Our visit to Île d’Oléron was planned as the southern most destination in our French summer adventure. A few years ago we went to Île de Ré which is a cycling paradise, flat with paths all over the island. T had read about d’Oléron as it’s an hour south of Ré and also well set up for cycling so we decided to try somewhere new.
Today the bikes are down and ready for our island cycling. We are in the very south east of the island and the plan is to go north to the centre to Dolus d’Oléron where there is a bird sanctuary.
The first bit of the journey is partway on road which is busy but we are soon on cycle paths travelling through forest. It’s not quite as picturesque as Ré though. At Vert-Bois on the western side of the island we take the chance to cycle along the coastal cycle path and eventually down to Plage de Vert-Bois. For a beach in the middle of nowhere it’s absolutely heaving. We are further along the beach from the busiest bit as there’s a cycling access point away from the car park. Yellow and sandy and a bit stony we wander down and I enjoy a little paddle in the Atlantic which actually feels not too cold.
Back on the bikes to the bird sanctuary, Marais d’Oiseaux, which we find after a slight navigation mishap. By this time we are thinking a cold beer and a bit of lunch would be welcome. However the only thing on offer is a cold can so it’s that and some crisps we brought with us.
We wander around the very green waterways which are full of swans, geese, ducks, egrets, storks, chickens and there’s loads of peacocks too. A viewing platform allows great views of the wider area and nearby salt flats. At one point we see what appears to be an injured peacock lying down at a strange angle and not moving. I get help but as she tries to pick the bird up it rights itself and stalks away, not injured as all but basking in the sun!
Quite a long cycle back to the van. We hoped for a beer in Dolus d’Oléron but the cafes were shut for the lull between afternoon and evening service.
A quick stop at the local supermarket and then time for a cold beer at the van, or maybe two! Just over 17miles of cycling and 7k of steps so we’ve earned them.
It’s Saturday evening but we’re happy to eat at the van and then watch a couple of movies on Netflix. A tiring but enjoyable day.