Bicycle

The mostly flat Loire Valley is fabulous cycling country – there's nothing quite like pedalling through villages, vineyards and forests on your way from one château to the next. La Loire à Vélo (www.cycling-loire.com) maintains 800km of signposted routes from Nevers all the way to the Atlantic; they're part of the Eurovelo 6 bike route that you can follow east all the way to the Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea. Pick up a free guide from tourist offices, or download material (including route maps and bike-hire details) from the website. Individual départements, including Indre-et-Loire (Touraine), Loir-et-Cher (Blois), Loiret (Orléannais) and Maine-et-Loire (Anjou), also have their own routes and accommodation guides. Tourist offices (and their websites) are well stocked with info.

If you’d like to cycle but want some help, Bagafrance (www.bagafrance.com) transports luggage and bikes, and many companies rent electric bikes. Or consider a tour, either guided or unaccompanied, with your itinerary, accommodation and luggage transfer set up in advance.

Détours de Loire Has rental and return locations up and down the Loire, including in Amboise, Angers, Blois (year-round), Nantes, Orléans, Saumur and Tours (year-round). Bikes can be picked up and dropped off at your hotel for a small surcharge; emergency repairs en route are free. Kids' bikes are available. Can also arrange luggage transport and self-guided bike tours.

Les Châteaux à Vélo Funded by 65 Loire municipalities, this organisation maintains 400km of marked bike routes around Blois, Chambord, Cheverny and Chaumont-sur-Loire. Get route maps, a useful mobile app and the latest weather reports from the website, or pick up brochures at local tourist offices.

Wheel Free Delivers and picks up classic and electric bikes to/from various points along the Loire. Prices drop if you rent for several days. The office is about 2.5km southeast of central Orléans, on the southern side of the Loire.