Loire - Atlantic Coast Cycling Holiday

A scenic, 14 day cycling odyssey following the Loire River from Orléans in the Loire Valley all the way to St Brévin les Pins on the Atlantic Coast. Ornate Châteaux, medieval riverside towns, charming vineyards and leisurely scenic cycling characterise this highly enjoyable, long distance route.

The Loire is France’s longest river and following its course westwards from historic Orléans in the Loire Valley makes for a truly unforgettable journey. Along the way you’ll enjoy fantastic overnight stops in wonderful medieval towns such as Blois, Tours and Saumur.

Chateau Villandry

You will see some of the Loire’s most famous châteaux and cycle through some truly idyllic countryside. Let the wide, slow moving river guide you past charming vineyards and quaint villages to the salt marshes and wide open beaches of the Atlantic coast.

You’ll be covering around 30 miles a day on this tour. Much of it is on dedicated cycle paths with the remainder on quiet lanes and roads. Its mainly level with some slightly hilly sections but nothing too strenuous and well within the reach of anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.

Loire - Atlantic Coast Cycling Holiday

A scenic, 14 day cycling odyssey following the Loire River from Orléans in the Loire Valley all the way to St Brévin les Pins on the Atlantic Coast. Ornate Châteaux, medieval riverside towns, charming vineyards and leisurely scenic cycling characterise this highly enjoyable, long distance route.

The Loire is France’s longest river and following its course westwards from historic Orléans in the Loire Valley makes for a truly unforgettable journey. Along the way you’ll enjoy fantastic overnight stops in wonderful medieval towns such as Blois, Tours and Saumur.

Chateau Villandry

You will see some of the Loire’s most famous châteaux and cycle through some truly idyllic countryside. Let the wide, slow moving river guide you past charming vineyards and quaint villages to the salt marshes and wide open beaches of the Atlantic coast.

You’ll be covering around 30 miles a day on this tour. Much of it is on dedicated cycle paths with the remainder on quiet lanes and roads. Its mainly level with some slightly hilly sections but nothing too strenuous and well within the reach of anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.

Itinerary

You’ll be covering around 30 miles a day on this tour. Much of it is on dedicated cycle paths with the remainder on quiet lanes and roads. Its mainly level with some slightly hilly sections but nothing too strenuous and well within the reach of anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.

Day 1 : Arrive Orléans

On arrival in Orléans make your way to your first hotel. After check-in you are free to explore this historic city, surrounded by the countryside of the Beauce and the Sologne forests.

We recommend a visit to the house of Joan of Arc who liberated the town in medieval times. The St. Croix Cathedral and lavish City Hall are also worth visiting.

Day 2 : Orléans – Beaugency
16 miles/26 kms

Your first day’s ride breaks you in gently with an easy cycle along the banks of the peaceful Loire River. It’s a relatively short stage on quiet lanes and cycle paths and you’ll soon arrive in the charming old town of Beaugency where you will spend the night.

Day 3 : Beaugency – Blois
29 miles/46 kms

Leave Beaugency heading south on a lovely cycle path beside the river. After a while you detour away from the river to visit the sensational Château de Chambord the largest and probably the most impressive Chateau in the Loire Valley. From there it’s a short ride to the medieval city of Blois on the banks of the Loire River where you will spend the night.

Day 4 : Blois – Amboise
27 miles/42 kms

More idyllic riverside riding today, half on cycle paths and half on quiet roads. Just past the midway point you will see the impressive Chateau of Chaumont standing guard over the river. Today’s destination is the riverside town of Amboise. After checking in to your hotel take a stroll through this charming little place. Be sure to visit the Royal Castle as well as the house where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final days.

Day 5 : Day 5: Amboise – Tours
17 or 19 miles/27 or 31 kms

You’ll be riding through the Montlouis vineyards today, known for their fine whites and sparkling wines. Perhaps stop off at a cellar to sample and buy a bottle before continuing on to the city of Tours. After checking in, stroll through the atmospheric streets of the old town to ‘Place Plumereau’, a lovely old square graced with fine old half-timbered town houses.

Day 6 : Tours – Azay le Rideau
25 miles/41 kms

Leave Tours, cycling along the banks of the Cher River to Savonnieres where you can visit some interesting caves. Then it’s on to Chateau de Villandry and its impressive terraced gardens before following the River Indre to Azay le Rideau and its lovely Renaissance chateau. You will overnight in the village.

Day 7 : Azay le Rideau – Chinon
22 miles/35 kms

This region of France is dotted with unique chateaux, and today’s ride showcases two more fantastic fortresses. Riding north you meet the River Loire at Langeais, a pleasant village with a stunning castle at its heart. A little further downstream you arrive in Ussé and here you can visit an even more impressive castle. This one may look slightly familiar as it is said to have been the inspiration for the fairytale ‘Sleeping Beauty‘. From here its a relatively short ride to the charming town of Chinon on the River Vienne. Be sure to visit a wine cellar to taste the very good red wines produced around this area. Overnight in Chinon.

Day 8 : Chinon – Saumur
22 or 30 miles/36 or 48 kms

Leave Chinon cycling west along the Vienne River. Cross the river at the pleasant village of Candes-Saint-Martin and ride on quiet lanes to the beautiful Abbey of Fontevraud where Richard the Lionheart is buried. The route leads you back to your old friend the Loire River and after following its course on lanes and cycle paths you reach the lovely town of Saumur. The old town’s narrow streets are lined with half-timbered buildings and the views from the hilltop castle are definitely worth the climb.

Day 9 : Saumur – Angers
35 miles/57 kms

More scenic riverside cycling today as you follow the river north west to Angers. You will be cycling past the Anjou vineyards – famous for producing a variety of high quality wines – and a succession of small pleasant riverside towns and villages. Angers is the regional capital and this small historic city is dominated by its huge Plantagenet castle, which houses the famous Apocalypse Tapestry.

Day 10 : Angers – Montjean sur Loire
23 miles/37 kms

Today you’ll be heading through Anjou to the confluence of the Rivers Loire and Layon at Chalonnes. This is the Loire Valley at its best, where the rhythm of life is slow and the landscape simply stunning. Pass through small, peaceful villages to arrive in Montjean sur Loire where you will spend the night.

Day 11 : Montjean sur Loire – Champtoceaux
25 miles/40 kms

Ride along the southern riverbank of the Loire River through lovely open countryside. Cross the river at the town of Ancenis and ride along a peaceful riverside lane until recrossing the river at Champtoceaux. You are now very close to Brittany and that means the Atlantic Ocean is not far away.

Day 12 : Champtoceaux – Nantes
20 miles/32 kms

Continue westward along the Loire River to Nantes, once part of Brittany and now capital of the Pays de la Loire region. Nantes, spread across both banks of the Loire, is one of France’s largest cities and a bustling centre of culture and commerce that makes for a different and dynamic break to your journey. Visit the tranquil and entertaining Jardin Des Plantes Park or, if you are not castled out, visit the History Museum in the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany. The covered galleries of the Passage de Pommeraye in the centre are also worth seeking out.

Day 13 : Nantes – Saint-Brévin
36 miles/58 kms

Leave the big city behind, crossing the Loire by river ferry with your bikes to pick up the cycle path and head back into the countryside. You’re now cycling through marshlands as the Loire widens into an estuary. Your destination today is the seaside town of Saint-Brévin at the mouth of the river opposite St Nazaire. This seaside town is blessed with a wide sandy beach and sea views.

Day 14 : Departure

After breakfast it’s time to check out and head for home or your next adventure.

Bikes

Regular bikes provided are modern alloy framed models with 27 speeds. The bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.

Electric bikes are also available.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively, helmets are provided on arrival

Accommodation

Below you will find examples of the types of accommodation typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard. The hotel list below is for the complete tour.

Comfort: Comfortable hotels, guesthouses and inns.

Orleans: Hotel Escale Oceania

Beaugency: Hotel Relais des Templiers

Blois: Hotel Le Monarque

Amboise: Hotel Le Chaptal

Tours: Hotel Le Criden

Azay Le Rideau: Hotel Au Val de Loire

Chinon: Hotel Les Plantagenets

Saumur: Hotel Kyriad

Angers: Hotel Continental

Mont Jean/Loire: Auberge De La Loire

Champtoceaux: Hotel Le Champalud

Nantes: Hotel Duquesne

St Brevin Pins: Hotel Le Petit Trianon

Superior: Good quality hotels and guesthouses.

Orleans: Hotel d’Orleans

Beaugency: Hotel Ecu De Bretagne

Blois: Best Western Blois Chateau

Amboise: Hotel Au Charme Rabelaisien

Tours: Le Grand Hotel

Azay Le Rideau: Hotel de Biencourt

Chinon: Hotel Diderot

Saumur: Hotel le Londres

Angers: Hotel De France

Mont Jean/Loire: Auberge De La Loire

Champtoceaux: Hotel Le Champalud

Nantes: Hotel de France Oceania

St Brevin Pins: Hotel Du Beryl

Local taxes: Some hotels have started to charge a local/tourist tax. These taxes are not included in the sale price of the tour and must be paid directly by you at check-in or checkout at the hotels. The fee varies and is frequently changing but as a guide, you may be asked to pay between €1-€4 per person per night.

Getting there

Fly or take the Eurostar to Paris. From Gare de Paris take the train to Orléans. At the end of the trip take a bus or taxi from St Brevins to St Nazaire train station from where you can catch a train to Nantes (1hr 10 mins) or Paris (3hrs 30 mins). Nantes and Paris both offer good flight connections back to the UK

Research flights from the UK here

Research Eurostar from UK here

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