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Cycling in Anjou


Promoting cycling

A departmental cycling plan is now being operated by the Conseil Général de Maine-et-Loire; this is a medium-term action plan implementing both ambition and strategic choices made in favour of cycling in general - and more particularly, cycling for pleasure.
Drawing strength, first and foremost, from the Loire valley’s reputation as a tourist destination, it highlights Anjou – not just for its gentleness and the quality of its heritage,  but also for its active leisure facilities.
These actions will allow us to offer a high-quality network of cycle paths accessible to the whole family and aimed at tourists and local residents alike.
Following the development of the Layon Aubance itinerary, which joins up with the La Loire à Vélo itinerary, allowing an exploration of the vineyards of Anjou, the department has begun work on the creation of a the Mayenne towpath, and initiated research for the Thouet Valley itinerary. These new itineraries will soon allow the La Loire à Vélo to connect up with both the Mayenne department and the Deux-Sèvres, becoming an integral part of the regional and national network.
The Conseil Général also encourages local initiatives for the creation of new itineraries (the Authion itinerary, the green way (voie verte) from the Loir to the Loire) in order to render the offer more dense. A benchmark has been defined for these developments, to ensure that the network created is both coherent and high-quality.
The Comité Départemental du Tourisme de l’Anjou is responsible for co-ordination of the network, and encourages the development of accommodation for roaming clientele, as well as services (hire, repairs, and raising awareness among tourism stakeholders). With Cyclopédia, a multimedia guide coupled to a GPS, it offers an innovative way to discover La Loire à Vélo. 

La Loire à Vélo

La Loire à Vélo is the backbone of the developed and signposted departmental network of cycle paths. Alternating minor, little-used roads with voies vertes (green ways), the itinerary snakes alongside the last of Europe’s wild rivers, eventually connecting the Cuffy, in Cher (near Sancerre) to St-Brévin-les-Pins in Loire-Atlantique – representing a journey of almost 800 km. 

Green Tourism and the environment

Part of the La Loire à Vélo route (280 km) runs through the heart of the Val de Loire, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural landscape between Sully-sur-Loire (Loiret) and Chalonnes-sur-Loire (Maine-et-Loire). At European level, La Loire à Vélo is part of EuroVélo 6, the riverside route running from the Atlantic to the Black Sea, covering about 3650 km, and travelling across France, Switzerland, Germany, Slovakia and Hungary alongside the Loire, Doubs, Rhin and Danube rivers.
In the medium term, Maine-et-Loire will offer a 400 km network, bringing together a set of structuring itineraries and joining up with La Loire à Vélo.
This project is of great importance to Maine-et-Loire, both for its impact in terms of tourism and economics, and for how it could enhance the image of our department, especially this year, when Terra Botanica - the 1st European theme park devoted to plants – has just opened.
The main La Loire à Vélo itinerary is complemented by an alternative route, called La Loire à Vélo ‘nature’, which offers something really different: it has been developed in the minor bed of the Loire (passable only during some parts of the year) and is more particularly aimed at nature-lovers, being as close as possible to the river itself.
All of these itineraries seek to reflect the territory they travel through, highlighting the landscapes offered by this untamed natural environment.
"La Loire à Vélo is the framework for the cycling plan approved by the Conseil Général in June 2003. This plan has been reviewed in the light of a new cycling tourism plan for the 2009-2015 period, which has laid down new orientations for the departmental project by taking account of inter-departmental liaisons towards Mayenne (the Mayenne towpath) and Deux-Sèvres (Thouet Valley itinerary)." 

Christophe Béchu, 

 President of the Conseil Général de Maine-et-Loire 

Comité Départemental du Tourisme de l'Anjou

Green shoots for the future in

Conseil général de Maine-et-Loire