Overview

Loire Valley – The Royal river

With their chimneys, turrets and bell towers, the castles of the Loire seem straight out of fairy tales! Get on your bike and travel back in time for several hundred kilometres along the royal river… These jewels of art history bring to life the memory of the kings, princes and great families who commissioned and inhabited them, but also that of the artists and craftsmen who built and embellished them. Chambord and its “magic” staircase, Chenonceau and its gallery spanning the waters, Azay and its delicate reflection, Villandry and its sumptuous gardens punctuate, with many others, the banks of the river. From Fontevraud to Chambord, passing by Chenonceaux and Amboise, do not forget in your visit the cities of art and history huddled at their feet, as well as the residences evoking the memory of illustrious artists: Rabelais, Leonardo da Vinci, Balzac… But the Loire Valley is also world-famous vineyards, one of France’s best eating regions, troglodyte villages and immense forests!

Included

Map

Loire Valley

Itinerary

Day 1

Pick up at Saumur train station and transfer to your hotel in Saumur

Tour presentation, bike set up at your hotel and exploration of Saumur.

Dominating the Loire, the castle of Saumur, built in the 10th century, has crossed the centuries and history with its successive transformations. Royal fortress, sumptuous palace, residence of the city governors, prison, weapons and ammunition depot, museum: what a destiny!

Heir to a prestigious military past and based on an ancestral equestrian culture, the Cadre Noir continues its mission of training elite riders. The Ecole Nationale d’Equitation alone embodies the French tradition of horseback riding.

In Saumur, lovers of fine bubbles can take a trip underground. The basement of the city is a real Gruyère. An underground life dedicated to the best vintages has developed: several renowned houses – Gratien & Meyer, Veuve Amiot, Maison Ackerman, Langlois Château… – open the doors of their troglodytic cellars to you.

 

 

Night in Saumur

Included meal: Dinner

 

Day 2

Saumur – Fontevraud Abbey – Saumur

50 km

The Royal Abbey of Fontevraud, situated on the borders of the three provinces of Poitou, Anjou and Touraine, is one of the largest monastic cities inherited from the Middle Ages. Classified as a Historic Monument in 1840, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000, along with the whole of the Loire Valley. In a green valley a few kilometres from the Loire, near Saumur, Fontevraud is an essential stopover. A stopover, but also a destination… For a place that is by essence unique, attached to royalty. The lies of Aliénor d’Aquitaine, her husband Henri II Plantagenêt and their son Richard the Lionheart, displayed in the abbey church, recall this glorious past.

 

 

Night in Saumur

Included meals: Breakfast, dinner

 

Day 3

Saumur – Chinon – Rigny Ussé – Azay le Rideau

55 km

Today we will first head for Chinon. Its royal fortress and its ramparts dominate the city and the Vienne which flows at its feet. The first meeting between Joan of Arc and Charles VII took place within its walls. Then we will take a break at Rigny-Ussé castle. Nothing more normal that you find him an air of resemblance with that of the Sleeping Beauty, since he inspired Charles Perrault. We will finally continue to Azay-le-Rideau, which Balzac called his Château “a faceted diamond set by the Indre”. It expresses all the elegance of the French Renaissance!

 

Night in Azay le Rideau

Included meals: Breakfast, dinner

 

Day 4

Azay le Rideau – Villandry – Tours

45 km

To start this day, enjoy the magnificent panorama of the Cher beak before reaching the Château de Villandry and its gardens. It is one of the last great castles built in the Loire Valley. Take the time to explore its magnificent gardens “à la française”. The decorative vegetable garden is a pearl. Then leave Villandry to follow the south bank of the Cher towards Savonnières then on to Tours, a lively and gourmet city where you will spend the night. City of Art and History, discover its illuminated cathedral or its old half-timbered houses. Place Plumereau, the terraces of its bars and cafés invite you to wait before enjoying the gastronomy of Tourangelle in one of its good restaurants.

 

Night in Tours

Included meals: Breakfast, dinner

 

Day 5

Tours – Chenonceau – Amboise

55 km

Fill up at the Halles de Tours. From rillettes to rillons, charcuterie, goat cheese, there is no shortage of specialities to prepare a picnic! Then you will take the direction of the Château de Chenonceau. It was Katherine Briçonnet, wife of an influential statesman, who supervised the construction of the Château de Chenonceau from 1513 and was at the origin of its refined architecture. A few years later, Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médicis, respectively favourite and wife of King Henri II, embellished it. The first built the bridge over the Cher and the second added the two splendid galleries over it. Two centuries later, it was still a woman, Madame Dupin, who saved him from the torments of the Revolution. The feminine imprint of these extraordinary women is present everywhere at the Château de Chenonceau. A Renaissance landmark, it is distinguished not only by its unique architecture but also by its exceptional collection of paintings by great masters.

 

Night in Amboise

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 6

Free day in Amboise : explore Amboise Castle and Clos Lucé

Here Leonardo Da Vinci is everywhere… At the Royal Castle which dominates the city, at Clos-Lucé, his last resting place, even in the streets of the city. 5 centuries after his arrival in Amboise, here you are too in the city where Leonardo da Vinci settled in 1516 at the request of Francis I. Here it will be “free to dream, to think and to work”. At the Château du Clos-Lucé, his home, stroll in his gardens or in his workshops where he created so much. Discover the models of his inventions, push the door of his room with a view of the royal castle of Amboise… Close your eyes, the soul of the genius is still there.

 

Night in Amboise

Included meals: Breakfast

 

Day 7

Amboise – Cheverny – Blois

70 km

We will leave Amboise by the south bank of the Loire to join Chaumont-sur-Loire. More than a Renaissance castle and an Arts and Nature Centre, this Regional Estate offers a magical view of the Loire Valley. We will continue our road towards Cheverny and its castle, inhabited by the same family for more than 6 centuries! The Château de Cheverny, its gardens, its labyrinth and its 3D Tintin exhibition will make you spend an unforgettable moment with family or friends.

Finally we will discover Blois and its royal castle, former residence of the kings of France. Visit its old town and its charming alleys and let yourself be tempted by a break at one of its café terraces.

 

Night in Blois

Included meals: Breakfast, dinner

 

Day 8

Blois – Chambord – Blois

45 km

Chambord is an exceptional work of art, emblem of the French Renaissance throughout the world. It is a radically unique work, one of the jewels of humanity’s heritage. Its vocation is symbolic, aesthetic and spiritual. An affirmation of royal power but also an evocation of an ideal city, the monument remains an enigma that has not finished revealing all its secrets. Stairs, galleries, terraces, large rooms and small cabinets are all solicitation to stroll for pleasure. We recommend you to let you be guided according to your desires while progressing from floor to floor. With its 5,440 hectares, the national estate of Chambord is the largest enclosed park in Europe, whose area is as vast as the city of Paris. A restitution of the French Gardens in their 18th century state has been made.

 

Night in Blois

Included meal: Breakfast

 

Day 9

Drop off to Blois train station or Saint Pierre des Corps TGV

 

Included meal: Breakfast