What to Expect
The wine is flowing, the trails are gentle and the cuisine is superb in this beautiful region of France, called the Loire Valley. Full of fantastic architecture, stunning views and old world charm this is a tour to remember. France’s noblemen took up residence in this area and it is easy to see why it was nicknamed the ‘Valley of Kings’. Along your journey you will enjoy spectacular cuisine and grand chateaux’s. It’s romantic appeal makes it the ideal escape from city life.
Day 1: Arrival in Orléans
Arrive in Orléans at the time of your choice. Some of the major highlights are the magnificent Cathédrale-Saint-Croix and the house where Joan of Arc stayed. You may also wish to explore the crypt of Saint-Aignan and some of the city’s mansions, such as Hôtel Groslot or Hôtel des Créneaux.
Day 2: Orléans — Beaugency (39 km/ 24 miles, 125 meters/410 ft of climbing)
Your first day of riding makes it very evident why the Loire Valley is called the “Garden of France” — the colorful hues of the lush countryside paint an alluring scene for your ride. Since you’re on a self-guided tour, feel free to stop for a picnic wherever you please! Your destination is Beaugency, another fairytale-style town with streams running through some of its streets and flower boxes all around town.
Day 3: Beaugency — Blois (48 km/30 miles, 275 meters/900 ft of climbing)
Today’s route takes you through an enchanting stretch of forest, through which you’ll ride to the grandiose Château de Chambord. Take time to wander through the castle — a former hunting lodge with a mere 440 rooms — and the sprawling estate. Continue on to Blois, another town pulled straight from a storybook, either by bike or by rail. In the Loire Valley, you’re never far from a train station.
Day 4: Blois — Mosnes (Short Option: 30 km/19 miles, 190 meters/630 ft of climbing; Long Option: 60 km/37 miles, 390 meters/1,270 ft of climbing)
A quiet ride through vineyards and pastoral scenery brings you to Cheverny. The well-maintained château de Cheverny is owner-occupied, but its richly decorated rooms and manicured grounds are open to visitors. The next castle on your route is the luxurious Renaissance-era Château de Beauregard, home to a gallery of 327 portraits of famous European leaders. Need a break from castles? You’re free to go to wine tastings, browse shops or markets, or do whatever else you please.
Day 5: Mosnes — Amboise (13 km/8 miles, 95 meters/305 ft of climbing)
An early start allows for more time to explore Amboise, a quintessential Loire town. Visit the hilltop châteaux, wander past the troglodytes, or cave dwellings, and stop in at Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last years of his life. The museum at Château Clos Lucé allows you to glimpse into his alluring world of ideas and contraptions (models of which are on display).
Day 6: Amboise loop via Chenonceau (Short Option: 37 km/23 miles, 290 meters/945 ft of climbing; Long Option via Bourré: 61 km/38 miles, 400 meters/1,300 ft of climbing)
You can choose not to ride today’s loop, but we highly recommend you ride to Château de Chenonceau, a 15th-century castle whose dramatic façade bridges the River Cher. Elongate your ride with extra mileage along the Cher River to Bourré and the nearby Cave des Roches.
Day 7: Amboise — Tours (Via Montlouis: 28 km/17 miles, 155 meters/510 ft of climbing; Via Vouvray: 34 km/21 miles, 245 meters/800 ft of climbing)
Complete your cycling adventure through the Loire Valley with a ride to Tours, an active university town. Be sure to visit the stunning St. Gatien Cathedral and the city’s botanical gardens.
Day 8: Departure
After breakfast, depart Tours at the time of your choice.