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France

Chateaux of the Loire

Self-Guided Leisure Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$1,275 P.P.
France

Chateaux of the Loire

Self-Guided Leisure Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$1,275 P.P.
BOOK NOW
This self-guided, circular Loire Valley cycling tour in France starts and finishes in Tours and meanders 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 holiday is all about good food, comfortable accommodation and beautiful cycling routes which create a memorable vacation 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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Highlights

  • Cycling along the bank 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, UK

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 hiring), as well as your 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 will follow the River Cher to the Chateau de Villandry, which is known for the geometric beauty of its vegetable gardens, divided by vine-shaded paths. You’ll then continue your ride, leaving the bank of the River Cher and switching to the bank of the famous River Loire, passing the Chateau of Langeais. It’s a bit stern looking, but has a rich decor and a beautiful collection of Gothic and Renaissance tapestries. You’ll head off for your overnight stop in Chinon but just before reaching it, you will pass by a beautiful fairy tale castle, the Chateau d’Ussé: its approach is stunning.

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

Today there are a couple of options. The route from Chinon first of all will take you 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 were living there (the guided tour of the abbey is excellent). Next you’ll continue to the pretty town of Saumur, one of the most beautiful cities of the Loire valley. There, you can take a peaceful rest in its 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 cycle through vineyards and little villages like Crissay, which was once deserted but is now home to numerous artists and artisans who have settled here. Then you’ll ride 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 Chenonceaux, which spans the river on five elegant arches. It is one of the most perfect and beautiful castles of the Loire region in respect of its architecture, site, contents and atmosphere.

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

Today you’ll head off through the market town of Montrichard and the perfectly symmetrical Chateau de Cheverny. Soon you’ll start to see the vast and spectacular Chateau de Chambord, through the trees of the surrounding forest. The day ends with a lovely level ride, which will lead you to your hotel in Blois where you can discover the centrally located Chateau de Blois.

Day 7
Blois to Tours
46 Miles / 75 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, which is 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

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 trip 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, UK

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
1 days
Price
$1,275.00

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 hire (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 most convenient airport to fly into is Tours (TUF). Flights from North America require overnight travel, and may take several days, requiring more than one stop in intermediary airports, with Norwegian combining with another airline being a common combination for this trip. 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). From North America, most large airports offer direct flights to CDG with airlines such as Norwegian and Air France. 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 tour 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 hire. These bikes are typically hybrid bikes with semi slick tyres, 21 gears, and a relaxed riding position. If you do decide to hire we can include a helmet on request; please request helmets when making your booking. If you choose to hire 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. Hire bikes come with pannier racks and bags, emergency repair kit including spare inner tubes, bike pump and bike lock. GPS devices and GPX files are available on request (please contact our office for more details).

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News, Reviews & Stories

Cycling in France

9 things you’ll only understand if you’ve been cycling in France...

Customer Story: Loire Valley

David and Leila set their wheels on the land of fairy tale castles.

The Loire Valley in Autumn

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