My darling and Hugo, our 16-year-old son, still talk to me regularly about their long country walk on the occasion of Bike, Swing and Peas end of September. This gives me the idea to look for other unusual itineraries for lovers of the little queen. I thus discovered the initiative “Vélo & Fromages, France on a platter" launched in 2019 by the Association of Departments of FranceWhat a great idea to unite two emblems of the French art of living!

To honor my “title” as Ambassador of slow tourism in Grand Châtellerault, I share with you in this article all the locations that allowed me to organize the surprise getaway of Hugo and his dad.

Grand Châtellerault Tourist Office

Saddle up for a gourmet and environmentally friendly micro-adventure!


Get on your bike and set off to meet cheese producers, while discovering the landscapes and heritage of the region. A feast for the eyes and the taste buds, without forgetting the calves!

Two “Bike & Cheese” circuits pass through Grand Châtellerault: From Vienne to Gartempe et The Châtelleraudaise Loop.

I opt for the latter which connects Châtelleraut, Scorbé-Clairvaux, Saint-Gervais-les-Trois-Clochers, Leigné-sur-Usseau, Vellèches, Dangé-Saint-Romain and Ingrandes-sur-Vienne.
Six cheese stops punctuate the route.

Distance : 61 km • Duration : 4h30 (not including stops)
Difficulty : 3/5 • Access : all year round, for all types of bikes.

Three families of gourmet stops are offered: with breeders-producers, in a processing workshop and in local product stores.

For lovers of Chabichou du Poitou
Head to The Green Donkey in Sossais. On this 300 hectare farm, the Roux family raises 700 goats, 120 dairy cows and 120 sows. His speciality ? Goat cheese made exclusively from the raw milk of its animals: Faisselle, Bûchette, Pyramid, Galette, Chabi Cendré and, the holy grail of gourmets: Chabichou du Poitou (AOP). At our table, it's this one or nothing!
Direct sales from the farm Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 15 p.m. to 19 p.m.

For organic supporters
In Saint-Gervais-les-Trois-Clochers, the 140 hectares of the Joly family farm are passed down from generation to generation. With Bruno, a turning point occurs. The estate becomes autonomous, economical and respectful of the environment. This work was rewarded with Organic Agriculture certification in 2013. At the same time, his wife Hélène created a cheese factory in order to transform the milk of their 85 cows into fresh cheese, cottage cheese, matured cheese, yogurt and dessert cream, butter, milk, cream. fresh… Everything is delicious! Le Pré Joly celebrated its 10th anniversary this summer.
Direct sale from the farm on Wednesday and Friday from 16 p.m. to 19 p.m.
Good tip: if you decide to travel the Boucle Châtelleraudaise on a Saturday, know that Le Pré Joly is present in the morning in Châtellerault on the Les Halles and Châteauneuf markets.

For connoisseurs of raw milk goat cheese
Au GAEC Goat’s Foot from Vellèches, François Robin looks after a herd of 400 horned animals on the 84 hectares of his farm. Almost 10 years ago, the goat breeder joined forces with Nicolas Maillet to develop and manage a cheese dairy of 60 m² in the old stable. This is also where they welcome customers who are fans of their raw milk farmhouse cheeses: fresh, in faitselle, the long bluish Sainte Maure shape and the tasty long salt and pepper.
Direct sales at the farm from Tuesday to Friday 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 15:30 p.m. to 17 p.m., Saturday 14 p.m. to 17 p.m.

For outlet store aficionados
The EURIAL Poitouraine cheese factory in Dangé
 collects cow and goat's milk from around 200 producers in the region. Then it transforms it into soft cheeses under the Savoine or Ligueil brands. On the menu in the factory store: camemberts, coulommiers, goat cheese, milk, butter, crème fraîche... Attractive prices.
Shop open Tuesday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 14 p.m. to 16 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 14 p.m. to 16 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

For a varied picnic basket
The local and farm products store O Steph’s Little Market in Ingrandes-sur-Vienne offers cheeses from our region of course, but also honey, fruits and vegetables, bread, wine, meat, biscuits... Enough to have a snack with quality products from short circuits.

This route takes place mainly on charming little country roads. Of the 61 km of walking, 16 km are dedicated to cycling. Between Châtellerault and Scorbé-Clairvaux for example, the green Line arranged in the middle of the forest turns out to be “ the dream cycle path ”, according to my cyclist husband.

There is no preferential direction for traveling on the roads of the Châtelleraudaise Loop. Please note, however, that the section between Leigné and Vellèches offers a bit of elevation gain while the shady parts are mainly located between Châtellerault and Scorbé-Clairvaux.

Hugo and my darling came back enchanted by the panoramas between Leigné-sur-Usseau and Vellèches, their favorite part with La Ligne Verte. The route in the Vienne valley, along the river between Dangé and Châtellerault, also proved bucolic and calming.

Here is my selection of points of tourist interest on the route:
• the Haut-Clairvaux site, former castle fortified by Richard the Lionheart. Stop to admire the remains: the keep and the cadastral chapel.
• the rural and fire museum in Leigné-sur-Usseau. A small, very educational museum, installed in an old farm typical of the country. Open from April to October.
• the Marmande Tower in Velleches. Admire from the outside this Historic Monument undergoing restoration work.
• the Aigle factory store in Ingrandes. Yes, the famous rubber boots are made right next to Châtellerault!
• the Great Workshop museum of art and industry in Châtellerault. The opportunity to come full circle by discovering the ancestors of the bicycle…

Marmande Tower in Velleches


When to leave?
Considering the days when farm shops are closed, I advise you to avoid Sunday and Monday to plan your bike ride. On Wednesday and Friday, however, all the gourmet stops are open. And on Saturday, you tell me? Almost perfect if you follow my Pré Joly tip at the Châtellerault market!

Where to have lunch?
If you choose the picnic option, I particularly recommend three places to spread your checkered tablecloth:
• the town of Vaux-sur-Vienne for its beautiful point of view,
• at the foot of the Château de Marmande in Velches to take the time to admire its renovated tower,
• around Battreau lake in Saint-Gervais, with services nearby. 

If you prefer to sit at a restaurant, here are my top 3 on the itinerary:
• The Awakening of the Senses in Dangé-Saint-Romain: very friendly welcome, “homemade” cuisine based on organic and local products, original concept (starter, main course and dessert are served in jars).
• The Saint-Jacques Farm in Châtellerault: after having attached your horse to the protective barriers of the sidewalk, you can enjoy refined dishes based on very good products from Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The specialty: spit-roasted meats.

Remember to book for these three good addresses!

lake from Battreau to Dangé-Saint-Romain

Sport, local produce and discoveries... Hugo and my darling came home delighted by their traveling day on the Boucle Châtelleraudaise. During visits to the farm, they had the chance, in addition to tastings, to witness milking. Always curious, my teenager was delighted to talk with breeders and producers in order to understand the underlying process of making his favorite cheeses. “ By bike, it’s the ideal pace for these beautiful moments of meeting and sharing… », concludes the dad.

"By bike, it's the ideal pace for these beautiful moments of meeting and sharing around the region."

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