Canal de Garonne by Bike: Bordeaux to Sauveterre-de-Guyenne
The route from Bordeaux starts at the Pont Saint-Jean, the bridge across the river
To reach the bridge from the Bordeaux Saint-Jean train station (the city's central station): With your back to the station, turn right and follow the main street, Rue St-Vincent-de-Paul (not the side street where the tram runs), then turn right at the next street (Rue de Saget) and follow it to the main road that runs along the Garonne, Quai de Paludate. Cross this road and pick up the bike path that's ahead of you, slightly to the left.
Follow this bike path through the underpass, then veer right (direction
Sauveterre). The path winds in a circle and takes you across the bridge (Pont Saint-Jean). On the other side, the bike lane leaves the bridge towards the right and continues alongside a road (
Quai de la Souys). After 3.5 km, veer to right to follow bike trail.
If you need any bike gear or sports apparel, cross the road here (careful!) into a shopping mall, where you'll find a Decathlon store.
500m later, pass under the N 230. The path continues for 3 km through a residential neighborhood along the lush and leafy banks of the Garonne, then makes a sharp left turn.
Just before you turn the corner, you'll find CHVilla Garonne on the left-hand side.
Less than 1 km later, you'll reach a roundabout.
Latresne, you will need to continue straight. However, the concrete barrier that separates the bike path from the road forces you to cross the D 113 100m to the south, but oddly, there is no crosswalk! Cross carefully and continue along the bike lane on the other side. There are a bakery and a grocery store on the corner. Continue along the D 113E1 for 300m, then pick up the bike path on your right.
This bike path,
Piste Cyclable Roger Lapébie, runs 46 km to
Sauveterre, and is every cyclist's dream come true: Built on the route of a decommissioned railroad line, it passes through fields and forests, visiting a series of villages along its way. In each village along the way, the former station buildings have been transformed into cafés and restaurants, accommodations, museums, and services aimed at cyclists.
The path does intersect with roads, most of them minor country lanes, but there are a few with fast-moving traffic. You do get ample warning, though, so just slow down and cross carefully.
8 km Latresne
At the start of the path, you'll see a signboard showing an overview of the route. Don't let the alpine-like elevation profile scare you! Its scale greatly exaggerates the "peaks." Over the next 15 km to
Créon, the route climbs less than 100m, and that is the steepest part. Even on a fully-loaded touring bike, the elevation gain is hardly noticeable; only on the final approach to Créon will you get a sense that you are actually going uphill.
Latresne has one hotel and three chambres d'hotes. The hotel is located on the left-hand side, 500m after the start of the bike path, in the beautifully renovated former station building.
Just after the hotel, the bike path crosses the D 10. Turn left on the D 10 to reach the center of the old town, as well as two of the chambres d'hôtes.
To continue on the bike route, and to reach the third chambre d'hôte, cross the D 10. 1.5 km later, the bike path crosses a roughly paved lane (Allée Bernadotte).
For CHLa Longère, turn right here, then left on the D 240, then take the first street on the left and immediately turn right.
Continue on the bike path, and after 1.5 km, you will pass the old train station of
Citon-Cénac, which has been converted into a gîte d'etape (dormitory-style accommodation).
After another 4 km, the bike path intersects the D 115 — this is the main street of
7 km Lignan-de-Bordeaux
Lignan-de-Bordeaux, the old station house has been turned into a café.
To reach La Maison du Lac, head through the parking lot next to the café, then look for the gated estate just after the street curves left.
Continue on the bike path for 3 km and reach the D 115E8 — this street connects the two sides of
3 km Sadirac
To reach the center of the village and its two chambres d'hôtes, turn right on the D 115E8 and proceed to the roundabout in front of the church.
For CHLa Closerie, turn right on the D 115 (towards
Lignan), then left at the intersection 400m later. You'll find it on the right after 200m.
Otherwise, cross the D 115E8 and continue on the bike path. You'll pass the old station building, which in this case has been converted into a museum, showcasing local history.
1 km later, you'll pass CHLe Vélo Vert.
After another 4 km, the bike path intersects with the D 671.
5 km Créon
To enter the small town of
Créon, turn right and head straight; the D 671 becomes a one-way street that leads through the town center, where you'll find a market square, surrounded by several cafés and restaurants.
If you are staying at the CHPrieure de Mouquet, don't head into town. This B&B is just outside the town limits, and technically part of Sadirac. Cross the D 671 and follow the D 13 (just to the left of the bike path, signposted "Le Pout / Camarsac") for 1 km, then turn left on
Chemin du Mouquet.
There is also a relais-style hotel, which provides clean and simple rooms geared towards business travelers, but also offers a locked storage shed for bicycles. From the bike path, turn right and follow the D 671 straight across the town. Pass through two roundabouts (another bike path starts on the left side after the second roundabout). After 1 km, you'll reach a third roundabout, where you'll find the hotel (and its adjacent restaurant) on the right.
To continue, cross the D 671 and follow the bike path. You'll pass the former station buildings of Créon, which have been converted into a tourist office and a bike service point. Shortly thereafter, pass under the D 20. After another 2 km, the bike path intersects with the D 121 (
Route de la Forêt).
To reach the luxurious HChâteau Camiac, turn left on the D 121 and continue for just over 1 km, and find the gated estate on the right.
Otherwise, continue on the bike path. After 2 km, reach the D 239, a minor road that leads to
5 km La Sauve
Turn right on the D 239 to visit the village and the Abbaye de La Sauve-Majeure (1 km from bike path).
To continue, cross the D 239 and follow the bike path. After 600m, the bike path passes throuhg a short tunnel (Overhead lights come on automatically as you enter). After the tunnel, you'll cross the D 140, then less than 1 km later, the path intersects a minor street at Châteauneuf.
Turn right here to reach Château de Castelneau, which offers wine tasting and accommodations.
Otherwise, continue on the bike path for 1 km and reach the D 238.
3 km Espiet
Unlike the previous villages,
Espiet does not have a clearly defined center; rather, it's a spread-out commune. Straight ahead, you'll see its former train station, which is now a restaurant.
There are two chambres d'hotes. To reach them, follow the D 238 that runs parallel to the left of the bike path. This quiet country road passes the former train station, then curves left and intersects the D 239 after 1.5 km.
Turn right on the D 239 (signposted "Daignac / Branne") to reach CHDomaine de la Freynelle after 500m on the left-hand side.
To reach CHLe Domaine de la Lézardière, keep going straight on the D 238 (signposted "Espiet") for another 1 km, then turn left at a street signposted "Brisset / Eglise", then turn right. The B&B is behind the church.
Otherwise, cross the D 238 and follow the bike path. After 4 km, cross the D 11, and shortly thereafter, the D 122, then the D 19 3.5 km later.
If you are staying at CHBeau Sejour, turn left on the D 19, then immediately right on the D 128E4 (signposted "Naujan et Postiac"). Follow this minor road for 2 km into the village. The B&B is to the left of the church, behind the war memorial.
1 km after the D 19, the bike path intersects with the D 140. After another 1 km, you'll reach a paved farm lane.
10 km Courpiac
Courpiac is a tiny commune without noteworthy sights, but you'll find two highly-rated and reasonably-priced chambres d'hôtes nearby. To reach them, turn right on the farm lane (signposted "Courpiac").
For CHDomaine Capiet, turn left after 350m and follow the street (
Le Bourg) through the village. After another 500m, you'll reach the country estate.
To reach CHChâteau de Crécy, keep going on the farm lane until it ends at the D 19. Turn right to enter the village of
Romagne, then head left on the D 19E4 (signposted "Bellebat"). After 600m, turn left.
To continue, follow the bike path for 2 km to reach the D 236.
2 km Frontenac
Frontenac, turn left at the D 236, cross over a creek named L'Engranne, and reach the village after 1 km. Here, you'll find a chambre d'hôte just after passing the post office.
There are two more chambres d'hôtes in the surrounding countryside. You can reach them from the village by following the D 231 south (direction "Bagneaux"), then veering left on the D 119 after 800m (direction "Martres / Sauveterre"). After another 400m, turn left on a country lane (Moulin à Vent).
As another option, continue on the bike path for another 2 km, where it intersects the D 231. Turn left on the D 231, then right on the aforementioned country lane after 700m.
This country lane will take you to the entrance of CHChâteau Guiton.
Following the bike path, you'll cross the D 119, then reach the D 671. Be careful as you cross this road. This is the major thoroughfare of the region, and it curves in such a way that it limits your visibility, and also hides you from motorists.
5 km Saint-Brice
Saint-Brice has a hotel and a chambre d'hôte.
CHLa Roulotte d'Ophélie offers accommodation in a restored wooden caravan. Just before the bike path reaches the D 671, a farm track on the left leads to the property.
To enter the village, turn left and follow the D 671 east. Again, be careful on this road as traffic can be fast and visibility is limited due to the curve. To reach the H Hostellerie du Château Semens, pass through the village and continue for another 500m, then take the road on the left (There is a tall white sign for the hotel).
The bike path continues through the countryside, crossing the D 123 and the D 9 in the process, and finishes at
Sauveterre after 6 km.
6 km Sauveterre-de-Guyenne
Enter the village through the arched portal and continue uphill to the main square. If you are staying here overnight, you'll find a basic hotel close by, and a chambre d'hôte 3 km outside of the village.
For the hotel, head to the north corner of the main square (diagonally across from where you entered), then head up
Rue Sabotte (towards the left). You'll find the hotel just across the main road.
For the chambre d'hôte, pass through the market square to its northeast corner (just go straight in the same direction in which you've entered), and head straight in-between the pharmacy and the church. Follow this street,
Rue Saint-Léger, through another arched portal at the other side of the village, then look for the narrow street across the main road, just to the right. Follow this street to an intersection 1.5 km later, where you turn left on a farm lane. Follow this farm lane for 1.5 km to another intersection at a hamlet. Turn left, and find CHMoulin de Saint Léger after 200m on the right.
There's a limited choice of restaurants in
Sauveterre, but there's a great bakery that serves sandwiches in addition to the usual cakes and sweets. You'll find it at the northeast corner of the square, nestled under the arcades.
Although we researched this guide diligently, we make no guarantees as to its accuracy. All information is provided without warranty of any kind, and we assume no liability for any damages resulting from its use. Pricing is illustrative only and does not constitute a binding offer. Traffic, weather, and other unforeseen conditions may make the proposed routes impracticable. Please use caution and common sense, and always follow the rules of the road and local laws.