Cycling the Loire Valley really is one of the most exquisite and immersive ways to experience the French countryside and way of life. You can take it all on in one go or three sections. This one is from Nevers to Orléans. The former has a stunning 17th-century Old Town and cathedral, and the historic city of Orléans needs little introduction, a city of great cultural heritage, with vineyards, charming villages and ancient architecture en route. A seven day cycling holiday, stay at small guesthouses and hotels along the way, with your luggage transferred for you. We can also supply e-bikes.
- Église Notre-Dame
- Le Pont Canal de Briare
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Day 1: Arrive in Nevers
Arrive in Nevers and check in at your hotel. Explore the charming town centre of Nevers.
- Accommodation: Côté Parc Côté Jardin or similar in Strasbourg
Day 2: Nevers to La Charité-sur-Loire | 45km
Leave Nevers and head towards the village of Cuffy, where the Loire and the Allier meet. This is the official starting point of the Loire à Véló route, 800km in total broken up into 13 stages, coming to a close on the shores of the Atlantic. Cycle to the monastery town of Charité-sur-Loire , with its UNESCO Notre Dame church and 16th-century bridge across the Loire.
- Cycling for the day: 45km ↑210m ↓238m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Mille et une Feuilles or similar in La Charité-sur-Loire
Day 3: La Charité-sur-Loire to Sancerre | 26.9km
Cycle through some of the Loire Valley’s finest natural heritage, alongside vast, undulating vineyards, taking time out to admire the church bell tower in Pouilly-sur-Loire. Cycle on through woods and fields to the famous Sancerre Wine region. Take a break along the way to taste a local wine grower’s Sauvignon Blanc which should, of course, be accompanied by Chavignol goat’s cheese. Enjoy magnificent views of the Loire Valley from Sancerre’s elevated location.
- Cycling for the day: 26.9km ↑215m ↓72m
- Accommodation: Hótel le Panoramic or similar in Sancerre
Day 4: Sancerre to Briare | 53.9km
Leave Sancerre via the tow path along the Canal Latéral and cycle via Bannay to the flower town Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire, perfectly located right on the riverbank. Continue on through Belleville-sur-Loire to your last stop of the day in Briare. The metal canal bridge is worth a visit, a monumental piece of 19th-century hydraulic engineering. It bridges the Loire by a giant step and connects the two adjacent canals.
- Cycling for the day: 53.9km ↑117m ↓266m
- Accommodation: Hôtel du Cerf or similar in Briare
Day 5: Briare to Sully-sur-Loire | 41.7km
Cross the Loire via Pont Canal de Briare canal bridge, and cycle to St-Brisson-sur-Loire with its medieval castle specialising in catapults and cannons. This is followed by the busy town of Gien which also boasts superb views, a handsome 16th-century castle that was home to Anne de Beaujeu, and an impressive 18th-century bridge. Your final destination is Sully-sur-Loire with yet another medieval castle and great views of the Loire, as well as other local canals.
- Cycling for the day: 41.7km ↑331m ↓347m
- Accommodation: Hôtel la Closeraie or similar in Sully-sur-Loire
Day 6: Sully-sur-Loire to Orléans | 51.1km
Today you set off in the direction of Orléans. Enjoy a great view on the way to Saint-Benoit, a must stop for its 11th to 13th-century abbey. Continue on to Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, one of the important ports of the Loire in the 18th century. As you cycle on, the historic city of Orléans comes into view, also known as the town of ‘art and history’, famous for having been liberated from English rule by Jeanne d’Arc. Be sure to take a walk through the beautiful, historic centre.
- Cycling for the day: 51.1km ↑359m ↓371m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Oceania Orléans or similar in Orléans
Day 7: Departure
End of your trip after breakfast. We advise you to extend your stay in order to take the time to visit the beautiful city of Orléans. Once it was the capital in the early French Middle Ages, but nowadays it’s a lively, modern town where there’s a lot to be seen.
What to expect
On this cycling holiday, you stay at comfortable 2 and 3-star hotels and guesthouses. Some accommodations have swimming pools. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.
Click to view default hotels
- Côté Parc Côté Jardin (Nevers)
- Hótel Mille et une Feuille (La Charité-sur-Loire)
- Hótel le Panoramic (Sancerre)
- Hôtel du Cerf (Briare)
- Hôtel la Closeraie (Sully-sur-Loire)
- Hôtel Oceania Orléans (Orléans)
*Hotels are subject to availability. In the event of a particular hotel being fully booked for your chosen 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.
Accommodation is on a B&B basis. Products for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you’ll be staying, or you can have your lunch in a restaurant along the way. You can have dinner at your hotel or nearby restaurants.
Difficulty and terrain
The daily distances are 25-55km and follow the Loire à Vélo route. This holiday is appropriate for moderately experienced cyclists and requires a basic level of fitness (read more about difficulty grades). You can also rent an e-bike which makes the trip accessible to everybody (experience with handling an e-bike is a must). We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, 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 the beginning of April until the end of October. The best time for cycling is between May and September when the weather is generally good, and the average daily temperatures are 22-24C and up to 23C in July and August. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.
Click to view travel options
Our recommended airport for this tour is Paris.
By train or bus
- Arrival in Paris: From Paris, you can get to Nevers by a direct train from Paris-Bercy station (approx. 2h).
- Departure from Orléans: From Gare d’Orléans there are trains running frequently to Paris (approx 1h).
- 6 overnights with breakfast as detailed in the itinerary
- Luggage transfer on the cycling days (one piece per person, max 20kg)
- Detailed digital holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps. Please note that the info pack is emailed to you prior to departure, and no printed documents are mailed or provided on-site
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Bike rental
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have their own room.
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights before the tour, along the way and at the end of the tour can be booked on request
- Bike rental: hybrid bikes and e-bikes available
If you would like to rent a bike from us, we can offer you good quality hybrid or e-bikes in excellent condition with appropriate gears and equipment for the trip. All bicycles (whatever the model) are equipped with a bike lock, a helmet, a puncture repair kit, and a pump. Sample pictures attached below, note that the exact models might be different depending on the availability, but the standard will be the same.