Loire Valley Deluxe Tour – 8 days: Self-Guided

Discover the incredible “Garden of France” in this 8 day / 7 night tour as you cycle at your own pace, stopping to admire the stately elegance of centuries-old chateaux or to visit a museum, church or wine cave, always assured that your charming room and delightful dinner are waiting for you at the end of the day. Cycle through the scenic vineyards and fragrant forests south of Tours and visit the “must-see” Villandry Gardens, handsome Azay-le-Rideau Chateau, the incomparable Chateau Chenonceau, the mighty Chateau Chambord and the best furnished of all the castles, the Chateau de Cheverny. Your luggage is transported each day from hotel to hotel. Daily stages are 22 – 32 miles with the option to cycle more if you choose. Accommodations are in elegant three and four-star chateaux and manors. The food is sumptuous and elegantly served.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Joué-les-Tours
You start the tour in Joué-les-Tours¬, a suburb of Tours, easily accessible from Paris by TGV. Here you’ll stay in the elegant Chateau de Beaulieu, where you’ll enjoy the wonderful recipes of the owner who is a master chef! Your bike will be waiting for you at the hotel.

Day 2: Joué-les-Tours – Montbazon – 32 miles (52 km)
Today you’ll have a chance to visit the famous formal gardens of Chateau de Villandry and then bike through the quiet, bucolic Indre Valley to one of the most charming chateaux in the Loire Valley, the Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau. In the afternoon you’ll bike on to Montbazon where you’ll find your chateau hotel Domaine de la Tortinière, a picturesque, family owned chateau with a magnificent view over the River Indre.

Day 3: Montbazon – Chenonceaux – 22 miles (35 km)
You’ll bike today to the remarkable Chenonceau Castle, the “jewel” of the Loire Valley, that stretches across the River Cher in a perfect harmony of “water, greenery, gardens and trees”. It is one of the most visited landmarks in all of France. The chateau is dedicated to the “Ladies of Chenonceau”, six women under whose influence this elegant chateau developed from a fortified mill.

Day 4: Chenonceaux – Cheverny – 29 miles (46 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, an immaculate picture of symmetry and harmony. You might also observe the famous hounds used for local hunting by the descendant of the original owner. It is also possible to go up in the tethered balloon for a fabulous panoramic view of the chateau and its lovely surroundings. This evening you’ll lodge and dine in an elegant private chateau hotel, surrounded by lovely greenery.

Day 5: Cheverny Round Trip – 31 miles (51 km)
Biking on the small country roads around Cheverny is superb and today you’ll visit the impressive Chateau de Chambord, the largest of the Loire Valley chateaux. With 440 rooms it is one of the most extravagant commissions of its age. You’ll also bike by the much less visited Chateau de Villesavin. In the evening another regional dinner, prepared with fresh products, awaits you in the dining room of your hotel.

Day 6: Cheverny – Amboise – 30 miles (48 km)
Today you’ll bike to the charming city of Amboise, where you might visit the Chateau d’ Amboise with its breathtaking views on the Loire or Clos Lucé, the fascinating former home and now a museum dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci. On your way to Amboise you’ll have a chance to visit the Chateau Chaumont with its majestic views of the Loire River. Your farewell dinner tonight is in the four-star Chateau de Pray near Amboise, where before dinner you can take a refreshing dip in the pool.

Day 7: Amboise – Joué-les-Tours – 23 or 28 miles (37 or 44 km)
You cycle back today along the River Loire and through the Montlouis vineyards where the sweet white and sparkling wines that this region is famous for are produced. Then continue on to Gabrielle d’Estrée’s manor house, the Chateau de La Bourdasière. Gabrielle was the favorite mistress of King Henri IV. After your visit you’ll bike on to reach the city of Tours to admire the old center with its typical half-timbered houses. From here follow a gentle bike path to Joué-les-Tours, where you drop off your bike and pick up your luggage and stay for your final night at the Chateau de Beaulieu.

Day 8: Departure after breakfast.

Getting There

Take the TGV from Paris to Tours (or St. Pierre-des-Corps, a suburb of Tours) and then a cab to the first hotel, Chateau de Beaulieu. For last minute train schedules visit the website of the French Railways, www.sncf.com.

Meals

Daily breakfast and dinner is included

Prices and Dates

Check out our Tour Calendar

Tour Length

8 days/7 nights

Included
      – Accommodations in elegant three (2 nights) and four (5 nights) -star chateaux and manors; all rooms have private shower and toilet.
      – Daily breakfast and dinner
      – 21-speed bike rental, including HELMET, panniers, lock, repair kit, map holder, and odometer
      – Luggage transportation – pieces of luggage limited to 2 p.p. & 32 pounds per piece.
      – Route descriptions, maps and travel highlight information
    – Emergency service phone number 7 days a week.
Bicycles

Bikes are included in the tour price. 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. The bike is adjusted by a cycling specialist.

Level of Difficulty

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

Excluded

– Air fare
– Entrance fees to the various mentioned chateaux
– 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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