Castles of the Loire
Frankrijk Bike Tour
The ever-popular Loire Valley region has proven a haven for cyclists time and again, and is rightly referred to as Royal Châteaux Country (see also Château Country tour). Its fertile landscape is generously peppered with grandiose châteaux (more than 300!) amid lush vineyards and rolling green hills. This enchanting tour starts in the old town of Blois, the gateway to the Loire Valley and home of the famous Blois Château (a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture and a favorite among French kings). Further on will be the dazzling Royal Chambord Château, the largest of all the Loire castles. The grounds of this magnificent Renaissance edifice cover almost 3,000 acres, most of which is lavish gardens. The intertwining staircase within was supposedly designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
Next is the Château of Chenonceau that is uniquely built right over the Cher River. Nicknamed the Ladies Castle and once the residence of Catherine de’ Medici, it has a noteworthy 2-story viewing gallery and old scalloped bridge. Cycling further through the quiet French countryside will bring you to Amboise. This pretty town still has original white stone houses dating back to the 15th century, and of course there is a royal castle, the 11th century Château d'Amboise. It is built in both the French late Gothic Flamboyant style and Renaissance and contains the first French formal garden. King François I invited Leonardo da Vinci here in 1516, and the artist/scholar/inventor later settled in an adjacent mansion (Clos Lucé), where he ultimately lived out his last years. Today, the Clos Lucé Manor House is a museum containing models of his inventions. And don’t forget that the Loire Valley is France’s third largest wine region! Some of the more famous wines include Sancerre, Reuilly and Menetou-Salon.
Waar u zult verblijven
Choose between standard 2-star or 3-star accommodations or upgrade to top class, 3-star and 4-star accommodations.
Wat is inclusief
- 6 nights’ accommodations in standard, 2 and 3* hotels or top class 3 and 4* hotels
- Breakfasts & dinners
- 21-speed hybrid bicycle
- Bike helmet
- Luggage transportation
- Route information & maps (one set per booking)
Wat is exclusief
- Individual arrival to Blois
- Drinks & lunches
|Niveau||Makkelijk - gemiddeld|
- Arrival possible daily from March 1 through October 31, 2013
Easy to Moderate self-guided hotel tour with predominantly flat but some hilly terrain and average daily distances of about 28 miles a day. Some days can be shortened or Day 3 or 5 can be used as a day of rest. Electric bicycles available upon request.
1. Arrival in Blois.
2. Blois - Amboise, 24 mi. (40 km)
3. Amboise - excursion to Chenonceaux, 24 mi. (38 km)
4. Amboise - Cheverny (standard version), 32 mi. (54 km), OR Ambois - Chitenay (upgrade), 25 mi. (42 km)
5. Excursion Beauregard, 18 mi. (30 km), OR Excursion to Beauregard & Sologne, 29 mi. (48 km)
6. Chevery - Blois (standard version), 24 mi. (40 km), OR Chitenay - Blois (upgrade), 30 mi. (50 km)
7. Departure from Blois.
DAY 1: Arrival in Blois
Upon arrival in the old village of Blois, you will be enchanted with its typical paved streets punctuated with staircases. And of course the charming chateau, a perfect illustration of how French architecture evolved between the Middle ages and the 17th century.
DAY 2: Blois - Amboise, 24 mi. (40 km)
Today's path guides you through the forest and vineyards of Mesland appellation until the Chateau of Chaumont sur Loire that proudly overlooks the Loire River. You cycle on to the beautiful town of Amboise. Here you can see the town's royal chateau where the greatest kings of France once lived.
DAY 3: Excursion to Chenonceaux, 24 mi. (38 km)
After crossing through the Amboise forest, you will reach the famous chateau of Chenonceau. Straddling the Cher River, this royal residence is an exceptional site not only because of the incredible architecture, but the richness of its art collection, the furniture and its decorations, and the incredible history it has. Chenonceau Castle has an exceptional museum collection of the Old Masters’ paintings: Murillo, Le Tintoret, Nicolas Poussin, Le Corrège, Rubens, Le Primatice, Van Loo, as well as an extremely rare selection of Flanders Tapestries from the 16th century.
DAY 4: Amboise - Cheverny OR Amboise - Chitenay, 32 or 25 mi. (54 or 42 km)
After riding through the gorgeous countryside and small villages, you will reach the castle of Fougère sur Bièvre. This impressive building is a perfect illustration of traditional 15th century art. There are several smaller castles you will pass such as the Chateau de Troussay before reaching the day's destination of Cheverny or Chitenay.
DAY 5: Excursion Beauregard, 18 mi. (30 km), or Excursion Beauregard & Sologne, 29 mi. (48 km)
An excursion through the Forest of Russy starts the day, with the possibility of a visit to the Chateau of Beauregard, famous for its Portrait Gallery. You may extend your excursion to the rich and mysterious 'Sologne' with magnificent landscapes: beautiful forests sheltering the wildlife, ponds at every crossroad, and small, private chateaus hidden behind their vineyards or groves.
DAY 6: Cheverny - Blois OR Chitenay - Bloise, 24 or 30 mi. (40 or 50 km)
During this last stage, you will discover the sumptuously furnished Chateau of Cheverny before reaching the prestigious Chateau of Chambord, a real masterpiece of French Renaissance period with it's 440 rooms, built during the reign of Francis I.
DAY 7: Departure.
Departure from Blois following breakfast.