In the valley of the Loire, castles are strung together like a string of pearls, with the winding river the beautiful red thread that holds it all together. Riding along the river, you’ll discover countless of these ancient fortifications; 24 of which we’d like to introduce to you in this Collection. Out of our list, you’ll find large, touristically developed castles as well as some lesser-known constructions that you can visit in almost complete isolation.
As mentioned, there are many more castles in the valley of the Loire than just the ones you’ll visit on our Tours. The tourism infrastructure is well developed, however, and you can add on extra stops or book trips to other castles on almost any stage of the ride.
Even though they make up the focus of this ride, castles are not the only thing the valley of the Loire has to offer. Away from these ancient buildings, you can swim and sunbathe all along the banks of the Loire, while the towns and villages you will pedal through contain the telltale signs of a rich history that you will want to experience—even if it’s just for a little while. Between these towns, you’ll also cycle through beautiful natural expanses where you can truly enjoy a moment of solitude while you contemplate whether the scenery you are pedaling past was ever used as the backdrop to a romantic French film. Culinary speaking, you couldn’t be in better hands than in this part of France—so, tell us: What could be better than relaxed riding and a gourmet picnic of fresh fare as you absorb the peace and quiet on the banks of the Loire River?
The first day will take you from Nevers to Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire.The long-distance bike path Loire-a-Velo begins in Cuffy, here you cross the 0 km mark and you will follow the river for the next ten days. Today's stage is a bit longer and the famous big locksmiths are still waiting, but the river with its numerous small islands and sandbanks is already very impressive. In addition to the Loire, you will also encounter her side canal again and again. Through him, the Loire was first made navigable.On the way, the wine village of Sancerre is built on a hill. From up here you have a good view of the surroundings.When you arrive in the stage destination Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire you can put your legs up and finish your first day on the Loire with a wine, baguette and cheese on the waterfront.
Today the first big castles are waiting for you. But before you can visit them extensively, the side channel of the Loire has a spectacular construction ready. In Briare, a large metal bridge crosses the channel across the Loire and you can also pass the Loire in the 19th century setting.In Gien, the castle of the same name towers above the city, in one of the cafés below you can take a break on the banks of the Loire. Or continue for a few more miles and rest at the picnic area on the way. Here you can cool off too.Arriving in the stage destination Sully-sur-Loire you can visit the impressive moated castle.
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In the abbey section of the monastery in Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire you can stock up on tasty food for the day.With Orleans today is the first major city on the plan. In addition to numerous rest stops, there are of course a lot to see here. The cathedral Sainte-Croix d'Orleans is probably the most impressive building in the city. In addition, Jeanne d'Arc will meet you on every corner, under whose leadership the city was freed from a siege during the Hundred Years War.
As of today, lovers of castles are in high spirits. Five locks are waiting for you. With the Château de Chambord is also a real heavyweight on the plan. It is the largest of the castles on the Loire and could also be in a fairytale movie. Right next to the castle is a vast former hunting ground, which you can explore by bike.Once in Blois you can explore another impressive castle. The Château royal de Blois was for a time the residence of the French kings and combines stylistic elements from four different centuries. Turn around yourself in the courtyard and marvel at the various facade elements -
Today is the day of well-landscaped gardens and beautiful flowers, as the international garden festival in Chaumont Castle accommodates 26 themed gardens.Another highlight on the way is the visit of the tomb of the famous polymath Leonardo da Vinci. He is said to be buried in the castle of Amboise.Arrived in Tours, you can plunge around the Place Plumereau into the hustle and bustle of the old town.
Today, many castles are waiting for you to explore them, leaving the Loire for a short while and driving along two of its tributaries. First you drive to the Indre. Its waters fill the moat of the moated castle in Azay-le-Rideau.The destination Chinon is located on the Vienne. In the castle of Chinon Jeanne d'Arc is said to have convinced the then Dauphin to liberate Orléans. Take time to explore the old town of the small town.
If you've been wondering all the time about where the many stones come from, which were needed for all the locks - today you get the answer. In Turquant and Souzay you can visit the caves created by the extraction of lard. In the past, stonemasons lived here at work. Today there are beautiful cafes and artists shops located.The stage destination is today Mazé, it is located slightly inland from the Loire. The castle built there Montgeoffroy survived the time of the French. Revolution surprisingly good and houses many well-preserved original furnishings.
Today's leg takes you first to Angers. Here you can explore the mighty walls of the Château d'Angers and take a first break. The city is not directly on the Loire, but is traversed by the Maine, which flows shortly after Angers in the Loire. You follow the Maine to the mouth and then turn to Serrant. The castle here houses a bookshop with 12,000 old originals.Back on the Loire, you drive on the long river island Ile de Chalonnes and follow the Loire to Ingrandes.
Today we drive to Nantes, the largest city on your journey. The bike path takes you in large parts right along the banks of the Loire. The town of Oudon with its castle of the same name offers itself for a break at about halfway.Once in the bustling city of Nantes, you can visit the castle of the Dukes of Brittany. Of course, Nantes offers all the benefits of a big city and you can stroll through the shopping streets and stop in a variety of nice restaurants.
Today is the last day of the tour and it goes to the sea to the mouth of the Loire in the Atlantic. But first, make a detour to the port of Nantes. In an industrial setting, here a group of artists has designed mechanical animals reminiscent of the works of Jules Verne.Now you are rolling towards the Atlantic Ocean, you already feel the stiff breeze of the big ocean and the salt is in the air. Arriving at the beach in Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, the Serpent d'Océan is a very curious sight. Here you can jump into the sea at the end.To get back home you can go over the big bridge to Saint-Nazaire and get on the train there.