This cycling tour starts in Tour, passes through Azat Le Rideau, Chinon and concludes in Saumur. It crosses the Cher, Vienne and Thouet rivers – tributaries of the Loire. Whilst accommodation will usually be fairly close to the Loire a Velo Bike Route, there will be plenty of opportunity to explore the surrounding area – corn fields, vineyards, fields of sunflowers etc. The route provides access to lots of winemakers, bars and restaurants! There’s chateaux, museums, zoos, churches and abbeys in abundance. If you rather “do” that “look” there are Boat trips, Hot air ballooning, canoes & kayaks, horse riding, golf and quad bikes available.
Tours lies between the Cher and Loire rivers – almost mid way along the Loire from Orleans to the sea. It is a very popular tourist destination – the number of things to see, to do, to experience is vast. The city is steeped in history: King Charles VIII; Anne of Brittany; Cardinal Richelieu, Rodin, Rembrandt, Rubens, Monet, Degas, Leonardo da Vinci have all influenced the towns heritage. There are beautiful gardens and parks, the old town, museums, markets, Châteaux and churches, restaurants, bars, guinguettes, wine-making – the list is a big one!
Azay-le-Rideau, on the Indre River, is the home of one of the most stunning Château in France. In common with many other important structures of the region it is constructed of beautiful sandy-white tuffeau with a roof of regional blue-grey slate. It is stunning! The town provides several quality hotels, lots of B&Bs, restaurants, bars and of course many wine-tasting opportunities. Not far away is the sometimes overlooked Château l’Islette – some time frequented by Auguste Rodin. Basket making is dominant in the area and is best experienced on bike via the “De l’osier au panier” cycling route.
Chinon sits on the Vienne river within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its past is full of “history” for both the English and French – too much to describe here! (Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard I (the Lionheart), King John Lackland, Philip II Augustus, Philip IV the Fair, the Knights Templar, Hundred Years’ War, Charles VII, Joan of Arc, Louis XII, François Rabelais, Duke of Richelieu)
Candes St Martin is acknowledged as one of the most picturesque villages in France. A short ride through the pretty narrow streets of tuffeau stone houses with their slate roofs is very rewarding.
With its captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Saumur offers a travel experience like no other. It serves as the perfect base for exploring the much of the Loire Valley, with its abundance of châteaux, vineyards, and natural wonders just waiting to be explored. Saumur is nestled in the heart of wine country, known for its world-class sparkling wines and charming vineyards. Saumur is also synonymous with horsemanship – visit the famous Cadre Noir, the French National School of Horsemanship, and witness breathtaking equestrian displays that showcase the harmony between man and horse.