Cycling along a part of the famous "Loire à Velo" route through the world famous "Pays des Châteaux", the most splendid cultural part of the Loire Valley. Along magnificent castles : Blois, Amboise, Villandry…. Crossing the Anjou-Touraine natural reserve with its beautiful wild river landscapes and nice stops during the day to taste some of the excellent wines of the region. Then experiencing the immense changes in nature when approaching the ocean!
The total ‘Loire à Vélo’ route runs from Nevers to ‘l'Océan‘, let's say from ‘source' to mouth. The route can be divided into 3 various stages which can also be booked separately. You can add additional detours during this trip.
You individually travel to Orléans, the entrance/gateway to the heart of the famous Loire valley. Once it was a capital in the early French Middle Ages, but nowadays it’s a lively, modern town with a beautiful historic centre. An ideal place to start this route along Europe’s last wild river: the Loire.
Once you have left the city noise behind, you soon reach the confluence of the Loiret and the Loire. A part of the day you follow the high banks with beautiful views of the surrounding undulating countryside. Don’t miss the charming and historic town Meung-sur-Loire. Finally arrive at historic Beaugency where you can admire the beautiful old Loire bridge. In 1429 Jeanne d'Arc's army was crossing this bridge to liberate the small town. You will find her statue here on a prominent spot.
Challenge : 29 km, 12 m ascent, 32 m descent
Today you will leave Beaugency along the river banks, passing the prestigious château of Chambord, the largest château in the Loire Valley and a Renaissance masterpiece. Continue cycling towards Blois, known for its light facades and blue roofs, its pedestrian streets gracefully preserving the flavour of lost centuries, and its serene atmosphere. The château in Blois offers an excellent illustration of the evolution of French architecture from the Middle Ages to the 17th century.
Challenge : 46 km, 78 m ascent, 101 m descent
From Blois you follow the southern bank of the Loire. Between rolling hills with vineyards, you cycle to Cande-sur-Beuvron. Continue cycling along the Beuvron river to the majestic Loire river. High on the bank is the elegant castle of Chaumont-sur-Loire surrounded by beautiful gardens. You are in the historic region Touraine. Visit a wine grower and taste a local ‘sauvignon blanc´. Enjoy the grandeur of the Château Amboise and Clos-Lucé where Leonardo da Vinci once stayed. There are some short climbs on the way.
Challenge : 42 km, 173 m ascent, 163 m descent
Leave the medieval atmosphere of Amboise behind you and cycle into the region of the prestigious ´Montlouis’ wines. The ideal microclimate, close to where the Loire and Cher unite, produces grapes of a unique quality. Discover this yourself during a visit to a wine cellar or a lunchbreak. A fine track leads to Tours, the friendly capital of what is called ´the garden of France'. Here great experiences are awaiting you like the magnificent cathedral and basilica, the Olivier Debré Art Centre, the Botanical Garden, the flavors of the markets...
Challenge : 42 km, 163 m ascent, 173 m descent
Touraine is known as “Le Jardin de la France” and Tours is a perfect central gateway for exploring it. This Loire à Vélo stage leads you along the south bank of the Cher River to the Château de Villandry, a major stop, with its world-famous gardens, before reaching Azay-le-Rideau and its castle. Many people believe this château to be the most beautiful in the whole Loire region, even though technically it sits by the Indre river, and not the Loire. Its elegant silhouette is reflected in the water of its huge moat, looming up like a huge stone ship. This stage proves extremely enjoyable.
Challenge : 41 km, 89 m ascent, 95 m descent
This is a star-studded Loire à Vélo stage, taking you from the glorious Château d’Azay le Rideau, on via the confluence of Loire river to the Fortress of Chinon via the fairytale Château d’Ussé. On this stage, you cycle along a raised levée beside the Loire, allowing you wonderful views of the great river. Today is marked by atmospheric islands in the Loire colonized by birds. At the Indre River’s confluence with the Loire, the setting is unspoilt. Today go and discover the charming medieval town of Chinon on the banks of the Vienne river. An impressive fortress, the historic quarters and small shops provide a really authentic feel.
Challenge : 32 km, 121 m ascent, 137 m descent
Take some time in the morning to visit the world-famous abbey of Fontevraud. The vast Royal Abbey with its delightful architecture. Then you cycle to Montsoreau: its magnificent castle overlooking the Loire, enjoy a river boat ride in a traditional wooden boat or bargain at the monthly ‘brocante’ and ‘puces’ market. The delightful village of Candes St Martin is worth a detour too, walk up to the panorama to look out over the Loire and Vienne rivers. Your destination today is Saumur, with its famous castle and Cadre Noire horse riding school. In summer horse drawn carts and river boats provide alternative ways of transport too. Saumur boasts the biggest tank museum in the world. Don’t forget the well-known sparkling wine either!
Challenge: 45km, 281m ascent, 256m descent
Go right along the southern bank of the river. Admire the monuments of local white tuff stone, such as the church in Cunault and St-Maur Abbey. Once in St-Mathurin-sur-Loire you follow the northern bank of the Loire through a former swamp that was drained in the Middle Ages. Some time later you see tracks of the old slate quarries of Trélazé. Then enjoy crossing the Authion River via a little chain ferry. Your destination Angers, situated on both sides of the river Maine, attracts your attention.
Challenge: 59km, 192m ascent, 190m descent
You leave the busy town in a surprisingly calm way through a park like setting. Cycling along the Maine river you reach Bouchemaine, with pleasant restaurants and nice picnic places. Here the Maine river flows out in the Loire. Somewhat more to the west the vineyards of Savennières and Coteaux du Layon begin. You cycle close to the river and cross the island of Chalonnes. Via calm tracks you reach the high Montjean-sur-Loire with beautiful views. In the charming St-Florent-le-Vieil you finish this day.
Challenge: 51km, 79m ascent, 98m descent
Start the day on the Mont Glonne with a great view of the Loire. Set off to the fortified Champtoceaux via calm roads and tracks, and have a go at a climb for a magnificent panorama. Here, in the department Loire-Atlantique you already begin to experience the influence of the Atlantic. The Muscadet vineyards on the islands and the fields with vegetables provide a variation in landscape. After Mauves-sur-Loire you notice the outlines of Nantes, the biggest and maybe the most attractive town on the Loire.
Challenge: 56km, 40m ascent, 52m descent
Surprising works of art at unusual places enliven the start of this trip along the mouth of the Loire. After Le Pellerin the Martinière canal acts as your guide. You cycle along small, quiet roads through landscapes belonging to the mouth of a big river: broad marshes and meadows. From Paimboeuf you follow a part of the coastal route ‘Velodyssée’. You will notice the strong influence of tides and currents on the Loire. Your trip ends in Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, a lively seaside resort on the Atlantic coast.
Challenge: 58km, flat
Breakfast marks the end of the trip. You can travel back to Orléans by train. Some time left? We advise you to extend your stay in order to take the time to visit the beautiful Atlantic Coast.
12 Nights included
2/3 Star Hotels or 3/4 Star Hotels (supplement applied)
Tourist tax included
Breakfast included, Halfboard optional on request
Maps and tourist information on all the places of interest
24/7 Bilingual Emergency hotline
Luggage transport to your next accommodations. Luggage accepted per person: 1 suitcase or travel bag (20 kg maximum)
Parking informations on request
GPS tracks are available on request
The international Paris airports Charles de Gaulle in the north and Orly in the south are served by a large number of scheduled and low cost airlines.They are connected with Paris by metro and bus services. From Paris you can take a train to Orléans, see below.
From Paris to Orléans (approx. 1h50 - 135 km/84 mi). Acces to driving routes see the website ViaMichelin.