- 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
On arrival into Villandry, 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, there may be time for a short acclimatisation ride to nearby Savonnieres or Langeais, to get into the pedalling spirit.
Alternatively you can spend the afternoon / early evening exploring Villandry; renowned for its magnificent and intricate gardens which provide an enchanting setting for a relaxing stroll.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 314 Metres Approx.
Heading out of Villandry, you will make you way along the Loire a Velo cycle path, following the banks of the Loire on ancient roads full of fellow cyclists before turning inland and passing through the towns of Avoine and Savigny-en-Veron. In the latter is a delightful Écomusée that celebrates the local environment, wildlife and culture.
Continuing on, you’ll cross the Vienne river at its confluence with the Loire, which offers a great viewpoint, before passing the picturesque villages of Candes-St-Martin and Montsoreau, with its castle built into the riverbed. The village itself is part of the Loire Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site and a lovely village to meander through.
You’ll end the day with a cheeky climb, taking you through sunflower fields to the historical village of Fontevraud l’Abbaye. The village is built around a spectacular abbey that dates back to the 12th century and is home to the sarcophagi of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine as well as some gorgeous gardens and contemporary art installations. Whilst today’s ride is the longest of the trip, it is mostly made up of relaxed, riverside riding, so just take it easy and soak it all in!
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 428 Metres Approx.
Today you can either take it easy after yesterday’s exertions, and enjoy the hotel pool and gardens, or, if you‘re still raring to go, we have a lovely circular route to Saumur to tempt you back into the saddle.
The circular ride mostly follows the Loire a Velo cycle route and is well signposted, allowing for some stress-free pedalling (with just a few short sharp hills to keep you on your toes!). As it’s the same route there and back, you can turn back at any point if you change your mind about jumping in that pool.
If you ride the whole route though, you’ll be rewarded with châteaux, rolling vineyards and troglodyte dwellings. You’ll also be able to take in the beautiful flower-filled, narrow streets of Montsoreau, the hillside village of Turquant and the medieval town of Saumur, nicknamed the pearl of Anjou. The Chateau de Saumur, resplendent with a huge gold weathervane, sits perched above the town, 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: 152 or 346 Metres Approx.
Today you’ll head east, riding through woodland and rolling farmland for the first part of the day, passing the Abbaye de Seuilly and Museum Rabelais en route to the stunning Chateau du Rivau, our recommended stop for the day. As a small, privately owned chateau, it doesn’t have the same ostentatious grandeur as some of the others in the area, but it’s brimming with charm and beauty. Be sure to try a lunch made from the produce of their own gardens before picking up the Voie Verte for an easy cruise into Chinon, a gorgeous town on the banks of the Vienne river.
Chinon is known for its medieval fortress that sits above the town. It was here that Joan of Arc sought permission for her attack on the English at Orléans. Below the fortress is a beautiful medieval town with countless bars serving the finest local wines.
Note: A shorter, more direct route of 25km (with no hills!) is also available if you’d prefer to head straight to Chinon for an afternoon of relaxation.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 190 Metres Approx.
You’ll start the day today using the public lift, that will take you and your bikes up and out of the town centre (saves you riding up the hill!).
Leaving the lovely Chinon behind, riding past its ancient fortress, you’ll follow a well signposted route through the village of Huismes, the former home to Dada artist Max Ernst, and onwards to the banks of the Loire.
After a few kilometres on a quiet cyclepath, you turn back onto the road to the famous Château d’Ussé, the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty fairytale. The route from here continues to hug the banks of the Loire on a road atop the levy which is perfectly flat. You pass the peaceful river port of Bréhémont before branching off and following the Indre river into Azay-le-Rideau, passing another little-known gem of a place at Château de l’Islette, just outside of town.
The town centre of Azay, is a winding maze of narrow streets, surrounded by riverside Renaissance chateaux, rolling green vineyards and immaculate, verdant gardens.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 223 Metres Approx.
It’s a short route today, so we recommend starting the day with a visit to Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, one of the region’s finest.
Back on the bikes, and your route for the day continues to follow the Indre river eastwards, through charming villages like Saché and Artannes-sur-Indres on the way to your destination; Montbazon. 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 outside of France, is one of country’s most treasured literary icons.
After a little more riverside riding, you should arrive in Montbazon with plenty of time to visit the spectacular fortress – or just to take a dip in the hotel pool, located just outside of town.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 202 Metres Approx.
Today you’ll be travelling back towards the Loire, meeting its meandering course in the city of Tours, one of France’s most historically important cities.
Your route 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!), before you continue west passing the caves at Savonnieres en route to Villandry.
You‘re welcome to ride into Tours centre if you’d like a look around (this will add 3 kms into the city, and 3 kms back out onto your route).
Once back in Villandry, you’ll have the chance to visit the château if you didn’t earlier in the week, or just to kick back, relax and enjoy a well-earned glass of sparkling wine in the hotel’s grounds.
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)
Leisure Cycling Grade
Aspects of both our grade 1 and 2 trips
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?
Trips that are graded as a 1-2, will have aspects of both our grade 1 and grade 2 trips. 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.
Dates & Prices
Daily departures available from 14 Apr – 14 Oct.
2022 €1820 per person
2023 €1910 per person
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) Train station transfer from Tours or St Pierre des Corps (Day 1)
G) Train station transfer to Tours or St Pierre des Corps (Day 8)
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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Jean, UKWe 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!