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Biking Vacation Loire Valley ​

Activity Level: Easy  |  Daily Mileage: 19 – 35 mi  |  Daily Biking: 2 – 4 1/2 hr
Air package plus
10 days from only
Price includes roundtrip airfare.
Land only
7 days from only

Pre-trip Extension:
Paris · 2 nights $445
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart U.S. / In flight to Paris

Depart the U.S. for France. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Day 2 - Arrive in Paris

Upon arrival at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG) Airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area—VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. Please note: Make sure that your VBT luggage tags are attached to your bags. This helps the representative identify you.
After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative or driver, who will be holding a VBT sign. Your representative will welcome you to France and arrange for your transfer via taxi or van to your Paris hotel (approximately 60 minutes, depending upon traffic). At this time, please verify with your airport representative the time of your private motorcoach transfer to Hotel La Tonnellerie in Tavers, tomorrow. Important: If you are delayed in meeting your VBT representative at the CDG Airport, please call 06 72 07 59 24 or 06 15 15 15 25 from within France. Outside of France, call +33 672 07 59 24 or +33 615 15 15 25.
VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in Paris. Use the rest of the day to relax or to begin exploring the City of Light.

Day 3 - All guests meet at Paris hotel / Transfer to Tavers

VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your VBT representative at 10:45 am in the lobby of the Hotel Château Frontenac, (54 Rue Pierre Charron 75008, Paris. Tel: 011 33 1 532 3131 from outside of France or 01 532 3131 from within France). The representative will help load the transfer bus and then you will depart to Hotel La Tonnellerie in Tavers, where you will meet your VBT Trip Leaders. The transfer will take approximately 3 hours. Please pack a lunch to eat during your transfer.

If your arrival at the Hotel Château Frontenac is later than 10:45 am, you must make arrangements to travel to Tavers independently and arrive by 3:00 pm. It is possible to take a train from Paris Austerlitz station, changing in Orleans, to Beaugency. From here you will need to take a taxi at your own expense. Taxi cost is approximately €15 euros/$22 USD (travel time approximately 10 minutes) to the first hotel. Please contact the first hotel to advise the staff if this is the case so they can inform your VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet your VBT representative in the hotel lobby at 10:45 am. The representative will help load the transfer bus and then you will depart to Hotel La Tonnellerie in Tavers, where you will meet your VBT Trip Leaders. The transfer will take approximately 3 hours. Please pack a lunch to eat during your transfer.

Upon arrival, your Trip Leaders will offer a safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a short warm-up ride in the afternoon. This evening, enjoy a welcome wine reception and dinner with the group at the hotel.

Day 4 - Ride to Chambord / Marvel at Château de Chambord

Start cycling from the hotel after breakfast, riding on a mix of quieter roads and bike paths to Chambord, home of the remarkable Château de Chambord. Now the largest castle in the Loire Valley, these 440 rooms were never intended to be lived in. The castle was designed as a seasonal hunting lodge and as a venue for hosting large receptions for King Francois I. The monarch built the château from 1519-1547 while living in royal residences in Blois and Amboise. The 21-mile-long garden wall is the longest wall in France. Of particular interest are the castle's double-helix staircases, which allow two people to travel up or down without crossing one another's path. Step back in time during your audio-guided visit here.

In the afternoon, shuttle back to your hotel or ride back along a mostly different route. Spend the late afternoon reading a book in the hotel's garden or taking a swim in the pool. Dinner is included tonight in the hotel.

Day 5 - Transfer to Blois / Walking tour with local guide / Cycle to Amboise via Chaumont

This morning, board a motorcoach bound for the ancient city of Blois. Many medieval ruins remain here in what was the most important city in the region around the mid-13th century. A guided visit of the Old Town with a local historian reveals how the city and its architecture evolved from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.

From Blois, we cycle along the river and through the lovely Loire countryside, nicknamed the “Garden of France” for its abundance of fruits and vegetables. Our first destination is Chaumont, where you can explore the Château de Chaumont and its gardens on your own.

Then, continue to the town of Amboise. Leonardo da Vinci came here to live at the Clos-Luce Manor in 1516, and evidence of his work remains at the manor. The château that dominates the town was once home to Charles VIII, Louis XII and Francois I.

Tonight, enjoy free time to take short walk into town and sample one of its wonderful restaurants.

Day 6 - Explore Chenonceau

After breakfast, we pedal along a scenic route to the Château de Chenonceau on the Cher River, known as the most romantic of the Loire châteaux. Its history is the stuff of epic novels: King Henry II gave the château as a gift to his beautiful lover, Diane de Poitiers. She built the first gardens and added a bridge to connect the château to the Cher's south shore. After Henry's death, his jealous wife, Catherine de Medici, took the château from Diane and built the unique gallery that today straddles the river. It became her favorite residence, and she later hosted the marriage of her son, Francis II, to Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1560.

We have ample time to tour Chenonceau, its gardens and maze before picnicking together. This evening, we walk to a nearby wine trader who specializes in aged wines. Enjoy a tasting before exploring Amboise and enjoying dinner on your own.

Day 7 - Vineyards of the Touraine / Tours

After breakfast we ride the “Loire & Soils “ bicycle path on the northern banks of the Loire River, famous for its highly valuable wine production. Viticulture has been practiced here since at least the Middle Ages when the Catholic Church maintained vineyards at local monasteries. We cycle through Vouvray where you'll find several options for wine tasting if you wish to explore. We have free time for lunch in Tours before continuing back along La Loire a Velo bike path into Montlouis sur Loire. There will be free time to explore this pretty small town before continuing to our hotel for the next two nights, Château de la Bourdaisiere.

The Château is famous for its tomato and dahlia collection so make sure you explore the magnificent gardens. You may also take advantage of its lovely outdoor swimming pool.

If the weather is good this evening, we will have dinner in the dahlia garden. Otherwise, we'll enjoy the ambiance of one of the lounges inside the château.

Day 8 - Discover Villandry / Explore Azay-le-Rideau

After breakfast, we shuttle to the Château de Villandry, known for its symbolic, terraced gardens unlike any other in France. The last of the large châteaux built during the Renaissance on the banks of the Loire, it was completed around 1536. We then cycle on a beautiful bike route along the Loire River and on to Azay-le-Rideau.

In the delightful old village of Azay-le-Rideau, you will have time for independent exploration. Visit the town's 16th-century island château, photograph 15th- and 18th-century houses, and browse the many shops before returning to the hotel by shuttle or by bicycle.

If you choose to cycle back to the hotel, your route takes you along the Indre River, a region that figured prominently in works by Honoré de Balzac, the 19th-century French literary master. The French author referred to Azay-le-Rideau as “a faceted diamond set in the Indre.”

We gather at the hotel for dinner tonight.

Day 9 - Transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport via the Palace of Versailles / VBT No-Air Package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: The tour ends at our hotel after breakfast this morning. You may make your arrangements to leave the hotel at any time that is convenient. Checkout time is by 11:00 am. Trains depart from Tours to Paris and to Charles de Gaulle Airport. You are responsible for all transfer arrangements. A taxi from the hotel to Tours railway station costs approximately €45 euros (3-passenger maximum). We recommend you ask your VBT Trip Leaders or the hotel to help make the reservation at least a day in advance.

VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, depart for Paris, stopping en route to explore one of the most visited monuments in France, the Palace of Versailles. Wanting to escape the busy life in Paris, and to keep the nobility under his control, Louis XIV built this château, in which he set up home and installed the government. Louis Le Vau was commissioned to renovate and extend an old hunting lodge, Le Notre created the gardens from swampland, and Mansart masterminded the hydraulic display of the fountains. This grand palace served as France's official royal residence from 1682 until 1790.

Once you arrive at the Palace, you will be given an individual audio guide and entrance ticket for the state apartments of the king and queen, the Galerie des Glaces (the Hall of Mirrors, where the Treaty of Versailles was signed to end World War I), and the gardens.

In the mid-afternoon, rejoin the shuttle and transfer to your hotel, located near Charles de Gaulle Airport.

This evening is free. You may wish to stroll through the park into Roissy village and have dinner in one of the restaurants there, or dine at our hotel.

 Day 10 - Depart for U.S.

After breakfast*, transfer by shuttle bus to Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris. Please ensure that you are ready in the hotel entrance area at the designated transfer time. The shuttle is complimentary for hotel guests, and it runs approximately every 30 minutes. Please ask the hotel reception for exact times. Once you leave the bus, make sure that you follow the signs for flight departures.

*For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.
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