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Cycling the Châteaux of the Loire Valley

Cycling the Châteaux of the Loire Valley

Overview

Famed for its magnificent châteaux and beautiful rivers, the laid back Loire region is a cyclist’s delight. Discover the châteaux of the Loire Valley on this easy-going cycling trip from Amboise to Saumur and spend relaxed evenings in the charming villages and elegant towns. With its gentle terrain and plenty of cultural and gastronomic landmarks, this is arguably the best region of France for a leisurely cycling holiday.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Amboise

Amboise is an elegant town with an impressive castle and gardens offering amazing views over the Loire Valley. You can visit the Clos Lucé castle, a beautiful white and pink stone construction was the last home of Leonardo de Vinci. Invited to France by François I, the famous Italian artist stayed and worked there until his death. Later in the afternoon relax at one of the many cafés or chocolatiers. Bicycle delivery and adjustment at 6 pm or in the next morning.

  • Overnight in a 2-star hotel, breakfast included

Day 2:  Loop Ride to Château Chenonceau

Today’s route heads through the Amboise forest as you ride to Château Chenonceau. Originally built for royal military in the 16th century, the château has passed through several notable owners including the chocolatier Menier. The castle is surrounded by a magnificent park and some beautiful French-style gardens. Before returning to Amboise you may also like to explore the charming village of Chenonceau. Overnight in the same hotel in Amboise.

  • Cycling for the day: 25 km
  • Overnight in a 2-star hotel, breakfast included

Day 3: Ambroise to Tours

The day starts with a ride through vineyards of Montlouis and Vouvray and along the Loire bank to reach Tours. Tours is a town of art and history. It is the perfect place to stroll along alleys and small parks, around the Place Plumereau bordered by beautiful wooden houses, or in the cathedral district.

  • Cycling for the day: 30 km
  • Overnight in a 2-star hotel, breakfast included

Day 4: Tours to Azay le Rideau

You will leave Tours by the riverbanks, first, the Loire river’s then the Cher’s, in order to reach Villandry passing by Savonnière’s quaint little village. Villandry was erected around 1536 and is the last of the big castles built on the Loire riverbanks during the Renaissance era. The magnificent gardens of the Chateau de Villandry, a reminder of the spirit of the gardens of the Renaissance, were restored at the beginning of the 20th century. Through countryside or following the Cher and Loire rivers’ banks you will go to Azay le Rideau. Built on an island in the middle of the Indre River, the Azay-Le-Rideau castle was erected during François I’s reign.

  • Cycling for the day: 30 or 38 km depending on the chosen route
  • Overnight in a 2-star hotel, dinner and breakfast included

Day 5: Azay le Rideau to Chinon

You will cross orchards for several kilometres to reach the Loire River. You will then cross an unusual bridge over the Loire in order to reach Langeais, one of the oldest towns in the Touraine region, which is overlooked by its imposing castle. Then you will follow Loire River’s banks to come across Ussé where you may visit Sleeping Beauty’s castle since it is said to have inspired Charles Perrault. Magnificent gardens overlook the Indre valley. You will continue to Chinon through forests and vineyards.

  • Cycling for the day: 42 km
  • Overnight in a 2-star hotel, breakfast included

Day 6: Chinon to Fontevraud

Let the day start with a quaint visit of Chinon, an ancient medieval city that is home to numerous remains from its rich past. Located atop a hillside overlooking the Vienne River, the castle spreads over 400 meters. This historical city has held on to ancient houses and few churches, which you may discover while strolling through its alleys. Then you will leave Chinon crossing the Vienne River to reach Fontevraud and the famous abbey. It is among the vastest monastic ensembles of the Christian world. 

  • Cycling for the day: 21 km
  • Overnight in a 3-star hotel, breakfast included

Day 7: Fontevraud to Saumur

You will leave Fontevraud cycling down through vineyards to Candes Saint Martin, a quaint village at the crossing point of Vienne and Loire River. There you may see a magnificent church dating from the XII and XIII centuries. You will then continue along the riverbank to admire the Montsoreau castle and on to Saumur famous for its cavalry school and its wines.  You may stroll down the ancient district between the castle and the bridge, along quaint alleys bordered by ancient houses. Return of bikes at the hotel at 6 pm.

  • Cycling for the day: 35 km
  • Overnight in a 2-star hotel, breakfast included

Day 8: Departure or Extra Night

Departure or extra night Saumur.

Hotels

On this walking holiday, you will be staying in comfortable 2 and 3-star hotels. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour. If you prefer to indulge in more luxury, we offer an optional upgrade to stylish 3 and 4-star hotels.

Sample standard hotels: Le Blason, La Croix Blanche

Sample upgraded hotels: Hotel Les Lys, Hotel & Spa Anne d’Anjour

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Seven breakfasts and one dinner are included. When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops or you can pre-order a packed lunch at your hotel. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel.

Travel

Up-to-date FCO travel advice on France is available here. Detailed travel information, tips and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Fly

You can also fly into and out of Paris Charles de GaulleOrly or Beauvais airports.

From Paris, there are direct trains from Paris-Austerlitz to Amboise (about 2 hours journey) or by TGV from Paris Montparnasse to St Pierre des Corps (4 km from Tours) or Tours and taxi transfer or train to Amboise (25 km). Please check the SNCF website for more details on schedules and prices.

Train

Take the Eurostar from London St-Pancras International to Paris (Gard du Nord). Change and travel to Paris-Austerlitz, from here there are direct trains to Amboise (about 2 hours journey) or by TGV from Paris Montparnasse to St Pierre des Corps (4 km from Tours) or Tours and taxi transfer or train to Amboise (25 km). Please check the SNCF website for more details on schedules and prices. Total journey time is about 5.5 hours.

Drive

The closest ferry ports to Azay le Rideau are St Malo and Le Havre and are an approximate 3.5h drive. The popular port of Calais is a 5hr drive. Direct Ferries have details of route crossings and sailing times. Total journey time is about 7.5 hours.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance WorldNomads

We strongly recommend protecting the cost of your trip and other non-refundable travel expenses with travel insurance. Our Signature Travel Insurance allows you to insure all of your expenses. While a Signature Travel Insurance policy can be purchased at any time, purchasing a policy within 20 days of making your initial trip deposit gives you the widest range of policy options, including a Cancel for Any Reason coverage. For complete peace of mind, we also recommend enrolling with Global Rescue, the worldwide leader in field rescue, evacuation and security extraction services.

Read more and get a quote online

Trip Info

Difficulty Grade: Easy to Moderate

This holiday is appropriate for moderately experienced cyclists and requires a basic level of fitness. It is perfectly suited to cyclists that are venturing on their first cycling trip or perhaps haven’t ridden for a few years, or for experienced cyclists who are looking for a laid back itinerary.You will ride through rolling countryside with occasional hills or short ascents with low elevation gain (in vineyards for example); you will cycle quiet country roads or sometimes gravel tracks that link the chateaux and towns (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

The routes are easy to follow. The route notes that accompany each itinerary give a step by step, turn by turn account of your route to give you continual points of reference and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available from early April until the end of October. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date within the season.

AMBOISE WEATHER

Included

  • Rental of fully-equipped hybrid bike including helmet, pannier, lock, puncture repair kit, map wallet and a theft/accidental damage insurance
  • Roadbook including detailed cycling Itinerary, detailed maps, information about sites to see, wineries and restaurants on route and Green Michelin tourist guide about Loire Valley (electronic copy emailed in advance and a hard copy provided at the first hotel)
  • 7 nights accommodation in private en-suite rooms in comfortable 2 and 3-star hotels
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 1 dinner
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel when changing hotels (up to 20 kg pp)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local representative

Supplements

  • Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable.
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers. As costs are not shared, a supplement is payable on the standard trip cost

Other Trip-Related Costs

  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums

Excluded

  • Flights and airport transfers
  • All lunches and dinners not listed as ‘included’
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

Extensions and Optional Extras

  • Extra nights along the way and at the end of the tour can be booked on request
  • In Style Upgrade: Spend the overnights in stylish 3 and 4-star hotels, some of them with spa facilities, 7 breakfasts and 2 gourmet dinners (on Days 4 & 6) included. Sample upgraded hotels: Hotel Les Lys, Hotel & Spa Anne d’Anjour

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Cycling the Châteaux of the Loire Valley
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by Chester on King Ludwig Way

Delightful moderate walk building up slowly to an interesting climax over the days. Varied and friendly hotels. Kirchberger in Wildsteig deseerves... Read full review

We are a retired couple of 73 and 70 years old. We enjoyed the trip very much. The trip was well organised; all went smooth, the accommodation... Read full review

This holiday not only had erupting volcanoes, fabulous hospitality and a plethora of dramatic landscapes to walk in, it also featured gorgeous... Read full review

We had a really great holiday and appreciated the good organisation from your company. Everything went to plan, very well organised and good... Read full review

We just completed the Catalan Coast and Mountain week-long self-guided walking tour. February was perfect in the off-season! [The] itinerary... Read full review

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