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Loire Highlights

Castles, caves & vineyards
Holiday information
Nights: 4
Grade: 1
Terrain: quiet riverside & country lanes, vineyard & woodland trails
Hotels: one 2-star hotel; two 3-star hotels
Meals: breakfast each day & 1 dinner
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  About the Loire >The proliferation of châteaux is due in part to the region’s important role in the struggle for control of France, but also to the fact that from the mid-15th century it was favoured by many kings and thus by noblemen who built their own small châteaux across the region. As these second-generation châteaux served no defensive purpose, the designs were much more elaborate, influenced by the kings’ travels through Italy. Wines also proliferate here. Though there is great variety due to the different grapes used, most are refreshingly light. Some of the best known are Pouilly-Fumé, Muscadet, and the acclaimed sparkling Saumur whites, made using the méthode champenoise. The five major Touraine appellations – Vouvray, Montlouis, Bourgeuil, St-Nicholas-de-Bourgeuil and Chinon – are also very good, meaning there is a wide choice to accompany the regional cuisine, which incorporates pike-perch and bream from the river; locally grown asparagus, courgettes and mushrooms; lamb; and Amboise ham.
This Holiday in a nutshell
  • self-guided hotel-to-hotel cycling, luggage transported
  • leisurely and relaxing route
  • visits to fairy-tale châteaux
  • enjoy tastings of wonderful red and white wines

Famed for its magnificent châteaux and wide, lazily flowing rivers, the Loire region is a delight. With a gentle terrain and plenty of cultural interest, this is perhaps the best corner of France for leisurely days on two wheels, so take your time, pausing at the places of interest en route and enjoying long picnics on the riverbank.

Pass through quiet villages, sleepy woodland and along the banks of the languorous River Loire, to visit the impressive array of formal gardens at Villandry.
Daily Express

West of Tours, the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Park is characterised by vineyards, rolling farmland, hunting forests and limestone cliffs into which astonishing troglodytic dwellings have been carved. Crowning these beautiful landscapes are some of the Loire's most romantic and elegant châteaux: Azay-le-Rideau, Ussé, Chinon and Villandry. With short, easy routes that are largely on the flat, you have plenty of time to visit all of these during your holiday, along with vineyards and mushroom caves (pay locally in all cases).

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