La Flow Vélo

La Flow Vélo is a gentle way to go cycling!

La Flow Vélo, the new national cycling route connects Sarlat-la-Canéda in Dordogne to Ile d’Aix in Charentes (in either direction!), by way of Saintes and Saintonge! La Flow Vélo is a gentle way to go cycling along the Charente River. This itinerary invites you on a nearly 400 kilometre journey through the heart of Nouvelle-Aquitaine in “slow tourism” mode.

Flow vélo Saintes

In Saintes and Saintonge, La Flow Vélo runs along the Charente River. That peaceful, languid waterway lends itself to gentle, bucolic getaways. Navigable from Angoulême to the ocean on a sleep aboard boat, the Charente is punctuated with locks and small arched bridges. It offers freshwater sailors plenty of opportunities to stop and hop on their bicycles to ride off on La Flow Vélo.



As it leaves the Santone capital, the cycling route passes through hilly countryside. As you move northwest, the many attractions along the way could easily delay you a while.  Starting with the village of Port-d’Envaux, for its port of course which was once a very active barge port, as evidenced by the white homes of wealthy shipowners.

Flow vélo Port d'Envaux

 In Port-d’Envaux, you will also want to make a detour to visit Les Lapidiales, an outdoor artistic space that is perpetually changing, where sculptures from any country have come over the years to continue the work begun by their predecessors. A weird and wonderful experience.

Flow vélo Crazannes

A little past the town centre of Port-d’Envaux, Château de Panloy is open to visitors. You will be surprised by its Louis XV style but especially by the “little” treasures displayed there by the owner.

Still, you will have to leave at some point and continue on to Crazannes, where you will find another château! And not just any château: it is nicknamed the “Castle of Puss in Boots”. La Pierre de Crazannes and its quarries provide a complete change of scenery in the midst of lush green vegetation.

Flow vélo Saintes

You can also take La Flow Vélo from Saintes, in the direction of Cognac. With this sustainable mode of transport, you will find wet woodland, reed beds, wet meadows and pastures. In terms of wildlife, cows, buzzards, herons, marsh hens and storks will accompany on your ride.

In Courcoury, the route joins up with the Seugne Marsh and the meandering Charente River. You can easily push on to Chaniers from here. Its beach with bathing facilities on the banks of the river is monitored by lifeguards in July and August. If you want to go for a swim there, nothing could be easier: just take the free chain ferry across the river (April to October). In Rouffiac, the ferry will drop you 500 metres from Les Clapotis bar. That open-air café will plunge you into a vintage atmosphere.

Two hours away from Saintes is another open-air café, Le Port du Lys in Salignac-sur-Charente. Culture, idleness and sweet treats are the catchwords of this place that feels like another world. It is the ideal spot to quench your thirst, enjoy some treats or have lunch under the shade of the trees or at the water’s edge. You can also cool down with a swim in the Charente.