Cycling the Loire Valley - Sightseer Tour

Cycling the Loire Valley - Sightseer Tour

No region in France is as representative of the country's royal splendor as the Loire Valley. With grand chateaux, hilltop villages, and lazy rivers that wind through forests and vineyards, the Loire offers a feast for the senses that proclaims, "This is France!"


  • Relish traffic-free routes along designated bike paths and quiet country roads.
  • Appreciate gentle cycling terrain.
  • Enjoy a variety of activities including a guided tour of Leonardo da Vinci's Clos Lucé.
  • Stay in delightful hotels (and a castle!) without having to pack each night.
  • Engage with family and friends while exercising and relaxing in a gorgeous area.

There are no upcoming tours scheduled at this time.

Tour Style: SightSeer Hold-A-Space/Questions Request Custom Date Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 8 Days
  • Total Distance / 238-286km (147-177 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / Average if you ride every day 48 km (30 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 1.5 SightSeer
  • Countries / France
  • Begin/End / Tours / Cheverny with a shuttle to Tours
  • Price / From USD$4075
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Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    French villages of Azay-le Rideau, Amboise, Tours, and Cheverny, Spectacular castles and gardens including Chambord and Chenonceau, Guided tour of Leonardo da Vinci's Clos Lucé, Guided tour of Chenonceau, Sleep in a castle, built between the 15th and 19th centuries, Pools in two of three hotels, A special behind-the-scenes tour of Chambord

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    Because you will be using bike paths there will be limited van support. Some bike paths are very popular so although car traffic is minimal you will have instances of bike traffic.
  • Includes
    8 days, 7 nights' accommodation; 4 dinners with wine, 7 breakfasts; entry to Chambord and Chenonceaux; shuttle from Tours to the tour start; shuttle at the end of the tour to a nearby train station;

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your SightSeer tour at the SightSeer Tour Style page.
  • Arrive / Depart
    Paris: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or Orly (ORY)
  • Overall Tour Level
    1.5 difficulty level 1.5

    Though the rides are quite gentle you will encounter some rolling terrain most days. Mostly on dedicated bike paths and country lanes.

  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    43km / 194m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    3
    64km / 426m
    Mostly flat
    4
    47km / 356m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 1.5
    5
    39km / 348m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    6
    45km / 336m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    7
    51km / 245m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    8

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
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DAY 1: Arrive in Azay-le-Rideau, France

Highlights: Château of Azay-le-Rideau

Meet your complimentary ExperiencePlus! shuttle at 12 noon at the Saint Pierre des Corps train station (4 km outside of Tours).

We'll whisk you off through French writer Honoré de Balzac's favorite countryside, to our charming country inn in Azay-le-Rideau. Make sure to visit its fairy-tale chateau: one of the most striking in all of France. Balzac once described this château as "a diamond set in the Indre River valley." We'll fit bicycles this afternoon, do a short test ride, and enjoy a special welcome dinner together.

DAY 2: Château de Langeais and Ussé

Highlights: Castles of Langeais and Ussé

Today, we'll suggest a ride to the Château de Langeais, and then on to the Château d'Ussé. A perennial ExperiencePlus! favorite for its medieval feel, tapestries, and intriguing history, the Château de Langeais boasts the oldest building you'll see all week: a tenth century keep. Continue pedaling along the Loire River to the Château d'Ussé, famed as the inspiration for Charles Pérault's Sleeping Beauty.

  • Distance: 43km (27mi)
  • Gain: 194m (636ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 3: Amboise

Highlights: Château de Villandry, Tours, Leonardo da Vinci's Amboise

Today's ride features the Château de Villandry, the last of the large Châteaux built along the Loire during the Renaissance. Visit the spectacular, ornamental gardens before continuing on bike paths by half-timber houses in Tours. From there, it's a short ride to the town of Amboise which boasts the manor house of Le Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci came to spend the last three years of his life upon invitation from the French King Francis I. Leonardo is buried in the castle's chapel.

DAY 4: Amboise

Highlights: Château d'Amboise, guided tour of Leonardo da Vinci's Clos Lucé

Take the day off your bike today to explore the rich town of Amboise. Start with a fascinating guided tour of the Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci spent the final years of his life. Walk through his bedroom, discover where he worked, and stroll through the vast gardens where many of his inventions were constructed for the first time. You'll have plenty of time to visit the enormous castle, taste some excellent chocolate, and lounge around the pool this afternoon. If you're set on riding your bike, Vouvray, home of world class Chenin Blanc wines awaits.

DAY 5: Amboise

Highlights: Château de Chenonceau; canoe trip down the Cher River

Head off toward the Cher River this morning where we'll regroup to canoe to the famous castle of Chenonceau. The castle forms a bridge across the river, one of the tributaries to the Loire. You'll leave your canoe here for a free afternoon to explore the castle, once occupied by Diane de Poitiers, mistress to Henri II. After the king's death in 1599, Queen Catherine de Medici reclaimed the castle and evicted de Poitiers. You can still explore the two separate gardens created for these two women.

DAY 6: Cheverny

Highlights: Château de Chaumont, Fougéres, Breuil

Pedal along the Loire river again to Chaumont, with its spectacular gardens, park, and castle perched over the Loire river valley. From there you'll bicycle to Fougéres, a lesser-known castle well worth the visit. The 15-19th century castle you'll be sleeping in tonight is surrounded by a 110-acre park. Tonight, feast on a gourmet meal together in our château.

  • Distance: 45km (28mi)
  • Gain: 336m (1102ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 7: Cheverny

Highlights: Château de Chambord and Cheverny

You have the chance to visit two of the most popular Loire Châteaux today: Chambord and Cheverny. Some say Leonardo da Vinci designed the opulent 400-room Château de Chambord when he lived at the royal court. The Château nearly bankrupted the French treasury before its completion in 1685. Enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes tour of the castle this morning. After lunch, pedal to Cheverny, another long-time favorite of ours. A celebratory dinner together this evening at our castle.

  • Distance: 51km (32mi)
  • Gain: 245m (804ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 8: Farewell

Highlights: Bon voyage!

Your tour ends after breakfast today. We hope you've enjoyed this relaxing cultural and historic exploration of the Loire!

We'll offer a shuttle this morning to the nearby Blois Chambord train station with connections to Paris. The shuttle arrives there around 10 a.m. Bon voyage!

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Keep in Mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

Because you will be using bike paths there will be limited van support. Some bike paths are very popular so although car traffic is minimal you will have instances of bike traffic.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To Do Today!

3–6 Months Prior to Departure

  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program www.experienceplus.com/training.
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your Getting To and Away information and one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

SightSeer Tour Style

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your SightSeer tour at the SightSeer page.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • Beautiful! Easy rides with amazing castles. Delicious food. Thanks for another great time biking with ExperiencePlus!

    Lou G., Fort Collins, CO - August 2018
  • Excellent exposure to the history of France and the castles and chateaus. Excellent routes and roads. Loved the multiple days in the same hotel and loop rides.

    Sonny L., Aurora, CO - August 2017
  • Cool castles and chateauxs plus multi-night stays. Great experience, would highly recommend!

    Joan K., Fort Myers, FL - August 2017
  • What was your favorite experience on this trip? The sunny days biking at the end, wine tasting in a cave, the food. Can''t name just one.

    Carol S., Salt Lake City, UT
  • Castles by day, food and wine at night - all outstanding.

    Nancy B., Baltimore, MD
  • This was my third ExperiencePlus! tour. They have all been perfect! I selected the trip because it fit my preset vacation schedule. It was an easier tour than we generally would select . The slower pace turned out to make for an absolutely delightful trip. I will never hesitate to book an experience plus trip to any location if it meets my travel schedule. I am confident that I will have a wonderful vacation whether or not the location was already on my travel to do list.

    Diane C., Boulder, CO
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