Moving Between Cultures
Cycling in the Loire Valley
The Loire Valley
The Loire Valley - once a place for Frence Royalty - is a place of beauty, wine, history and culture. The Loire Valley is located in central France, only one hour from Paris on high speed rail. Famous for it's Châteaux and its historic towns amongst pristine scenery, makes the Loire Valley a perfect and interesting place for families or the lone traveler to visit and tour.
Cycling is one of the many sports and activities available in the Loire Valley but is seen as one of the things you must do whilst you're there. There are many different organisations willing to help make your holiday the best experience for you, as well as hundreds of routes that can can be changed to suite your own needs and interests.
“For cycling holidays France is a great location and the Loire Valley one of the most historic and interesting to explore. Enjoy empty roads and relax and make yourselves at home!”
Top 10 things to do in The Loire Valley
1. Chateau Royal du Blois
2. Loire Valley Cycle
3. Cathadrale St Maurice
4. Fine Arts Museum
5. Chateaux of the Loire
6. Tenture de l'Apocalypse
7. Auberge Angevine
8. Chateau d'Angers Fortress
9. Cointreau Museum
10. House of Magic
My Itinerary - Getting to France
Once I have Arrived
The Loire Valley Bike Tour Itinerary
Day One: Chambord and the Royal Hunting Grounds
Your guides will greet you at the Blois train station and whisk you away to the nearby Château Chambord, where your adventure begins. Here you will toast your arrival to the region with a light lunch and some of the region’s own sparkling wine and arouse your palate for a week of chocolate, wine, and cheese tastings. During your tour of the château and grounds you will voyage across centuries of French historical legends, revealing battles, mistresses, culinary arts, and innovations both of architecture and artistry. Take your time to visit this masterfully built château (rumored to have been partly designed by Leonardo Da Vinci) and then join your guides to mount your bikes. During your bike fitting, safety talk and map review, your guides will get you up to speed for a week of gentle rolling rides through forests, vineyards and never-ending fields of grain. Return to the beautiful hotel hidden away in the woods above the Loire river by bike or get a lift in the van. Tonight, the hotel’s two Michelin starred chef will spoil you with the regional specialties!
Meal: Light Lunch / Dinner
Destinations visited: Blois, Chambord, Mont-sur-Chambord, Onzain
Distance cycled: 43 km / 27 miles
Day Two: Château Cheverny and its vineyards
After you have enjoyed your scrumptious breakfast buffet at the hotel, your guides will get you excited for your ride with the day’s map review. Today you will be crossing over the Loire River to head over for a visit of the Château de Cheverny, also known as the model for Captain Haddock’s Marlinspike Hall in the Adventures of Tintin. Before the visit you’ll have many cute little bistros to choose from for your well deserved lunch. The 16th century château, like many others in the region, has been demolished and rebuilt on many occasions making its history unclear at times. Nevertheless, the current château is filled with original canvases, tapestries, and period furniture that make the beautifully preserved château so delightful. Do not miss the pack of hunting dogs that are kept on the grounds and are taken out twice a week to keep their senses sharp. We will have a wine tasting of Cheverny’s and Cour-Cheverny’s very unique wines before leaving the area. Return to the hotel by bike or get a lift in the van and you will be delighted by tonight’s traditional fare in the authentic restaurant we have chosen for you in the little town of Onzain.
Meal: Breakfast / Dinner
Destinations visited: Onzain, Candé sur Beuvron, Cheverny, Cour Cheverny
Distance cycled: 32 km / 20 miles (plus an optional 32 km / 20 miles)
Day Three: Amboise Through Da Vinci’s Eyes
After cycling through a panorama of rich farmland and the towns Pocé-sur-Cisse and Limeray. You will observe roads lined with underground troglodyte cellars, something unique that differentiates Loire from other regions in its winemaking practices. Afterwards your guides will bring you to the Clos Lucé, where Leonardo Da Vinci is said to have arrived holding the Mona Lisa in his hands and then spent the final years of his life. The museum that now sits inside this beautiful manor is home to replicas of Da Vinci’s famous war machines and a few of his mysterious sketches and letters. Continuing on, we’ll enjoy an authentic picnic lunch prepared by your guides with local wine and cheese. You may then opt do a loop ride out through the vineyards of St Martin Le Beau or visit the Château d’Amboise, once the primary home of the French royalty. The current structure is only one-fifth of the “palace” constructed by Charles VIII. Tonight is yours to explore the enchanting streets of Amboise and choose from one of the many fine-dining options all within a short walk.
Meals: Breakfast / Gourmet picnic
Destinations visited: Onzain, Pocé-sur-Cisse, Limeray, Nazelles-Négron, Amboise
Distance cycled: 24 km / 15 miles (plus an optional 16 km / 10 miles)
Day Four: Amboise to Chenonceau and Montbazon
After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll cycle to Château de Chenonceau and tour the graceful 15th century castle with its “dueling” gardens of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici. Chenonceau is not only remarkable for its architecture and history, but also for the fine quality of its original period furniture and fine art collections. On our visit, we’ll see Renaissance furniture and a vast ensemble of XVIth and XVIIth century tapestries and other great masterpieces. After the visit, you’ll be spoiled by your guide’s culinary efforts with a gourmet picnic including all the region’s best: goat cheeses, rillettes, fois gras. Cycling on after lunch, we’ll reach the gorgeous town of Montbazon. The rectangular Donjon of Montbazon (mid 11th century) is one of the oldest strongholds in France. It was built by Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou to protect his territory. After a gentle climb you will be pleasantly surprised by our next extravagant hotel. Dinner tonight is in one of DuVine’s favorite restaurants, la Chanceliere – a fine gourmet experience.
Meals: Breakfast / Picnic lunch / Dinner
Destinations visited: Amboise, Chenonceaux, Cormery, Veigné & Montbazon
Distance cycled: 54 km / 33 miles
Another delicious breakfast rich with fresh fruit, yogurts, bread, pastries, and cheeses will prepare us for the lovely ride alongside the Cher River on a peaceful bike path. The Château de Villandry was completed around 1536 and was the last of the large châteaux built in the Loire Valley during the Renaissance. It has an extraordinary showcase of Renaissance-style mazes, an elegant water garden and the source for perfect French recipes: potager and herb gardens. Indulge in a fresh and tasty lunch at the château gates (don’t forget to try the unique flavors of ice cream that are inspired by the château’s gardens!) before we cycle back to Montbazon to spend the afternoon in complete relaxation by the pool before we meet for drinks. Our final dinner will be prepared by the Château’s well-regarded chef as we dine amidst stunning valley views.
Meals: Breakfast / Dinner
Destinations visited: Montbazon, Savonnieres, Château de Villandry
Distance cycled: 48.5 km / 30 miles
Day Six: Montbazon to Tours
After breakfast and perhaps a stroll through the castle’s grounds, say goodbye to the Loire Valley however you see fit. We’ll see you off at the St Pierre Des Corps TGV train station where you head on to your next destination.
Accomplished: 201 km / 126 miles & Total Satisfaction!
Now that the Tour is Over
I will return back to the hoted to check out before getting a shuttle from the hotel to the Paris CDG Airport. Saying a last goodbye I will board the 1:45pm plane back home stopping over at Hong Kong on the way.