Gardens of the Loire by Bike

tours / Cycling

Gardens of the Loire by Bike information and booking

from
$1360
  • Duration
    7 days
    Days
  • Difficulty
    introductory - moderate
Check prices & availability

Schedule Details

Summary
  • 7 nights accommodation in a 2 star hotel
Equipment Required
Cycle helmet (provided with your bike), wet weather gear, sunscreen, sandshoes and sun hat. A comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking.

Highlights

  • Cycling through the heart of the Loire Valley to view impressive gardens
  • Exploring the many grand Chateaux
  • Experiencing the marketplaces and rural delights of the region
  • Enjoying the culinary specialties
  • Sampling some of the many excellent wines in local ‘caves’

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

Known throughout Europe as the "Garden of France", the Loire Valley with its royal heritage is home to numerous botanical wonders. From the chateau of Chenonceau where the rival gardens of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici are proudly displayed to the magnificent Renaissance gardens of Villandry and many more in between, this cycle tour is designed to inspire gardening and cycling enthusiasts. Whilst the focus is on the gardens the many other attractions of the area complement the experience, including the Sunday markets in Amboise, the inventions of Leonardo da Vinci at Close de Luce and the vineyards of Montlouis known for their sweet white wines.

What's included

  • 6 breakfasts, 6 dinners (does not include drinks) – breakfasts are continental style and consist of croissants, breads, jams, cheese, yoghurt, coffee, tea and juices. dinner will consist of 3 to 4 courses which include some regional specialties.
  • 7 nights accommodation in a 2 star hotel on a twin share basis. all rooms have ensuite facilities. (option to upgrade to 3 star hotels – supplement applies)
  • 21 speed mens or ladies bike equipped with two panniers, helmet, anti-theft device, bike computer, map holder and a repair kit
  • Luggage transfer
  • Information pack including route notes and maps

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Blois
On your arrival in Blois, make your way to the hotel. Depending on when you arrive, we recommend you take a walk around the town which is known for its light facades and blue roofs, its pedestrian streets gracefully preserving the flavour of lost centuries and its serene atmosphere. The Royal Chateau de Blois is worth a visit, a perfect illustration of how French architecture evolved between the Middle Ages and the 17th Century and it also offers impressive views of the city and your first glimpse of the Loire River.
Day 2 Cycle via the chateau and gardens of Chaumont to Amboise (42km)
The cycle route follows a quiet road through the forest and vineyards of the Mesland appellation until you reach the Chateau of Chaumont sur Loire that proudly overlooks the Loire River. It is worthwhile stopping here, and the grounds are usually open to the public. The Chateau itself is famous for its luxurious stables, and there is often free wine tasting at the base of the driveway. During June to September 2015, the chateau hosts the International Garden Festival where you can admire different interpretations of artistic garden composition based on a common theme. The cycle continues through the countryside, admiring some beautiful vineyards and past a duck farm, before arriving at the picturesque town of Amboise on the south bank of the Loire River, where you will stay overnight in a small hotel in the centre.
Day 3 Round cycle to Chenonceaux (41km + optional 8km)
The cycle route takes you to the famous “Château de Chenonceau” which straddles the Cher River in five distinctive arches. It was this Renaissance Chateau which was promised by King Henri II to his mistress Diane de Poitiers, but following his death the Queen, Catherine de Médicis made her swap it for Chateau Chaumont. In spring the gardens of Diane are filled with yellow viola pansies, masses of stemmed and climbing roses and often daffodils, while in summer, you are more likely to see petunias, lilliput dahlias, patiences, verveine, begonias and roses. In the grounds of the Chateau you can also find vegetable gardens, an impressive hedged maze, forests and the Green Garden set on lawns. Return to Amboise for overnight accommodation.
Day 4 Circular cycle to the Italian inspired Chateau de Valmer (40km)
A day cycle to the north west along quiet rural roads away from the Loire River, to arrive at the Chateau de Valmer. Here you will find the Italian style hanging gardens in Renaissance style where eight levels of terraces brimming with flower beds, lawn, fountains, hedges and statues demonstrate an elegant garden design. Alternatively (or in addition) you may stay in town and explore its many attractions, including a visit to Le Clos Lucé, Leonardo da Vinci’s last home where there are models of his many inventions in the garden and house. Also the fortified Chateau d’Amboise is worth a look or taking a walk through the old town, and tasting the region's wines and delicacies (including foie gras) at the town collective. Friday and Sunday mornings are market day and this is the largest market in the region selling everything from culinary specialties to clothes, homewares and tourist gifts. Overnight Amboise.
Day 5 Cycle to Tours via vineyards, and the Chateau de la Bourdaisiere (27 / 35km)
Crossing the vineyards of Montlouis discover the numerous Caves producing the sweet white and sparkling wines famous to the region. Continue in direction of Gabrielle d’Estrée manor house who was King Henri IV‘s favourite mistress. The Chateau de La Bourdaisière will charm you with its astonishing owner ‘The prince gardener’ who will enjoy guiding you through its amazing tomatoes conservatory and medicinal plants. Continue to Tours on the banks of the Loire. Here you can explore the city’s Botanical Gardens, established in 1843, in addition to the many sights of this compact city such as its impressive cathedral and old quarter with its typical half timbered houses. Overnight Tours.
Day 6 Round cycle from Tours to the gardens of Villandry (39 km)
Follow the ‘Loire à vélo’ cycling path to reach Villandry and its famous ‘French style’ Renaissance gardens. Enjoy the ‘Ornamental kitchen Garden’ (potagers), the ‘Garden of Love’, the ‘Water Garden’ and the ‘Sun Garden’. These artistic gardens vary with the seasons. Return to Tours via peaceful countryside for overnight accommodation.
Day 7 Trip concludes Tours
Trip arrangements conclude after breakfast.