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France

Chateaux of the Loire

Self-Guided Leisure Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£980 P.P.
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This self-guided, circular Loire Valley cycling holiday in France starts and finishes in Tours.
 
You'll meander through the Cher, Indre and Loire valleys taking in an array of the many castles, manor houses and dreamy residences including Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceaux, Blois and Chambord.
 
The Loire Valley is quintessential romantic France. The castles on the river and the beautiful countryside are the reason why this region is so famous. Kings, Lords and Ladies of the court were seduced by the beautiful natural setting and it's easy to see why.
 
Our Loire Valley cycling holidays are all about good food, comfortable accommodation and lovely cycling routes which create a memorable holiday experience. You will be staying in carefully selected small 2 and 3 star hotels and guesthouses and a warm welcome will greet you each evening. 
 
This self-guided Loire Valley bike tour is available for departures on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, for a minimum of two people.
 
We book all your accommodation, transfer your luggage and provide you with routes and a detailed itinerary for you to do the trails ‘unguided’. Just let us know your preferred start date.
 
 
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Holiday Highlights

  • Cycling along the banks of the famous Loire river
  • The stunning approach towards the fairy-tale castle in Chinon, the Chateau d’Usse
  • Riding to the Renaissance Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau
  • Visiting the vast and spectacular Chateau de Chambord
  • Winding your way to the picturesque town of Amboise, where Leonardo de Vinci spent his final years
  • Exploring the lovely Tours

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We visited some stunning places and enjoyed fantastic weather. The service from saddle skedaddle was at its usual high and attentive standard before we left. Lots of lovely quiet roads through fields of wheat, sun flowers and vines with a vivid splash of poppies.

Dave, Powys

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival into Tours

After making your way to your first night’s hotel, you will be provided with your bikes (should you be renting), as well as the route notes and maps for your trip. A local representative will brief you on your route notes and the week to come, giving you the opportunity to ask any last minute questions. Depending on your arrival time, you may have time to explore Tours’ historic centre.

Day 2
Tours to Chinon
38 Miles / 61 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast

Today you’ll be following the River Cher to the Chateau de Villandry. Known for the geometric beauty of its vegetable gardens, divided by vine-shaded paths, Villandry Castle is the last of the great chateaux of the Loire built during the Renaissance.

You’ll then continue your ride, leaving the banks of the River Cher and switching to the banks of the famous Loire itself, passing the Chateau of Langeais on the way.

Riding on small roads parallel to the Loire river, you’ll be passing through rural villages, making your way to the beautiful fairy-tale castle, the Chateau d’Ussé: approaching this magical Chateau will be a highlight of the week. Today your destination and your home for the night will be Chinon, dominated by the ruins of the castle of Charles the VII.

Day 3
Loop Ride - Chinon to Fontevraud
34 or 43 Miles / 55 or 69 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast

Today there are a couple of options to choose from depending on how far you’d like to ride. Leaving Chinon, you’ll make your way to the wonderful Abbaye de Fontevraud, Europe’s largest remaining monastic city. Founded in 1101, the organisation of the abbey was unique: separate communities of priests, nuns, laypeople and lepers lived here (the guided tour of the abbey is excellent).

Next you’ll continue on to the pretty town of Saumur, one of the most beautiful, historic towns of the Loire valley where you can take a break and relax in its lovely gardens, before heading back to Chinon through vineyards and sunflower fields.

Day 4
Chinon to Azay-le-Rideau
22 Miles / 36 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast

Today you’ll be riding through vineyards and small villages. You’ll cycle through Crissay, once deserted but now home to numerous artists and artisans who have settled here, then onto Azay-le-Rideau located in the Indre Valley.

The Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau sits on an island in the middle of the river and is one of France’s loveliest Renaissance castles. You might even catch the gourmet night market as you wander around the cobbled streets.

Day 5
Azay-le-Rideau to Chenonceaux
37 Miles / 59 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast

Today you’ll enjoy cycling through romantic river landscapes. First you’ll follow the River Indre and then, after having conquered a small climb, you will ride down to follow the River Cher through meadow paths to the small market town of Bléré.

After crossing the river, you’ll arrive at the Chateau de Chenonceau, which spans the river. It is known as the Château des Dames or the Ladies’ Castle since its upkeep and construction were managed by six different women. Chenonceux itself will be your home for the night, a small village perfect for soaking up some traditional French charm.

Day 6
Chenonceaux to Blois
47 Miles / 76 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast

Today you’ll make your way through beautiful little villages, towards the market town of Montrichard and the perfectly symmetrical Chateau de Cheverny.

You’ll then ride on towards Chambord, where you’ll soon you’ll start to see the vast and spectacular Chateau de Chambord (one of the Loire Valley’s largest and most recognizable chateaux), through the trees of the surrounding forest. The day ends with a lovely flat ride, which will lead you to your hotel in Blois where you’ll discover Chateau de Blois, located in the city centre.

Day 7
Blois to Tours
44 Miles / 71 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast

For your last day you will cycle to Tours where your trip began. During the day, keep an eye out for the dwellings which have been dug into the soft limestone of the riverside cliffs: sometimes only the rising smoke reveals their existence.

You’ll cross the river to reach the picturesque town of Amboise, lodged under the fortified Chateau d’Amboise. Leonardo Da Vinci spent his last years here and the museum, dedicated to him and his work, is worth a visit.

Afterwards you’ll continue cycling through vineyards and past wine cellars via Rochcorbon to finally reach Tours. And relax!

Day 8
Departure from Tours
  • Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast it’s time to say au revoir to this beautiful cycling destination.

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The Cycling

Terrain

Although the route is predominantly flat, there are some long distances to be covered, especially on the last two days. With this in mind, we wouldn’t recommend this tour to inexperienced cyclists or families with young children. The route is predominantly flat, but there are some undulating sections and hills to conquer along the way. 70% of the time you’ll be riding on small, quiet country lanes, and minor roads (shared with vehicle traffic), the other 30% will be spent riding on mixed use cycle paths (used by both cyclists and pedestrians). Short sections will see you riding on hard packed gravel and hard packed dirt / farm tracks. We recommend a hybrid bike for this tour, but road bikes with semi-slick tyres would suffice.

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Leisure Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 : Moderate

Distances generally between 20-45 miles / 32-72 kms per day

For the leisure cyclist with a good level of physical fitness

May include some steeper, cheeky climbs and possibly sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc)

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?

Although you may not cycle everyday, you do keep yourself relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on your bike at the weekend. Your preference is perhaps for flatter terrain but you don’t mind tackling some hills, and the occasional steep climb if you can take it at your own pace. For those happy to tackle some ups and downs, and possibly some sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc) we’d recommend our grade 3 trips. We’d generally expect those on a Grade 3 holiday to have a decent level of physical fitness and be comfortable with some longer days in the saddle.

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Another marvellous holiday experience, thanks to Skedaddle! The personal touch, eg phone call from Skedaddle office a couple of days before departure, adds a lot. You feel you really matter.

Sheila and Sam, Stockton-on-Tees

Dates & Prices

2021 Friday, Saturday and Sunday departures available between (and inclusive of) the 19 Mar and 31 Oct.

Choose your date
Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
Return Date
--/--/----
Duration
8 days
Price
£980.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms) in 3* and 4* hotels and chambres d‘hôtes

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B-Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Local representative (with welcome meeting)

D) Detailed route notes and maps

E) Luggage transfers

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike rental (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike

C) Travel to first hotel on arrival day

D) Travel from final hotel on departure day

E) Single room (available if required)

F) Travel insurance

G) Meals not stated in the itinerary

H) Personal clothing and equipment

I) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

J) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route

K) City tax (payable locally) – between €0.80 and €1.50 per adult per day (where applicable)

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The Essentials

Travel Options

For this tour we ask that you make your own way to your hotel in Tours on arrival and onwards at the end of the trip. Please aim to arrive before 17.30 if possible.

The Channel ferry services and Euro Tunnel make driving a straightforward option with Tours a 300 mile, 6hr drive from Calais. You can also take a ferry to St Malo in Brittany and drive to Tours, or take the Eurostar from St Pancras in London, to Paris. From Paris Gare du Nord, you can take the metro and a TGV to Tours.

The most convenient airport to fly into is Tours (TUF), with Ryanair from London Stansted (STN). There is a bus service that operates after every inbound flight into Tours which operates between Tours Airport and the town centre. Another option is to fly into Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG). There are good TGV connections via Paris to Tours, which from Paris take just over an hour. You can book tickets via www.raileurope.co.uk. You may also catch the TGV from Paris CDG airport to the TGV station in Tours (St Pierre des Corps).

Please check with Skedaddle before making any travel arrangements so that we can ensure they fit in with the holiday schedule.

Accommodation

Accommodation (shared twin or double rooms) will usually be en suite, in 3 star and 4 star, hotels and chambre d‘hôtes. Triple rooms are available on request and subject to availability.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to rent. These bikes are typically hybrid bikes with semi-slick tyres, 21 gears, and a relaxed riding position. If you do decide to rent we can include a helmet on request; please request helmets when making your booking. If you choose to rent an e-bike, there will be a 250 Euro deposit required on arrival, which can be paid using a credit card. This will be fully refunded when the bikes are returned undamaged. Rental bikes come with pannier racks and bags, emergency repair kit including spare inner tubes, bike pump and bike lock. GPX files are usually available on request (please contact our office for more details).

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News, Reviews & Stories

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Customer Story: Loire Valley

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Reviews

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