Bicycle Tours in France: Cycling the Castles of the Loire Valley Sightseer Tour
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No region in France is as representative of the country's royal splendor as the Loire Valley. With grand chateaux, hilltop villages, and lazy rivers that wind through forests and vineyards, the Loire offers a feast for the senses that proclaims, "This is France!"
Relish traffic-free routes along designated bike paths and quiet country roads.
Appreciate gentle cycling terrain.
Enjoy a variety of activities including a guided tour of Leonardo da Vinci's Clos Lucé.
Stay in delightful hotels (and a castle!) without having to pack each night.
Engage with family and friends while exercising and relaxing in a gorgeous area.
Highlights: French villages of Azay-le Rideau, Amboise, Tours, and Cheverny, Spectacular castles and gardens including Chambord and Chenonceau, Guided tour of Leonardo da Vinci's Clos Lucé, Guided tour of Chenonceau, Sleep in a castle, built between the 15th and 19th centuries, Pools in two of three hotels, A special behind-the-scenes tour of Chambord.
ADDITION RATE INFORMATION
Single Supplement: $550
*We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
Day 1: Arrive In Azay-Le-Rideau, FranceAzay-le-Rideau, Loire Valley, France
Highlights: Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau
We'll pick you up at Tours' St Pierre des Corps train station today and whisk you off through French writer Honoré de Balzac's favorite countryside, to our charming country inn in Azay-le-Rideau. Make sure to visit its fairy-tale chateau: one of the most striking in all of France. Balzac once described this chateau as "a diamond set in the Indre River valley." We'll fit bicycles this afternoon, do a short test ride, and enjoy a special welcome dinner together.
Day 2: Chateau De Langeais And UsséAzay-le-Rideau, Loire Valley, France
Highlights: Castles of Langeais and Ussé
Today, we'll suggest a ride to the Chateau de Langeais, and then on to the Chateau d'Ussé. A perennial ExperiencePlus! favorite for its medieval feel, tapestries, and intriguing history, the Chateau de Langeais boasts the oldest building you'll see all week: a 10th century keep. Continue pedaling along the Loire River to the Chateau d'Ussé, famed as the inspiration for Charles Pérault's Sleeping Beauty.
Today's Ride: 43 km (27 miles)
Day 3: AmboiseAmboise, Loire Valley, France
Highlights: Chateau de Villandry, Tours, Leonardo da Vinci's Amboise
Today's ride features the Chateau de Villandry, the last of the large Chateaux built along the Loire during the Renaissance. Visit the spectacular, ornamental gardens before continuing on bike paths by half-timber houses in Tours. From there, it's a short ride to the town of Amboise which boasts the manor house of Le Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci came to spend the last three years of his life upon invitation from the French King Francis I. Leonardo is buried in the castle's chapel.
Today's Ride: 64 km (40 miles)
Day 4: AmboiseAmboise, Loire Valley, France
Highlights: Chateau d'Amboise, guided tour of Leonardo da Vinci's Clos Lucé
Take the day off your bike today to explore the rich town of Amboise. Start with a fascinating guided tour of the Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci spent the final years of his life. Walk through his bedroom, discover where he worked, and stroll through the vast gardens where many of his inventions were constructed for the first time. You'll have plenty of time to visit the enormous castle, taste some excellent chocolate, and lounge around the pool this afternoon. If you're set on riding your bike, Vouvray, home of world class Chenin Blanc wines awaits.
Today's Ride: 47 km (29 miles)
Day 5: AmboiseChateau de Chenonceau, Loire Valley, France
Highlights: Chateau de Chenonceau; canoe trip down the Cher River
Head off toward the Cher River this morning where we'll regroup to canoe to the famous castle of Chenonceau. The castle forms a bridge across the river, one of the tributaries to the Loire. You'll leave your canoe here for a free afternoon to explore the castle, once occupied by Diane de Poitiers, mistress to Henri II. After the king's death in 1599, Queen Catherine de Medici reclaimed the castle and evicted de Poitiers. You can still explore the two separate gardens created for these two women. Today's Ride: 39 km (24 miles)
Day 6: ChevernyCheverny, Loire Valley, France
Highlights: Chateau de Chaumont, Fougéres, Breuil
Pedal along the Loire river again to Chaumont, with its spectacular gardens, park, and castle perched over the Loire river valley. From there you'll bicycle to Fougéres, a lesser-known castle well worth the visit. The 15-19th century castle you'll be sleeping in tonight is surrounded by a 110-acre park. Tonight, feast on a gourmet meal together in our chateau. Today's ride: 45 km (28 miles)
Day 7: ChevernyCheverny, Loire Valley, France
Highlights: Chateau de Chambord and Cheverny
You have the chance to visit two of the most popular Loire Chateaux today: Chambord and Cheverny. Some say Leonardo da Vinci designed the opulent 400-room Chateau de Chambord when he lived at the royal court. The Château nearly bankrupted the French treasury before its completion in 1685. Enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes tour of the castle this morning. After lunch, pedal to Cheverny, another long-time favorite of ours. A celebratory dinner together this evening at our castle.
Today's ride: 51 km (32 miles)
Day 8: FarewellLoire Valley, France
Highlights: Bon voyage!
Your tour ends after breakfast today. We hope you've enjoyed this relaxing cultural and historic exploration of the Loire! We'll offer a shuttle this morning to a nearby train station with connections to Paris. Bon voyage!
What to Expect: A region perfectly adapted to discovering by bicycle the majestic Renaissance castles through beautiful rural countryside and woodlands. Delicious food and wine fit for a king or queen. Though the rides are quite gentle you will encounter some rolling terrain most days. Mostly on dedicated bike paths and country lanes.
Daily Distance: Average per day 48 km (30 miles), if you ride every day.
Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.
Because you will be using bike paths there will be limited van support. Some bike paths are very popular so although car traffic is minimal you will have instances of bike traffic.
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