Pedal through a lush forest. Emerge as if you're in a fairy tale. Standing proudly before you is a château of Renaissance majesty, its gardens sculpted to perfection. You're in an architect's wonderland. Artists and writers escape to the Loire—even da Vinci spent his last years here. If you dream of living like royalty, there's no place more ideal.
1-2 Relish exquisite cuisine and acclaimed Vouvray wines Your first ride amid peaceful woodland and picture-perfect villages illustrates why biking in the Loire Valley is such a delight Join a vintner for a private tour and degustation at the family's centuries-old wine cave On two wheels, explore the rich landscape that attracted French royalty With its many imaginative and beautifully manicured gardens, Château de Chaumont—which hosts the International Garden Festival every year—is an awe-inspiring sight.
3-4 Discover Renaissance, medieval and classical châteaux Alongside a private guide, soak up the glamour of Château de Chenonceau—the ultimate pleasure palace—which spans the River Cher and brims with rare tapestries and magnificent paintings Cycle through tranquil hamlets, green pastures, and fields of wheat and sunflowers into the Forêt de Villandry Visit some of France's most stunning gardens and experience Renaissance grandeur at the 16th-century Château de Villandry Dine on classic French specialties as you relish superb views of the valley in evening light.
5-6 The royal treatment is de rigueur at our gracious hotels Roll past troglodyte caves that housed people (and wine!) for centuries as you make your way to bustling Azay-le-Rideau, a wonderful place to fill your bike bag with goodies for a picnic down the road Have a look around Chinon, known as much for its full-bodied red wines as for its turbulent history Before saying au revoir to the Loire Valley, head out on one last spin around the castle-dotted landscape, enjoying the quiet morning as the countryside slowly comes to life.