Headwater - Loire Gastronomic Cycling - Short Break

5 days
from
£1,139
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Leisurely
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Trip code: 
C04LR
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided
Activity:
Cycling
Min age:
12

This gentle and unhurried gastronomic cycling holiday follows a triangular route through the heart of the great Loire Valley. Highlights include the majestic chateaux of Amboise and Chambord, and the rich Renaissance splendour of Chenonceau. You'll pass vineyards, sunflowers and pretty, sleepy villages, before pedalling gently along shady riverbanks and out through open countryside abundant with wildlife.

On each cycling day, you'll have the opportunity to taste dozens of different wines - stopping at big wineries or village vineyards as the mood takes you - in a wine region more varied and diverse than any other in the world.

Highlights

  • Easy, flat cycling and short distances - perfect if you've not cycled for years
  • Superb hotels, all with pools, including a bijou waterfront hotel and a luxurious chateau
  • France's finest chateaux: Amboise, Chambord, Cheverny, Chenonceau
  • Truly outstanding gastronomic menus and world-famous wines - tasting opportunities galore
  • Shady riverside cycling paths, lush forest trails, quiet country lanes
  • Based on our popular 6 night, Loire Gastronomic Cycling

Key information

  • 4 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation
  • All continental breakfast and gastronomic evening meals
  • Services of your local Headwater Representative
  • Headwater Wine Collection Service
  • GPS route directions and maps
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality hybrid bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • All continental breakfast and gastronomic evening meals
  • Services of your local Headwater Representative
  • Headwater Wine Collection Service
  • GPS route directions and maps
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality hybrid bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request -compulsory supplement)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request)
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

3

Days of Cycling
Terrain:

The suggested cycling mainly follows quiet tarmac roads with a few sections on dirt roads. The terrain is mainly flat with a few undulating sections, ideal for first timers.

Day by day breakdown
Day 229.0km/18.0miles
Day 432.0km/20.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here

Itinerary

London
to
London
  • Day 1

    Arrive at Chissay

    Arrive at Chissay and take some time to enjoy a swim before dinner. (Staying at Chateau de Chissay, Half board)

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Chissay to St-Ouen-Les-Vignes

    Gentle pedalling along the banks of the Cher will bring you first to the superb Chateau de Chenonceau with its famous arches majestically spanning the river. Described by Flaubert as floating 'on air and water', it's arguably the most beautiful of all the Loire landmarks. Lunch here perhaps on the terrace of the Orangerie restaurant before heading off through the shady Amboise forest and on to Amboise. Don't worry if you don't have time to explore properly today as you can easily come back tomorrow. Your final stretch leads to the elegant village of St Ouen-les-Vignes and Jacques and Odile Arrayet's bijou hotel beside the river. Odile is a professional sommelier, and Jacques artistic chef de cuisine, so you're in for some treats here! (Staying at Hotel L'Aubiniere, Half board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    St-Ouen-Les-Vignes to Chitenay

    Lovely peaceful cycling today with a choice of routes depending on how energetic you're feeling! The shorter option takes you via the sleepy village of Limeray (with a lovely white church with an impressive collection of statues) or you can head north through open countryside to Autreche - there's masses of wildlife so keep the binoculars handy! All cyclists then go on to Chaumont - the chateau here once belonged to Catherine de Medici and is quite spectacular. Between May and October, it hosts the International Garden Festival with a different theme each year. A final, shady riverside stretch takes you via the pretty villages of Les Montils and Seur and on to Chitenay. (Staying at Auberge du Centre, Half board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Chitenay to Chissay

    Head south past well-tended vines and sleepy hamlets surrounded by fields of sunflowers Perhaps enjoy lunch on the terrace beside the fortified chateau of Fougeres-sur-Bievre, before free-wheeling downhill to the River Cher. Here you'll find the charming old quarter of mediaeval Montrichard, huddled beneath the C11 keep, with lots of open air cafes and splendid half-timbered houses. A final flat cycle follows the Cher back to Chateau de Chissay for a well-earned dip in the pool! (Staying at Chateau de Chissay, Half board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Leave Chissay

    Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in France for children under 12. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

France

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

The Loire prides itself on it's cuisine. It is refined country cooking, not heavy but rich in flavours and textures, drawing on the great garden of the Loire valley. Fruit and vegetables abound. Asparagus, artichokes, button mushrooms, cherries and strawberries from the Loire are transported to kitchens throughout France, which demonstrates the quality of the produce. These all provide delicious accompaniments to the duck, venison and wild boar dishes (all hunted locally) and served in sauces using wines from the local vineyards. Fish also features in abundance. With three wide, gently flowing rivers passing through the region, freshwater fish appear on most menus. 'Sandre' (pikeperch) and breme (bream) are especially popular and are usually served in a beurre blanc sauce - made with shallots, butter, dry white wine and vinegar. The majority of the cheese found in the region is goat's cheese. We suggest trying Selles-sur-Cher from the neighbouring Blesois region. Desserts are often based on the fruit from the local orchards. They include 'tarte tatin', a yummy caramelised upside-down apple pie - the invention of two absent-minded sisters in their attempt to salvage a dessert they had dropped on the floor.

The Loire is undoubtedly one of Europe's finest wine producing regions with many of the separate wine areas producing red, white, rose and sparkling wines. Distinctive whites include Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume, Vouvray and Muscadet; for reds, try Chinin, Bourgueil and Saumur. Anjou is by far the most popular rose.

We offer a complimentary wine carrying service on this holiday. Just purchase your wine at the vineyards en-route and our rep will collect your purchases for you and transport them to your final hotel for you to collect at the end of the holiday.

Weather

The Loire valley is blessed with fantastic weather for cycling. The spring and autumn seasons experience mild climates with temperatures averaging 16-20 degrees Celcius. The summers are generally warmer with temperatures reaching the high 20s. There is always the chance of rain so it is best to be prepared for this with a waterproof layer, it is also good to have a warmer layer for the early mornings and evenings.

Is this trip for you?

Cycling Conditions
Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)
Average daily distance: 32.6km (20.5 miles).
No. of days cycling: 3
Terrain and route: The suggested cycling mainly follows quiet tarmac roads with a few sections on dirt roads. The terrain is mainly flat with a few undulating sections, ideal for first timers.
Vehicle Support:This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. A representative will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The routes notes contain an emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Families

Self-guided cycling holidays are a perfect option for families as they offer the freedom for you to take your holiday at your own pace. You can stop as and when you want and need, at the cafes and restaurants that suit your family and the sites that interest you. Our local partner is able to offer child seats for children aged 2-4yrs and bikes for children aged 8 and above. These are all subject to availability, and therefore we ask that you enquire about these on booking. Please note due to the size of the bikes and distance required to cycle, this trip is not appropriate for children aged from 5-7yrs (who are too big for the child seats, but not big enough to ride the children’s bike). As a guide we have suggested that 2yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you. The daily distances are all published in the trip notes along with a description of each days cycling so you have a good idea of what to expect. However, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts. The principle idea is that these holidays can be as flexible as you like, with logistical support but no group or leader to dictate the daily activities. Please bear in mind the weather when choosing to book, temperatures can be very high in the middle of summer and the child seats provided do not have any shade. We therefore recommend going either earlier or later on in the season if you have young children.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

The places you'll be staying in have been hand-picked for their elegant cuisine, extensive wines and beautiful settings. All have picturesque gardens and private swimming pools, and the Chateau de Chissay (where you spend 2 nights) is a former royal residence! Headwater's specially created gastronomic menus (typically 4 courses) include dishes such as sandre en croute d'escargots, selle d'agneau a l'ail nouveau and le moelleux au chocolat Valrhona, all washed down with a glass or two of the many fine local wines.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 020 8772 3936