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5 Days Secret Castles Sightseeing and Cycling Tour in Loire Valley, France
This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences

This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences


(No availability) 5 Days Secret Castles Sightseeing and Cycling Tour in Loire Valley, France

Château de Beaulieu, 67 Rue de Beaulieu, Joué-lès-Tours, Canton of Joué-lès-Tours, Arrondissement of Tours, Indre-et-Loire, Centre-Val de Loire, France

Self-Guided Cycling Tour in France

This Loire Valley cycling tour was created to take you to a part of the Loire region not covered by other trips. The flat-to-rolling terrain is perfect for cycling and is filled with castles, vineyards, and colorful landscapes. The tour starts in Joué-lès-Tours and will take you to Azay-le-Rideau, Langeais, the Château de Villandry and Ussé, and the famous Fontevraud Abbey. You will also cycle through some important wine regions such as Chinon and Saumur for some wine tasting. Experience all the best of the Loire Valley by bicycle!

Key information

  • Trip type: Self-guided
  • Lodging: Point to point
  • Terrain: Flat to rolling
  • Difficulty level: Easy (Cyclist doesn't need to have a certain level of fitness, mostly flat terrain though occasionally they will ride in unpaved or hills, 10 - 30 miles per day)
  • Total distance: 64 - 87 miles / 103 - 140 kilometers
  • Vacation type: Leisure cycling
  • Type of bike: Hybrid bike (included)
  • E-bike: Available to rent / 100 EUR
  • Road bike: Available to rent / 100 EUR
  • Tandem bike: Available to rent / 25 EUR

Highlights

  • 3-day self-guided cycling
  • Cycling through wine regions
  • Starts in Joué-lès-Tours and ends in Saumur
  • Use of 1 GPS for 3 people and road book with maps
  • Hybrid bike rental during the tour
  • 4 breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • 4 nights' accommodation
  • Luggage transfers

Styles


3 days with instruction
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Accommodation

On this tour, you will be accommodated at various 2-star, 3-star, 4-star hotels.

Prices are based on double occupancy rooms that include private bath or shower. Single rooms are limited and are subject to supplemental charges. This is an extra charge over the quoted double room rate which is a shared rate. Single individuals who are not requesting single rooms will be booked into a double with another traveler of the same gender, whenever possible. If a share arrangement is unavailable, the supplement will be assessed prior to departure when Discover France has confirmed that there will be no additional travelers.

If alternative hotels of the same category / standing are fully-booked, there will be no change to the tour price. If the lack of room availability requires that Discover France books you to an inferior / superior category hotel or room, you will be notified in advance and given the option to accept or decline the change as well as any change in the tour price.

Notes: Solo travelers are welcome, but a higher solo supplement is applicable to cover costs that aren't shared such as bag transfers, orientation, etc.

Program

On your first evening (or morning), you’ll be met by a Discover France representative, who will get your trip off to a great start by ensuring you’re comfortable with the routes and your trip materials. They arrange all of your luggage transfers. And should any urgent issues arise, you have 24-hour access to a Discover France person through their local self-guided support hotline.

  • Level: Casual (for beginners and occasional cyclists) or hobby (for weekend riders and people with some cycling experience)
  • Average distance per day: 25.17 miles / 40.50 kilometers
  • Average elevation gain per day: 188,17 meters

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Joué-lès-Tours

Arrive in Gare de Saint-Pierre-des-Corps TGV station, located only one hour from Paris by train. Transfer to your hotel.

  • Meals: Dinner (breakfast and lunch on your own)
  • Accommodation: Various 2-star, 3-star, 4-star hotels

Day 2: Villandry to Azay-le-Rideau

  • Distance: option 1 (22 miles / 35 kilometers) or option 2 (30 miles / 48 kilometers) 
  • Elevation gain: option 1 (200 meters) or option 2 (256 meters)

Going first to fantastic gardens at the famous Villandry, you will ride alongside the Cher and Loire rivers and along the Loire à Vélo route. After, continue toward Azay-le-Rideau and that classic chateau, where you can spend plenty of time to visit the castle and possibly see the sound and light show. This Renaissance-era castle is considered a classic design and its setting alongside the Indre river is magical.

  • Meals: Breakfast and dinner (lunch on your own)
  • Accommodation: Various 2-star, 3-star, 4-star hotels

Day 3: Azay-le-Rideau to Chinon

  • Distance: option 1 (21 miles / 34 kilometers) or option 2 (28 miles / 45 kilometers) 
  • Elevation gain: option 1 (200 meters) or option 2 (256 meters)

Ride from Azay-le-Rideau to Chinon for a full day of cycling around castles. Your first stop is in Langeais, where the chateau was the temporary lair of lawless armed bands during the Hundred Years' War. Then the ride continues to the Château d'Ussé, a fairytale castle which is reputed to have inspired the story of Sleeping Beauty and a must for all Walt Disney's fans. You will then finish by riding to Chinon, home to a few interesting museums, where you can taste some of the local wine, made famous in the writings of François Rabelais.

  • Meals: Breakfast (lunch and dinner on your own)
  • Accommodation: Various 2-star, 3-star, 4-star hotels

Day 4: Chinon to Saumur

  • Distance: option 1 (21 miles / 34 kilometers) or option 2 (29 miles / 47 kilometers) 
  • Elevation gain: option 1 (187 meters) or option 2 (30 meters)

Ride from Chinon to Saumur, home of a beautiful castle and delicious wine. You will start your ride to Saumur with a stop at the Fontevraud Abbey, one of the most beautiful and largest abbeys in Europe. Then as you approach Saumur, you will begin to see the magnificent chateau overlooking the Loire river and surrounded by endless vineyards.

  • Meals: Breakfast (lunch and dinner on your own)
  • Accommodation: Various 2-star, 3-star, 4-star hotels

Day 5: Departure day

Your departure will be after a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast (lunch and dinner on your own)

Notes: You can ask Discover France to design you a custom tour or simply take their maps and add miles to your route. Feel free to improvise, but know your limits and know what the symbols on the maps mean!

Cycling

For this tour, you should be an independent person, capable of reading a map, interpreting directions, and taking charge of your planning. Discover France is here to help you, but in the end, you will be the one out there on the road / trail and the more prepared you are mentally as well as physically, the more fun and better memories you will have! Use this tour as an excuse to increase your conditioning and fitness and take some time to read everything Discover France sends to you as well as do your own research.

Everyone travels at his or her own speed. In the bike rides, Discover France generalizes an average of 13 - 18 kilometers per hour on flat surfaces and 10 - 13 kilometers per hour on grade. Those times do include bathroom breaks, but not the time for lunch and visits. Everyone should allow time to stop and explore, visit sites, and check directions.

If you can ride a bike at 20 miles per hour, you cannot take a trip and expect to finish a ride in two hours. First, you need to allow time to check directions as you go, and then stop to visit. No less than four hours should be allowed to do any of the hikes and rides Discover France has in their programs on any day. Longer days will last as much as eight hours with stops and visits included.

Bicycle rental

Discover France includes hybrid bikes in the tour rate. Bicycle rentals are optional for all tours and are available for an additional charge. Bicycles are e-bikes or road bikes of very high quality. The brand may change from year to year, so you are responsible for inquiring about what type of bike and added gear is provided with your bicycle rental at the time you reserve it.

Bikes are delivered to each participant based on height. They are sized as close as possible but they remain rentals and may take some minor adjustments. The quality is top notch for rentals. Discover France's mechanics review every bike after each rental to prepare for the next use. While on tour, remember that you must know how to fix a flat tire. Discover France gives you the tools, but they are not on call to fix that. They will resolve any other mechanical issues if they should arise.

Any participant who chooses to bring his / her own bicycle is responsible for all mechanical issues and all transportation issues including traveling by train, which is difficult in France on the TGV. The bike you received is your responsibility once you are on the road. When the bike is at the hotel (inside or in the hotel's storage), the bike is under the hotel's responsibility. If you do not return the bike, break it or lose it, you will be invoiced for 400 EUR per hybrid / mountain bike or 1,200 EUR per road bike or e-bike. Each time, you have to check with the reception to know where to leave your bike.

Hybrid bike - SCOTT Sub Sport 20

The SCOTT SUB Sport 20 features a sporty trekking geometry that suits trips of all distances. Equipped with a Shimano 30 speed transmission, integrated front and rear lights, a custom rack time carrier, and compatibility with Snap-it accessories, this bike is begging to go on an adventure. All sizes available: S, M, L, XL.

Included with your bike rental:

  • Rear pannier containing: Helmet, lock, pump, and 2 spare tubes
  • Handlebar bag containing: Toolkit, tire levers, and patch kit
  • 1 water bottle (souvenir)
  • Odometer
  • Flat pedals (toe straps on request)

Road bike - Cannondale Synapse Carbon 105 6

Cannondale's carbon construction method uses precisely placed high stiffness fibers over a base of high tensile strength fibers and high impact resins to deliver an extremely lightweight and perfectly tuned stiffness, without sacrificing strength. Discover France has all sizes for you: XS, S, M, L, XL. The weight is approximately eight kilograms (18 pounds).

Included with your bike rental:

  • Saddlebag containing: Toolkit, tire levers, patch kit, 2 spare tubes, and 1 hand pump
  • Helmet
  • Odometer
  • Lock
  • Flat pedals (toe straps on request)
  • 2 water bottle (souvenir)

E-bike - Cannondale Mavaro Active 1

With its integrated rack, seamless assist, and comfortable upright position, the Mavaro is all about freedom. The freedom to enjoy weekend treks or trips to the store, the freedom to escape the car for the daily commute or the freedom to feel the wind in your face - effortlessly.

Included with your bike rental:

  • Rear pannier containing: Helmet, lock, pump, and 2 spare tubes
  • Handlebar bag containing: Toolkit, tire levers, and patch kit
  • 1 water bottle (souvenir)
  • Odometer
  • Flat pedals (toe straps on request)

Tandem bike - Cannondale Tandem 29er

A more upright and adventurous model brings the strength, stability, and smooth-rolling comfort of 29-inch wheels to the two-up crowd.

Kid bike - Orbea MX 20 or 24

The Orbea MX 20 or 24 (or equivalent) is a truly functional bike for smaller riders who like a race-inspired style. With this bike, let your children ride totally safe.

Included with your bike rental:

  • Helmet
  • 1 new bottle
  • 2 tire levers, 1 spare tube, patch kit, and multi-tool

GPS and route books

Discover France provides, at the orientation, a roadbook with cue sheet (step by step itinerary), detailed maps, and regional information. Discover France is proud to be a leader in providing complete and even advance technology on their self-guided and custom-guided tours that allow their clients to use the best equipment possible. They invested in GPS units a few years back and have some simple to use, easy to read, yet sophisticated devices available on nearly all of their tours.

Garmin GPS are included on all tours. Since 2008, Discover France had mainly chosen Garmin for their GPS (or equivalent brand in some countries). They change the units every two years and always invest in the best models. Simple to use, easy to read, yet sophisticated devices, they are available on all of their tours. The routes described in your roadbook are stored as tracks in the GPS unit. You simply have to follow the line shown on the GPS, and enjoy. One GPS is provided for every three people. The GPS you received is your responsibility. In case you lose, break it or do not return it, you will be invoiced for 300 EUR.

Discover France roadbooks are complete packages of information that will help you to guide yourself through the itinerary that they have planned and laid out. They have invested significant time and incorporated the feedback of their customers over many years (since 1997) to make the road books even better.

The road books include colored-maps, highlighted routes, touristic information, orientation points to reach hotels, and easy to follow directions (step by step). Discover France tries to give you enough information to interpret the route without giving you too much information that makes you read all the time and not enjoy the ride. It is a delicate balance!

Tour support

Even on a self-guided tour, Discover France is behind the scenes working and they are available to you if you need help. In their two offices in the Loire Valley and in the South of France, they are on standby via phone for all of their travelers no matter where they are in France. This support service is available during daylight hours when the clients are out on the routes.

They will help customers arrange alternative transfers if the weather is bad or if someone is sick and can't participate in the day's activity. They can also iron out any problem with hotels you may encounter when you arrive. Moreover, they can help if a bike problem should arise and help with additional services you may need during your trip.

Surface / trail / road conditions

All assumed to be in good condition; no technical experience is needed and not an added difficulty factor. You will also find plenty of road signs and indications to keep you on course and roads are easily identified on maps included with the roadbook.

Luggage transfer

Bags are transferred for the self-guided trips via pre-arranged transportation with the hotel. You will need to have bags packed and left at the checkout desk by 09:00, or it will be noted what time bags must be dropped. Check for any bag limits. Bags are dropped at the hotel by 17:00 (latest time). Discover France has never lost a bag - don't worry about that!

Child policy

Children are welcome at many of the hotels, but kids under the age of 10 may require special equipment such as trailers or child tandems. If so, Discover France recommends parents to have some prior experience at home with these tools. Keep in mind that some of the routes and tour activities may not be very interesting for children. Discover France recommends discussing the proposed routes with them to determine whether the route is suitable for kids.

Health requirements

Ask yourself if you are fit enough to do the trip you are contemplating and enjoy yourself along the way. Discover France's cycling tours require a minimum level of fitness, so please call them. While on tour, please remember you’ll have access to their local support contacts, but if you are unable to finish the day’s ride, they will send a support van. Of course, that’s just another opportunity to have a beer at a local cafe, smell the flowers, etc.

Location

This cycling tour will take place in the Loire Valley, France. It will start in Joué-lès-Tours and end in Saumur. The route will cover places such as Joué-lès-Tours, Azay-le-Rideau, Chinon, and Saumur.

Loire Valley

Only a short train ride south of Paris, the Loire Valley is recognized as a World Heritage Site. Touring this French region, you can ride from one amazing castle to another: Chambord, Chenonceau, Amboise, and Villandry to name only a few. Although the Loire Valley is best known for its many castles, it also boasts lovely historical towns such as Chartres, picturesque villages, and many vineyards from which the Loire Valley wine is made.

Food

Food is the best part of travel in France! This is certainly no time to go on a diet, but as you will learn in France, many wonderful things can be enjoyed in moderation. The tour offers cuisine of the region and suggestions for places to visit and specialties to enjoy will be available. For meals that are included, if you have a special need, please let Discover France know in advance and they will make every effort to meet those needs. In nearly every case, beverages are not included with meals (your individual purchase).

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 3-day self-guided cycling
  • Hybrid bike rental
  • Use of 1 Garmin Oregon GPS for 3 people
  • Use of a detailed roadbook (including detailed maps, touristic information, step by step itinerary, and cue sheets)
  • Orientation in person with a local guide
  • Technical and emergency support (available at all times)
  • Comprehensive trip literature
  • 4 breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • 4 nights' accommodation
  • Luggage transfers

What's not included

  • Airfare to and from the trip
  • Lodging before and after the trip
  • Drinks
  • Other meals
  • Travel insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Any personal items

How to get there

Arrival by train

From Paris Montparnasse to Gare de Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, you can reach Tours / Joué-lès-Tours which is accessible via train for one hour 10 minutes by TGV.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
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