Heart of Chateaux Country Tour: Self-Guided

While the Loire River is well known for its impressive chateaux and picturesque landscape, the region also has a rich gastronomic tradition. During this 7 day/6 night cycle journey there is ample opportunity to appreciate some of the regions finest restaurants while discovering by bike the many other attractions including the famous chateaus of Chenonceau, Cheverny and Chambord, the Leonardo Da Vinci Mansion in Amboise and the forests and vineyards of the Cher and Loire Valleys. Staying in comfortable four-star hotels and cycling an average of 25 – 34 miles each day, this trip represents the perfect balance of activity and indulgence. We invite you to relax here in the Loire Valley!

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Blois
Today you’ll arrive in Blois, leaving time to visit the city and the beautiful Chateau de Blois. At night, between June 5 and September 20, it’s also possible to attend the Light and Sound show at the castle. Your bike will be waiting for you at your hotel in Blois.

Day 2: Blois to Amboise – 26 miles (42 km)
You will cycle through the forests north of Blois and past the Mesland appellation vineyards to the Chateau de Chaumont, which is strategically located high above the River Loire. From there, you’ll continue to the charming town of Amboise with its magnificent chateau overlooking the river. You can stroll through the medieval Market Square and visit the Clos Lucé, a museum dedicated to the genius of Leonardo da Vinci.

Day 3: Amboise – Vouvray – Amboise – 28 miles (45 km)
Leave the Loire banks for a while to reach the picturesque Vouvray vineyards, surrounded by troglodyte houses, and famous for its fine and elegant white wines! On the way you will admire superb Renaissance private châteaux such as château de Valmer (remarkable for its Italian and vegetable gardens), and the beautiful château de Jallanges as well. And don’t hesitate to stop for a visit to a local wine producer to sample a glass of Vouvray wine!

Day 4: Amboise to Chenonceaux – 27 miles (44 km)
Today, go to château de Chenonceau ! This stage through the vineyards of Montlouis-sur-Loire will take you to the Cher valley! Then reach the famous chateau of Chenonceau straddling the Cher River, which was the scene of a famous rivalry in French history: that of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici. Enjoy a walk in the heart of the Diane de Poitiers‘s garden, then the Catherine de Medici’s one. Take a breath, under the shadow of one of the huge park trees, at the rhythm of the river murmur that will tell you stories about these 2 rival women.

Day 5: Chenonceaux to Cheverny (or Chitenay) – 25 or 31 miles (40 or 50 km)
Ride along the peaceful Cher riverbanks to the medieval town of Montrichard. Then leave the Cher Valley and enter the vineyards of Touraine via the Château de Fougères-sur-Bièvre, a small fortified castle which perfectly illustrates the local building arts of the 15th century.
Your cycling day ends in Chitenay (in a charming rural inn) or in Cheverny, close to the famous château.

Day 6: Round trip to Chateau Beauregard and Sologne – 29 miles (47 km)
Today you’ll bike through the Forest of Russy and can visit the wonderful Chateau de Beauregard with its gallery of 363 portraits of French nobility. You can extend your biking with an exploration of the charming Sologne region and its beautiful forests, small ponds, and hidden chateaux and vineyards.

Day 7: Cheverny (or Chitenay) – Blois – 25 or 31 miles (40 or 50 km)
A highlight today will be your visit to the Chateau de Cheverny, still privately owned and beautifully furnished. It was built between 1604 and 1634 and never altered, presenting an immaculate picture of symmetry and harmony. You might also see the famous hounds used for local hunting by the descendant of the original owner. Then you’ll head through the Parc de Chambord to the largest of the Loire Valley chateaux, the spectacular Chateau de Chambord, a jewel of the French Renaissance built under King Francois I.

Day 8: Tour Ends
Your tour ends today with departure after breakfast.

Getting There

About every hour a local train leaves from Paris (Austerlitz station) to Blois. The train ride takes at least two hours. It is not necessary to purchase tickets in advance. You can buy them at the Austerlitz Train Station in Paris on the day of departure. There is no TGV from Paris to Blois, however you could take the TGV to Tours (or St. Pierre-des-Corps, a suburb of Tours) and then a local train to Blois. Some TGV trains from Tours to Paris continue on to the Charles de Gaulle Airport. For more information visit the website of the French Railways, www.sncf.com.

Meals

Daily breakfast and dinner are included

Prices and Dates

Check out our Tour Calendar

Tour Length

8 days/ 7 nights

Included
    • – Accommodations in elegant four-star hotels; all rooms have private facilities.
    • – Daily breakfast and dinner
    • – Luggage transportation – pieces of luggage limited to 2 p.p. & 32 pounds per piece
    • – 21-speed bike rental, including HELMET, panniers, lock, repair kit, map holder, and odometer
    • – Route descriptions, maps and travel highlight information
    – Emergency service phone number 7 days a week.
Bicycles

Bikes are included in the price of the tour. Bikes are very well maintained 21-speed men’s and ladies bikes, equipped with two saddlebags, repair kit, map holder, odometer, and lock. Bike Helmets are included.

Level of Difficulty

Easy to Moderate. The cycling itinerary takes place on bike paths and quiet country roads with little traffic. You will see flat areas along with rolling hills with nice up and downs.

Excluded

– Air fare
– Beverages
– Lunches
– Other items of a personal nature

Weather

Average daytime temperatures in April and May are 55-65, June, July, and August 65-80, September and October 60-75. Average rainfall is 6 days per month.

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