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Loire Valley

Join us on this cycling reverie through of the Loire Valley with its fairytale chateaux including the Chateau de Chambord and Chateau de Chenonceau, elegant gardens, medieval splendor, and renowned wines.

  • 10 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Daily Mileage: 19 - 35 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 4 1/2 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking Activity
  • Perfect for those trying a bike vacation for the first time.
  • Airfare Packages Available

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Loire Valley

Leave it to VBT to craft the perfect vacation that weaves together the magnificent châteaux and impeccable gardens of the Loire Valley into one spectacular tapestry. You’ll pedal easy, less-traveled roads and bike paths through Loire’s beautiful countryside. Along the way, tour legendary castles of kings and queens and see firsthand why this region is called “The Garden of France.” Sample the exquisite cuisine and famous wines produced by fertile Loire soils. And have the possibility to visit the last home of Leonardo da Vinci, adorned by many of his inspired inventions. Join us on this unforgettable ride into the world of France’s royals.

Cultural Highlights

  • Enjoy an audio tour of Château de Chambord
  • Picnic at the Château de Chenonceau
  • Cycle the “Loire & Soils” through lush vineyards
  • Sample the region’s famous wines during a tasting
  • Spend free time exploring châteaux and villages
  • Marvel at Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles

What to Expect

This tour offers easy terrain throughout the trip, with a few rolling hills. Ideal for beginning cyclists. Our VBT van shuttle is always available for those who need assistance.

Average Daily Mileage: 19 – 35 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 4 1/2 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Chaumont
Apr 58º/39º  May 65º/44º  Jun 69º/50º  Jul 74º/53º Aug 73º/53º  Sep 68º/49º

Average Precipitation (in.) – Chaumont
Apr 1.8   May 2.5   Jun 3.3   Jul 1.7   Aug 3.5   Sep 2.3

What’s Included:

Bicycle Tour Only – without Air

  • 6 nights in 3- and 4-star hotels
  • 11 meals – 6 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 8 nights in 3- and 4-star hotels
  • 13 meals – 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners
  • Transfers
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extension: Pre-trip: Paris – 2 nights for only $495

Both Vacation Options Include

Dates & Prices

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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $695 | Land Only Single Supplement: $395

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2016 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

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Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home / In flight to Paris

Depart from home 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 on traffic). 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 recommendations for what to see and do in Paris. Use the rest of the day to relax or to begin exploring the City of Light.

Hotel: Hotel Château Frontenac

DAY 3: All guests meet at Paris hotel / Transfer to Tavers

VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your VBT representative at 10:45am. 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 assist with your transfer to the 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 (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 assist with your transfer to the 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.

Hotel: Hotel La Tonnellerie
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 5 miles (8 km)

DAY 4: Ride to Chambord / Marvel at Château de Chambord

We set off on our bikes 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, its 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 and 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. You have the rest of the day to spend as you wish, reading a book in the hotel’s garden or taking a swim in the pool. Before dinner, explore the hotel’s wine cave with your host François Thévard, where we learn about some of the wines of the area and sample some during a tasting. Dinner is included tonight in the hotel.

Hotel: Hotel La Tonnellerie
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 19 or 32 miles (30 or 51 km)

DAY 5: Transfer to Blois / Cycle to Amboise via Chaumont

This morning, we shuttle to the ancient city of Blois. Many medieval ruins remain here in what was the most important city in the region around the middle of the 13th century. You may wish to explore the Old Town and buy yourself a picnic lunch to eat en-route before departing.

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 a short walk into Amboise and sample one of its wonderful restaurants.

Hotel: Le Manoir les Minimes
Meals: B
Daily Options: 12 or 25 miles (19.3 or 40.5 km)

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, here in 1560.

We have ample time to tour the château, its gardens and topiary maze before picnicking together. This evening continue exploring Amboise and enjoying dinner on your own.

Hotel: Le Manoir les Minimes
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 17 or 26 miles (27.3 or 42.2 km)

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 prolific 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. After free time for lunch in Tours, we continue along La Loire on 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 Bourdaisière.

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

If weather permits this evening, we have dinner in the dahlia garden. Otherwise, we enjoy the ambiance of one of the lounges inside the château.

Hotel: Château de la Bourdaisière
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 21 or 30 miles (34 or 49 km)

DAY 8: Discover Villandry / Azay-le-Rideau / Visit the Troglodyte Valley of Goupillieres

After breakfast, we shuttle to the Château de Villandry; its geometric, terraced gardens are 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. Here you may wish to explore the delightful old area and16th-century island château and have lunch.

A short distance further we come across La Vallee Troglodytique des Goupillieres. Here we learn about life of the peasant cave-dwellers who came to live in this valley in the early Middle Ages. From here you return to the hotel by shuttle.

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.”

Enjoy a final dinner together at the hotel.

Hotel: Château de la Bourdaisière
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 17 or 31 miles (28 or 51 km)

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 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 and set up his home and installed the government here. Louis Le Vau was commissioned to renovate and extend an old hunting lodge, landscape artist 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 tour the vast estate by audio guide, with visits to 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.

Later, rejoin the shuttle to our final hotel, located near Charles de Gaulle Airport, arriving by 5 pm at the earliest.

This evening is free. You may wish to dine at our hotel and enjoy its leisure facilities.

Hotel: Hotel Pullman Paris CDG Airport
Meals: B

DAY 10: Depart for home

After breakfast*, transfer by shuttle train to your departure terminal within Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris. The CDG Val Shuttle Train is a complimentary train connecting all terminals and train and bus stations at Charles de Gaulle Airport, running every 4 minutes (daily between 4 am and 1 am). The hotel reception can provide exact instructions to your terminal, but please plan to leave the hotel about 3 hours before your flight time for the short walk to the Terminal 3-Roissypole train shuttle station and the short shuttle ride to your correct terminal.

*Please note: 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.

Meals: B

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Accommodations

Hôtel Château Frontenac

The hotel Château Frontenac is a magnificent building dating from the late 19th century. Its location is ideal, just a block from the Champs-Elysées, making it a very easy and safe base for exploring Paris, shopping and taking evening strolls. The rooms in this 4-star hotel are decorated in a Louis XV style and are provided with modern amenities, including air conditioning, Internet access, a minibar, in-room safe and satellite television.
Free WiFi Included

Château de la Bourdaisiere

Perfectly positioned amid the Loire Valley’s famous châteaux, the Château de la Bourdaisière is a magnificent structure in itself. Converted from a 15th-century castle, it features 29 rooms, each named after an historic figure from the history of the Touraine and this château. In your room, enjoy an elegant décor featuring fabrics from the famous houses of Braquenier et Frey, as well as free WiFi access and beautiful views of the estate’s 140-acre park. And take advantage of the hotel’s large open-air heated swimming-pool, tennis courts, animal park and charming breakfast room.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel La Tonnellerie

This 18th-century former wine merchant's house has wonderful cellars and outdoor dining. Today, Mrs. Marie-Christine Pouey and her husband own and manage the hotel in the small town of Tavers. Their hospitality and experience shine through in their attention to detail and in their warm welcome. Classic in style, the hotel is quite comfortable. Its first-floor lounges are cozy and made homey by a fireplace. Take advantage of its heated outdoor pool during your stay. Most rooms overlook a quiet, central garden area and offer free Internet access.
Free WiFi Included

Le Manoir Les Minimes

Set on the south bank of Loire River, with lovely views of the Château d’Amboise, the Manoir Les Minimes boasts an exceptional location in an authentic part of the city. Formerly a convent and private home, this refined hotel is decorated with fine antiques. Its grounds boast an elegant terrace and gardens. Each of the 14 uniquely appointed rooms overlooks either the château or the Loire River. Internet access is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Pullman Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

The 4-star Hotel Pullman Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is in the heart of Charles de Gaulle Airport. It features a heated indoor pool, sauna and steam room. Savor gourmet French and international cuisine at the hotel restaurant, featuring local products and excellent wines, as well as a large selection of beers exclusively brewed in the Paris region in the Birroteca. Spacious guest rooms are non-smoking and have a 47-inch flat screen TV with satellite channels and free, high-speed Wi-Fi access. Each soundproof room features air conditioning, tea- and coffee-making facilities and a minibar.
Free WiFi Included
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