Current as of: April 25, 2024 - 04:49


Cycling the Chateaux of the Loire - Upgraded Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Self-Guided Holidays, Short Breaks
  • Destination: France
  • Programmes: Cycling
  • Activity Level:

    2 out of 7 - Leisurely / Moderate

  • 6 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 6 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 12+
  • Trip Code: C05LX

Trip Overview

This tour combines pleasant cycling with culture and places of interest. Discover pretty wine villages and charming towns in the Loire Valley.

This short break, gentle and unhurried 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 fields 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.

Enjoy the sweet and peaceful ‘Art de Vivre’ in boutique hotels and relax with a glass of local wine by the pool.

At a Glance

  • 5 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of 4 star hotels
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • E-bike hire available on request (supplement applies)
  • Route directions and maps 


  • Perfect for cycling, traffic-free lanes, majestic forests, vineyards, poppies and sunflowers fields
  • Splendour of the 'jewel' in the Loire crown, the Renaissance Chateau de Chenonceau and Chambord the largest chateau in the Loire Valley.
  • Masses of history and culture: pretty wine villages, charming towns including royal Blois, more chateaux than you could imagine.
  • Enjoy the selected charming 4* hotel accommodations for an unforgettable journey.

Is This Trip for You?

Cycling Conditions
Classification: Self-Guided
Average daily distance: 47km (29 miles).
No. of days cycling: 4
Terrain and route: This gentle and unhurried cycling holiday follows a triangular route through the heart of the great Loire Valley. 

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 accommodations, 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. Your bikes will be delivered to the start hotel, all set up relevant to your height and ready to go. Our local agent 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 into larger towns and cities.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local agent is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.


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 directions contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local agent is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Adult min age: 12


C05LX map

Land Only

  • Start City: Blois
  • End City: Blois

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival in Blois

Explore the cobbled streets, arcaded squares and impressive chateau of this pretty riverside town before dinner.
You stay at Hotel Mercure

Day 2
Blois to Amboise

Cycle through nice tiny villages to Chaumont-sur-Loire and its spectacular chateau, which hosts the International Garden Festival (May-Oct). Then continue on the ‘Loire a Velo’ cycling tracks before arriving at the charming town of Amboise where the greatest Kings of France lived.

Visit the flamboyant Royal Palace and the elegant Clos Luce, a C15 manor house where Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked for the last few years of his life. His workshops house 40 giant models of some of his most spectacular creations, the first plane, helicopter and tank, and the beautifully landscaped gardens bring life to his botanical drawings and geographical designs.
You stay at Hotel Charme Rabelaisien

Distance covered: 26mi (42km)

Activity hours: 3

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Amboise to Chenonceaux

Gentle pedalling through the vineyards of Montlouis sur Loire will bring you 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. This chateau was the scene of a famous rivalry in French history: that of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici.

Enjoy a walk in the heart of the Diane de Poitiers’s garden, then the Catherine de Medici’s one. Take a breath, under the shadow of one of the huge park trees, at the rhythm of the river murmur which will tell you stories about these 2 rival women.
You stay at the Hotel Bon Laboureur

Distance covered: 27mi (44km)

Activity hours: 3

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4
Chenonceaux to Cheverny

Ride along the peaceful riverbanks of the Cher to the medieval town of Montrichard. Leaving the Cher Valley and enter the vineyards of Touraine via the Chateau de Fougeres-sur-Bievre a small fortified castle which perfectly illustrates the local building arts of the 15th century.

Then, discover the famous sumptuously furnished Chateau of Cheverny. Inhabited by the same family for over 6 centuries, the Chateau, its gardens, its labyrinth and its Tintin exhibition will give you an unforgettable experience.
You stay at Relais des 3 chateaux

Distance covered: 34mi (54km)

Activity hours: 4

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Cheverny to Blois

Cycle to the prestigious and largest Chateau de Chambord, a real masterpiece of French Renaissance period with its 440 rooms. Dreamed up by Francois I to cement his power in stone, the Chateau de Chambord is an unparalleled architectural exploit. Among the numerous innovations in Chambord, the double helix staircase is without a doubt one of the most remarkable. This staircase, which allows for two people to walk without crossing paths, has always fascinated visitors.

Then, ride along the Loire riverbank before arriving in Blois.
You stay at the Hotel Mercure

Possibility to upgrade your last night in Blois in a 5* hotel with a gastronomic dining experience


Distance covered: 31mi (50km)

Activity hours: 3.5

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Leave Blois

Depart Blois after breakfast.

Meals included: Breakfast

Ascents, descents and distances

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. Please note, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.



Cycling the Chateaux of the Loire – Upgraded

Guests have free access to the fitness centre and wellness area, including indoor heated pool, a sauna, steam room and hot tub. Free WiFi is available in all hotel’s areas.
All the air-conditioned rooms have a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and Wi-Fi access. A seating area and a courtesy tray with tea and coffee are also provided.
Buffet breakfast is served every morning. Guests can have drinks and cocktails at the Wine Not? hotel bar. ‘Le Quai’, the hotel restaurant, features regional cuisine made from seasonal products.

Room Upgrade

Possibility to upgrade your last night in Blois in a 5* hotel with a gastronomic dining experience

Hotel Au Charme Rabelaisien is a charming 18th-century hotel nestled in the historical heart of the city of Amboise. Make sure you also take the time to relax in the heated, outdoor swimming pool or on the sun terrace. The spacious rooms with antique furniture are a haven of tranquility and provide a great feeling of relaxation in a warm atmosphere. Both rooms are equipped with high-standard bathrooms (jet showers, bathtubs, etc.) A wellness area with hot tub, sauna and fitness room is also available at the property. Free WiFi is provided throughout.

This 18th-century country inn is located in the centre of Chenonceaux, just 500 m from the Castle of Chenonceau. It offers an heated outdoor swimming pool during summer and winter and Scandinavian baths. Guest rooms are elegantly decorated and are equipped with air conditioning and a TV with satellite channels. Each room has a private bathroom including bathrobes and slippers. Free Wi-Fi is available. You can stroll around the peaceful garden setting before dining in the gourmet restaurant. Auberge du Bon Laboureur also features a bar with an extensive wine list and a buffet breakfast is served every morning, which can also be enjoyed in the guest’s room.

Founded in 1850 to welcome voyagers travelling on foot, by horse and by car. The ancient stables are still visible in the current restaurant area, they could shelter up to 100 saddle and draught horses.
It soon became one of the main relay stops between Blois and Romorantin. In order to perpetuate the tradition, the restaurant has kept the original name of Les Trois Marchands : The three Merchands. An additional curiosity about the history of this building: The part that adjoins the church was a former convent.
Located in the heart of Cour-Cheverny, is now a days engaged both in keeping up its history and in preserving its conviviality spirit. This charming four stars hotel has been fully renovated and offers all the comfort of modern facilities. The atmosphere evokes the Renaissance style: curved shaped designed furniture, warm tones of the tapestries together with handcraft made lights respect the refined style of the charm typical of the Loir Valley.


Single supplement from £ 506

Food & Drink

All breakfasts are included

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.


Your luggage will be transported between the hotels by our local representative. They are often able to dispatch a taxi should you need it, but may wish to charge you for this service. You will be pedaling under your own steam but the emergency number for our local operator is in the trip notes if you need assistance.

Weather & Seasonality

The Loire valley is blessed with fantastic weather for cycling. The spring and autumn seasons experience mild climates with temperatures averaging 16-20 degrees Celsius. 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.

Weather Charts

Weather chart Loire

Joining Instructions

Flight inclusive prices include our standard flights, onward rail and station transfers.

British Airways Heathrow to Paris CDG 07:20/09:35 then rail Paris Montparnasse to Blois-Chambord via St Pierre des Corps 12:29/15:15 (Mon-Fri), Paris Austerlitz to Blois-Chambord 12:37/14:06 (Sat) & Paris Austerlitz to Blois-Chambord via Orleans 13:22/15:20 (Sun) and walk to the hotel opposite the station.
Return: Walk to the station opposite the hotel then rail Blois-Chambord to Paris Montparnasse via St Pierre des Corps 11:30/13:33 (Mon-Fri) & Blois-Chambord to Paris Austerlitz 12:03/13:39 (Sat & Sun) then British Airways Paris CDG to Heathrow 17:40/17:55 (Tues), 18:05/18:20 Sun, Mon & Weds) & 18:50/19:05 (Fri, Sat & Thurs).

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Blois
Location end: Blois

What To Take

Essential Equipment

– warm top and leggings for the early spring and autumn departures

– windproof and waterproof layer

– comfortable shoes and clothes for the time off the bike if you want to explore the towns

Self-Guided Hire Bikes

We use touring bikes provided by our local agent. All bikes are supplied with:

  • rear pannier
  • bike lock
  • 1 puncture repair kit

Bike sizes will have been given to the local operator in advance from the heights you have given us on booking. However, when you receive your bike there will be the opportunity to test and adjust.

Please note helmets are not provided and we recommend that you take your own on this trip.

Bike Repairs

As you are riding unaccompanied, it is wise to know at least how to repair an inner tube before setting off on your bike! The bikes are serviced before being rented out so there should be no problems but there are emergency numbers provided in the Route Notes for more complex problems.

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may, of course, bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount on the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to your sales representative for individual airline fees. Please note, this does not apply to trips within the UK, for which local bike hire is not included.

You will also be responsible for assembling and disassembling your bike as well as bringing along spare parts and any tools specific to it. It is also your responsibility to ensure your bike is roadworthy and suitable for the type of cycling undertaken. If in doubt, the model of local bike hire available should act as a guide and details of terrain, ascent and descent are available both in the itinerary and in the ‘Is this trip for you?’ sections. Our cycling team only carry the relevant spares for the hire fleet. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft, you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra bike accessories

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose ‘over-shorts’ where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum bag (fanny pack) or small close-fitting daysack.

Local Bike Details

A quality local hire bike is included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.


1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.
2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.
3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment
4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

E-Bikes Available

Electric bikes offer all the thrills and healthy exercise of a regular bike, but with one crucial difference – power! A tiny electric motor (capped at 20-25mph/32-40kph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are perfect if you want a trip with companions of differing fitness level – or a trip at a slightly harder grade – and want to know there’s a bit of motor power available if you need it.

Practical Information



Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter France. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.
Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.
• Australia:
• Canada:
• United Kingdom:
• USA:

Vaccinations and Health


There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Local Time

France's time zone: Europe/Paris (UTC +02:00)


France's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard) and E (two round pins) – 230V, 50Hz

Cycling the Chateaux of the Loire – Upgraded


France's currency: Euros (EUR)

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can’t get to a bank at the start of the trip. 

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will need money for lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks and any sites you wish to go to. Lunches can be inexpensive if you buy produce from local markets or shops and make up a picnic. However, if you stop at a café you can easily spend €15. We would recommend budgeting for €5-15 for lunches and allow an additional €10 a day for any extras.

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

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.


Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.