A unique ride along the coast
I'd already heard a lot about all the hidden treasures along the Gironde estuary, and we decided on a cycling holiday between Saint-Georges-de-Didonne and Talmont-sur-Gironde. Let me tell you all about it!
We made the charming seaside resort of Saint-Georges-de-Didonne our starting point, well, I say starting point, but it quickly became a small holiday all on its own. This small city has the scent of happiness and holidays of yesteryear, where you seem to have not a care in the world. The unique atmosphere was at once homely and different, with the local market facing the church, all the smells and colours wonderful food and wine, and lots of delicious things to take for our first picnic!
As we left, we passed by the cliffs of Saint-Georges-de-Didonne with the forested Mediterranean-like scenery above us. This is the Point de Suzac, a Nature Park on the estuary, well hidden and unspoiled. We'll return with pleasure one day, but as we'd spent a little more time than planned in St Georges, we thought it better to make some progress on to Meschers sur Gironde, our next step.
"Saint-Georges-de-Didonne has the scent of happiness and holidays of yesteryear"
Off we go to to Meschers sur Gironde through small roads winding between the sea and the forest. Lots of campsites are located here in a relaxing and very pleasant setting. Along the Boulevard de la Corniche then the cliffs, almost side by side with troglodytic caves with exotic names like Regulus and Matata… Since the dawn of time, people have lived in these incredible houses built into the cliff. The legend even says that the Saracens in the eighth century hid smuggled salt to avoid paying the salt taxes. The setting is enchanting, authentic and unique. Charente-Maritime with its "carrelet" fishing huts flanking the cornice on the wide estuary of the Gironde is a constant visual delight. We had a a pancake and a drink opposite the Médoc, and started to think about a tour of its famous vineyards another time.
Talmont sur Gironde is the final goal of the day. We've been talking about it for a long time, and the village is beautiful. It has all been well worth the effort! Ranked among the "Most Beautiful Villages in France," Talmont offers the decor of an old citadel on the cliff with small village houses that are today home to local artisans and artists. The high point of the show is the magnificent church of Sainte Radegonde, which seems to be suspended above the waves of the largest estuary in Europe. Pause for a selfie to immortalise the day, and we start walking along the ramparts where we discover a magnificent alignment of carrelet fishing huts.
"The church of Sainte-Radegonde seems to be suspended above the waves"
It's already the end of the day and we return return to the campsite, tired but happy. More daring riders can extend the trip to the charming village of Mortagne sur Gironde, while fans of ancient history should definitely visit the Gallo-Roman archeological site at Fâ.
A famous and safe cycle route from Royan to Sète passes by here, the "Canal des Deux Mers à Vélo". Looking forward to our next adventure across the Charente-Maritime then...
A diverse environment