Order and elegance shaped the Loire Valley. The castles are graceful - right out of a fairy tale. The manicured gardens are flawless - too perfect to believe. The landscape is idyllic - a rolling symphony of grapevines, fruit trees, fields and rivers. But this isn't the whole story. Those châteaux have moats and imposing towers. Political intrigue is no stranger here. Nor is inspired ingenuity. Names like Joan of Arc. Charles VII. Leonardo da Vinci. Now it's your turn to shape the Loire Valley. Your bike wheels spinning your own tale amid grand fortified estates, pocket-sized villages, sumptuous cuisine and delicious chenin blanc. As orderly and elegant or intriguing and ingenious as you like.
Day 1 Ride quiet rural roads to visit French architectural landmarks A picnic in the countryside is the perfect way to begin our Loire Valley sojourn Warm up your legs on a pleasant spin through the castle-dotted landscape to Château de Rochecotte, a beautiful estate brimming with charm and baroque décor.
Day 2 Tastings of local vintages Pedal through vineyards and picturesque towns like Restigne, where you can stop to look at the medieval St. Martin de Restigne Cathedral Discover Château de Gizeux, a historic monument that dates back to the Middle Ages.
Day 3 Relax at gracious castle-hotels A leisurely ride through fields, vineyards and forested Loire villages, leads to Azay-le-Rideau, set on the bank of the Indre River Visit the town's Italianate château, considered one of the most magnificent in France Make sure to stop in at the castle's excellent Renaissance museum, which showcases fine period furnishings and elaborate tapestries.
Day 4 Delve into fascinating French history where it actually unfolded Wander through Clos Lucé, Leonardo da Vinci's last residence, and marvel at models and designs of some of his creations In Amboise, grab an outdoor table and sip a café on Rue Nationale, a prime people-watching spot.
Days 5-6 Renaissance, medieval and classical châteaux At magical Château de Chenonceau, spanning the Cher River, our guide reveals the castle's past as we walk through richly appointed salons and vast galleries Pedal along rolling hills to Château de Nitray, built in the 15th and 16th centuries, where we're treated to a tour and typical French lunch An idyllic route takes you from Château de Chissay to the outdoor market in Montrichard.
- Ride quiet rural roads to visit French architectural landmarks
- Relax at gracious castle-hotels
- Private tastings of local wines
- Renaissance, medieval and classical châteaux
- Experience fascinating French history where it actually unfolded
Château de Rochecotte (2 nights): Formerly the private residence of a prince and duchess, this grand 18th-century estate sits adjacent to a 50-acre forest with a beautiful lake. (pool)
Château de la Bourdaisière (1 night): King François I built this splendid castle, nestled on 140 acres, for his mistress in the 1500s. (pool, tennis)
Château de Chissay (2 nights): This former royal residence is surrounded by a park and forest. (pool)
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of
interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one
day to the next-and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat
from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each
day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.
Routes For All Abilities
|Daily Route Options|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5|
|miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain|
* Includes a shuttle
2013 Dates & Pricing*
- 5/26-31 Price: $3598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $550 for sgl. occ.)
- 6/16-21 Price: $3598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $550 for sgl. occ.)
- 6/23-28 Price: $3498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $550 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/7-12 Price: $3598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $550 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/21-26 Price: $3598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $550 for sgl. occ.)
- 8/18-23 Price: $3498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $550 for sgl. occ.)
- 9/8-13 Price: $3498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $550 for sgl. occ.)
- 9/10-15 Price: $3598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $550 for sgl. occ.)
- 9/17-22 Price: $3598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $550 for sgl. occ.)
- 9/22-27 Price: $3598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $550 for sgl. occ.)
- 9/29-10/4 Price: $3498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $550 for sgl. occ.)
- 10/6-11 Price: $3298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $550 for sgl. occ.)
- 10/8-13 Price: $3298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $550 for sgl. occ.)
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
Guest Trip Reviews
Everything from when we were picked up at the train station in the van at Tours, to our departure from our last château after the farewell lunch, was fantastic. Our leader is a real gem! She was professional, energetic, creative, not overbearing, very pleasant, extremely helpful with the local culture, helpful with deciding on options for the itinerary for the day, encouraging, always available, and just fun to be with, etc. For example, she was able to do things such as get the Prince (owner of the Château de la Bourdaisière) to come down and chat with us after dinner. The accommodations were wonderful and food to die for. She took care of all of our needs and then some. Of course it did not hurt that we had such wonderful weather. We are already thinking about our next trip, possibly Provence.- Springfield, VA
I never want to take another non-Backroads vacation. I had an absolutely incredible time!- Gainesville, FL
I appreciated the real back roads we traveled on and felt each day as if we were moving through postcards. Lovely.- Littleriver, CA
I have been on four bike trips and the Loire Valley takes top priority, especially in the beautiful countryside. I felt like I was riding through the quintessential France.- San Francisco, CA
This trip exceeded my expectations! What an amazing group of people, we truly bonded as a group and hope to plan another trip together. Traveling on your own you never know the type of group that will form but I couldn't have asked for a nicer group of people. Backroads was great because it allowed me to just relax, sit back and enjoy the adventure.- Arlington, VA
We very much enjoyed the venue, leadership and flexibility of the trip.- Boston, MA
Absolutely beautiful, amazing, and memorable! We loved every minute! The Loire Valley is magical! Our guides were exceptional! You all did it again! Thank you so very much!- Eden Prairie, MN
On the train back to Paris, my husband and I talked about how neither of us could think of a single way to make this trip better. Backroads has mastered client service.- Moreland Hills, OH