Cycling holidays along the Loire

Cycling holidays along the Loire – Castle Chambord
Castle Chambord

Along almost 1000 kilometres the Loire is what it wants to be: wild and natural. From its source in the French Massif Central, the Loire is still wild and dangerous in parts. On the way to where it enters the Atlantic, it can be a lazy, slower moving river. On a cycling holiday on the Loire, you will inevitably encounter the almost 300 km long Loire Valley. Between Orléans and Angers you can easily follow the traces of French history. The French nobility realised early on in the Middle Ages just how beautiful the countryside is in this area. Hundreds of castles and palaces followed. France's Garden, the name given to the Loire Valley, invites you to enjoy this unique cultural landscape with all of your senses. Away from the valley, the Loire also has a lot to offer. Even more relaxation and pleasure cycling! On an easy-going bike & boat tour along the Loire or from Saumur to the Atlantic coast, the Loire is not just France's longest river, but ideal for a relaxing and varied cycling holiday.

After all these wonderful impressions on your cycling holiday along the Loire, the local delicacies here will taste even better. Thanks to the extent of this river area, you'll find plenty of wineries along the Loire that all produce wines of very different characters. Dry white wines, light red wines, fruity dessert wines or quaffable Crémant complement the varied local cuisine. A diverse range of fish and game dishes, cheese specialities or tarte Tartin invite you to spoil and indulge yourself. Go for it!

Welcome to France's Garden. To and From - on your circular tour you'll see the best palaces in the Loire Valley. There's one on practically every corner of your route. The palace estates of Chambord, Chenonceau and d’Azay-le-Rideau count among the most famous. Pedaling through almost endless vineyards, you get to Fontevraud-l’Abbaye - known for having the biggest monastic building in Europe. Simple but vast. Saumur's tuffeau caves, the Leonardo-da-Vinci-Museum in Clos Lucé in Amboise and Château du Rivau close to Chinon with its wonderful gardens are also worthwhile of a visit on your tour.

A cycle tour from Orléans to Saumur promises similar enjoyment. The courageous Jeanne d’Arc is why Orléans has taken a prominent place in France's history since the Middle Ages. Go on a pleasant stroll and relax along the newly-designed Loire bank over a glass of wine from the Orléans-Cléry region. By the time you've pedalled to Saumur, you will have made a detour to the Jardins de Roquelin: take a look at Vieux Tours and let the fairy-tale castle at Ussé inspire you to dream a little.

Combine castle romantic with the rugged Atlantic coast. In eight days, your cycling holiday takes you along the Loire from Saumur to the beaches at Mesquer-Quimiacs. At Angers, you leave the Loire Valley. Enjoy the untamed Loire and unspoiled nature as you pass sandbanks and vineyards. In Nantes you will be able to smell the salt of the sea already. Jules Verne's birth town and the former capital of Brittany is, today, a lively cultural and student town. Not far from Saint-Nazaires, the town with 20 beaches, you'll find the ocean lying at your feet. The salt meadows of the Guérande peninsular, the fine-sandy Côte d’Amour at La Baule and the marsh and lagoon landscape around Brière are truly worthwhile seeing on your tour.

If you'd like to experience the Loire not just by bike but by boat too, then the hotel boat, MS Anna Maria IV is just the right thing. Not far from your start at Cours-les-Barres, this tour takes you to Nevers, for example, a lovely little town known for its blue gold. Cycle along a wine-growing region, known especially for its white wine - Pouilly Fumé - and enjoy the boat trip over the canal bridge at Briare. Between your start and destination - Paris, you will learn to slow down and enjoy the idyllic landscape and France's typical hospitality.