Experience the best that the Loire Valley has to offer: superb gastronomy, beautiful biking, and gorgeous chateaux. This charming, exclusive tour led by VGT’s owner, Emma, starts in Tours, easily accessible from Paris by high speed train (TGV). From there we’ll transfer to our first chateau hotel, with its delightfully maintained grounds and enchanting view over Tours. Chateau de Villandry, with the most beautiful formal gardens in all the Loire Valley, and Chateau Azay-le-Rideau are just a bike ride away. In Amboise we’ll stay overnight in a beautifully furnished chateau along the River Loire. We’ll visit the captivating Chateau de Chenonceau the next morning and returning to Amboise, with ample time for some shopping or a visit to Clos Lucé, the museum dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci. In Cheverny we’ll stay the last two days in the elegant Chateau du Breuil, built at the end of the 17th century. You’ll be amazed by the exquisite food and enjoy a long ride through the 70 acres of grounds that lead up to the handsome castle! Emma leads this tour personally so you’ll be travelling with a guide who really knows the local area and can give you the best service VGT has to offer!
- Biking along the meandering and peaceful river Loire
- Sitting on the hotel terrace with a glass of local Rose
- Losing yourself in the complex gardens of Chateau de Villandry
- Enjoying the gastronomic treats of chef Jean Marc Lozay
- Admiring the spiral staircase of Chateau de Chambord, built by Leonardo Da Vinci
- Taking photos in the fields of sunflowers
We’ll welcome you at the train station in Tours around 1:00 p.m. Together we will enjoy lunch as we get to know one another. Then we’ll enjoy a short walk through the historic center of Tours. Afterward, we’ll be transported to our first impressive, 15th century chateau-hotel. Before dinner there’s time for a warm-up ride around a nearby lake. Then we’ll return to our home for the night, where a lovingly prepared dinner will be waiting for us.
Today we’ll bike to the famous Gardens of the Chateau de Villandry, the most beautiful formal gardens in the Loire Valley. These gardens were originally planted by monks and feature spectacular geometric designs and an array of colours. After our visit in the late morning, we’ll bike along the River Loire and take in the delightful views of this shallow, peacefully flowing river. Just before lunch we’ll reach the village of Azay-le Rideau. Here we’ll visit the beautiful Chateau Azay-le-Rideau, the “Pearl of the Loire Valley,” nestled in the middle of a shimmering lake. Through charming rural countryside and fields of radiant sunflowers, we’ll cycle past the village of Sache, known for its handsome Chateau that was home first to the French writer Balzac and then to the American artist Alexander Calder. Dinner will be served in the elegant restaurant of our chateau hotel.
Today we’ll cycle the whole day following “La Loire a Velo,” the 800-km long cycle trail which follows the Loire river from Cuffy to St. Brevin-les-Pins. This is easy cycling as we follow along the river for most of the day, stopping once in the charming town of Montlouis-sur-Loire for either a coffee break or a wine tasting (your choice!). For lunch we will dine together in the middle of the Montlouis vineyards, having a simple but very French lunch of charcuterie (assorted meats), fromage (assorted cheeses), a bit of fruit and veggies, and of course wine. We’ll conclude our day’s cruise through cool and peaceful woods and onto the bustling riverside town of Amboise with its massive chateau perched high above the gurgling River Loire. Before another fine French dinner, there’s time to stroll through this charming town and take some memorable photos from the bridge, crossing the River Loire at one of its widest parts.
We’ll leave early today to visit the remarkable Chateau Chenonceau that stretches across the River Cher in a perfect harmony of “water, greenery, gardens and trees.” It’s 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 was developed from a fortified mill. After Chenonceau we’ll bike through gently rolling farmland and woods with some panoramic views back to Amboise. There’s enough time to stroll through the medieval market square and visit the Chateau d’Amboise or the fascinating Clos Lucé, a 15th century mansion that was the last home of Leonardo da Vinci and is now a museum dedicated to the genius of this artist. Models built from the drawings of his inventions are here on display. Dinner is on your own tonight in one of Amboise’s many, charming restaurants and afterward, in the summer months, you might opt to see the historical “Light and Sound” show at the Chateau d’Amboise – one of the best in the region.
Today we’ll first pass by the small and charming Chaumont Castle, situated over the River Loire. This is where Diane Poitiers, the mistress of Henry II, was banished to by Henry’s wife, Catherine de Medici, after the King’s death. We’ll all agree that it’s not a bad place to spend an exile (although after living in Chenonceau, Diane detested it). Afterward, we’ll bike through peaceful countryside on our way to the exquisite Chateau Cheverny. Its classical façade is built of white stone and crowned by a splendid slate roof. The interior is sumptuously decorated with furniture and sculptures. It’s one of the few important chateaux in the Loire Valley that’s still privately owned. Then we’ll stop at a local winery on the way to our private chateau hotel, surrounded by acres of lovely greenery.
Today we’ll bike through sleepy hamlets and villages before entering the Parc de Chambord. The imposing Chateau de Chambord, the largest of the Loire country chateaux, awaits us. The sudden appearance of its huge white walls at the end of a long avenue makes an awe-inspiring impression. Leonardo da Vinci designed the double spiral staircase inside, an architectural marvel. After a visit and some lunch, another great ride through woods and beautiful sunflower fields will bring us back to Cheverny. We’ll pass by many small wineries as we ponder our final French dinner!
After breakfast we’ll provide a group transfer to the train station in Blois for the train ride back to Paris. Departure time is scheduled early so that you might be able to catch an early afternoon flight. It takes about 2 hours on the regular train from Blois to Paris (there is no TGV) and at least another hour to get to the Charles de Gaulle Airport from the station in Paris.
Dates & Prices
|2018 Tour Dates|
|Sep 29–Oct 5|
This was our first bike trip and I was uncetain as to what to expect. From our initial contact, I felt confident that I made the right decision in regarding which tour group to choose. Emma, I think you managed the tour incredibly well. Having visited the Loire Valley previously, you arranged a very good tour of important sites. The food was excellent. You and David are enjoyable company who lead with confidence.
The sights were enchanting, hotels were very comfortable, leaders were excellent, the surprise was that I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The challenges were just enough! It exceeded our expectations.
This was an excellent tour. Each chateau we visited and stayed in was unique.
Biking was the best! I loved the countryside and varied scenery. Leaders were always responsive and helpful- good guidance. I liked VGT best because there were no bus transfers between hotels.
Great group and size, relaxed, friendly people. Leaders kept thing moving on time. Unique, comfortable, worry free, great education, quaint villages.
The trip was all about the sights of Loire Valley, quiet, peaceful rides, wine tasting, dining in vineyard atmosphere.
The hotels listed below are examples of those usually used on the tour. Depending on availability, you may be booked in a different hotel of equal quality.
Chateau de Beaulieu
Overlooking 3 hectares of French gardens, this traditional 18th-century castle hotel is known for its quaint, period-style rooms. The head chef, Jean-Marc Lozay and his team create inventive gastronomic cuisine that is simple yet refined. The menu is inspired by the daily market, regional products, the herbs grown in the château’s vegetable garden and the rhythm of the seasons.
Hotel Le Choiseul
Le Choiseul is a charming 4-star castle-hotel in Amboise, featuring a panoramic view of the Loire River. Below the walls of the Chateau d’Amboise, Le Choiseul is ideal for visiting the royal castles of the Loire Valley. The rooms & suites offer pleasant views over the Italian garden or spectacular views of the scenery.
Chateau de la Rozelle
The Chateau de la Rozelle is ideally located in the heart of Loire Valley. It is situated among a romantic park, and close to the prestigious castles of Chambord, Cheverny, and Blois. The on-site restaurant features authentic French cuisine made from seasonal ingredients. After enjoying the surroundings, guests also have access to a hot tub and spa.
- 6 nights’ lodging in three- and four-star chateaux and hotels
- 5 dinners, 3 lunches, 2 coffee breaks, and daily breakfast
- Two wine tastings
- 24-speed bike rental
- Outstanding, personalized leadership by Emma, VGT’s owner, and a co-guide
- Support van
- Entrance fees to five Chateaux: Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau, Cheverny, Chambord, Villandry (only the Villandry gardens)
- Daily route directions
- Baggage handling
- All taxes and gratuities for the hotel and restaurant portions
24-speed hybrid Trek bikes are included on the tour. Bicycles come equipped with: grip shifters, handlebar bag, bell, cage, and water bottle. We have everything you’ll need in the van to make your biking experience more comfortable, including toe cages (no clips for clip in shoes), rear view mirrors, and rear panniers. It’s also possible to replace our pedals with your own “clip in” pedals. Helmets are not included so please bring a helmet! We do have a few helmets available for rent for $20 for the week. If you wish to rent one, please let us know ahead of time.
To rent an e-bike is also possible. Please inquire with us for the price. We advise you only to rent an electric bike if you have first tried one at home. They’re heavier than regular bikes and therefore can be difficult to maneuver.
Daily buffet breakfast, 3 lunches, 2 coffee breaks and 5 dinners are included in the tour price. For the buffet breakfasts there’s an assortment of cold meats and cheeses, eggs, bread, croissants, jam, cereal, yogurt, fruit, coffee, and tea. For the two included lunches we’ll stop together at local restaurants that feature local ingredients. For 3 lunches we’ll be in a town with lots of choices of simple to extravagant restaurants. For our coffee breaks, you have your choice of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, juice, or soda. Dinners are 4 to 5 courses with either a set menu or a choice of 2 or 3 options. Dinners on this tour are really exquisite and very well-prepared with fresh and local ingredients from the Loire Valley region. In Amboise, dinner is on your own and you can choose one of many delicious restaurant options within easy walking distance from our hotel.
We can accommodate many types of dietary restrictions including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy free. Please indicate these requests at the time of booking.
- Alcoholic and bar beverages
- One dinner
- Independent sightseeing (for example, Clos Luce or Chateau d’Amboise)
- Transportation other than scheduled VGT transfers
The tour begins around 1:00 p.m. in the train station in Tours. You can easily reach Tours from Paris by TGV (one hour) or regular train (two hours). You’ll receive precise details about the meeting point after full payment is received.
The tour concludes in the morning of day 7, after breakfast, with group transfer to the train station in Blois. For train schedules visit the French Railways website, www.sncf.com. Train schedules are not available more than 3 months in advance.