Discover the incredible “Garden of France” at your own pace, stopping to admire the stately elegance of centuries-old chateaux, always assured that your room and dinner are waiting for you at the end of the day. Cycle through the scenic vineyards and fragrant forests west of Tours and visit the “must-see” castles of Azay le Rideau, Angers and the Villandry Gardens as well as the delightful, though less well known, Saumur and Chinon chateaux.
Day 1: Arrival in Tours
Arrive in Tours with time to visit this lively, flower-filled, university city on the River Loire with its fascinating medieval quarters, the famous “Place Pumereau” and its amazingly well preserved half-timbered houses.
Day 2: Tours – Azay-le-Rideau – 25 miles (41 km)
Passing through the Valley of the River Indre, you’ll make several interesting stops en route to Azay-le-Rideau. Visit the beautiful gardens of Villandry, the last of the large châteaux built on the banks of the Loire during the Renaissance. Saché is the next château on your route. It was the writer Honoré de Balzac’s home during his most productive years. Next is the Château Azay le Rideau, a 16th-century masterpiece, situated in an elegant waterside setting, and one of this region’s architectural gems. It was built between1518 and 1523 during the reign of King François I and houses a lovely collection of Renaissance portraits and tapestries.
Day 3: Azay-le-Rideau – Chinon – 20 or 22 miles (32 or 35 km)
Today, you’ll cycle to the town of Langeais to visit its striking 15th-century château. In 1491, the arranged marriage of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany was celebrated here. From Langeais you’ll follow our route through Ussé, home of the brilliant white stone castle that inspired the great fairy tale writer, Perrault, to create Sleeping Beauty. From Ussé, you pedal away from the river through meadows and woodland to pick up the “Route des Vignobles”, which passes through vineyards, with some opportunities for wine tasting along the way. Later you cycle along the River Loire again to medieval Chinon, situated on the banks of the River Vienne. This historic old town, with its narrow streets and gabled houses, is famous for its feudal dungeon and most revered guest, Joan of Arc. In the evening enjoy a delightful French dinner and taste local wines which have contributed greatly to the Chinon’s glowing reputation!
Day 4: Chinon – Saumur – 22 or 30 miles (36 or 48 km)
Cross the River Vienne and bike through scenic vineyards to the 12th century Abbey at Fontevraud, the largest and most remarkably preserved monastery in France. Today you’ll have more opportunities to sample the distinctive wines of the Loire before your arrival in surprising Saumur. Celebrated for its fairytale château and cavalry school, Saumur is also famous for its splendid mushroom varieties. You’ll pass caves burrowed out of the rock, used for mushroom growing, storing sparkling wines, as well as for dwellings, as you approach this charming, underappreciated ancient town.
Day 5: Saumur – Angers – 35 miles (57 km)
Today’s final ride takes you to the lovely city of Angers and its towering medieval château, “King Rene’s Castle of Love” which houses the renowned Apocalypse Tapestry and is well worth a visit.
Day 6: Departure after breakfast.
Take the TGV from Paris to Tours (or St. Pierre-des-Corps, a suburb of Tours) and then a cab to the first hotel. For last minute train schedules visit the website of the French Railways, www.sncf.com.
Daily breakfast and dinner is included
Check out our Tour Calendar
6 days/ 5 nights
- – Accommodations in small four-star hotels; all rooms have private facilities
- – 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.
Daily from March 1 to October 31
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.
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.
– Air fare
– Other items of a personal nature
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.