Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Cycle the Châteaux of The Loire Self-Guided Cycling Trip
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Highlights

  • Easy going cycling through the UNESCO Loire Valley
  • Visit the châteaux of Chenoceau and Chambord
  • Explore the royal towns of Amboise and Blois
  • Afternoon café au lâit and tarte tatin
  • Relax in the gardens of Château Villandry

Discover the châteaux and palaces of the Loire Valley on this easy going cycling trip.

Once a region of royal pomp and grandeur, the Loire Valley boasts an extraordinary spectacle of ornate châteaux, gardens and royal homes of nobility dating back to the 14th century. Visit the elaborate châteaux of Chambord, Chenoceau and Villandry as you cycle through the laid back Loire Valley each day.

Spend relaxed evenings in the elegant towns of Blois, Amboise and Azay le Rideau, dining al-fresco on regional delights of local game dishes rounded off each evening with a riverside stroll back to your charming, traditional accommodation.


Day 1 Arrive Blois


Your cycling adventure begins in the charming town of Blois. Towering up on the north banks of the Loire, Château Blois dominates the skyline and its ancient streets are delightful introduction to Loire’s rich history. Blois has excellent train connections with Paris (approx 1hr) and Tours (approx 30mins).


Overnight: Blois


Day 2 Loop Ride to Château Chambord


East of Blois Chambord sits Loire’s widest castle at Chambord. An easy ride via cycle paths and woodlands arrives at the ornate Royal Château. Constructed by King Francis I, the château never reached completion but remains a distinct icon of the Loire, owing to its Renaissance architecture. Returning to Blois is an easy afternoon of cycling along the Loire River path.


Cycle: 30km


Overnight: Blois


Day 3 Cycle to Amboise


A gentle morning of riverside cycling leads to the elegant town of Amboise. Beyond the regal history, you can also visit Clos du Luce, former residence and eventual resting place of Leonardo da Vinci. Later in the afternoon relax at one of the many cafés or chocolatiers.


Cycle: 35km


Overnight: Amboise


Day 4 Loop Ride to Château Chenoceau


Today’s route heads through the Amboise forest as you ride to Château Chenonceau. Originally built for royal military in the 16th century, the château has passed through several notable owners including the chocolatier Menier. Before returning to Amboise you may also like to explore the charming village of Chenoceau.


Cycle: 40km


Overnight: Amboise


Day 5 Cycle to Azay le Rideau


Cycling west to Azay le Rideau, you’ll cross the Rivers Cher and L’Indre before reaching Montbazon - perfect for a typical long French lunch. Further upstream, you’ll reach Azay le Rideau and it’s ostentatious 16th century riverside château. The chateau is only a few minutes walk from your accommodation which means there is plenty of time to make a visit today or tomorrow.


Cycle: 65km


Overnight: Azay le Rideau


Day 6 Loop Ride to Villandry


Not far from Azay are the stunning and extensive gardens of 17th century Château Villandry. A property of military history, the Château was the family home of France’s Controller General of War. Post revolution it was later acquired by Emperor Napoleon for his brother Jérome Bonaparte. The return journey heads back along the Loire River. If you prefer a day off the bike, enjoy a relaxed day exploring Azay.


Cycle: 35km


Overnight: Azay le Rideau


Day 7 Onward Travel


Only 2km from the centre, Azay train station has connections through to Tours, Saumur and Paris (1hr-3hr). If you prefer, it is possible to extend this trip, cycling via the Sleeping Beauty Castle of Usses, finishing at Chinon, famed for it’s cabernet franc wine and medieval streets.

Accommodation

Each evening will be spent in boutique  B&B’s and 3* hotels. We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed below, but on occasion, especially during peak season, we use an alternate accommodation of equal or higher standard. Examples of accommodation are listed below.


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party or are travelling as a solo cyclist single rooms are available subject to a supplementary payment. 


Meals


Breakfast is included each day at your hotel and usually consists of fresh pastries, breads, fruits, yogurts, cheeses, meats and granola. If you have special dietary requirements do let us know at the time of booking.  Lunches and dinners are not included. One of our favourite experiences of the Loire is to pick up local cheeses and boulangerie breads for a riverside picnic. As you will be staying the heart of each village or town, there are extensive cafes and restaurants to choose from in the evening. You will find a number of recommendations in your information pack.



 

 

 

 



Maison du Carroir – Blois



Maison du Carroir - Blois

In the heart of Blois, nestled in a quiet street, Maison du Carroir offer cosy guest rooms in a traditional family house, with contemporary decor. Chantal, your host will be on hand to answers any questions about Blois.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Manoir du Parc – Amboise



Manoir du Parc - Amboise

A parkside manor with relaxing gardens and pool, Manoir du Parc is only 10 minute walk from the Royal Chateau of Amboise. An easy evening stroll from the old town, traditionally furnished provide a good nights sleep.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Biencourt – Azay le Rideau

With a few metre of the elegant Chateau Azay le Rideau, this 16th century property was formerly a school and real tennis courts. Only a stone’s throw from relaxing cafes, you’re never far from relaxing refreshment.


 

 

 

Availability


This trip is available to start on any day from May to October
and is subject to availability. Peak months in Loire are
June, July and August so we would suggest contacting us as soon as your
plans are finalised.


Grade & Terrain


This cycling tour is graded easy to moderate with daily distances between 35 and 55km each day. It is perfectly suited to cyclists that are venturing on their first cycling trip or perhaps haven’t ridden for a few years. It is also well suited for keen cyclists looking for laid back pace on flat terrain. The route follows a combination of dedicated cycle paths, quiet riverside roads and urban roads so please be mindful other road users at all times.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The route notes that
accompany each itinerary give a step by step, turn by turn account of
your route to give you continual points of reference. Most of the time you will be cycling on quiet back roads and dedicated cyclepaths, however in order to connect the various routes, you will cycle for short distance on busier urban roads. Please do be mindful of all road users at all times.



Bike Rental

Trek 7.3 hybrid bikes are available for hire. All bikes are equipped with a pannier, trip computer and spare inner tube along with a pump.


Many people also choose to hire an EBike. The added battery power provides assistance when required. For more information on how EBikes work click here.


If you’d like to hire a bike, please let us know your height and frame size you currently ride. Alternatively we’re happy to answer any questions you have about the hire bike.


Trek 73 Rental Bike


If you would prefer to bring your own bicycle please ensure it is thoroughly serviced and is an appropriate hybrid or touring bike for this trip.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour
with Macs Bike that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you
for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care. 


General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are
approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing
all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and
trousers), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed
equipment list which includes standard cycling gear such as good shoes,
warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight
clothing for summer, and a day pack.


Travel to Blois and from Azay le Rideau


To Blois


AirParis Orly and Paris Charles De Gaulle airports connect to all major European and worldwide cities. From Paris it is possible to connect with Blois via train (approx 1hr journey).


Tours Val de Loire is located in the heart of the Loire and is serviced by Ryanair from both the UK and European airports. Journey time from Tours is approx 30mins by airport bus, with onward train services connecting to Blois (approx 1hr).


Ferry: The French ports of St Malo and Le Havre are an approximate 4hr drive. The popular port of Calais is also 4hr drive. Direct Ferries have details of route crossings and sailing times to the UK.


From Azay le Rideau


Train: Onward travel to Tours is around 1-2hr journey time and from here regular services to Paris are between 1hr30mins and 2hrs30mins. For full details of timetables and costs visit The Trainline Europe.


Ferry: The closest ferry ports to Azay le Rideau are St Malo and Le Havre and are an approximate 3hrs 30mins drive. The popular port of Calais is a 5hr drive. Direct Ferries have details of route crossings and sailing times to the UK.


Included

  • 6 Nights in boutique B&Bs or 3* hotels
  • 6 Breakfasts
  • Baggage transfer
  • Detailed Information Pack
  • Macs Adventure Navigation App
  • 24/7 telephone support

Excluded

  • Travel to Blois / from Azay le Rideau
  • Lunches
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Bike hire/helmet
  • Entrance fee or gratuities
  • Personal equipment and expenditure
  • Travel insurance

Extras

  • Single Room(s)
  • Solo Cyclist Supplement
  • Bike Hire
  • EBike Hire

How fit do I need to be?

This cycling tour is graded easy to moderate with daily distances between 30 and 55 km each day. It is perfectly suited to cyclists whom are venturing on their first cycling trip or perhaps haven’t ridden for a few years and are looking for a leisurley return to the saddle. Owing to the easy, flat terrain, this is also a superb trip for keen cyclists simply looking for laid back pace. There is also the option of an Ebike if you require a little pedal powered assistance.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this holiday is extremely popular especially in the summer months.  Please note you can start this holiday on any day of the week. 

When is the best time of year?

Spring in the Loire offers pleasant warm days with flora in full bloom. Into the summer months (June-August), daytime temperatures are pleasantly hot and verdant river banks provide perfect picnic spots. Into September the Loire embraces the wine harvest so you may well come across a festival or two.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Baggage transfer as per your itinerary is included in the price of your trip. We ask you to keep your baggage to a maximum of 1 bag per person (maximum weight 20kg).

What happens if I can't cycle a stage? 

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop. These costs are payable locally. Details of alternative transport will be listed in your information pack. Your accommodation hosts will also be able to help you with any local transport questions.

 
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