France: The Loire Valley

Self-Guided Biking Tour, France: The Loire ValleySelf-Guided Biking Tour, France: The Loire Valley

France

The Loire Valley

overview

From its legendary wine estates and palatial châteaux to its stunning scenery and culinary traditions, the entire Loire Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll discover why it’s so prized as you ride between châteaux and visit the wine-and-cheese caves created by quarrying the stone that built them. Begin along the Cher River at Renaissance Château de Chenonceau, a vision of unmatched architectural splendor. Ride the vibrant streets of Amboise and visit Clos Lucé, a 15th-century manor-house museum honoring Leonardo da Vinci, who’s buried nearby. Stop in the tranquil and picturesque village of Limeray or watch wildlife in Autrèche, then stroll the gardens of Chaumont, the spectacular château that once belonged to Catherine de Medici. HeadwaterSee the priceless antiques at Cheverny’s castle and the portrait gallery at the 16th-century Château de Beauregard. Just pack your appetite! You’ll have numerous opportunities for tastings at famed vineyards and enjoying meals of regional cuisine featuring local fish and game.

 

Activity Level
Easy;
17-23 miles daily
Meet
Blois, France
Depart
Blois, France
Daily Itinerary
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itinerary
Reading List
Recommended
pre-trip reading
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Self-Guided Biking 
7 days, 6 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Breakfast and dinner daily; beverages not Included
  • All accommodations (with private bathrooms) while on tour
  • Local transfers as noted in the itinerary
  • Luggage transfers between the hotels
  • Detailed route notes and maps
  • High-quality bicycle with 21-speed Shimano gears (helmet not provided), tire repair kit, lock, map/route note holder, and panniers
  • Basic travel insurance coverage
  • 24-hour emergency service
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the CW and Headwater staff
Compare Dates & Prices
Prices Starting from...
Season
2+ travelers
Single Supplement
Solo Surcharge
2014
April 15 - May 21
$2,118
$420
$0
May 23 - 31
$2,347
$420
$0
June 2 -12
$2,169
$420
$0
June 14 - July 8
$2,347
$420
$0
July 10 - Aug 25
$2,419
$420
$0
Aug 27 - 31
$2,347
$420
$0
Sept 2 - 10
$2,169
$420
$0
Sept 12 - Oct 8
$2,118
$420
$0
2015
April 15 - 21
$2,224
$441
$0
May 23 - 31
$2,464
$441
$0
June 2 - 12
$2,277
$441
$0
June 14 - July 8
$2,464
$441
$0
July 10 - Aug 25
$2,540
$441
$0
Aug 27 - 31
$2,464
$441
$0
Sept 2 - 10
$2,277
$441
$0
Sept 12 - Oct 8
$2,224
$441
$0

*Price is based on per person, double occupancy.

Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

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gallery

Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Chissay-en-Touraine
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2
St. Ouen-les-Vignes
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3
St. Ouen-les-Vignes
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4
Chitenay
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5
Chitenay
View on map
6
Chissay-en-Touraine
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7
Chissay-en-Touraine
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Day 1

Chissay-en-Touraine

Arrival to Chissay

We meet you at Blois station and take you (35 mins) to Chissay where your fabulous château hotel awaits. Time for a swim before dinner.

Château de Chissay

Chissay-en-Touraine, France

This historic château hotel set in 10 acres of parkland on the Cher River hosted 15th-century French kings, Charles VII and his son, Louis XI. Tastefully decorated rooms have individual mosaics depicting different periods in French history. The stately dining room in the renovated guard room features excellent cuisine from local products and an extensive wine list. An outdoor swimming pool is also on the grounds.

Day 2

St. Ouen-les-Vignes

Chissay to St Ouen-les-Vignes 27km/17mi

Gentle pedaling along the banks of the Cher will bring you first to the superb Château de Chenonceau with its famous arches majest ically spanning the river. Described by Flaubert as floating “on air and water ”, it’s arguably the most beautiful of all the Loire landmarks. Lunch here perhaps on the terrace of the Orangerie restaurant before heading off through the shady Amboise forest and on to Amboise—don’t worry if you don’t have time to explore properly as you can easily come back tomorrow. Your final stretch leads to the elegant village of St Ouen-les-Vignes and Jacques and Odile Arrayet’s bijou hotel beside the river. Odile is a professional sommelier, and Jacques artistic chef de cuisine, so you’re in for some treats here!

Hôtel L'Aubinière

St. Ouen-les-Vignes, France

An intimate hotel with a lush riverside garden just outside of Amboise and near the wine town of Vouvray. Individually decorated rooms are spacious, light, and contemporary. Its restaurant, also run by the hotel-owning husband-and-wife, chef-and-sommelier team, is truly outstanding in a region of excellent food and wine. An 11th-century church is in the center of the peaceful village of just under 1,000 inhabitants.

Day 3

St. Ouen-les-Vignes

At St Ouen-les-Vignes

It’s just a 5 km cycle south to the narrow bustling streets of Amboise. Visit the flamboyant royal palace and the elegant Clos Lucé, a C15 manor house where Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked for the last few years of his life. His workshops house 40 giant models of some of his most spectacul ar creations—the first plane, helicopter and tank—and the beautifully landscaped gardens bring life to his botanical drawings and geographical designs. Alternatively it’s an easy 15 km return cycle along the river Cisse to the wine capital of Vouvray, with masses of tasting possibilities and the option to visit Château de Va lmer where King Charles VII once stayed.

Hôtel L'Aubinière

St. Ouen-les-Vignes, France

An intimate hotel with a lush riverside garden just outside of Amboise and near the wine town of Vouvray. Individually decorated rooms are spacious, light, and contemporary. Its restaurant, also run by the hotel-owning husband-and-wife, chef-and-sommelier team, is truly outstanding in a region of excellent food and wine. An 11th-century church is in the center of the peaceful village of just under 1,000 inhabitants.

Day 4

Chitenay

St Ouen-les-Vignes to Chitenay 37km/23mi or 43km/27 mi

Lovely peaceful cycling today with a choice of rout es depending on how energetic you’re feeling! The shorter option takes you via the sleepy village of Limeray (lovely white church with impressive collection of statues) or you can head north through open countryside to Autreche—masses of wildlife so keep the binoculars handy! All cyclists then go on to Chaumont—the château here once belonged to Catherine de Medici and is quite spectacular. Between May and October, it hosts the International Garden Festival with a different theme each year. A final shady riverside stretch takes you via the pretty villages of Les Montils and Seur and on to Chitenay where you’ll spend the next two nights.

Auberge du Centre

Chitenay, France

An inviting ivy-clad hotel tucked into an elegant little village that is an ideal base for visiting the most famous châteaux in the Loire Valley. Rooms are bright and decorated in a contemporary French country style. A terrace, gardens, and wooden-beamed sitting area are pleasant for relaxing with a before-dinner drink in its fine restaurant with terrace dining, weather permitting. Blois and Cheverny castles are within easy cycling distance, as well as many wine-tasting opportunities at local vineyards.

Day 5

Chitenay

At Chitenay

The C17 château at nearby Cheverny, with its wonderful white stone facade, is a popular day trip. The richness of its furnishings and antiques is incredible, and the gardens are superb. This château was used as a model for Moulinsart by the author of Tintin, and a permanent exhibition is open for viewing. Alternatively keen cyclists can head for the magnificent château de Chambord—it’s a 50 km round trip! Set in the heart of the huge Forêt de Boulogne, this C16 masterpiece appears straight from a fairytale, and reflects the lavish tastes of its original owner, King François I. Today, the surrounding park has be en declared a national nature reserve, protecting all sorts of wildlife including deer, boar and eagles.

Auberge du Centre

Chitenay, France

An inviting ivy-clad hotel tucked into an elegant little village that is an ideal base for visiting the most famous châteaux in the Loire Valley. Rooms are bright and decorated in a contemporary French country style. A terrace, gardens, and wooden-beamed sitting area are pleasant for relaxing with a before-dinner drink in its fine restaurant with terrace dining, weather permitting. Blois and Cheverny castles are within easy cycling distance, as well as many wine-tasting opportunities at local vineyards.

Day 6

Chissay-en-Touraine

Chitenay to Chissay 31km/19mi

Head south past well-tended vines and sleepy hamlet s surrounded by fields of sunflowers. Lunch perhaps on the terrace beside the fortified château of Fougérès-sur-Bièvre, before a downhill whizz takes you to the river Cher where the charming old quarter of mediaeval Montrichard is huddled ben eath the C11 keep. Lots of open air cafés and splendid half-timbered houses. A final flat cycle follows the Cher back to Château du Chissay for a well-earned dip in the pool!

Château de Chissay

Chissay-en-Touraine, France

This historic château hotel set in 10 acres of parkland on the Cher River hosted 15th-century French kings, Charles VII and his son, Louis XI. Tastefully decorated rooms have individual mosaics depicting different periods in French history. The stately dining room in the renovated guard room features excellent cuisine from local products and an extensive wine list. An outdoor swimming pool is also on the grounds.

Day 7

Chissay-en-Touraine

Return home

We take you to Blois station after breakfast.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Guest Comments

J. Zawojewski, Illinois, May 2012

This was great fun, combining the independence of self-guided bicycling along with the security of local operators just a phone call away. The people of the region were lovely and helpful, and our few stories of momentary uncertainty in location always ended with a local French person helping us out (even when they spoke nary a word of English)! Also, the people we met on tour were wonderful... we have some new friends too.

Marge Petit, Vermont, May 2012

Biking as a means of exploring a region is the best way to go.

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