Wonderful cycling getaways for a great weekend
With the A10, A28 and A85, Touraine is regularly seen as a motorway intersection. Along with the TGV high-speed train station, this means it can easily welcome holidaymakers coming to visit the Loire Valley châteaux. But for the past few years, our ‘département’ has also become a crossroads for cyclo-tourism, with the La Loire à Vélo, Indre à Vélo and Le Cher à Vélo cycling trails. Providing even more opportunities for short pedalling breaks.
Local cycle hire specialists have a wide range of bicycles, including traditional bikes, power-assisted bikes and children’s trailers.
We’ve put together the four suggestions below to give you a few ideas for short cycling breaks. Naturally they can be adapted as you wish, based on the four major routes and the fifty or so cycling loops that thread their way through Touraine.
Short Break No.1: Amboise => Tours (25 kilometres)
After you’ve visited one of the three great castles of Amboise, another great tourist classic awaits: the La Loire à Vélo cycle route! Heading out west, you cycle towards Tours and its half-timbered houses, passing through the Montlouis-sur-Loire vineyards.
A few ‘Accueil Vélo’ (Cyclists Welcome) establishments:
- in Tours: the Only Camp Tours Saint-Avertin campsite, the Riad des Portes de l’Orient, Château Belmont and The People Hostel, a new hybrid concept combining youth hostel and traditional hotel.
- in Amboise: the L’Ile d’Or campsite, the Lanex hotel, the Le Clos d’Amboise hotel, the “La vie en rose” guest house, and a few kilometres further on towards Chaumont-sur-Loire, the Domaine des Thomeaux.
Short Cycling Break No.2: Langeais => Chinon (28 km)
Although the marriage of Anne of Brittany to Charles VIII (synonymous with the annexation of Brittany to the kingdom of France) made the Château de Langeais famous, many more chapters in French history are revealed during the tour. Next it’s time to hit the road, once again on the La Loire à Vélo cycle route. The Château d’Ussé is a great place to stop before reaching the Royal Fortress of Chinon.
- in Langeais: the La vie Voyage and L’ange est Rêveur guest houses. A little further on: the Loire et Châteaux campsite (Bréhémont). And the Art and Clay cycling loop (30 km).
- at Chinon: the Diderot, Agnès Sorel and Best Western hotels, the Au Relais Saint Maurice and Aux Quatre Chemins guest houses and the L’Ile Auger campsite. Apart from visiting the wineries and tasting the delicious tarte vigneronne, you can extend your break by taking the Sur les Pas de Rabelais cycling loop (28 km), unless you decide to dash off to Candes-Saint-Martin!
Short Break No.3: Tours => Château de Chenonceau (35 kilometres)
From the capital of Touraine, following the Le Cher à Vélo (or the “Cœur de France Val de cher – Canal de Berry”, to be more precise), you’ll come to the wonderful Château des Dames or Ladies’ Castle, as well as Canoë Company and La Bélandre for a trip down the river! If you want to mix things up a bit, you can pass through Amboise on your return journey, for a 10 kilometre long cut.
A few establishments around Chenonceaux for this short break: the Auberge du Bon Laboureur, the Le Relais Chenonceaux hotel, the Clair Cottage hotel (Chisseaux), the La Gâtine campsite (Bléré) and the Yourte and Spa campsite.
Short Cycling Break No.4: Azay-le-Rideau => Loches (56 kilometres).
Many photographers play with the reflections of the River Indre, taking away with them beautiful pictures of the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau and the Château de l’Islette. As with the Loire and the Cher, this river can also be discovered by bike, via the Indre à Vélo cycle route. But Loches is a fair distance away. So a few stops along the way will do you the world of good. A few Cormery macaroons should give you the energy you need to reach the lovely Royal City of Loches.
A few establishments for this short break:
- in Azay-le-Rideau: the Troglododo, Le Grand Monarque, and Biencourt hotels and the Onlycamp Le Sabot campsite.
- in Loches, the La Citadelle campsite and the Le George and Luccotel. Locally, you may also be interested in visiting the Naturéo water park or going on a 7.5 km hike across the Prairies du Roy Sensitive Natural Area and the village of Beaulieu-les-Loches, labelled a ‘Little Town of Character’!