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From the Loire to the Cher

Castles, caves & picnics by the river
 
Fascinating history, scenic, easy cycling and two very different hotels (both with a pool) combine to make a wonderful, self-guided family holiday. Flexible routes allow time for visits to châteaux and a hands-on da Vinci museum, while your luggage is transported.
From the Loire to the Cher. 6 nights
From the Loire to the Cher. 6 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A family cycling holiday in the Loire

The Loire Valley served as a playground for a succession of kings and their courtiers, who continued to come here to hunt and make merry even after the throne moved to Paris. Five hundred years later, your family is likely to see it in much the same light – there’s no shortage of places of interest and riverside picnic spots, while the patchwork of farmland, vineyards and woods is largely flat, perfect for family cycle rides.
Another highlight is the contrast in accommodation. Your first base, Le Choiseul in Amboise, may be an elegant and historic 4-star hotel with a huge wine cellar, but it warmly welcomes families and has an outdoor pool and a variety of games. The second has also been converted from an ancient building, but, as a chambres d’hôtes with just five rooms, feels altogether different and more intimate, although the large grounds and outdoor pool again make it ideal for families.

The laziest way to see the Loire?
A two-wheels-only affair is a relaxing way to explore the region, explains Fred Mawer for the Mail on Sunday.
 

Itinerary

Pay locally for all visits and excursions suggested in the itinerary.
  • 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 Amboise
    Night 1: at Le Choiseul (the first of three nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of cycling.
  • Free days in Amboise
    Amboise is a handsome, historic town on the banks of the River Loire. You’ll be spoiled for choice as to how to spend your time here. Our three suggested routes showcase different aspects of this charming region.

    Circular route via aquarium: 24.5km; 16km without aquarium
    A gentle leg-stretcher with which to start the week, this route introduces you to the languid River Loire and the joys of riverside cycling. You visit the famous Touraine aquarium with sharks, piranhas, electric eels and an exhibition dedicated to local marine life as well as a touch pool full of friendlier marine creatures. There is also the opportunity to make a short detour to see some of the region's celebrated vineyards.

    Circular route via troglodyte dwellings: 21.5km; 27km with detour
    Explore the lush valley of the River Vaugadeland to the north of town which gives way to rolling vineyards and troglodyte cave dwellings with pretty picnic stops along the way. You return through pleasant farmland.

    Circular route via Chaumont: 47km; 26km if returning by train
    After an initial uphill section, cycle eastwards above the Loire through vineyards and a string of tiny hamlets to reach the magnificent Château de Chaumont, a 15th-century renaissance gem set in equally splendid gardens. Return along the flat river plain on the north side of the river, or, to give you enough time to explore the castle and perhaps even take a ride on one of the traditional river boats, you can catch the train back to Amboise (pay locally).

    Non-cycling options
    You needn’t cycle at all if you don’t want to – Amboise has its own château, plus the must-see Clos Lucé, a mansion-turned-museum devoted to its most famous resident, Leonardo da Vinci, who spent the last years of his life here. His drawings are the inspiration for numerous large, interactive models built using materials available in the 16th century – as you explore the grounds, you’ll come across a helicopter, swing bridge, military tank and more, all of which show what a gifted engineer he was. Another fun day out can be had in the parkland surrounding the Chanteloup Pagoda, which boasts a boating lake, a Chinese garden and games of yesteryear, and you can climb the seven-tier, 44-metre-tall tower itself for superb views over the Loire Valley and Forest of Amboise.
    Château de Chaumont
  • Amboise to St-Georges-sur-Cher: 27km
    You leave the banks of the Loire on quiet country roads and cycle paths through the shady woodland of the Amboise Forest to reach the equally picturesque River Cher and the bustling market town of Bléré – an ideal lunch stop. From Bléré it is an effortless ride along a traffic-free cycle track criss-crossing the river to arrive at Le Moulin du Port nestling on the banks of the river. You spend your final three nights here.
    Cycle beside the River Cher
  • Free days in St Georges-sur-Cher

    Circular route via Chenonceau: 12km along river; 15km across the hills
    Whether you opt for the easy riverside route or the slightly longer, hillier option, we recommend heading to the elegant Château de Chenonceau, said to be the most romantic of all the châteaux and famous for the creamy galleried arches spanning the Cher. It is surrounded by formal gardens incorporating a maze, donkey park and playground. Make a day of it, and take a picnic to enjoy in the grounds.

    Out-and-back route to Montrichard: 10km (5km each way)
    Head along the north bank of the languid River Cher and visit the beach! The target of this easy route is Montrichard, a bustling spot overlooked by a crumbling castle and popular with tourists and locals alike in the summer months thanks to its very own sandy riverside ‘beach’. There are many other river-related activities here including canoeing, pedaloes, kayaking and boat trips, an outdoor pool and a number of shops and restaurants. You return along the same route.

    Circular route past watermills: 25.5km; 36km if visiting Montpoupon
    This is a slightly more challenging but nevertheless lovely, meandering route on quiet country lanes along the Chezelle Valley, which is dotted with a series of graceful old watermills. Extend the route to visit one of the lesser-known châteaux of the area, the charming Château de Montpoupon with an excellent hunting museum and a pretty woodland trail. Return via another pretty valley with yet more handsome watermills.

    Non-cycling options
    Once again, you don’t have to cycle if you'd prefer not to. If you can tear yourselves away from the pool and gardens at your accommodation, you could join a river cruise or hire canoes for the day to round off a fun – and very varied – holiday.
    Château de Chenonceau
 

Accommodation

Your two bases could not be more different, but both offer a truly French experience. See our page about chambres d’hôtes for more information about French guesthouses.
 

Extend your stay

 

Prices for 2020

We are in the process of updating our prices for 2020. If you’d like to book now, please contact us – we’ll be happy to provide a quotation.
Get in touch >
 

Prices

All prices are in £ sterling (GBP), based on 2 sharing, with a 3rd/4th bed as required.

Prices in £ per person
1 April - 31 October 2019
Add £165 per car if travelling self-drive - includes P&O Ferries Dover-Calais (weekend supplements apply during school holidays)
By rail from London, add £265 per adult; £185 per child (12-15 yrs); £160 per child (4-11yrs).

Adult / Child (12-15yrs) / Child (3-11yrs), sharing a room for 2 people*
1 Apr - 30 Apr: £875 / £790 / £695
1 May - 30 Sep: £895 / £815 / £720
1 Oct - 25 Oct: £875 / £790 / £695
* For a single room, add £490 from 1 May - 30 Sep, add £470 for all other dates

For larger family rooms, use the following prices

Adult / Child (12-15yrs) / Child (3-11yrs), sharing a room for 2 people
1 Apr - 30 Apr: £960 / £870 / £740
1 May - 30 Sep: £995 / £895 / £765
1 Oct - 25 Oct: £960 / £870 / £740

Child (12-15 yrs) in 3rd bed
All dates: £395

Child (3-11yrs) in 3rd bed
All dates: £220

Child (3-10yrs) in 4th bed
All dates: £495

All child prices include child's bike, tag along or trailer; deduct £15 for a child seat on an adult bike
Electric bikes available: add £95 per person (adult size bikes only)

Connecting travel from Tours Airport
return taxi from Tours (out 0h30/in 0h45) £150 for a family of up to 8.

Connecting travel from Paris CDG
return rail/taxi from Paris (out 2h10/in 2h25) rail £84 per adult, £42 per child plus taxi £134 for a family of up to 8.

Connecting travel from St Pierre des Corps (Air France TGVair)
return taxi from St Pierre des Corps (out 0h30/in 0h45) £134 for a family of up to 8.

 
Currency converter
We can only accept payment in GBP, but you can use this converter to find out how much the holiday equates to in your own currency.
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NB: this should be used as a guide only. Fluctuations in exchange rates could result in significant variation by the time you come to pay.
 
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Tours(flexible latest arrival and earliest departure time); St Pierre des Corps (flexible latest arrival and earliest departure time); Paris CDG (latest arrival time of 1700; earliest departure time of 1500)

    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.

What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 2 dinners
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • high-quality bicycles
 
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.
  • We recommend this holiday for over-10s, but this is only a guideline – you are best placed to judge if your child(ren) can cope with the cycling and be confident on roads next to traffic on occasions.
  • For adults, our chosen bike rental shop will provide you with a hybrid bike with 21 gears; a map holder; rear pannier; 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.
    For children, we will be happy to arrange hire of children’s bikes (either a 20-inch with 6 gears, or a 24-inch with 21 gears), tag-alongs, child seats or trailers, as appropriate. Helmets (obligatory for under 12s in France) and high-vis vests can be provided for a small fee; please request these at the time of booking.
  • 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 >
  • Absolutely! We are experts in tailored rail travel. Making use of sleeper trains or stopovers in cities along the route, we can get you from London to virtually anywhere in mainland Europe. We can even make arrangements to Mallorca, Sicily and Norway with a combination of ferries and rail. Please contact Abi to discuss your plans.
  • 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 : 9/18/2019 12:57:20 PM