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Route

Technical Characteristics:

Route Profile: Medium. Mainly flat on cycle paths and low traffic secondary roads with almost consistently very good signposting. The terrain in the vineyards is somewhat hillier and there are also a few short ascents to tackle.

Distance: 8 Day Variation: 335 km
                  10 Day Variation: 385 km

Travel Season: Departures Thursdays and Saturdays from April 9 to October 8, 2022
Season 1: April 9 – April 22 and October 1 – October 8
Season 2: April 23 – May 20 and September 10 – September 30
Season 3: May 21 – September 9

Accommodation:

Category A: 3* hotels of the French classification
Category B: 2* and 3* hotels of the French classification

This cycling tour leads you into the romantic Loire valleys and its tributaries, into the ‘Garden of France’ and is totally characterized by royal residences built here centuries ago. Kings, overlords and court ladies seduced by the scenic allure of the region, took up residence here – and left their marks. Which are best followed by bike: Villandry with its marvelous grounds, the ‘Sleeping Beauty Palace’ Usse, the royal abbey of Fontevraud, which was at times used as a prison, the spectacular Chenonceaux palace, built on top of the fountains of a watermill situated directly on the river Cher…. One fascinating, one-of-a-kind building followed by the next.  In between vineyards and wine villages oozing rural charm cover the area.  Adventurous cyclists get their money’s worth and take plenty of time especially for Chambord palace and the numerous sights of Blois and Amboise.  Without any pressure you cycle from palace to palace, delight in the stupendous architecture and revel in the royal sense of life of a region, where the wealthy and powerful of days gone by used to abandon themselves to idleness and where you too will feel just like you live in clover.

Itineraries

Day 1

Arrival in Tours

Already discover the historic centre Touraine today, the highly-praised ‘Garden of France’.

Day 2

Tours – Chinon 55 km

The river Cher leads you directly to the castle Villandry with its terraced gardens. Certainly, you should not miss paying a visit to this famous installation. Every visitor will be amazed by the shadowy footpaths, the flower bedecked bowers, the fountains and the artistically laid out vegetable gardens. Some kilometres further on you will exchange the bank of the Cher for the bank of the famous Loire. And again you will be tempted by the next castle – Langeais. From the top of the fortified tower (this castle exclusively served for military purposes) you will see the river and its whole surroundings lying in front of you. On the verge of the dark and mysterious forest of Chinon rises the castle of Ussé, the castle of Sleeping Beauty. Via small villages and on side roads you will reach today’s destination – Chinon.

Day 3

Loop tour Fontevraud l´Abbaye 55 km

The Vienne escorts you first in the small village of Candes-St-Matin. A grandiose and romantic church was built at the place of death of the holy St. Martin. In Montsoreau the Vienne conflates with the powerful Loire – an impressing natural spectacle. These ‘cave gardens’ are approximately 800 km long. Your cyclist calves take you first to Fontervraud l’Abbey. Nowhere else in this world, you will find a medieval monastery that is so entirely preserved like the one in Fontervraud. You pass the birth house of Francois Rabelais, the famous author and also through the valley, where his story line of the book “Gargantua” takes place.

Day 4

Chinon – Azay-le-Rideau 40 km

You leave Chinon with its medieval alleys, which crowd between the river and the rocks, towards the north. The tour leads you through vineyards and lonely villages. Like Crissay, once entirely deserted – it is now resettled by artists and people who always know how to make the best of things. But don’t be concerned – there will also be a castle for admiration today: to be precise, one of extremely high quality – Azay-le-Rideau. Balzac wrote about it as “a diamond with a thousand facets, set by the Indre”. What could we add to this? You will spend the night in town and have, therefore, the chance to enjoy the magic of the castle with its cultural events.

Day 5

Azay-le-Rideau – Chenonceaux 60 km

There is another highlight in store: this time concerning nature. Through the romantic river landscape, steadily following the Indre, you will reach Montbazon. A short ascent awaits you. By pedalling really hard over a mountain ridge you reach the Cher Valley. On meadow paths and along the Cher you go to Bléré, a small market town. For many visitors the Castle of Chenonceaux is the icing on the cake. A magnificent, double floored bridge gallery goes over the river. But beforehand the lovely palace garden will enthuse your eyes.

Day 6

Chenonceaux – Blois 50 – 80 km

Today you have to choose between two tour variants: the shorter stage takes you through the lovely landscape of the Touraine to the Castle Chaumont, and then on romantic paths along the Loire to Blois. After moving into your hotel room you will go out on reconnaissance! The Castle Blois with its galleries, projected balconies and bay windows could be your destination.
Or there is the second, longer variant for all lovers of the Loire Castles: via Montrichard, Cheverny, Villesavine to the Castle Chambord. As far as the eye can see the ‘Domaine de Chambord’ stretches here. Already from a distance, you can see the walls of the biggest and most magnificent residence on the Loire shimmering through the trees. It is the immortal legacy of a disloyal king. You are spoilt for choice!

Day 7

Blois – Tours 75 km

The river flows between the gold shimmering sandbanks in a leisurely manner. Typical of this area are the rock housings, which are directly built into the soft lime stones. Sometimes, only the rising smoke reveals their existence. You cross the Loire in order to appreciate the most royal of all the Loire Castles: Castle Ambois. It accommodated five kings and a Roman emperor. In addition, a genius of the 16th century attracts your attention – Leonardo da Vinci, who spent his last years in Ambois. On the Loire Cycle Path you keep cycling on to Tours. Alternatively take the train (independently) from Amboise and hence cut the stage short by about 30 km.

Day 8

Departure or Extension

C’est la vie – it’s funny the way things turn out. But today your biking tour to the Loire Castles is finished. After having a last substantial breakfast you have to say goodbye to the most delightful region in France!

Prices

    Included:

    • Accommodation in your selected category
    • Breakfast buffet
    • Welcome briefing
    • Luggage transfer between hotels
    • Excellently planned routes
    • Detailed travel documents 1 per room (route maps, route description, local attractions, important telephone numbers)
    • App for navigation and GPS data is available
    • Service hotline

     Not Included:

    • Local taxes payable locally

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