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Loire Gastronomic Self-Guided Cycling - Premium
6 Nights
Price on Request
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At a glance
Cycle through idyllic scenery and visit the finest chateaux in France
Trip Highlights
Start Destination
End Destination
What's included
  • All breakfasts and dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All luggage transfers
  • Route notes and maps
  • Local bike hire

All breakfasts and 6 dinners included. This is a gastronomic tour so the food is central to your experience. The Loire prides itself on it's cuisine. It is refined country cooking, not heavy but rich in flavours and textures, drawing on the great garden of the Loire valley. Fruit and vegetables abound. Asparagus, artichokes, button mushrooms, cherries and strawberries from the Loire are transported to kitchens throughout France, which demonstrates the quality of the produce. These all provide delicious accompaniments to the duck, venison and wild boar dishes (all hunted locally) and served in sauces using wines from the local vineyards. Fish also features in abundance. With three wide, gently flowing rivers passing through the region, freshwater fish appear on most menus. 'Sandre' (pikeperch) and breme (bream) are especially popular and are usually served in a beurre blanc sauce - made with shallots, butter, dry white wine and vinegar. The majority of the cheese found in the region is goat's cheese. We suggest trying Selles-sur-Cher from the neighbouring Blesois region. Desserts are often based on the fruit from the local orchards. They include 'tarte tatin', a yummy caramelised upside-down apple pie - the invention of two absent-minded sisters in their attempt to salvage a dessert they had dropped on the floor. The Loire is undoubtedly one of Europe's finest wine producing regions with many of the separate wine areas producing red, white, rose and sparkling wines. Distinctive whites include Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume, Vouvray and Muscadet; for reds, try Chinin, Bourgueil and Saumur. Anjou is by far the most popular rose.

Day 1
Start Chissay.
If you have arranged to join the transfer we will pick you up from Blois station and take you to Chissay (please see the joining information), where your fabulous chateau hotel awaits. There will be time for a swim before dinner.
Day 2
Cycle along the Cher River to Chateau de Chenonceau; cycle on to St Ouen-les-Vignes via Amboise.
This morning's ride will start with gentle pedalling along the banks of the Cher river, which will lead you to the superb Chateau de Chenonceau with its famous arches majestically spanning the river. Described by Flaubert as 'floating on air and water', it's arguably the most beautiful of all the Loire landmarks. It will be difficult to tear yourself away from this beautiful spot so it makes a great stop for lunch on the terrace of The Orangerie restaurant. You will then head off through the shady Amboise forest and on to Amboise - don't worry if you don't have time to explore properly as you can easily come back tomorrow. Your final stretch leads to the elegant village of St Ouen-les-Vignes and Jacques and Odile Arrayet's bijou hotel beside the river. Odile is a professional sommelier, and Jacques an artistic chef de cuisine, so you're in for some treats here! Ride Approx. 27km.
Day 3
Free day to return to Amboise; or cycle along the River Cisse to Vouvray.
Today is a free day but with Amboise only a 5km cycle south it makes for the perfect day trip. Visit the flamboyant royal palace and the elegant Clos Luce, a 15th Century manor house where Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked for the last few years of his life. His workshops house 40 giant models of some of his most spectacular creations - the first plane, helicopter and tank. The beautifully landscaped gardens bring life to his botanical drawings and geographical designs. Alternatively, it is an easy 15km return cycle along the river Cisse to the wine capital, Vouvray. It is most famous for its wine made from the Chenin Blanc grape. A little way out of Vouvray, the Moncontour Museum gives you the opportunity to visit a winery and some ancient wine cellars; there is the chance to do some comparative wine tasting at the end of the tour or visit Chateau de Valmer where King Charles VII once stayed. Optional Ride approx. 15km
Day 4
Two routes available. The shorter option goes via Limeray, alternatively cycle to Autreche; both then converge and go to Chaumont; finish in Chitenay.
Today you have the option of two routes, both offering lovely peaceful cycling. The shorter option takes you via the sleepy village of Limeray, with its lovely white church with impressive collection of statues. Alternatively, you can head north through open countryside to Autreche, there is the opportunity to see a lot of wildlife en-route so keep the binoculars handy! The routes then come together and go on to Chaumont. The impressive 15th Century chateau was built on the site of the original 10th Century castle destroyed by Louis XI for the treasonable acts of it's then owners. Famously Catherine de Medici forced her late husband's mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to give her Chenonceau in exchange for Chaumont. Between May and October, the chateau hosts the International Garden Festival with a different theme each year. A final shady riverside stretch takes you via the pretty villages of Les Montils and Seur and on to Chitenay where you'll spend the next two nights.
Day 5
Free day to visit the chateau at Cheverny. Alternatively, cycle to Chateau de Chambord.
The 17th Century chateau at nearby Cheverny, with its wonderful white stone facade, makes a great day trip. The richness of its furnishings and antiques are incredible, and the gardens are superb. The chateau has an interesting history, as if out of a regal soap opera, including intrigue and murder. Its latter history has been a little less dramatic but the chateau kept its place on the main stage by being used as a model for Marlinspike Hall which features in some of the Tintin adventures. There is a permanent Tintin exhibition open for viewing. Alternatively, if you head a little further afield you can visit the magnificent Chateau de Chambord, it is a 50km round trip, so makes a perfect day trip. Set in the heart of the huge Foret de Boulogne, this 16th Century masterpiece appears straight from a fairy tale, and reflects the lavish tastes of its original owner, King Francois I. Today, the surrounding park has been declared a national nature reserve, protecting all sorts of wildlife including deer, boar and eagles. Optional Ride approx. 50km.
Day 6
Cycle via Fougeres-sur-Bievre and along the Cher River to Montrichard; then ride onto Chateau de Chissay for a well-earned dip in the pool!
After breakfast your ride will head south past well-tended vines and sleepy hamlets surrounded by fields of sunflowers. We recommend stopping for lunch on the terrace beside the fortified chateau of Fougeres-sur-Bievre, before cycling downhill to the River Cher. Here the charming old quarter of mediaeval Montrichard is huddled beneath the 11th Century keep. The town has a definite mediaeval feel to it, particularly in some of the buildings in the square. You can sit here, enjoy a coffee and admire the half-timbered houses. The castle dominates the town and is famous for imprisoning Richard the Lionheart. A final flat cycle follows the Cher back to Chateau du Chissay for a well earned dip in the pool!
Day 7
End Chissay.
A transfer has been arranged to take you back to Blois station. See the joining information for more details.
gastronomic and leisurely 5/5

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