Experience the history and scenery along the Loire River on this self-guided cycling holiday in France. The Loire’s banks have never been regulated, and so has been able to flow without hindrance through the countryside right up to the present day. It constantly changes its appearance, washes around lightly coloured sandbanks and islands, meanders around villages and flows peacefully past idyllic gardens and shady woods. On this bike vacation, your entire journey is downstream from Tours until the point where the Loire flows into the Atlantic Ocean, the magnificent river and the enormous variety of the scenery dominate the scene.
There are many treasures and unknown places to discover: from the inhabited caves close to Saumur, where bottles of sparkling wine are stored or mushrooms are grown, via the dykes of Angers which conceal picturesque villages, to the majestic granite rocks of Nantes, where the river Loire flows into the Ocean. Your destination is St Nazaire.
Cycling along small and quiet country roads, you will meet more traffic at connecting roads and near larger towns. The route is mostly flat with some slightly hilly sections.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Hooked on Cycling that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the chosen activity and for emergency evacuation and hospital care.
Today you leave Tours via a lovely cycle path along the tributary of the Loire, the Cher which leads you straight to Villandry and its impressive castle. A must is to walk the impressive terraced gardens. Shady paths, flowery arbours, fountains and the artistically laid out vegetable garden will astonish every visitor. A few kilometres further on, you change back to the banks of the Loire and the next castle already awaits you at Langeais. This is more of a fortified castle. The view from the defence tower has the river and the entire surrounding area unfold below you.
Now passing through small villages and taking side roads, you approach your destination Chinon, which impresses visitors with its mighty castle.
Today you leave Chinon by bike via its medieval streets, soon you shall reach Candes St Martin a wonder picturesque village on the river. Soon you shall see Saumur and its impressive castle. The bike path takes you through the mysterious rock houses of Souzey before arriving at your hotel.
Now you shall cycle over gentle, wood-covered slopes and pass several of the most beautiful Loire villages: Chénehutte, Cunault, or Le Thoureil, formerly important river ports, a loading point for wine and lime sandstone. Castle ruins, Romanesque churches [Cunault], as well as impressive villas of Dutch and British wine traders, are historic witnesses of this period. You will cross the Loire and cycle through a varied landscape.
The route is flat, you will pass by small hamlets and farms. The land is fruitful and has been used intensively for horticulture and seed production for several centuries. Your destination today is Angers, the Black Town as it is known where many of its houses and roofs are made of slate, which is still quarried even today locally.
Take a little time to explore the small, vibrant university town of Angers before briefly following the Maine River, the last significant tributary of the Loire, to its confluence into the Loire at La Pointe-Bouchemaine. We continue along at the bottom of a slate granite massif to Savennières with the oldest church in this region which is a nice place to stop for a rest. Some of the most splendid wines of the Loire Valley are grown here, fruity, dry white wines – a visit to a winemaker seems like a great idea. Now from La Poissonnière, your ride will take you via dikes into the former Loire ports of Saint-Florent-le-Vieil or Ingrandes-sur-Loire. High above the old town, a famous vantage point beckons in St.-Florent-le-Vieil.
Another day along the Loire through its ever-changing landscapes is next. The valley narrows noticeably today, the Loire now finally enters Brittany and squeezes through slate and granite rocks to Nantes. The bike path changes from one riverbank to the other several times while some smaller inclines have to be tackled – which in turn give you beautiful views. The Loire “escorts” you to the centre of the historic capital of Brittany, Nantes. Although it is still about 50 km to the estuary of the Loire into the Atlantic, the influence of the sea is already noticeable and visible here.
Spend the morning taking a short walk through the former seaport of Nantes and discover the impressive architectural and cultural heritage. The river is now getting wider, the landscape increasingly serene. The journey continues downstream through small villages to the seaside resort of Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, nestled between the estuary of the Loire and the Atlantic Ocean. Saint Nazaire ranks among the most impressive cities in the Loire delta. Visit the Atlantic Shipyard, one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world, or the submarine bunker which is also passable by bike.
Depart after breakfast.
By plane to Paris and then train to Tours. On return you can take the train back to Paris
2021 Prices – For complete tour price breakdown please click the book now button and select your holiday tour date. Prices will then be listed.
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|SauAt (7 Nights)||from £751||Book Now|