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Nature and Culture — discover the Loire and its castles by bike

© Max Coquard

Nature and Culture — discover the Loire and its castles by bike

Bike Touring Collection by Explore France

12

Tours

35:04 h

339 mi

8,475 ft

Cycling is an excellent way to explore France’s stunning Loire Valley at leisure and in harmony with nature. On numerous cycle paths and circular rides in Loire Valley, you can immerse yourself in the beautiful outdoors and experience the fascinating culture of the time-honoured French nobility. You cycle through picturesque vineyards and vibrant forests, along the mighty Loire River and its dead straight side canals. Along the way, you discover fairytale castles and historic towns with impressive cathedrals.

In this Collection, we’ve put together the 12 most beautiful day rides in Loire Valley. The routes range from short, easy loops for relaxed explorations to day-long rides packed with phenomenal sights. The most famous route in the Loire Valley is the "Loire à Vélo" cycle route. It has a total length of 900 kilometres (560 mi) and runs from Cuffy to the Atlantic Ocean. Here, we show you selected parts of the cycle route, each of which you can cycle in one day.

But it's not only the Loire River that’s enchanting. We'll take you on beautiful routes along the Indre and Eure rivers, show you the green hills of the historic region of Perche and the countless lakes along the Brenne. In the vineyards of Sancerre, you can gaze upon the vast rows of vines and taste the region’s fine wines.

Towns such as Tours, Blois, Loches and Chinon with their history, castles, gardens and unique cathedrals, provide a slice of culture that makes cycle rides in Loire Valley so varied and diverse. By the way, if you want even more, there are over 5,000 kilometres (3,100 mi) of cycle paths in the region for you to discover the Loire Valley at your own pace.

The best way to reach the Loire Valley is via Paris. You can travel by train directly from Frankfurt and Cologne to the french capital in three and a half up to four hours. From Paris you can quickly reach the Loire Valley with the trains of the Transport Express Régional (TER). The cities of Orléans, Tours, Blois or Nevers offer excellent possibilities for overnight stays. To get from one bike tour to the next you can also travel with the TER trains and buses, which offer free transportation for your bike. How to get to the individual starting points by public transport is explained in each tour. Have fun planning your vacation in the Loire Valley!

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Intermediate
    01:49
    16.5 mi
    9.1 mph
    925 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On this beautiful circular route, you’re offered a panoramic view of Sancerre’s vineyards. Along the way, you can stop to taste the regional wines in villages such as Verdigny or Sury-en-Vaux.

    The tour starts in Saint-Satur. To begin with, you cycle on a stretch of flat canalside trail running parallel to the Loire River. In Bannay, you leave the bank …

  • Difficult
    05:40
    60.4 mi
    10.7 mph
    500 ft
    650 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This tour takes you along the Loire and its side canal through beautiful countryside from Cuffy to Briare. Along the way, you discover historic towns and waterside villages as well as renowned vineyards such as those of Sancerre and the Val de Loire Nature Reserve.

    The starting point of the tour is in the village of Cuffy, not far from …

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  • Intermediate
    02:09
    19.0 mi
    8.8 mph
    400 ft
    375 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This leisurely loop takes you to Château de Chambord, a jewel of the Renaissance. The beautiful estate is located in the former favourite hunting ground of Francis I, now a wonderful nature reserve.

    The tour starts at the campsite in Crouy-sur-Cosson. From here, you cycle through pretty woods, past fields and through villages until you finally enter the forest of …

  • Easy
    01:35
    15.9 mi
    10.0 mph
    325 ft
    325 ft
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On this tour, you discover numerous castles and it’s no wonder really – you are in the ‘land of castles’ after all. There are 18 castles in the village of Cellettes alone, some hidden in the heart of vineyards or in enchanting forests. You can visit a few of these chateaux, including Beauregard, Cheverny and Troussay.

    We start in Cour-Cheverny. …

  • Difficult
    04:58
    45.6 mi
    9.2 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,200 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    The route along the Loire from Blois to Tours is ideal for discovering the towns of Blois, Amboise and Tours, as well as a few Loire castles and their gardens. The wonderful landscapes of this magnificent river valley cannot fail to enchant you.

    In Blois, hop on your saddle and cycle to the banks of the Loire. The cycle path …

  • Difficult
    05:27
    54.7 mi
    10.0 mph
    2,075 ft
    1,850 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The ‘Indre à vélo’ is a cycle route that takes you through the countryside in the heart of Touraine and Indre province. Along the way, you'll discover fabulous Loire castles and other historic buildings, charming villages and beautiful landscapes.

    You start in Loches, where you can take a stroll through the historic old town before setting off. Cycle to the …

  • Intermediate
    02:41
    26.6 mi
    9.9 mph
    325 ft
    325 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This beautiful circular trip takes you along the ponds and lakes in the heart of the Grande Brenne. Here, you’re immersed in beautiful landscapes that are a biodiverse paradise for birds.

    You start in Mézières-en-Brenne. From here, you cycle parallel to the Claise River to the village of Saint-Michel-en-Brenne. In the municipality, you cross the river and enter the wonderful …

  • Intermediate
    01:39
    16.5 mi
    10.0 mph
    625 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On this leisurely, circular tour, you follow in the footsteps of the writer François Rabelais who was born at the end of the 15th century in Chinon, where the route starts.

    From the Chinon district south of Vienne, you cycle southwards and begin an extensive loop through lush green countryside. Wide fields and meadows stretch out either side of the …

  • Intermediate
    01:46
    17.8 mi
    10.1 mph
    925 ft
    950 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the hilly, circular tour ‘Balcons du Perche’, you can enjoy extraordinary panoramas as you cycle along beautiful country roads and through picturesque villages.

    The starting point for this beautiful bike ride is Thiron-Gardais. To begin with, cycle over a small hill to La Gaudaine. With spectacular views over rolling hills dotted with colourful fields, dead straight hedgerows and small …

  • Easy
    00:56
    9.54 mi
    10.2 mph
    275 ft
    275 ft
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This easy route takes you from historic Chartres to the beautiful landscapes of the Eure Valley. Thanks to its few climbs, this tour is suitable for the whole family.

    The route starts against the backdrop of the towering spires of Chartres Cathedral. It is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and thus a very special highlight. After admiring this …

  • Easy
    01:57
    21.2 mi
    10.9 mph
    400 ft
    400 ft
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On this easy circular tour, you’re immersed in the magnificent atmosphere of the Orléans forest, the largest state forest in France.

    The tour starts at the gates of Orléans in Donnery. From here, you ride on a mostly flat stretch past picturesque fields and meadows to Traînou. In this small, charming village, you turn east and then dive into the …

  • Intermediate
    04:27
    34.8 mi
    7.8 mph
    650 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This beautiful route takes you from Montargis along the Loing Canal to Birare. You cycle on beautiful paths that are part of the EuroVelo 3 route, also called ‘La Scandibérique’.

    Hop on your saddle in the pretty commune of Montargis and cycle directly to the canal to follow it out of the city. You hug the waterside and cycle on …

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    12
  • Distance
    339 mi
  • Duration
    35:04 h
  • Elevation
    8,475 ft

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Nature and Culture — discover the Loire and its castles by bike

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