Apremont-sur-Allier in department Cher, Centre-Val de Loire, France. Flickr:Peter

Bike rest to visit the Patisserie! Flickr:Jean-Louise Zimmermann

Loire Valley Bike and Boat

France Bike + Barge Tours

Bike the garden of france

  • Even the name, Loire Valley, breathes romance. What a lovely place for your European Bike and Boat Tour in France. Kings, queens, dukes, and nobles came, built with opulence, and lived and ruled. This fertile river valley is sprinkled with hundreds of France's large, medieval estates, the chateaux, and the villages and vineyards that surround them. It was not just the nobility that settled here in the garden of France. Perhaps it is the charm of its gentle pace of life that also made it a sought-after location for poets and writers. Here you will find a tangible legacy to a thousand years of rich architectural and artistic creativity. Step back through the history of some of France's finest works of art and sample delectable cuisine and the infamous wines of the region. Especially well known are the Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé wines.

    Highlights include but not limited to:

    • Loire River and valley
    • Villages and castles in the heart of France
    • St. Brisson forest landscape
    • Famous Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé vineyards
    • Beautiful Sancerre
    • Nevers
    • 12th-century Château of Apremont and lavish gardens
    • Impressive examples of canal building engineering along the Canal lateral du Loire

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

  •  

    Briare to NeversAug. 15, 29, & Sept. 26Sept. 12Oct. 10
    Split level bed cabin £ 1059 $ 2,133 1235 $ 1877 NOK 11733 kr 10830 $ 1,408 £ 1144 $ 2,306 1335 $ 2029 NOK 12683 kr 11707 $ 1,522 £ 976 $ 1,967 1139 $ 1731 NOK 10821 kr 9988 $ 1,298
    Double bed cabin £ 1059 $ 2,133 1235 $ 1877 NOK 11733 kr 10830 $ 1,408 £ 1144 $ 2,306 1335 $ 2029 NOK 12683 kr 11707 $ 1,522 £ 976 $ 1,967 1139 $ 1731 NOK 10821 kr 9988 $ 1,298
    Single cabin £ 1187 $ 2,392 1385 $ 2105 NOK 13158 kr 12145 $ 1,579 £ 1320 $ 2,660 1540 $ 2341 NOK 14630 kr 13505 $ 1,756 £ 1114 $ 2,245 1300 $ 1976 NOK 12350 kr 11400 $ 1,482
    Nevers to BriareAug. 22 & Oct. 3Sept. 5 & 19Oct. 17
    Split level bed cabin   
    Double bed cabin   
    Single cabin   

    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

    Closest international airport to either Briare or Nevers is Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG).

    Local Travel

    Briare
    From CDG, you can access onward travel to Briare. First, you will take the RER B from the airport to Chatelet-Les-Halles, you will then walk via underground walkways to the Chatelet metro station. Take line 14 to Bercy. From here you can then access train travel to Briare. This will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes. We advised taking a taxi to the mooring location at Canal Lateral á la Loire, at the Rue du Pont Canal.
    Nevers
    Directions are almost the same as they are traveling to Briare. However, at Paris Bercy, you will access onward travel to Nevers.

    Climate

    Late summer and fall is a lovely time in the Loire Valley. Rainfall is less than other times of the year, cooler temperatures can generally be expected as August turns into September and throughout the month. Remember that you are in world-class wine country and humidity and some cooler temperatures are ideal. Do check local conditions before your arrival. A good website to use to research average high/low temperatures, average rainfall, and other weather-related facts is weatherbase.com.

    DOCUMENTS

    Before you travel, please check your country's passport and visa requirements and the passport and visa requirements of the country/countries you plan to visit. For US citizens, the US Department of State website is a good source of information. The Country Information tab in the International Travel section provides details about passport validity, blank passport pages required, etc. For our other international clients, please be sure that you research your own country's travel requirements. It is each traveler's responsibility to ensure proper documentation.

    *Important note: Beginning July 1, 2021, additional documentation from the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will be required to visit any of the 26 Schengen-member countries for tourism, business, medical, or transit. This is an additional check on security rather than a visa.


Where You’ll Stay

On board the standard plus barge, the Clair de Lune

What’s Included

  • 7 nights accommodations
  • All meals
  • Coffee and tea
  • 24-speed hybrid touring bike (Batavus Boulevard)with step-through frame, panniers, and helmet
  • Tour guide
  • Minimum of three city walks with the tour guide
  • Free WiFi (limited) available in the lounge and on deck
  • Roadbook (1 per cabin)
  • Ferry fares

What’s Not Included

TourBike+Boat
TypeGuided
SkillEasy–Moderate
Length8 days
From Rates
Client Reviews

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Tour Dates

From Briare:
August 15, August 29, September 12, September 26, and October 10, 2020
From Nevers:
August 22, September 5, September 19, October 3, and October 17, 2020

Skill Level

This tour is rated easy as the majority of the time you will cycle along the Loire River and through the valley. You will enjoy pedaling along part of the Loire à Vélo, a 900-kilometer cycle road, that leads from one chateau to the next. The route is signposted and well-surfaced.

Tour Boats

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Loire Valley Bike and Boat Map

Briare to Nevers

Day 1: Briare, 9 mi. (15 km) 
Day 2: Briare - Rogny-les-sept-Écluses - Briare, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 3: Briare - Belleville-sur-Loire, 28 mi. 45 km
Day 4: Belleville- sur-Loire - Sancerre, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 5: Sancerre - Cours-les-Barres, 28 mi. (45 km)
Day 6: Cours-le-Barres - Grimouille, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 7: Grimouille - Nevers, 16 mi. (25 km)
Day 8: Nevers

*All distances are approximate. The above-planned itinerary is subject to change, even on very short notice,  due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, docking location changes, lock repairs, etc.

Day 1: Briare, 9 mi. (15 km) 
The Clair de Lune will be moored and waiting at Canal Lateral á la Loire, at the Rue du Pont Canal. Embarkation is between 12 and 2 pm. You can bring your luggage on board as early as 11 am but your cabin will not be ready for check-in. Once you are settled, you can take a short test ride to check out your rental bike.

Day 2: Briare - Rogny - les - sept - Écluses - Briare, 31 mi. (50 km)
The cycling itinerary today lead to the castle of Pont Chevron, situated on a small, picturesque lake. Around lunchtime, on this first cycling day, you will be in the village Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses, known for its historical locks. Via the 16th-century castle near Bléneau you will cycle through a region of lakes to Ouzouer-sur-Trézée and eventually back to Briare.

Day 3: Briare - Belleville-sur-Loire, 28 mi. 45 km
First on the agenda is a visit to the magnificent aqueduct over the Loire River in Briare while the Clair de Lune begins to motor.  With some luck and good planning, you might see the Claire de Lune pass right through here, high above the river. Later you ride to St. Brisson, where you will see the impressive medieval castle. Further on you will pass the historic locks of Châtillon-sur-Loire. The bike ride towards Belleville-sur-Loire leads you through the typical French countryside with rolling hills, country estates, and small villages.

Day 4: Belleville- sur-Loire - Sancerre, 31 mi. (50 km)
Sancerre wines, and especially the white wines, are famous all over the world. The first mentioning of winegrowing in this region dates back to the 6th century. Until the 19th century, the region mostly grew Pinot grapes, but after a disease that devastated the grapes, Sauvignon is now mostly grown. And with success! The ride today takes you on a picturesque route right across the Sancerre vineyards and through the surrounding villages. In Ménétréol, situated under the Sancerre vineyards, there will be an opportunity to try some wine before returning to the Claire de Lune.

Day 5: Sancerre - Cours-les-Barres, 28 mi. (45 km)
Right after breakfast you will hop on your bikes and begin this days cycling tour through the region of the Pouilly Fumé wines 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. Continue towards the destination of today, Cours-les-Barres

Day 6: Cours-le-Barres - Grimouille, 25 mi. (40 km)
Riding south from Cours-les-Barres you pass nice wooded areas with again many nice villages and country estates. Later in the day, you will end up in the small town of Apremont, where you will have the opportunity to visit the 12th-century castle and surrounding fabulous gardens. After, you will continue to the sleepy village of Grimouille on the Canal Lateral du Loire. On the way, a visit to the aqueduct over the Allier River with its two impressive locks both measuring about 9 meters high is a must do!

Day 7: Grimouille - Nevers, 16 mi. (25 km)
You end this week in the heart of France with a short ride to the 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. The origins of Nevers date back to Roman times. Nevers is since the 5th century the seat of the bishop and has among others a castle and a few interesting churches. To celebrate the end of your cycling week you can of course also take a well-earned rest on the several terraces in town and enjoy the local wine. The boat will moor at Embranchement de Nevers, Chemin de Halage.

Day 8: Nevers
Disembarkation by 10 am.

Nevers to Briare

Day 1: Nevers
Day 2: Nevers - Gimouille, 25 km
Day 3: Gimouille - Cours-les-Barres
Day 4: Cours-les-Barres - Sancerre
Day 5: Sancerre - Belleville-sur-Loire
Day 6: Belleville-sur-Loire - Briare
Day 7: Briare - Rogy-les-sept-Ecluses - Briare
Day 8: Briare

If France isn't your thing, be sure to check out our comprehensive list of bike and boat tours as well as our featured bike trips!

 

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Loire Valley Bike and Boat Boats + Barges

Clair de Lune Photo

Clair de Lune France Standard Class Boat In May 2014, Marco Pouw and his wife Astrid assumed ownership of the ship Clair de Lune. Originally built in 1936 as a freight ship in Belgium, like many of the vessels now used for biking and boating, this vessel was renovated and equipped for a new bike and boat adventure in and around Paris, launching in the spring of 2015. Marco has years of experience as a skipper on freighters in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany and approaches his new venture with great enthusiasm.

PWPC