Travellers' Tales: A Slice of France

La Tranche sur Mer in France is fantastic for family cyclists, says Neil Wheadon

Few summer holiday destinations allow you to leave the car untouched for a week in an environment where the bicycle is king. But halfway down the west coast of France in the Vendée region, we stumbled upon La Tranche sur Mer, which is just such a place.

The town centre is restricted by bollards to essential vehicles only, and signs tell everyone that it’s pedestrians first, then bikes, and finally cars through the tiny lanes around the town.

...La Tranche sur Mer has the most superb set of sandy beaches."

Neil Wheadon

Cycling along the coast is a joy. You dip in and out of the pine forest, which lies just behind the sand dunes. A short ride inland takes you away from the coastal plain into more hilly, pastoral terrain.

Throughout the town and its environs are kilometre upon kilometre of cyclepath, much of which is single-use and incorporates the French west coast cycleway. So you can potter to the boulangerie or go for a far longer ride, traffic free.

There is a relaxed feeling as everyone weaves effortlessly around each other with no need for speed or lycra.

It makes it a great destination for a family holiday, for La Tranche sur Mer has the most superb set of sandy beaches.

To the east by the port, you can hire a modern windsurfer, to the far west try kite surfing, or in the middle try a Malibu board. In between these beaches are areas reserved for traditional beach activities. There is plenty of accommodation from campsites to self-catering, so for a family like ours who enjoy other activities as well, the area is absolutely ideal.

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