- Visiting a selection of the region’s most interesting châteaux; including Villandry and Azay-le-Rideau
- Enjoying fine local produce and local red, white and sparkling wines
- Following relaxed routes, along quiet country lanes and traffic-free paths
- Learning about the Loire Valley’s rich history
- Meandering through quaint, picturesque villages
- Cooling off in the hotel pool after a day out on your bikes
Chinon is approximately a 50 minute taxi ride away from Tours TGV station.
On arrival into Chinon, you will be welcomed by a local representative who will hold your welcome meeting and fit you to your bikes (should you be renting).
Depending on when you arrive, a short acclimatisation ride may be available to get you into the pedalling spirit. Alternatively you can spend the afternoon / early evening exploring Chinon.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 386 Metres Approx.
The riding starts today with a jaunt to the wonderful abbey at Fontevraud. But first, set the wheels in motion with an easy ride out of Chinon and onto the excellent cycle path to Chateau du Rivau – a charming, privately owned castle in the countryside. The restaurant here is a great spot for lunch, with a menu made up of produce from their own gardens.
Continue on through rolling countryside and sleepy villages until you arrive in Fontevraud-l’Abbaye. Check into your hotel, freshen up and head out for a visit to the abbey – which is now a fascinating mix of historical artifacts, beautiful gardens and contemporary arts. The sarcophagi of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine are a must see.
Note: A shorter, more direct route of 25km with no hills is also available to go straight to Fontevraud, skipping Chateau du Rivau.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 428 Metres Approx.
There is an option to take a day off the bike today and spend it by the pool or strolling around the Abbey if you didn’t have time yesterday.
For those who fancy a ride, you can take the Loire a Velo route out to Saumur and back. On the way you’ll pass more châteaux, rolling vineyards and troglodyte dwellings. It’s an out and back route, so if you want to cut it short and turn home early you can do but you would miss out on the spectacular Château de Saumur at the halfway point. This castle, resplendent with a huge gold weathervane, sits perched above the town of Saumur, which is full of boutiques, cafés and bars and a perfect place for a mid-ride pause. Ride home along the riverside and keep an eye out for the interesting cave houses as you go!
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 305 Metres Approx.
Whilst today is the longest ride of the tour, the terrain is as flat as a pancake and the kilometres will fly by. The ride starts by twisting down to the river through sunflower fields and vines, hitting the waterfront in the charming village of Montsoreau. From here, follow the excellent Loire a Velo cycle route eastwards, crossing the Loire at it’s point of confluence with the Vienne.
You’ll skirt across inland for a few kilometres on lovely quiet lanes before picking up the Loire once again. This stretch along the river takes you right past the spectacular Chateau d’Usse, famed as the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. The route stays next to the river for the rest of the day, passing through some nice waterside villages before arriving at Villandry. A short climb out of the village takes you to the hotel door.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 222 Metres Approx.
The day begins along the Loire, continuing eastwards and passing the petrified caves of Savonnieres en route to the capital of the region, the medieval city of Tours. If you’d like to spend some time in Tours, you have the option of riding into the city, adding an additional 9-10 Kms onto today’s ride. The route in and out of town follows the Loire a Velo cycle route down the grand Avenue de Grammont, something of a miniature Champs Elysees (with cycle paths!).
If however you’d prefer to avoid city riding, you’ll head straight onto Montbazon, the next overnight stop, which lays about 12km outside of the city.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 182 Metres Approx.
It’s a short route today, but we recommend starting early with a visit to Château d’Azayle-Rideau, one of the regions finest, on the cards for the afternoon. When it’s time to get in the saddle, your route for the day continues to follow the Indre river westwards, through charming villages like Saché and Artannes-sur-Indres on the way to your destination at Azay-le-Rideau. Saché is a particularly charming little village and home to a small castle and museum dedicated to Honoré de Balzac, who whilst not so well known to us Brits is one of France’s literary icons. After a little more riverside riding, you should arrive in Azay-le-Rideau with plenty of time to visit the spectacular castle – or to enjoy a local wine tasting.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 267 Metres Approx.
Leave Azay-le-Rideau this morning along the Indre river, passing the lovely hidden gem of Chateau de l’Islette and the Musee Maurice Dufresne just outside of town. The route takes a turn here and enters the forest for some peaceful riding on very quiet roads. Keep your eyes peeled for birds of prey and deer! A descent down to the Vienne follows and an easy ride back into Chinon through the vineyards is a perfect way to end your cycling holiday
Generally the riding is flat and easy going. You’ll find some short hills when you leave the river valley but nothing long or too steep. There’s a lot of cycling infrastructure in place, so most of the cycling takes place on signposted cycle routes that are designed and managed by local tourist boards. These routes mostly use very quiet roads that zig zag through vineyards or along the river bank.
Although much of the route (70% approx) is on roads shared with traffic, the majority of the routes outside of towns usually have low traffic levels and its very unusual to see more cars than cyclists. There are stretches of traffic free cycle path as well, notably outside of Chinon and Rigny-Usse. One day of cycling passes through the outskirts of Tours, a small city. This however is done on a signposted route on cycle paths alongside the road and through a park. It’s still generally very safe and easy to navigate.
We’d recommend a hybrid bike for this tour, although a road bike would suffice if confident on some of the bumpier sections (some cobbles and some hard-packed gravel / dirt sections).
It is possible to use an E-Bike for this holiday. For more information about riding an electric bike on our holidays please click here
Leisure Cycling Grade
Aspects of both our grade 1 and 2 holidays
Suitable for those looking for a relaxed ride
Occasional ups and downs
Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!
For more information about our grading system click here.
Is this suitable for you?
Holidays that are graded as a 1-2, will have aspects of both our grade 1 and grade 2 holidays. These tours are still suitable for those looking for an accessible cycling holiday with manageable daily distances, along predominately flat terrain, however there will be some days / sections where we’d expect you to be up for a slightly cheeky challenge. It might be that the distances are a little longer on some days or that the terrain is slightly more undulating, but the rides are still relaxed and manageable for someone whose generally fit and healthy.
For more information about the grading of this holiday in particular, please check out the terrain section which will give you some specifics of what to expect on this tour.
Dates & Prices
2024 (Departures available from 13 Apr – 14 Oct)
Wednesday departures – £1455
Daily departures (excl. Wednesdays) – £1525
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A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms) in 3 and 4* hotels
B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
C) English speaking local representative (with welcome meeting)
D) Detailed route notes and maps (GPX files available on request)
E) Luggage transfers
F) Financial Protection through ABTOT
What's not Included
A) Bike rental (available if required)
B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)
C) Meals not stated in the itinerary
D) Single room (available if required)
E) Travel insurance
F) Personal clothing and equipment
G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)
H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route
I) Local tourist taxes
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John, NewcastleA truly great first cycling holiday experience for two of us
The whole trip was exactly as advertised and lived up to our high expectations. The routes were really great – on either cycle tracks or very quiet roads with minimal car traffic. The navigation app, which we hadn’t used previously was essential and worked a treat! The Loire is superbly well set up for cyclists.
Each of the hotels were spectacularly good and yet quite different from each other. The breakfasts, which were all included, were uniformly great with choice of options. The hire bikes were in great condition, included panniers, lights, repair & first aid kits. We had no problems / ‘mechanicals’ but it was reassuring to know you had what was needed. All transfers worked seamlessly & the fact that our rooms at each destination were all available on arrival was a real plus.
Jean, NorthamptonshireWe loved every day...
This holiday exceeded all our expectations, we loved every moment. The hotels were excellent and very welcoming. We loved every day but the ride past the Sleeping Beauty Chateaux and having a hot chocolate in the cafe opposite is a stand out moment. We also loved the rides along the river!
Jonathan, LondonExcellent service!
Every day had elements that were special. I think I most liked Fontevraud to Villandry because of the long, flat, traffic free sections along the beautiful river and Chateau Villandry was a stunning end to the day.
William, Pittsburgh, USAThis was an excellent trip!
The route design in particular was the best I have experienced . The combination of riding along the Loire river, then inland through farmlands and small villages, was very enjoyable. The accommodations were also very pleasant. The service provided by our in-country contacts was also very good and most everything went according to expectation and plan.