Stopping to visit a chateau - photo courtesy of Loire Valley Travel
Fine wines every day! Photo via Wikimedia Commons:pra

See many chateau amongst vineyards as you cycle France. Photo via Wikimedia Commons:John
3.5/5 (13 ratings)

Loire Valley Bike and Boat

France Bike + Barge Tours

Bike and boat the Loire Valley, the land of kings and wine

  • The area of the Valley of the Loire between the cities of Nevers and Montargis in France is a very suitable region for a relaxing bike and barge holiday. Following the flow of the Loire River, this Loire Valley bike tour gently rolls through the green countryside with charming little villages sporadically intermingled. The rich landscape bears many fruitful vineyards. Of particular fame are the wines from Pouilly-sur-Loire and Sancerre said to be among the most prestigious in the world.

    The first full day of this Loire bike tour will take you to the Château of Apremont, dating back to the 12th century and lavishly surrounded by gardens. The ancient Roman town of La Charité-sur-Loire follows with a 16th century stone bridge. Wine-tasting in the region of the Pouilly Fumé wines and the Sancerre vineyards will not be missed, followed by a trek through St. Brisson Forest. With the forest's fresh air, you will next cycle to the Château of Pont Chevron. Through a beautiful region of lakes and past a few more castles you will cycle the Loire and visit Chatillon-Coligny and it's famous market. You will spend some extra time Rogy-les-Sept-Ecluses and this is also where the tour comes to an end.

    Be sure to view all of our bike tours in France or our comprehensive list of Loire Valley bike tours.

  • 2019 Prices

    Price £ 771 $ 1,321 965 NOK 9248 kr 8537 $ 1,110

    High season surcharge (September 7, 14, 21, 28): £ 63 $ 108 79 NOK 757 kr 699 $ 91

    extra options

    Electric bicycle rental (price includes mandatory bike protection): £ 137 $ 235 172 NOK 1648 kr 1522 $ 198

    please note

    Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

    Information to read before you book.

    We recommend purchasing bike trip insurance.

    Please see our FAQ.

  • Travel

    Fly to Paris.

    Local Travel

    Train from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris-Nord train station (½ hr.), where a bus will bring you to the boat.

    Climate

    Check local weather conditions prior to departure. Average high/low temperatures in °F for the area is: 64°/49° for May; 70°/54° June; 75°/58° July; 75°/57°, August; 79°/52° September.

    Remarks

    Please note that you will be part of an international group of people. However, your tour guide and crew members will always speak English.


Where You’ll Stay

On the Standard Plus class boat, the Anna Maria IV

What’s Included

  • Accomodations for 7 nights on board the Anna Maria IV
  • Breakfast, packed lunches, and 3-course dinners
  • 24-speed hybrid bicycle with bike bag
  • Tour guide
  • Visit to castle
  • Visit to winery
  • Transfer from Paris/Gare du Nord to ship (and v.v)

What’s Not Included

TourBike+Boat
TypeGuided
SkillModerate
Length8 days
From965 Rates
Client Reviews

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Tour Dates

2019 Dates

April 27, May 4, May 11, May 18, May 25, June 1, June 8, June 15, June 22, June 29, July 27, August 3, August 10, August 17, August 24, August 31, September 7, September 14, September 21, September 28, and October 5, 2019

Skill Level

This is a moderate guided tour with average of 25 miles per day. Routes follow the Loire, are slightly hilly at times, but mostly flat.

Tour Boats

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Loire Valley Bike and Boat Map

Day 1: Transfer by bus from Paris/Gare du Nord train station - meet at station at 3pm. Arrival in Cours-les-Barres.
Day 2: Cours-les-Barres, round tour, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 3: Sailing to Beffes, Cycling to Ménétréol, 34 mi. (55 km)
Day 4: Ménétréol - Beaulieu-sur-Loire, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 5: Beaulieu-sur-Loire - Briare, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 6: Briare - Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses, 28 mi. (45 km)
Day 7: Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses round trip, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 8: Departure by bus to Paris - Gare du Nord (train station).

*All distances are approximate. The above-planned itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, etc.

Below is the daily itinerary for the route from Cours-les-Barres to Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses. With each following departure date, the route will run in reverse (i.e. from Rogny to Cours-les-Barres) and thus have a slightly different itinerary.

Day 1: Arrival
During the afternoon, you will be picked up at the Gare du Nord train station in Paris and taken to the ship for boarding in Cours-les-Barres. It is recommended to arrive at Gare du Nord by 3 in the afternoon, the bus transfer must leave at 3:30. Upon arrival at the barge, you'll meet your tour guide for the week as well as the rest of the crew on board ship, who are there to make your stay as comfortable as possible. After settling in, dinner will be served on board.

Day 2: Cours-les-Barres, round tour, 31 mi. (50 km)
From Cours-les-Barres, the boat will sail over an aqueduct over the Allier River. After passing two impressive locks both measuring about 9 meters high, the boat will head in the direction of Apremont, where you will have the opportunity to visit the 12th-century castle and surrounding fabulous gardens. After, you will continue to town of Nevers where there are many sites to see including the winding streets filled with houses dating back from the 14th to 17th century. At the end of today's cycle tour, the barge will be waiting in Cours-les-Barres.

Day 3: Sailing to Beffes, Cycling to Ménétréol, 34 mi. (55 km)
While breakfast is being served, this morning will begin by sailing to Beffes. Upon arrival, you will hop on your bikes and begin the days cycling tour to La Charité-sur-Loire, an ancient Roman town. Crossing the 16th century stone bridge to the center, there is a splendid view overlooking the town and its Notre Dame church. Then you will enter the region of the Pouilly Fumé wines. In Ménétréol, situated under the Sancerre vineyards, will be an opportunity to try some wine before returning to the ship.

Day 4: Ménétréol - Beaulieu-sur-Loire, 31 mi. (50 km)
To start off, you will visit Sancerre and then take a picturesque route right across the Sancerre vineyards. The tour will continue past a few of the wine villages that are situated in the impressive scenery. 

Day 5: Beaulieu-sur-Loire - Briare, 25 mi. (40 km)
Today, as you cycle, you will pass the historical locks of Châtillon-sur-Loire and further on, cross the aqueduct over the Loire River. After passing through St. Brisson, where you will pass an impressive medieval castle, you will cycle back to the Anna Maria IV, while enjoying the fresh forest air in the For't de St. Brisson. This evening, the boat will cross the Loire through the magnificent aqueduct and stop for the night in Briare.

Day 6: Briare - Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses, 28 mi. (45 km) 
The morning will allow some time to explore the town of Briare. Today will lead us to the castle of 'Pont Chevron,' situated on a small, picturesque lake. Via Ouzouer-sur-Trézée, you will cycle through a region of lakes to the 16th-century castle near Bléneau. The cycling day will end in the village Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses, known for its historical seven locks.

Day 7: Rogny-les-Sept - Ecluses round trip, 31 mi. (50 km)
Today, enjoy a trip to the market in Châtillon-Coligny, from where you will continue to the castle in La Bussière. Via Escrignelles, the tour will end back in Rogny, which is right next door to Châtillon-Coligny.

Day 8: Departure by bus to Paris - Gare du Nord (train station)
In the morning, you may wish to go for a stroll around Rogny. At approximately 11:00 AM, you will say farewell to the guide and crew and be transported by bus back to Paris. You should reach Gare du Nord by 3:30 PM.

If you’re looking for a different flavor, check out our full list of bike tours in Europe or view all our featured bicycle tours, specials, and news.

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Customer Feedback

  • Marilyn P. 2 weeks ago

    After having had prior positive experiences, I was very disappointed with this trip. The accommodation on the boat was almost to the point of ridiculous! The upper bunk was almost impossible to get into and getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night was treacherous! The staff were pleasant enough and the food was okay. Peter, our guide, was also disappointing. He really seemed to have little interest in whether we were enjoying our ride. He would often head out ahead of us and then a some point realize that we weren't all there and would stop or go back. He did not wear any kind of identifiable clothing so that we knew who or what to look for if we were further behind. Thank goodness there were enough of us with prior experience that we picked up the slack and made sure the first timers weren't left behind. I invited my sister, a first timer, to join me on this trip and found myself apologizing many times that this trip was less than enjoyable. That Read more… being said we did see some nice scenery and did come across some stores that were actually open. The general comment was "that's just the French" Another thing to note is that finding the bus that was supposed to take us from Paris to meet the boat ended up being a bit of a fiasco! We waited for an hour in the hot sun and the bus had been there the whole time. There was no identifiable sign to let us know that was our bus. Several times members of our group checked with the driver and were told that it wasn't our bus. Finally one of the members of our group who was more proficient in French appeared to ask the right question as it turned out that the bus was actually ours. Not a good omen apparently! All in all I would not recommend this trip to anyone!

  • Patti P. 2 months ago

    The best part was traveling with friends. I would have enjoyed more information about the area and towns we were traveling through.

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

  • Karen T. 2 months ago

    The staff and crew of the Anna Marie were very friendly and helpful but over all, if this was my first bike and barge trip, it would probably would have been my last. The accommodations were small, we knew that going in but because space was so limited, there was nowhere to hang the towels to dry properly so they should have been changed a little more frequently. The mattress on the bunk bed also needed to be changed as it was old and hard to sleep on.
    The food at breakfast was the same for 7 days, as were the luncheon meats. The bread was fabulous but could have been switched up with some protein like eggs to start the day. The dinners were, on most occasions, tasty and delicious but lacked quantity after a long bike ride.
    My biggest complaint was the cost of the water. The days were hot, the stores and restaurants along the way were closed and for the temperature we should have been provided with water or somewhere to fill our bottles. The boat charged too Read more… much for a small bottle and provided only one even smaller bottle for the day.
    Our bike guide did not provided any history of the areas we saw and at night, we were not given any tours of the place we were moored at.
    Last but not least, all the bikes needed to be tuned up, several chains, when changing gears, fell off, some brakes did not work well and some gears would not change properly.
    The most memorable part of the trip were the rest of the passengers, we all enjoyed each others company and had the ability to laugh at some of the situations described.

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

  • Wendy K. 3 months ago

    The crew on this barge and bike trip were outstanding. The weather was unseasonably hot and adjustments were made to the schedule to accommodate everyone's comfort. The route and attractions were well planned and interesting. We had some difficulty with the bikes provided by HAT tours - several (5 in total) punctures and one unfixable issue with a bike. This meant delays whilst the tiress were being repaired - approximately 1 hour per puncture. This meant that we missed out on seeing some of the attractions and had to cut short our time at others. The unfixable problem meant that one volunteer had to return to the boat via taxi and forego the rest of that day's itinerary. I would like to congratulate the crew on this tour as they did their utmost to ensure that these issues kept the disruption to a minimum. The group of travelers were also a very friendly and tolerant group of people who got on well. This also assisted in managing the issues with the bikes.
    My Read more… recommendation to HAT tours is to provide maintenance support for the tour if they are going to continue to use these bikes. I have been on another company's bike and barge tour through Provence in 2014 and they had maintenance support which could be contacted promptly to fix and/or transport bikes/people when required.

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

  • Bruce K. 4 months ago

    Roman, Matilde and guide Ari, couldn't do enough to make welcome and please our entire group, especially during some minor technical difficulties that were not of their making. The quality of the bikes, whether due to model, age or degree of maintenance is something that our entire group of eighteen agreed is an area that could be looked at HAT tours; a lot of pressure fell upon the Anna Maria crew (especially Ari) to rectify faults not of their making. A less flexible and tolerant group of paying passengers might have made for an uncomfortable trip.

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

  • John G. 11 months ago

    The group was excellent. We had a great time together. Jean and I were the only Americans aboard but everyone spoke English.
    This trip, rated moderate, was the most challenging of the four tours we have booked thru Tripsite since 2012. It stretched us to the limits of our biking abilities.
    The tour was thru pleasant countryside but lacked the highlights of our previous tours- no Eiffel Tower, Venice canals or Pont du Gard.
    The barge itself was a weak point, although it was not advertised as a strength.
    Most disappointing was the food, especially the evening meals featuring mostly starches- pasta, mashed potatoes, quinoa and rice. Don't know whether this was a budget or skills problem.
    The guide was excellent, competent, friendly and caring.
    The bikes themselves were mostly good although there were some minor problems-with a tire once and an ebike battery that didn't fully charge overnight. Giro Libero bikes were in better condition than Read more… those of Hat Tours based on our two tours with each of them.
    The Loire Valley tour was enjoyable, but the weakest of the four trips we have taken.
    Our fondest memories will be those of great conversations, lots of laughs with new friends we will probably never see again and a sense of accomplishment for what was for us an arduous trek.
    As a tip for others, as I mentioned to bike and barge rookies, check out other trips as advertised in Tripsite's catalog.

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

  • Janet N. 12 months ago

    Comfortable riding each day through lovely French countryside. A map of the day’s route for personal use would be a big help. Stefan and Florence are delightful, welcoming hosts providing excellent delicious meals. Make sure to spend a day on the barge during your trip - a definite highlight.

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

  • Jennifer M. 2 years ago

    We knew the barge was old, but weren't prepared for the very tiny, cramped cabin space which was definitely not the one advertised!
    Most of the bicycles were in fairly good condition, but my husband got one on which the chain kept coming off and had a fall because of that.
    The barge operators, Stephan and Florence, were lovely and worked very hard to provide a good experience, cooking traditional French meals each evening complete with dessert. The tour guide, Jan, did an excellent job keeping the cycling group on track and adjusting our days to accommodate the extreme temperatures during the hottest week of the summer!

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

    • Jehiel 2 years ago

      Hi Jennifer!
      Thank you for sharing feedback for this tour. I'm sorry you found the cabins too small for your liking but we mention on the boat page that the "...ship is especially suited to motor the narrow French" and provide pictures of the cabins and dimensions. I am glad you had a great trip and enjoyed Stephan, Florence, and Jan. We hope to help you orgainize your next trip!

      Boat: Anna Maria IV

  • T. Gihring 2 years ago

    Sorry, it rained the entire trip. Route and scenery would have been fine if not for that. Barge has seen better days. Staff (Stephan and Florence) are very pleasant.
    Suggestion: Give the tour riders a sew-on patch to remember the tour.

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

  • Sharon Kravitz 3 years ago

    The trip was organised very well. The international crew made the trip more interesting. We were glad that Peter had some flexibility in what we experienced. He was an excellent guide. We would have liked to stop at a few more wineries. Also we always seemed to be pulling into villages as they closed for lunch.

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

  • Carmel Manley 3 years ago

    We are return users of Tripsite, we have found both the service from Tripsite and the tours (now 3 in total) have all been excellent. Great tours because of the combination of places, organisation and staff. Am looking forward to taking part in more in the future.

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

    • Julie 4 months ago

      Hi, as far as scenery goes, what has been your favorite trip?

  • Bruce Belman 3 years ago

    Great trip. Everything we were hoping for.

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

  • Laurie Frarey 3 years ago

    There seemed to be tension between the owners of the barge and guy doing the cooking, cleaning and maintenance. The guy was trying to do the job of more than 2 people by himself. One day when he needed help with a cranky generator the captain was in a bar. We did not get clean towels half way through as promised. I have been on 2 bike and barge trips and this had the worst staff. The guide was good but left slower riders at several critical junctures. It did not happen often. Seems the system works best when the owner is captain. Means he is present and accountable.

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

    • Julie 4 months ago

      Hi. In terms of scenic rides, what has been your favorite tour?

  • Lorraine 4 years ago

    We did this trip in Sept. 2014. Great biking, but barge has seen better days.

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

  • Bob hartley 7 years ago

    We had a wonderful time. Martine and Margery were the best. Loved the trip

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

  • Kris Byrns 7 years ago

    We did this tour in 2008 and had a wonderful time.

    Boat: Anna Maria IV

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Loire Valley Bike and Boat Boats + Barges

Anna Maria IV Photo

Anna Maria IV France Standard Plus Class Boat The Anna Maria IV was built specifically for the French canals with it's length, width, and height all adjusted to sail the narrow waterways of the country. She sails in the Loire Valley region during the season. You will feel right at home in the relaxed atmosphere of this barge. Total 7 cabins (2 with private facilities) are equipped with a sliding window and an electrical fan. On board limited WIFI access.

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