (La Corderie Royale) turned into a museum. After a few kilometers a small ferry takes you across the Charente river. Heading south, you will pass the villages of Brouage and Marennes, among marshlands teaming with birdlife and onwards to a large tract devoted to oyster farming, small boats and the distinctive ‟cabanes”: the little huts used by the oyster farmers.
Day 6: Rochefort – La Rochelle 43 km
Today´s route will bring you north, along the coast, passing the villages St. Laurent, Yves and the Châtelaillon-Plage. You will also pass several beaches, so bring your swimwear! You will arrive in La Rochelle along the sea front and your hotel is in the city center. For dinner you might try one of the many restaurants serving seafood.
Day 7: La Rochelle and Ile de Ré 52 km long version / 42 km short version
Today´s round tour will bring you to the most beautiful island of the Atlantic coast of France, Ile de Ré. A long bridge with a lane for bicycles and pedestrians will take you to this popular summer resort, where you will pass the beautiful coastal villages La Flotte and St. Martin-de-Ré, with beaches and restaurants for a summer lunch.
Day 8: Leaving La Rochelle
After breakfast it’s time either to stay some extra days in France, or return home.