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Châteaux of the Loire

Castles, caves & vineyards
 
This leisurely and relaxing route is ideal for self-guided hotel-to-hotel cycling, with luggage transported. En route through the beautiful Loire region you can delight in visits to fairy-tale châteaux and to small vineyards for tastings of wonderful red and white wines.
Châteaux of the Loire. 6 nights
Châteaux of the Loire. 6 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A cycling holiday in the Loire

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.
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, Villandry and Saumur. 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).
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 7 8 11 15 18 22 25 24 22 17 11 7
    mm 62 58 54 52 63 50 49 45 53 58 65 62
  • Arrival in Azay-le-Rideau
    Night 1: at Hotel de Biencourt (where you spend one night).
    As your first night's accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of cycling.
  • Choice of routes from Azay-le-Rideau to Ussé: 18.5km or 35.5km

    Azay-le-Rideau to Ussé via Villandry: 35.5km
    You head north from Azay-le-Rideau past an elegant private château and through a deciduous forest to Villandry, where you can visit the château, famed for its magnificent formal gardens. From here you follow the River Cher to its confluence with the Loire, and cycle along the riverbank via a former river port (look out for vestiges of its past) to Ussé, where you stay the night at Le Clos d'Ussé.

    Azay-le-Rideau to Ussé via the River Indre: 18.5km
    For a shorter day, you can follow the course of the River Indre, passing a small but beautiful château and an attractive village, to reach the banks of the River Loire, which you follow westwards. 
    Ussé's chateau
  • Ussé to Fontevraud: 34km
    Start the day with a visit to Ussé's château, the inspiration for Perrault's original tale of Sleeping Beauty. From Ussé, you continue along the Loire and then head away from the river, cycling through meadows and woodland. You reach the River Vienne and follow it to the idyllic village of Candes-St-Martin which overlooks the confluence of the Loire and the Vienne. Follow country lanes through the small village of Montsoreau, where it is worth visiting the château for superb views over the Loire before the final stretch to Fontevraud and La Croix Blanche, where you spend two nights.
    Candes-St-Martin on the route from Ussé to Fontevraud
  • Free day in Fontevraud

    Explore Fontevraud
    You could spend your day in Fontevraud visiting the superb abbey for which the village is famed. It is here that Richard the Lionheart and his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, are buried. 

    Circular route from Fontevraud: 33.5km; longer option: 42km
    Alternatively, as the famous town of Saumur is close, we suggest you cycle there and spend some time exploring (there is a chateau and a fine church). On the way, look out for a subterranean troglodytic village where you can enjoy a lovely wine-tasting opportunity – a real highlight. You can either return by another relatively direct route; or cross the Loire to visit some mushroom caves and explore the marais north of the river, an area of flat, fertile farmland.
    Saumur on the circular route from Fontevraud
  • Choice of routes from Fontevraud to Chinon: 23.5km or 60km

    Fontevraud to Chinon: 23.5km
    Our route today leads through woodland and undulating farmland, passing villages with pretty churches and small chateaux. On arrival in Chinon, spend time exploring the chateau (which commands superb views over the Vienne Valley) and enjoy, perhaps, a wine-tasting in another troglodytic setting. You stay at the Hotel de France.

    Fontevraud to Chinon via Richelieu: 60km
    A longer route crosses similar landscapes but loops south to take in the fascinating town of Richelieu; the beautiful stained-glass windows in the church at Champigny-sur-Veude; and a visit to an unusual 'petit château'.
    Chinon's bridge and chateau
  • Chinon to Azay-le-Rideau: 38km
    You head east from Chinon across open countryside, first through vineyards to Crissay-sur-Manse (one of the 'most beautiful villages in France'), before turning north across farmland and woodland and past cliffs in which there are numerous cave dwellings. Continue through Villaine-les-Rochers, the basket-weaving capital of France, to return to Azay.

    End your holiday with one last visit – the fairy-tale turreted chateau of Azay-le-Rideau should not be missed – before a final night at the hotel where you began, the Hotel de Biencourt.
    The Château d'Azay-le-Rideau
 

Accommodation

You stay at a mixture of comfortable hotels and a smaller guesthouse.
 

Options to extend or shorten your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
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  • 6 nights: 01 April - 31 October 2019

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 26 April £845 £245
    27 April - 23 May £890 £250
    24 May - 27 September £925 £255
    28 - 30 September £890 £250
    1 - 25 October £845 £245
    3rd & 4th person discount -£45
    Single traveller supplement £45

    Includes accommodation, meals, bike hire, luggage transfers and any other services integral to the holiday as described, plus cycling notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

    6 nights: 01 April - 31 October 2019

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 26 April £1070 £245
    27 April - 23 May £1115 £250
    24 May - 27 September £1145 £255
    28 - 30 September £1115 £250
    1 - 25 October £1070 £245
    3rd & 4th person discount -£105
    Single traveller supplement £105

    Includes all elements in the 'cycle price', plus standard-class travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet International to Lille or Paris, with onward travel as described below.

    Electric bikes available: add £55 per person
    Included travel: UK–Paris (Eurostar), Paris–St Pierre des Corps (TGV), approx duration 5h40 & taxi transfer (out 0h45/home allow 1h).

    If you book your holiday less than 3 months in advance of your travel date, seats may no longer be available at the tariffs on which our prices are based, but we may be able to offer you seats on the sames services at a supplement.

    6 nights: 01 April - 31 October 2019

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 26 April £895 £245
    27 April - 23 May £940 £250
    24 May - 27 September £975 £255
    28 - 30 September £940 £250
    1 - 25 October £895 £245
    3rd & 4th person discount -£100
    Single traveller supplement £100

    Includes all elements in the 'cycle price', plus a return ferry crossing between Dover and Calais with P&O Ferries for your party and one car.

    Electric bikes available: add £55 per person

    A supplement of £35 per car per single journey applies for outbound travel 5-7 Apr & 19-21 Apr, and for inbound travel 21-22 Apr 2019. A supplement of £45 per car per single journey applies outbound on Fridays & Saturdays 24-25 May & 12 Jul-17 Aug 2019 inclusive, and inbound on Saturdays & Sundays 1-2 Jun & 19 Jul-2 Sep 2019 inclusive.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    La Croix Blanche
    'Mini suite': 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2019 £24
    Hotel de France
    Superior: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2019 £22

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Prices include an extra day’s hire of a standard bike and of an e-bike.
    La Croix Blanche (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2019 £130 £165
    01 May - 30 Sep 2019 £150 £185
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2019 £130 £165
    Hotel de France (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 31 Oct 2019 £94 £143
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Tours, Paris CDG

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Paris CDG. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Paris CDG Air France,  KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Belfast City - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Belfast Intl. - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Paris CDG Air France,  Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Paris CDG Air France,  easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Cardiff - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Doncaster Sheffield - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Paris CDG Air France,  easyJet,  Flybe 
    Edinburgh - St Pierre des Corps via Paris CDG air/rail Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Exeter - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Paris CDG jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    London City - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Paris CDG British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    London Southend - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Tours Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Paris CDG Air France,  easyJet,  Flybe 
    Manchester - St Pierre des Corps via Paris CDG air/rail Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Paris CDG Air France,  KLM 
    Newcastle - St Pierre des Corps via Paris CDG air/rail Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Norwich - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Southampton - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Southampton - Tours Flybe 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Paris CDG. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Paris

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Paris CDG airport to St Pierre des Corps (1h40), taxi St Pierre des Corps to hotel (0h45) £75 1700
    rail Paris Montparnasse to St Pierre des Corps (1h05), taxi St Pierre des Corps to hotel (0h45) £63 1600
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to St Pierre des Corps station (0h45), rail St Pierre des Corps to Paris CDG airport (1h40) £75 1500
    taxi hotel to St Pierre des Corps (0h45), rail St Pierre des Corps to Paris Montparnasse (1h) £63 1500

    Connecting travel options - via St Pierre des Corps

    Outward route Price per person Latest train
    arrival time
    taxi St Pierre des Corps to hotel (0h45) £34 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest train
    departure time
    taxi hotel to St Pierre des Corps (0h45) £34 flexible

    Connecting travel options - flying via Tours

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Tours airport to hotel (1h) £39 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Tours airport (1h) £39 flexible
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 3 dinners
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • high-quality bicycle
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help.
  • Our chosen bike rental shop will provide you with a hybrid bike with 21 gears; a waterproof map case on handlebars; panniers/saddlebags; pump; puncture repair kit; and a lock. Electric bikes are available as an upgrade (see price panel), subject to availability, and must be requested at the time of booking.
  • While we would always recommend that you take your own well-fitting helmet, they can be hired locally for a small fee. Please let us know at the time of booking if you would like to hire a helmet.
  • Yes, we will provide GPX tracks for this holiday prior to departure so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. (We also provide maps and our tried-and-tested route notes.)
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. On mornings when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation so that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.
  • You do need to make sure you’re covered, because it’s you who is responsible for any damage to or loss of the bike during the holiday. You should always lock it (preferably to an immovable object) and remove any easy-to-steal accessories when leaving it unattended. The travel insurance policy that we offer covers you for loss and damage (provided you’ve locked or stored it appropriately). If you are arranging your own insurance, but it doesn’t cover bikes, we can provide bike-only cover for £19 per person. More details >
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to France, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The official language is French. The currency is the Euro. French time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 7/18/2019 8:11:38 PM