France: Loire Valley Bike Tour
Six nights; six days. Bicycle touring on paved and unpaved bike paths and quiet country roads. Mostly flat with a few hills, breathtaking scenery, World Heritage sites, and France’s most amazing châteaux!
“We loved the small size of the group and the level of personal attention and sense of camaraderie it provided.”– Judy R.
WHY THIS TRIP?
- Ride relaxing countryside riding filled with soaring sights, sumptuous smells and tantalizing tastes fit for royalty!
- Renaissance architecture and the rocky histories of the French monarchy
- The famous Château de Chambord
- Amboise, a UNESCO world heritage site and home of da Vinci’s final dwelling place
- UNESCO world heritage site, Château d’Amboise
- DAY 1: ~38 km
- DAY 2: ~55 km
- DAY 3: ~46 km
- DAY 4: ~63 km
- DAY 5: ~43 km
- DAY 6: ~62 km
- DAY 7: Farewells
(Click image to enlarge)
Start: Orléans, Gare des Aubrais-Orléans, 11:00, day one.
Finish: Angers, Gare St. Laud, 10:00, day seven.
Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Orléans to Cheverny 38km
Meet in Orléans for a transfer to the largest chateau in the Loire Valley, Château de Chambord, renowned for its classic renaissance architecture. After a leisurely stroll through the grounds of the Château you will begin cycling through the beautiful Domaniale de Bologne forest to the beautiful Château de Cheverny. Enjoy a tour of castle and gardens then continue cycling through the beautiful countryside and forests to your lodging near Cellettes. LD (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only)
Château de le Rozelle, Cellettes
Cheverny to Amboise 55km
Begin today with a relaxing ride through the Domaniale de Russy forest to Blois, the heart of the Loire Valley. Pause to explore this beautiful town or continue to Château de Blois for a visit to the intriguing magic museum, Maison de la Magie Robert Houdin. Cycle to the lovely Chaumont-sur-Loire to view the magnificent garden sculptures before continuing on to Amboise. Château d’Amboise boasts breathtaking views of the Loire Valley, and you can visit the final dwelling place of Leonardo da Vinci at Château Clos Lucé. All the châteaux of the Loire Valley can be seen in one place at the gardens and Mini-Château du Val de Loire at La Menaudiere. You will rest at Amboise tonight where you can explore several options for independent dining. BL
Amboise to Rochecorbon 46km
Start your day with a quiet ride south through the Amboise Forest to one of the most recognizable châteaux in France, the majestic Châteaux de Chenonceau which spans the river Cher. Spend an hour or two visiting the historic castle and its gardens then cycle to the north bank of the Loire and your sojourn at the unique Les Hautes Roches Hotel. BLD
Les Hautes Roches, Rochecorbon
Rochecorbon to Chinon 63km
A short transfer brings you through Tours to the bank of the Cher where you todays bike ride begins. From Château de Villandry to Château Usse you will be amazed at the scenery and architecture. The cycling today is idyllic following car free bike paths and extremely quiet secondary roads with a few small hills in the afternoon. Finish the day with a small detour to Chinon and on to your château for the night. BLD
Chinon to Saumur 43km
Meander through quiet country roads, following the river along some of the most scenic routes France has to offer. Afternoon options include river paddling at a spectacular spot near Saumur, or exploring the medieval castle museum, archaeological finds, ceramics and tapestries at Château de Saumur. Saumur is a lively town with many good options for independent dining. BL
Hotel Saint Pierre, Saumur
Saumur to Briollay 62km
Continue along the riverside bike path toward the bustling town of Angers. Take a break at any of numerous picnic spots along the way before bidding the Loire farewell and cycle north to your chateau at Briollay. BLD
Chateau Noirieux, Briollay
Your tour concludes this morning following breakfast when you’ll be transferred to nearby Angers, where direct trains to Paris or other destinations in France are frequent. B
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
2024 Guided dates:
- Apr 28-May 4
- Jun 2-8
- Sep 1-7
Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.
Guided: C 5495 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners, van and guide support, route instructions, maps, luggage handling, hybrid bicycle rental, taxes.
Small groups or private tours, fully supported with drivers/guides and vehicles, all lodging and most meals included. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.
Self-Guided: C 4955 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, route instructions, maps, inn to inn luggage handling, essential transfers and on-call emergency support, hybrid bicycle rental, taxes.
Semi-supported, independent tours including welcome briefing, lodging, luggage transfers and necessary vehicle transfers. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.
Single Occupancy: 1395
Upgrade to E-bike: 250
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.
1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.
2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, this usually comes at a surcharge depending on the details, please get in touch for more information. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.
The best time to enjoy this tour is late-April to early-September.
The Loire Valley climate is favorable most of the year, the river often acting as a line of demarcation in France’s weather between the north and south.
Spring, daytimes warm up to 10 to 20 °C (50 to 70 °F) by mid May.
Summer, can be dry and hot. Mid June to mid August, is normally 20 to 25 °C (70 to 80 °F).
Autumn, late August to mid September, daytimes 10 to 20 °C range (50 to 70 °F). Pleasant riding weather, though becoming increasingly rainy.
GET TO THE START
Fly to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). From Paris, we recommend travel to Orléans on the high-speed TGV train which takes about one hour. There are many trains between the two cities daily; reservations are recommended. Schedules and fares are available at www.sncf.com/en.
After the tour, train connections are available from Angers to Paris (~2.5 hours) or other destinations throughout France.
BEFORE AND AFTER
If you have one day:
Orléans is an interesting place to explore while you recover from jetlag. An attractive community on the banks of the Loire River, most of Orleans in devoted to Jean d’Arc as she liberated the town in medieval times. Among its many tourist attractions, is the beautiful old Sainte-Croix Cathedral which closely resembles Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Other notable destinations include: House of Joan of Arc (Maison de Jeanne d’Arc), Martroi Plaza and Joan of Arc statue, Parc Floral, Musée des Beaux Arts, “Europe Bridge”, and Hotel de Ville (City Hall). We recommend the following accommodations in Orléans:
- Hotel de l’Abeille, 64 Rue d’Alsace Lorraine, 45000 Orléans
Ph : +33 2 38 53 54 87
- Hotel St-Martin, 52 Bd. Alexandre Martin, 45000 Orléans
Ph: +33 2 38 53 02 28
- Best Western Hotel d’Arc, 37 ter Rue de la République, 45000 Orléans
Ph: +33 2 38 53 10 94
If you have several days:
France is a large and extremely varied country that is, thankfully, easily explored by a reliable rail network. Extend your trip on any one of our other tours in France, or go independently; the resources below might help!
- Lonely Planet’s “things-to-do” in France
- Timeout’s list of ‘hip’ French experiences
- City guides for some of the best metropolitan areas in the country
- NY Times’ 36 Hours in Paris
This stunning bicycle tour through the Loire Valley has it all: the finest examples of renaissance architecture, the rocky histories of the French monarchy and relaxing countryside riding filled with soaring sights, sumptuous smells and tantalizing tastes fit for royalty! Whether you want to cruise the river valley and enjoy the rolling hills or get lost in the labyrinth gardens and castle tapestries, there is truly something for all levels and tastes. Beginning at the famous Château de Chambord, you will begin your journey through dense forests and rural country roads, along ancient river-banks and sculpted parks to the historic town of Blois, Joan of Arc’s base during her efforts against the British. From there you will follow the river through quaint farms and quiet vineyards to Amboise, a UNESCO world heritage site and home of da Vinci’s final dwelling place. Wander the grounds of these amazingly rich areas, home to some of the most important historical figures. Smelling elaborate royal flower gardens, sitting in quiet, shaded cafes or watching workers tend 18th century castles, you will find yourself in awe with each new destination. You will cross the Valley East to West, hitting every major highlight along the way. The cycling will be quite relaxed, but the van will support you the entire way if you’d like to just sit back and enjoy the scenery. The end of the trip will wind down away from the Loire River into France’s world-renowned rural cycling paradise. You will meander the quiet roads from village to village, visiting some of the most spectacular estates in the country. This trip’s colours, scents, and tastes enhance the sunshine magnificently, filling each day with the sensual pleasure that makes French exploring so rewarding.