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Cognac & La Rochelle

From the Cognac vineyards to the white beaches of the Atlantic ocean

This landscape at the outer western part of France seems to be made for a bicycle trip. You bike along the long beaches of the Atlantic ocean as well as along calm rivers in the inland. The trip starts at Cognac - the middle age town where the well known spirits with the same name have been distilled since the 17th century. You finish the tour at La Rochelle, a beautiful, historic port. The town was one of the last in France to be liberated during the 2nd world war. The terrain is not completely flat, but overall easy and moderate, along small countryside roads and bicycle lanes, passing villages and hamlets. You stay at centrally located middle class hotels and follow our road description on your bicycle stages. 

Departures every Friday, Sunday and Tuesday from the 26th of April until the 27th of September
NB! For some departures in July the hotels are already fully booked because of the festival "Francofolies", 10.-14.7.2019 at La Rochelle.

Please note:

  • A booking "on request" is automatically handled as a booking. If you are not firmly decided to book yet, please call us or send us an email instead of using the booking form below.
  • Once we receive a booking request we have to contact the hotels to check their availability on the requested dates. Do not book your flight until you've received an email confirmation from us. This may take from a couple of hours to 3- 4 labour days. 





Price per person: EUR 740

Single room supplement: EUR 290

Bicycle rent:  EUR 90
Electrical bicycle rent: EUR 180

Extra nights: See "Hotels/meals"


Included in the price: 

  • 7 nights in 2*/3* hotels with breakfast
  • Luggage transportation
  • Route description and maps (available in English, French, Italian, German and Norwegian)
  • Hotline service
  • Information material
  • GPX-files on request before departure


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.

How to get there

Meeting point:
Your hotel in Cognac

Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) - Web page
Paris Orly (ORY) - Web page
Bordeaux Mérignac (BOD) - Web page

From the airport to the train station: 
Bus, airport train or taxi. For more information, see airport links above. 

Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport station - Cognac  4,5 h
Paris Montparnasse (all stations) - Cognac  3,5 h
Bordeaux St. Jean - Cognac  2 h


Return from La Rochelle 
Your hotel in La Rochelle is located about 500-600 meters from the train station

The distance La Rochelle-Paris takes effectively 4 h.

Train La RochelleParis airport Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, 4 h
Train La RochelleParis Montparnasse, direct 3 h
Train La RochelleBordeaux St Jean, 2,5-4 h

NB! To be on the safe side, we advice you to arrive at Paris Montparnasse train station at least three hours before your flight.  

Train schedules and prices: or

(Train tickets available for purchase about 90 days before departure. Merlot Reiser does not book train tickets).


Our hotels
Our hotels are mostly rated 3 stars, some have 2. The rooms all have en suite bathrooms and some also have air conditioning. 
You will receive your hotel list by email at the latest ten days before your arrival. In the unlikely event of changes you will receive un updated hotel list when arriving at your first hotel. 

A continental breakfast is included every morning. Lunch and dinner are not included, but you will receive information on where to buy groceries, where to find nice picnic spots, restaurants etc. 

Extra nights
If you wish to book extra nights, please make a comment about this under the field "Comments to the hotel" in the booking form. 

Prices per room per night with breakfast included:

Single room from EUR 95
Double/twin room from EUR 140
Triple room from EUR 150

La Rochelle***
Single room from EUR 125
Double/twin room from EUR 140

Bordeaux Quality Hotel Bordeaux Centre***
Single room from EUR 140
Double/twin room from EUR 160

Paris Hotel de l'Orchidée*** (a few minutes walk from the Montparnasse train station)
Single room from EUR 
Double/twin room from EUR






  • Vélo de Ville Shimano Nexus 7 speeds with two hand breaks, mudguard and carrier
  • Handlebar bag with map holder
  • 1 pannier to be attached to the carrier
  • Bottle holder
  • Water bottle
  • Repair kit (1 kit per group of five) and pump
  • Lock
  • Broad, comfortable seat

Not included:

  • Helmet
  • Bike computer
  • Click pedals. Bring your own, if you wish, and the equipment to attach them 
  • Gel saddle for the seat. If you wish to bring your own, remember to pick the biggest size available. 


Ladies' bike 

Men's bike 

Electrical bike - woman`s version



Route profile

Level of difficulty: 1 out of 3

Route profile: This tour has been rated category 1 (easy). The terrain is almost flat (a part from a few hilly parts between Cognac and Saintes) and there are several possibilites to shorten or skip some stretches, if wanted. If you are in normal shape, we can easily recommend this tour.


M.o.h. = Meters above sea level


Information material

Sent by email upon booking:

  • Information sheet

Sent by email before departure: 

  • Final information
  • Hotel list
  • GPX-files on request before departure


On at arrival at the hotel:

  • Map book
  • Route descriptions
  • Luggage tags for the luggage transportation
  • Travelogue






Departures and prices

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DepartureDestinationFree spotsPrice
14/6Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
16/6Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
18/6Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
21/6Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
23/6Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
25/6Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
28/6Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
30/6Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
DepartureDestinationFree spotsPrice
2/7Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
5/7Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
7/7Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
9/7Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
12/7Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
14/7Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request
16/7Cognac & La Rochelle On request€740Book on request





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