Description Of Loire Valley Cycling Holiday, France
The magical region of the Loire Valley is world-famous for its opulent chateaux, delicious food and white wine. Thanks to the relatively flat terrain and endless historical sights, cycling through the beautiful valley is leisurely and you can stop as and when you please. One of our most popular trips in the area, our knowledgeable experts have created the perfect itinerary to help you enjoy the highlights of the area.
Spend your days exploring these historic lands that have over 1,000 years of French and English royal history. Visit the many spectacular chateaux, towns and vineyards that line the Loire river, relax in the evenings with a delicious local meal paired with a glass, or two, of white wine from regions’ acclaimed vineyards.
Each chateau offers something special, whether it’s dramatic turrets or cupolas, surrounding moats and mazes or underground tunnels. Some of our favourites include the well-kempt gardens at Château Villandry and the grand architecture of Fontevraud Abbey, resting place of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.
We’ve handpicked the best local hotels to offer you the most authentic experience. Many are family-run, offer glorious views and have traditional features. Our cycle experts can suggest the best hotels to suit you, so that you have the perfect rest and relaxation after a day in the saddle.
Arrive at Tours, Poitiers or Rennes | Your first hotel is in the beautiful medieval town of Chinon, set on the banks of the majestic Vienne River. Steeped in history, the town was once King Henry II’s preferred place of residence. You can still explore the impressive 12th century Plantagenet fortress, which was also home to Richard the Lionheart.
Château du Rivau | Distance 14 miles (23km) | Once you’re ready to explore beyond Chinon, we suggest a round trip route to the Château du Rivau, a fairy-tale castle with beautiful gardens and botanical art and sculpture. The route to get there takes you along a recently opened Voie Verte cycle path, that follows the tracks of an old railway line, which is a perfect introduction to your cycling tour.
Chinon to Montsoreau | Distance 13 miles (21km) | Today you will follow the Loire à Vélo cycle route which meanders along the river to the charming old riverside town of Montsoreau, often referred to as the ‘most beautiful village in France’. Along the way we recommend stopping at Fontevraud Abbey: a prison in Napoleon’s day, and now a historical site, music and exhibition venue.
Saumur | Distance 18 miles (30km) | Today we suggest a day trip to Saumur, a beautiful town with a typically imposing château overlooking the river. Explore its wondrous wine cellars, wander down medieval streets, and enjoy feeling spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing where to dine. Alternatively you could cycle to Château de Brézé, another fine example of a classic French castle in the heart of the wine land, complete with underground tunnels and wine presses still in use today.
Montsoreau to Azay-le-Rideau | Distance 26 miles (42 km) Cycling along the Loire to the River Indre, you’ll come to a beautiful medieval village; home to Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, built on an island on the river. A lovely place to stay, with great cafés and restaurants to peruse too.
Château Villandry | Distance 16 miles (27km) | After relaxing in Azay le Rideau for a while, you might like to visit the amazing terraced gardens at the Renaissance Château Villandry. It’s a great spot for a picnic lunch.
Azay-le-Rideau to Chinon | Distance 21 miles (35km) | Your final day in the saddle will take you back to Chinon, where you can pick up some souvenirs, wander the banks of the river, and enjoy a glass of finest local wine in the dappled sun.
One final al fresco breakfast before we say “au revoir”.
Burgundy Self Guided Cycling Tours, France
FROM €985 (ZA R19,095)
TO €1,060 (ZA R20,549)
8 Days Excluding Flights
Price per person sharing a double includes 7 nights’ accommodation (3* hotels & guesthouses of charm) with breakfast, 1 dinner, luggage transfers, GPS, assistance if needed, and tax & service fees. Hybrid and e-bike rentals available
Description Of Burgundy Self Guided Cycling Tours, France
Featuring one of France’s longest greenways, Burgundy is a cyclist’s paradise. Our colorful itinerary takes you to the world’s most exceptional vineyards, from those producing varying shades of Burgundian red wines to the Charolais white! Travel through a palette of colors as varied and diverse as the remarkable tiled roofs that top the Hospices de Beaune. Each stop on your cycling tour adds to the mosaic of exceptional medieval sites scattered around Burgundy.
If the scenery draws out your inner artist, the local gastronomy and wines will turn you into a food critic! Delve into the hearty local cuisine, typically featuring Burgundian wine sauces, and discover which wines please your palate
This tour starts any day from March through October 2020.
Arrival in Beaune. Arrive in Beaune at the time of your choice. The earlier you arrive, the more time you’ll have to drink in —figuratively and literally — the wine capital of Burgundy. Its cobblestone streets offer world-class attractions including the 15th century Notre-Dame Basilica, the Hôtel-Dieu, with its famous multi-colored tile roof, and the Wine Museum. Stop into any of the numerous wine caves (wine cellars) for an introduction to the many names you’ll see on vineyard signs in the days ahead!
Beaune loop (36km/22 miles or 58km/36 miles) The first ride is a loop from Beaune to the Abbey of Citeaux in Saint-Nicolas-lès-Cîteaux. Founded over 900 years ago, it’s still a functioning abbey — the Trappist monks who call it home produce and sell Cîteaux cheese, honey sweets and caramels. From the Abbey, the route takes you through the best Pinot noir vineyards of Burgundy, Chambolle-Musigny and Nuits-Saint-Georges, among others.
Beaune – Rully or Chassey-le-Camp (36km/22 miles or 47km/29 miles) You can take it easy today as the ride is fairly short and leisurely through ‘Chardonnay territory’. The villages of Pommard, Meursault and Santenay are an ideal introduction to the region and provide you with many good options for lunch. Your hotel is in the center of the village of Rully and boasts an excellent restaurant. A slightly longer route will take you up to the village of Saint-Romain before rejoining the normal itinerary.
Rully or Chassey-le-Camp – Buxy (27km/17 miles) Today’s route carries you south through the Cotes Challonnaises and the village of Mercurey, which produces one of the best examples of the pinot noir appellation of the same name. The terrain transforms into rolling hills with a succession of hamlets, creeks, woods, and of course vineyards. You will stay in the pretty medieval village of Buxy for 2 nights.
Rest day in Buxy or optional ride to Cluny (38km/23 miles or 80km/49 miles) You may opt to spend the day relaxing or browsing the streets of Buxy and perusing its shops, or you may choose to do our recommended loop. Our optional ride from Buxy takes you south to the world-renowned Abbey of Cluny, which was built in 910 AD, and still towers as a monument to Romanesque architecture and medieval Europe’s prestigious center of Christendom in medieval Europe. Prior to the building of Saint Peter’s in Rome, it reigned as the largest church in the world and earned a reputation for producing popes. The ride back to Buxy will be done on the cycle path.
Buxy – Nolay (47km/29 miles) After breakfast, travel northwest to the rural town of Couches, after crossing the Canal du Centre. This itinerary is definitely a good contrast and a nice balance to the wine-making area, as you’ll be crossing a land of cattle farms, oak woods, and isolated farms. This ride ends in the market town of Nolay, where you will overnight.
Nolay – Beaune (23km/14 miles or 40km/25 miles) The ride from Nolay takes you up to Bligny-sur-Ouche and down to the Canal of Burgundy at Pont-d’Ouche. After riding along the peaceful canal on the tow path, we will cycle back to Beaune. This 15km (9 miles) stretch is a smooth downhill through lovely forest before reaching the great vineyards of Alex Corton.
Departure. After breakfast, depart at the time of your choice.
This tour starts any day (excluding Monday or Tuesday) from March through October
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