Author Topic: Loire Cycling  (Read 12386 times)

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Offline dombrosk

Loire Cycling
« on: July 04, 2015, 06:30:58 pm »
Looking ahead to summer 2016 I'm wondering if anybody has

  1) general tips for cycling the Loire Valley in France

  2) experience with outfitters who arrange tours with bike rental and luggage transfer.

Thanks in advance!

Offline Galloper

Re: Loire Cycling
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2015, 08:21:22 am »
The Loire is one of my favourite cycling destinations,   The main cycle route is:

There are lots of local cycle routes which are generally well signposted.    If you go to any of the local Tourist Information Offices they will be able to provide maps and advice.   I'm sure an internet search will provide information on tour companies but can't comment on any of them as I prefer to make my own tours up as I go along.

Amboise is a very nice town to use as a base, plenty of nice shops and cafes and some really nice cycle routes.   The Chateau Chambord is spectacular and, again, lots of really nice local cycle routes.

Have fun!

Offline csykes

Re: Loire Cycling
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2015, 11:27:09 pm »
I can recommend VBT (Vermont Bicycle Tours) in general for fully supported bike touring in France.  I have not done their Loire Valley trip, but have done Provence and Burgundy and would not hesitate to use them again.  They have nice bikes, good guides (one one bike and one in a van,) various daily routes, and take care of all the logistics.  It's bike touring-light, nothing hard-core.

Offline BrianW

Re: Loire Cycling
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2015, 06:54:38 pm »
There are a number of self-guided outfitters that offer trips in France. Usually they set you up with a rental bike, arrange each night's lodging, and transport your luggage each day. But during the day you are on your own. This is how many if not most Europeans that use services tour. There are a few big outfits out of Austria and Germany. Austria Radreisen is one. I can't recall the other. Search on "self guided tours" and the Loire and you should turn up some options.

Offline dombrosk

Re: Loire Cycling
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2016, 11:04:48 am »
For future readers searching this thread, I want to share my experiences now that I'm back from my trip.

Usually I take my own bike to Europe and handle the trip planning... this time I wanted a local source to provide bikes for my wife and I, along with routing, reservations, and luggage transfer.  We did not want to travel with a group, which eliminated quite a few options (and saved a pile of money).

We ended up using "Detours de Loire" and were very happy with the results.

They offer a variety of pre-planned routes.  We went with the 7 day "Wonders of the Loire Valley" with an extra night tacked on at the start for arrival and settling in.

The route started in Blois and ended in Saumur.  We arranged on our own to spend three nights in Saumur at the B&B Casanova (great place)

Compared to simply following the Loire Cycle Path, this company provided a lot more variety, getting us off the river up into small villages that we might not have discovered. The hotel arrangements were fine and the luggage transfer was a treat.

I've bike toured a lot in the U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands.  This was a great addition to the travel experiences... in particular the food really was spectacular.  The people were extremely friendly... my German isn't bad but my French is extremely limited... but never a problem.  A phrase book--- especially the menu section--- came in handy.

For travelling from the U.S. it was easy to fly into Paris and take the train down to Blois, and  delightful to spend time  in Paris after the bike tour.  And as much as I love travelling with my own bike and kit, it was liberating to hand in the bikes and then box up our bike clothing to ship home, thereby lightening our load.