No amusement park comes close to the Loire Valley, an area so rich in historic and architectural heritage that the whole region has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bicycling is the perfect way to discover and explore these treasures! We've kept the mileage to a minimum to allow you visit and experience these sites... A wonderful week-of cycling!
This tour starts any Saturday, April through October, 2013
Saturday: Arrival in Blois
Our tour begins in Blois, a small town located a mere 40 minutes’ train ride from Tours (or 2 hours from Paris). We can’t recommend enough an early arrival so as to allow plenty of time to explore Blois and its Renaissance castle, a proper introduction to your next few days’ discovery tour of a fascinating region once favored by French Kings who outdid each other by building outstanding castles and chateaux in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Sunday: Blois – Chambord - Amboise - 40 or 60 km (25 or 37 miles)
After breakfast, you’ll meet our representative who will meticulously go over the itinerary, answer all your questions, and give you all the necessary materials (marked maps, cue sheets, tourist information, etc…) and outfit you with bikes. Although you will be provided with a shorter option (45 km or 28 miles), we highly recommend our standard route that will take you through the impressive Chateau de Chambord, one of the do-not-miss sites along the Loire Valley. Another recommended stop along the way is the Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire. After visiting this remarkable chateau and its impressive collection of furniture and tapestries, get back on your bike and follow your guide: The River Loire! It will lead you to Amboise where your hotel is located.
Monday: Amboise – Tours - 40 or 60 km (25 or 37 miles)
We’ve kept today’s mileage to a minimum allowing for time in the morning to discover Amboise and some of its treasures including its magnificent royal castle. Besides being the resting place of Leonardo da Vinci, it also houses an impressive collection of Gothic and Renaissance furnishings. Also in Amboise is Clos-Lucé, the last residence of Leonardo da Vinci. Following your detailed directions, you will ride through the vineyards of Vouvray, an area that produces an exquisite wine worth tasting! An optional loop will allow you to pass by “Chateau de la Bourdaisière,” a love nest used by King Henri IV and his mistress Gabrielle d'Estrées.
Tuesday: Tours - Azay-le-Rideau – 33 or 54 km (20 or 34 miles)
After breakfast, you'll head to Savonnières and its "Grottes Pétrifiantes" ("Petrifying Caves"). Once used as quarries, these huge caves are now the stage for a fun trip through an amazing underground landscape! Villandry and its famous gardens is your next must-see site. Other suggested stops include Saché, Honoré-de-Balzac's home during his most productive years. Remember: we suggest, you decide. If you’re not interested in touring a specific castle or museum, you can instead opt for a three-hour lunch at an outdoor café! Azay-le-Rideau, one of the most outstanding castles of the Loire Valley will conclude this day's memorable ride.
Wednesday: Azay-le-Rideau – Chinon – 45 or 50 km (28 or 31 miles)
The easy pace of today’s route will allow for ample time to visit the sites on your way to Chinon. Once again, the River Loire will guide you there. Before riding westward and following your guide, you may opt to do our additional 10-km ride to Langeais, a 15th century fortress that houses an exceptional collection of tapestries and works of art. Then, on your way to Chinon, you’ll pass by the fairytale castle of Sleeping Beauty in Ussé--the real 15th century castle that inspired Charles Perrault. In between, you’ll find many restaurants and open-air cafes chockfull with regional specialties. Or if you prefer, you can picnic roadside and acquire a firsthand understanding as to how this region has inspired so many kings to build their homes in this part of France!
Thursday: Chinon – Saumur – 46 km (28 miles)
You'll probably want to take a stroll and explore medieval Chinon before getting on your bicycle! Further on your way to Saumur, you’ll have the opportunity to sample Chinon’s claim to fame, its wine! The imposing Abbey-de-Fontevraud founded in the 12th century, one of the greatest monastic settlements will provide a welcome stop before heading towards the River Loire and following it all the way to Saumur where you’ll overnight.
Friday: Saumur – Angers – 68 km (42 miles)
This final ride will take you to the lovely city of Angers. An early arrival will allow for an easy-paced afternoon visiting King Rene's Castle of Love," or its very interesting tapestry museum, unless you prefer to spend your last day buying souvenirs and writing envy-producing postcards to family and friends.
Saturday: Departure from Angers
After breakfast, depart Angers at the time of your choice.
From 890 euros per person based on double occupancy
Also see tour packages in:
Europe France Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey
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