Cycle through a part of the famous Loire à Velo itinerary, that runs through the enchanting valley of the castles. You will cross the Anjou-Touraine natural reserve, encountering the castles of Amboise, Blois and Villandry along the way. Admire the fluvial landscape of this fabled landand its delightful villages where you will have the chance to sample the local wines.
The "Loire à velo" cycling routes starts in Nevers and ends on the ocean shores: from the source to the mouth of the river.
Our travel begins in Orlèans, gateway to the Loire region and once the capital of France during the Middle Age. NOwadays, Orlèans us a modern and lively city with a beautiful historic centre. An ideal place to start your trip along the last natural fluvial area of Europe.
The trip begins where the rivers Loiret and Loire meet: for the most part of the day you will follow on the riverside with beautiful views on the surrounding countryside. DO not miss a visit to villages full of history such as Meung sur Loire and Beaugency. THese historical centres and the modern electric power plant of St. Laurent des Eaux are a testimony of the importance of this region throughout various eras. A wonderful route, mostly flat, that allows you to immerse yourself in this marvellous scenery in a relaxing way.
From Blois, you will continue your trip along the southern side of the Loire: you will encounter rolling hills lined by vineyards before coming to Cande sur Beuvron. You will then come back along the Bouvron river. On the hilltop, you will admire the elegant castle of Chaumont sur Loire, surrounded by spectacular gardens. Here, in the histaorical region of Touraine, you will be able to visit local vineyards and sample the famous Savignon Blanc. Finally, you will see the amjestic castles of Amboise and Clos-Lucè, where Leonardo Da Vinci lived. Today you will encounter some short uphill sections.
Today you will reach the area where the famous "Montlouis" wine is produced. The microclimate of this zone, where the Loire and the Cher meet, allows the production of unique varieties of brandy. You will have the chance to sample them during a visit to one of the cellars, or at lunch. A pleasant path wil lead you to Tours, the capital of the so-called "Garden of France". The route proceeds along the irver Cherbefore reaching the castle of Villandry and its splendid gardens, Here, the Cher meets the Loire.
Today you will cycle along the river until the Castle of Ussè. On the higher bank, you will have a glimpse of the many small islands in the Loire, rwith their rich flora and fauna (several species of birds). Proceeding through the unspoiled landscape, you will get to the enchanting village of Caneds St Martin at the confluence between Vienne and Loire. In Anjou, known for its wines and for the cave paintings. You will be able to choose your route between two varaints here: along the Loire or a hillier path through the vineyards. The latter is probably more exciting but also more demanding, Both variants eventually reach the Saumour castle.
Today, the last day of your journey, you will have some free time to visit Saumur, also know as "the city of horses". Here in fact, the prestigious academy of Cadre Noir forms and prepares the best french jockeys. Admire the peculiar white tuff stone houses of the town centre, admire superb castle and all the other monuments. Then, you will be able to go back to Orleans with a train, leaving the rented bikes there.