A Guide to Cycling the Roger Lapébie voie verte

The Roger Lapébie voie verte is a 47km converted rail line that starts 10km from central Bordeaux. The path traverses beautiful green forests, orchards and vineyards to the town of Sauveterre. You will ascend 540m along the length as you head towards Sauveterre. There are no steep gradients to negotiate and it is suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Access to the voie verte from central Bordeaux is via well-marked cycle paths and lanes. It is popular year-round with cyclists, joggers and walkers alike and fully sealed along the entire length.

Cyclist riding through a lit tunnel on the Roger Lapébie cycle path

Roger Lapébie cycle path from Bordeaux – route details

view of a cycle tourist about to enter a long rail tunnel on the Roger Lapébie Cycle Path

Length: 57km / 36mi

Elevation gain: 540m / 1,798ft

Start point: Bordeaux (Le miroir d’eau)

End point: Sauveterre-de-Guyenne

Surface: Sealed

Surface condition: Great

Bike types: All

Riding ability: All

How do you access the Roger Lapébie cycling route from Bordeaux?

The official start of the Roger Lapèbie cycle path is actually located approximately 10km/6mi from central Bordeaux. However, there are great cycle paths that will take you from the centre of the city straight out onto the start of the path itself. This first section is signposted for the Eurovelo 3 Scandeberique route (you will follow the signs that direct you towards Norway, as opposed to Spain).

The Canal du Mers cycle route also uses this section to depart from Bordeaux. Navigating out of the city of Bordeaux itself is actually quite straightforward and once you cross the Garrone River you will take a right to join onto the start of the cycle path. This first section is best described as being ‘industrial’ but you are definitely on the right track and once you hit the official route start itself, the scenery changes dramatically.

Miroir d'Eau, Bordeaux

Is the Roger Lapébie cycle path well signposted?

There is official signage at the start of the cycle route and you will notice an information board that shows where you are, the rest of the route and also highlights various points of interest along the way. Personally, we found this cycle route to be one of the best we came across in terms of signage.

These information boards were to be found at each intersection which passed through a small village along the cycle route, so you could quickly orient yourself to your position on the trail. In addition to the information boards, you will also come across kilometre indicators periodically, which again give the distances to go both to the end of the trail (Bordeaux or Sauveterre depending on which direction you are heading), and the next village along the route.

Cyclist standing beside kilometre markers on the Roger Lapébie Cycle Path

What is the trail surface like on the Roger Lapèbie cycling route?

The trail surface is fully asphalted which means it is suitable for all types of bikes. It is a very popular facility and you will see all sorts of riders making use of the cycling route from keen road cyclists to those on leisure bikes as well as children. In fact, because the trail regularly passes through villages it is a fantastic option for families who may be looking to just take in some smaller sections of the cycle path. As the Roger Lapèbie cycle route is fully separated from vehicle traffic it is also a very safe option.

The Creon Velo Station – a great option for hiring bikes of all types for all abilities

As this trail follows an old disused railway line, you will also notice the old railway stations alongside the route. Whilst they are no longer in use as train stations, they still bear the names of the village and some have been repurposed as cafes and rest areas for you to take advantage of on your cycle. There is a ‘Velo Station’ access point at the village of Creon from where you can also hire bikes to use on the trail. There are many different options here when it comes to hiring bikes. These include the regular options such as hybrid, children or eBikes and also extends to tandem bikes, hand bikes as well as cargo bikes that can accommodate a wheelchair.

Be aware this Velo station operates on a reduced basis outside of the popular summer holiday season, but you will generally find they are open on weekends, public holidays as well as during school holidays.

What type of scenery can you expect on the Roger Lapebie cycle route?

Large sections of the Roger Lapébie cycle path will see you riding through a beautiful forest. In Summer this lush, green landscape will provide you with some very pleasant shade, keeping you cool from the hot sun. In Autumn / Fall the beautiful colours of the falling leaves make for a stunning scene. In fact, the picturesque scenery alongside the trail are one of the key highlights of this ride.

Winery in Bordeaux region

The further you travel along the trail towards Sauvaterre, the more open the scenery becomes. Once you pass the small village of Sadirac the vineyards become more prolific. In fact, there can be no mistake you are riding in one of France’s most well-known regions as you cycle alongside the vines themselves which border right up to the path. As well as grapevines you can also expect to see numerous orchards alongside the trail. Be sure to bring your camera and take some photos along the way.

The Abbaye de La Sauve Majeure – a UNESCO Site to take in whilst cycling the Roger Lapébie trail.

Lastly, if you want to take in some history along the trail be sure to follow the small detour to see the Abbaye de Le Sauve Majeure. The Abbaye is a short distance from the trail itself (approx 1km) and it is a UNESCO world heritage site. Dating back to the 11th and 13th Century it has had various uses throughout its history. It sits within walled grounds of over 200 hectares and is a popular stop as part of the Saint James de Compostella Pilgrim route. The architecture is Romanesque and it is a real sight to behold, well worth the detour.

The Roger Lapébie is just one of many different cycles and experiences you can look to enjoy whilst holidaying in the Bordeaux region. If you want to learn more about what the city of Bordeaux has to offer be sure to read our practical guide here.

Discover our comprehensive guide to planning a French Cycling holiday.

If you have never cycled in France before and are thinking of choosing it as your next cycling holiday destination, then you may be interested in reading our Comprehensive guide. We believe it has everything you need to know to help you plan everything you need to start planning your cycling holiday. The guide includes information such as:

  • a map of the some of the most popular cycling areas in France
  • where to base yourself whilst on your cycling holiday
  • cycling hotels and lodges – what you can expect from this type of accommodation
  • bike hire outlets
  • getting to and from France
  • the best time of year to plan your French cycling holiday