The Grand tour of the Loire castles by bike

A majestic loop on the Loire Valley by bike

Highlights

The greatest and most famous castles in the Loire Valley
Chambord, Chenonceau, Cheverny, Chaumont, Villandry
The vineyards of Touraine
The beautiful towns of Blois, Tours, Amboise, Saumur
The quiet greenways of the Loire by Bike route
France's most beautiful villages Turquant and Montsoreau

The story behind the trip

The Loire by Bike is one of France’s first major cycle routes, and has set an example for many destinations. It’s a must-do cycling trip that we highly recommend. Riding along the wildest of France’s great rivers, surrounded by these grand Renaissance mansions, remains a privilege.

Our Loire by Bike specialists, Sébastien and Laetitia, who have been based in Tours for many years, share their best addresses, their favorites and the fruits of their regular bike rides. Follow in their footsteps and enjoy bucolic itineraries in this emblematic valley.

From castle to castle on the Loire by Bike

Cycle back in time and immerse yourself in French history, on the banks of an iconic river. This 9-stop cycling loop takes in all the great châteaux of the Loire, from Chambord to Saumur. You're in the golden triangle of the Loire Valley and its tributaries. Many destinations and cycling trips would envy this tour. Here, every day is worth a visit. Thanks to the region's architectural, historical, cultural and gastronomic density, this is one of the most interesting Loire by Bike itineraries.

From Tours, immerse yourself in the historic atmosphere of the Loire Valley by bike. With every pedal stroke through picturesque landscapes and medieval villages, discover the fascinating history of iconic castles. The lush natural surroundings – the region is nicknamed “The Garden of France” – and pharaonic Renaissance buildings provide the perfect backdrop for this must-do 2-wheeled adventure.

Ride from castle to castle:

  • The famous castle and gardens of Villandry, on the banks of the Cher.
  • In Rigny-Ussé, the Château d’Ussé, also known as the Sleeping Beauty Castle.
  • At the end of the first stage, you can explore the narrow streets of Chinon and its majestic fortress. Built in the 10th century, the Chinon Castle has played host to key moments in history, including the meeting between Joan of Arc and the Dauphin Charles VII in 1429. A witness to the Hundred Years’ War, the castle’s remains tell of its strategic role over the centuries.
  • You then head for Saumur, famous for its 10th-century castle, a majestic stronghold overlooking the Loire. A testament to medieval history, it offers breathtaking views over the vineyards and today houses the Museum of Decorative Arts, showcasing local crafts and the region’s equestrian history.
  • Continue your journey to Montbazon, passing picturesque vineyards and charming villages. On your way, the medieval town of Loches, founded in the 9th century, is a real jewel in its own right, with its impressive castle, the ducal lodge and the church of Saint-Ours.
  • You then reach Chenonceaux, the famous castle that elegantly spans the Cher River.
  • Explore Cheverny, renowned for its charm, which inspired Hergé to create Moulinsart in The Adventures of Tintin. A museum in the outbuildings is dedicated to him.
  • A cycling loop takes you past the grandiose Chambord, the largest of the Loire castles, surrounded by a majestic forest.
  • Chaumont, famous for its International Garden Festival
  • Amboise, the royal castle overlooking the Loire, and Clos Lucé, the last home of Leonardo da Vinci. The Amboise Castle, built in the 15th century, is an architectural marvel. A testament to the French Renaissance, it was home to such illustrious figures as François I. It offers panoramic views over the valley.

Enjoy one last day cycling through the vineyards before returning to Tours. In the Vouvray region, numerous estates offer tastings and tours to help you better understand the production process and enter the refreshing cellars displaying thousands of bottles.

Tours is a gourmet city. With its many bistronomic addresses, lively terraces and historic streets, it’s the perfect way to round off this wonderful trip.

Carte Le Grand tour des châteaux de la Loire à vélo
Niveau FitFit
Day 1

TOURS

Arrival on your own and check in to your hotel. Orientation with our guide today. Take the time to visit the cathedral or the “guinguette”, a bar on the bank of the river with a lively atmosphere.

Meeting with our local guide

Before your first ride, we invite you to meet one of our guides, at your place of departure. A time of exchange, a privileged moment to give you our last practical tips, must-see places and experiences, to answer all your questions, take care of your bike fitting to begin your trip.

Day 2

From TOURS to CHINON 62km 207m Niveau Forme

On the Cher riverbanks you head west to discover the exhilaration of colors and beauty of the gardens of the Villandry castle. You are in the heart of the sixteenth century. Along the path let this day guide you to a castle, a dovecot, a picturesque manor or old watermills, a curious farm or old town. As you uncover the secrets of the Loire Valley you reach the Royal fortress of Chinon.

Day 3

CHINON, SAUMUR LOOP 76km 591m Niveau Forme

Departing from Chinon, you set off on a loop rich in discoveries. At the start of the stage, you discover the house of the great French author Rabelais, then Fontevraud Abbey. At the halfway point, Saumur reveals its mysteries. Take time to stroll through its picturesque streets. You then pass through the troglodyte village of Turquant and follow the banks of the Loire on beautiful greenways. You reach Candes Saint-Martin, a village of character where the Vienne and Loire rivers meet.

Day 4

From CHINON to MONTBAZON 55km 350m Niveau Loisir

Set off to discover the Chinon vineyards, passing through the area around Cravant les Coteaux. A cultural break awaits you in the village of Crissay sur Manse. You then join the Indre by bike route to Montbazon. This small town boasts the oldest castle in the region (Montbazon Donjon) and the last castle to be built (Château d’Artigny Hotel).

Day 5

From MONTBAZON to LOCHES 42km 200m Niveau Facile

The Indre by Bike is a quiet, peaceful itinerary along this charming waterway, a tributary of the Loire, where mills and small estates share the river banks. You’ll pass through picturesque villages before heading for the royal city of Loches and its medieval fortified castle. “All roads lead to Loches”, say the people of Touraine, and this is indeed the case today!

Day 6

From LOCHES to CHENONCEAUX 35km 180m Niveau Facile

You leave Loches on a path beside the Indre. Your route takes you along quiet country roads to Chenonceaux. The afternoon is devoted to a visit to the unmissable Chenonceau Castle, built over the Cher river.

Day 7

From CHENONCEAUX to CHEVERNY 49km 230m Niveau Loisir

You leave Chenonceaux on a peaceful route along the Cher to Montrichard. You enjoy its town center and its old half-timbered houses. You continue your journey towards Bourré where you have the possibility of visiting a mushroom farm or taking a wine tour in an old tufeau (limestone) quarry.

You then enter Sologne, enjoy the beautiful roads through the forest and discover castles such as Fougères and Troussay to end your day in Cheverny.

Day 8

CHEVERNY LOOP TO CHAMBORD 49km 220m Niveau Loisir

A bike loop to Chambord Castle and its forest park. This itinerary leads you straight to the four towers of this impressive castle, built as a hunting lodge for Francis I. From the Renaissance to the Empire, let yourself be surprised by the historical richness of the place! Return to Blois. On the way back, you will cross the old market place of Bracieux where you might be tempted by a chocolate tasting at the chocolate maker Vauché. Return to Cheverny passing by the castle of Villesavin.

Day 9

From CHEVERNY to AMBOISE 45km 176m Niveau Loisir

You ride along a river of a quiet strength with a relaxing effect. It shows the way to go. You first stop in Chaumont sur Loire for its fifteenth century castle and gardens. Every year, the gardens of Chaumont sur Loire are renewed and propose a new theme. A must visit of the region, you can also stay for a very nice lunch break. You discover more and more vines to Amboise. You enter the vineyards of Touraine and, on the banks of the Loire, you can see the first cellars and troglodyte houses.

Day 10

From AMBOISE to TOURS 28km 125m Niveau Facile

You leave Amboise by its hillsides on the side of Montlouis and thus remain on the official itinerary of the Loire à vélo. This is an opportunity to taste some of the Touraine AOC wines, or simply to discover the trades. This itinerant stage takes you to the discovery of the old city of Tours, capital of the Loire castles. Take the time to discover the wooden 15th century houses still present here, they deliver a singular experience and beautiful pieces of history…

  • For a few more km 50km 295m Niveau Loisir

    In this version, you can compare the vineyards of Montlouis and Vouvray. After the vineyards of Montlouis, you cross the Loire to reach Vouvray and the Château of Jallanges. Ride along the Loire on the Vouvray side to reach Tours.

Day 11

TOURS

End of stay after breakfast.

You make the most of your morning in Tours to visit the CCCOD contemporary art creation center or the museum of Compagnonnage. Or simply relax at the guinguette de Tours, a bar on the banks of the Loire, a popular place for Tourangeaux. Finally, make a small detour to the Halles market or the flower market on Boulevard Béranger.

 

Essential Range

You want to enjoy your itinerary without anything fancy. Our ”essential” range offers a simple accommodation for a good night’s rest in a simple hotel, guesthouse, rest house or hostel.

Accommodation example
Hôtel Saint Hubert - Cour-Cheverny

Starting from 1160€/participant in Self Guided option | See detailed prices

Comfort Range

Our quality standard at Abicyclette. This type of accommodation includes 2 and 3 stars hotels. Depending on the itinerary, you might spend some nights in approved guesthouses. You enjoy a double bedroom with private bathroom and toilet and adapted welcome for you and your bikes.

Accommodation example
Façade de la Chambre d’Hôtes La Closerie Saint Jacques à LOCHES façade Hôtel restaurant La Roseraie

Starting from 1390€/participant in Self Guided option | See detailed prices

Privilege Range

Opt for total comfort in charming 3 and 4 star hotels which offer all the services you need and a special welcome for you and your bikes.

Accommodation example
Vue extérieure depuis le parc Hôtel le Chateau De Beaulieu à Joué-lès-Tours Hôtel Le Château d'Artigny à MONTBAZON Façade RELAIS DES TROIS CHÄTEAUX - CHEVERNY Cour du clos d'Amboise

Starting from 2080€/participant in Self Guided option | See detailed prices

Price includes

  • Accommodation: 10 nights in a Double room
  • 10 breakfasts
  • 2 dinners
  • Luggage transfer
  • Phone assistance 24/7
  • Access to our exclusive travel application to follow your route, inform you about places of interest, restaurants, facilitate your assistance in case of emergency, find all your travel documents and our practical advice.
  • Application fee
  • Taxes
  • The itinerary trackable on the following supports:
    • Loan of a Bicycle GPS uploaded with full itinerary of the trip
    • Cycling practical guide including restaurant recommendations for lunch & dinner with topo maps
  • Additional services included:
    • Day 1 : A personalized greeting with our team at the beginning of the trip to receive your travel documents
  • Price does not include

    • bike rental (see option)
    • Breakfast on day 1
    • Lunches
    • Dinners not included in "Price includes"
    • Dinners not included in “Price includes”
    • Drinks, visits & other personal expenses

    Homemade and fully tested itineraries
    • Routes selected for their cycling and touristic interest entirely tested and away from traffic
    • Accomodations selected for their hospitality, atmosphere, services and quality meals
    • A flexible organisation to suit you needs and wishes: You choose the date you want to you leave on! We check the availability of each accomodation to make sure it is possible.

    Close assistance
    • One of our guides greets you on your first day. He will hand out all the needed documents for the trip (hotel vouchers, maps of the area,GPS, practical guide), get you settled on your bikes (for rental bikes).
    • Phone assistance, you can reach the Abicyclette team whenever you need
    • A Luggage transfer service which respects your hours of rest (we pick them up after 10:00 and deliver them before 16:00)

    Follow your itinerary anyway you like – modern, practical, traditional

    appareil GPS TwoNav Cross

    • We loan you a GPS so that you can easily follow your itinerary without having to look for your way around (bike support included)
    • A practical cycling guide with all the useful information (addresses, highlights for the day, topo maps, and touristic information)

     


    You can also

     

    On our guided tours (for groups on demand), we accompany you every step of the way
    • One of our state qualified instructor and professional cycling guide accompanies you every step of the way
    • Full board (all meals covered unless asked otherwise)
    • A picnic buffet set up for lunch with a wide choice of fresh and local produce

    We offer a high-end bike rental service. Our bikes are suited for road and gravel road long-distance cycling. Fully equipped and highly reliable, they are faithful travel companions.


    Touring bike

    An upright and easy going position

    Mixed aluminum frame, telescopic fork. Straight handlebars. Disc brakes. Transmission Shimano 24 to 30 speeds.

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet
    • 1 back bag 20L (waterproof)
    • 1 front bag 4L with plastic map holder (waterproof)
    • 1 lock
    • 1 repair kit (patches, tube, tire lever)
    • 1 multi tools box
    • 1 pump
    • 1 bike computer
    • 1 bike water bottle
    Vélo Rando Abicyclette Voyages

    Trekking bike

    A layed out and dynamic position

    Mixed aluminum frame, telescopic fork. Straight handlebars. Disc brakes. Transmission Shimano 24 to 30 speeds.

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet
    • 1 back bag 20L (waterproof)
    • 1 front bag 4L with plastic map holder (waterproof)
    • 1 lock
    • 1 repair kit (patches, tube, tire lever)
    • 1 multi tools box
    • 1 pump
    • 1 bike computer
    • 1 bike water bottle
    Vélo Abicyclette Voyages

    Ebike

    With an autonomy of almost 120km, cycling has never been so easy!

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet
    • 1 back bag 20L (waterproof)
    • 1 front bag 4L with plastic map holder (waterproof)
    • 1 lock
    • 1 repair kit (patches, tube, tire lever)
    • 1 multi tools box
    • 1 pump
    • 1 bike computer
    • 1 bike water bottle
    EBIKE VELO DE VILLE

    Children Bike

    Recommended bike size (to be confirmed when booking) :

    • 16 inches from 105cm to 120cm (or 6 to 7 years old)
    • 20 inches from 120cm to 135cm (or 7 to 10 years old)
    • 24 inches from 135cm to 145cm (or 10 to 12 years old)
    • SPORT XS bike (adult frame) from 145cm to 155cm (from age 10)

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet
    • 1 inner tube
    • 1 bike water bottle
    Vélo enfant 24 pouces pour vacances à vélo

    Bike trailer

    Thule Chariot Cross 2
    Children’s trailers can only be rented for installation on one of our bikes.
    We do not provide this service on any other bike. There is too much risk of incompatibility and breakage.
    Por one or 2 children.
    Max child trailer load: 45kg.

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet (or 2 if 2 kids)
    • 1 inner tube
    • 1 bike water bottle (or 2)
    • Accessories on request: baby hammock. A padded hammock that supports baby’s sides and offers maximum stability (1 to 10 months). Use only the newborn hammock for walking.

    Getting here

    Departure city : TOURS

    Coming by car

    • at 2h30 from PARIS
    • at 3h30 from BORDEAUX
    • at 4h30 from LYON

    Parking*

    • Interparking Palais Jaurès – TOURS
    • Parking Champ Girault – TOURS
    • Parking Vinci Gare – TOURS

    Coming by train

    • Tours train station - 1h30 from Paris
    • Saint Pierre des Corps train station - 1h from Paris

    Coming by plane

    • Tours airport

    Arrival city : TOURS

    Coming by car

    • at 2h30 from PARIS
    • at 3h30 from BORDEAUX
    • at 4h30 from LYON

    Coming by train

    • Tours train station - 1h30 from Paris
    • Saint Pierre des Corps train station - 1h from Paris

    Coming by plane

    • Tours airport

    *Parking: Since many of our clients travel by train or plane, we do not include parking in our packages. In addition, many accommodations don’t have the capacity to park a vehicle for the duration of your cycling vacation. So if you’re planning to arrive by car, we suggest you check parking options when you make your reservation. If you reserve a parking space at the first or last accommodation of your stay, you must pay the accommodation provider on site.

    * Abicyclette Voyages accompanies you on demand, including transportation solutions.

    Recommended equipment

    Bike

    • Hybrid Bike or Touring Bike or Gravel Bike
    • 18 to 30-speed transmission
    • 26- to 29-inch wheels
    • Tires: 35 to 42 section, reinforced against punctures
    • Disc brakes recommended
    • 2 bottle cages
    • Bell
    • Front and rear lighting

    Clothing and equipment

    • Helmet (supplied with bike rental unless otherwise specified locally)
    • 1 bike mount for smartphone to use the mobile route planner application
    • Suitable cycling clothing:
      • bib, shorts or tights: elastic and breathable, to facilitate movement and wick away perspiration
      • Breathable T-shirts, synthetic or merino wool
      • Breathable windbreaker
    • Thermal or fleece jacket
    • Waterproof jacket
    • 1 pair of sunglasses
    • 1 pair of cycling shoes
    • 1 backpack or 1 or 2 carrier bags
    • 1 or 2 water bottles (supplied with bike rental in France)
    • 1 lock (supplied with bike rental)
    • Technical details, recommended by the team for optimum comfort:
      • 1 pair of gloves or mittens, depending on season and destination
      • Padded bib (chamois)
      • High-visibility vest or fluorescent belt
      • Neck warmer and cap

    Bike maintenance

    • Emergency repair kit: 2 or 3 inner tubes, patches, pump, tire levers, multi-tools
    • Maintenance kit: rag, oil, brake pads

    Other

    • A suitcase for your belongings carried in the vehicle (limited to one per person)
    • Street clothes
    • 1 pair of evening shoes
    • Fleece jacket for the evening
    • Toiletry bag
    • Telephone and charger

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