Loire Valley Orleans to Tours: Self-Guided

Discover the incredible “Garden of France” 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 is waiting for you at the end of the day. Beyond Orleans the Loire Valley lazily and nonchalantly spreads out under a pleasant climate. You’ll pass through the medieval village of Beaugency to arrive at the doorsteps of Chambord, a castle only imagined in the most magical of dreams. You’ll continue on to Cheverny – perhaps the most beautiful and refined of all the chateaux in the Loire – and then Blois, a royal city with an eclectic history. A bit further along the River Loire you’ll reach Chateau Chaumont and its splendid park, and then Amboise with its royal chateau and Clos Luce, the last home of Leonardo da Vinci. Via the vineyards of Montlouis you pedal into the interesting University city of Tours to discover the medieval quarter and its well preserved half-timbered houses.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Orléans
You’ll spend the day exploring beautiful Orléans on the River Loire with its picturesque, well preserved neighborhoods. Orleans is the home of Joan of Arc, the patron saint of France, and is well known for the awe inspiring Sainte Croix Cathedral, comparable to the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Although Orleans was severely bombed in World War II (first by the Germans and then by Allies) the city still preserves some of the old buildings. The city of Orleans is also famous for its university, one of the most prestigious one in France.

Day 2: Orléans – Beaugency – 16 miles (26 km)
This morning you’ll pedal along the Loire to the flower filled city of Beaugency with its imposing 11th century dungeon looming high above the streets. Beaugency has conserved the charm of a small medieval city and can visit the Notre Dame Abbey, the Hôtel-Dieu (Hospices of Beaugency) and the 14h century bridge. Beaugency has a violent military history. It was the site of the famous Battle of Beaugency when it was freed by Joan of Arc.

Day 3: Beaugency – Blois – 29 miles (46 km)
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. Then bike on to Blois with its famous chateau which features four distinct architectural styles and houses the Musées des Beaux Arts and Archeology. St Louis Cathedral and numerous other churches and gardens that decorate the city are worth a visit.

Day 4: Blois – Amboise – 26 miles (42 km)
Cycle through the forests north of Blois and past scenic vineyards to the impressive Chateau de Chaumont, which is strategically located high above the River Loire and gives you a majestic view over the river. Continue to the charming town 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.

Day 5: Amboise – Tours – 17 or 19 miles (27 or 31 km)
Today you cycle today to interesting Tours passing by the vineyards and caves of Montlouis, renowned for its sweet white and sparkling wines. Later you pass by Chateau de la Bourdaisière, believed to be the birthplace of Gabrielle d’Estrées the beautiful mistress and favorite of King Henri IV. Continue to the center of Tours, a lively, flower-filled, university city on the River Loire with its fascinating medieval quarter, the famous “Place Pumereau” and its amazingly well preserved half-timbered houses.

Day 6: Departure after breakfast or extend your vacation by biking on to Angers (see our Tours to Angers itinerary). The combined tour would be 10 days/9 nights long with just one day in Tours.

Getting There

About every hour a local train leaves from Paris (Austerlitz station) to Orleans. The train ride takes a little over one hour. 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. 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

6 days/ 5 nights

Included
      – Accommodations in small three and four-star hotels; all rooms have private bathroom and shower.
      – 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.
Departure Dates

Daily from March 1 to October 31

Bicycles

Bikes are included in the price of the tour. Bikes are well maintained 21-speed men’s and ladies bikes, equipped with a saddlebag, repair kit, 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 bike paths and quiet country roads with little traffic. You will see flat areas along with rolling hills with nice up and downs.

Excluded

– 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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