amboise_chateau

Cycling The Chateaux Of The Loire - Short Break Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays, Short Breaks, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
France
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
C05LO
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

6 Days Flight Inclusive
6 Days Land only
Ages: 12+

Trip Overview

This 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.

At a Glance

  • 5 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation in 3 star hotels
  • Continental breakfasts daily
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • Route directions and maps 

Trip Highlights

  • 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.

Is This Trip for You?

Cycling Conditions
Classification: Self-Guided
Average daily distance: 47.5km (29.5 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.

Group

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

Itinerary

C05LO 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 Blois Chateau

  • 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.
    You stay at Hotel Bellevue

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 42 km / 26 miles
  • 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 La Roseraie 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 44 km / 27 miles
  • Day 4

    Chenonceaux to Chitenay

    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 Château de Fougères-sur-Bièvre a small fortified castle which perfectly illustrates the local building arts of the 15th century.
    You stay at the Auberge du Centre

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 54 km / 33 miles
  • Day 5

    Chitenay to Blois

    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. Then, continue to the prestigious and largest Chateau de Chambord, a real masterpiece of French Renaissance period with its 440 rooms, built during the reign of Francis the 1st. Then, ride along the Loire riverbank before arriving in Blois.
    You stay at the Hotel Blois Chateau 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 50 km / 31 miles
  • Day 6

    Leave Blois

    Depart Blois after breakfast.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels

swimming_pool_at_auberge_du_centre

HOTEL BLOIS CHATEAU, BLOIS
Blois Château is located 5 minutes from Blois city centre and 150 m from Blois SNCF train station. It offers free WiFi and a free garage for motorbikes and bicycles. Each air-conditioned rooms is equipped with tea and coffee making facilities, satellite TV and a fully equipped private bathroom. All rooms have access to the executive lounge. Blois Château has a 24-hour front desk service.

HOTEL BELLEVUE, AMBOISE
Situated in the centre of Amboise in the Centre region, this hotel is just 50 m from Château d’Amboise. It offers a terrace and a lounge bar and restaurant. Each of the soundproofed guest rooms at Hotel Bellevue is equipped with a flat-screen TV and free WiFi access. They also include a private bathroom with a shower or a bathtub. Breakfast including fresh fruit, bread and cakes is served in the spacious breakfast room or on the terrace on sunny mornings. Eggs, bacon and sausages are also provided. Drinks can be enjoyed in the hotel’s bar.

HOTEL LA ROSERAIE, CHENONCEAUX
Ideally situated in the centre of Chenonceaux and just a 400m from the chateau, the Hotel La Roseraie, built in the 18th century offers comfortable rooms and a wonderful place to relax after a day walking or sightseeing with its garden and pool.

AUBERGE DU CENTRE, CHITENAY
Tucked away in the elegant little village of Chitenay is the lovely ivy-clad Auberge du Centre, run by the charming Martinet family. Dinner is served either in the pretty dining room, or on the terrace.
The hotel has a pleasant terrace overlooking its pretty gardens and swimming pool (pool towels are provided; ask at reception), which are a real treat on a summer's day, as well as an attractive sitting area inside, complete with wooden beams and comfy chairs.
Access to the Spa area is payable locally at 15€ per person per day. Access is free to those staying in a 'Balneo' room.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £300.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

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.

Transportation

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

Weather Information

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 and onward rail.

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.

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.

Conditions 

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.

Bringing Your Own Bike

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 our Sales team for individual airline fees.

N.B 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 to be 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 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 that 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 Bits

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 or small close-fitting daysack.

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 25mph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are just perfect if you want to try 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.

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Practical Information

Passport

France

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

France

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

France

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

France's Timezone:
Europe/Paris CET (GMT +01:00)

Electricity

France's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Money

France's Currency

The national currency of France is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

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.

rooves_of_medieval_amboise

Responsible Tourism

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

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake 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.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances 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.

On all trips

In 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 you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 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.

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; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, 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.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

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. Book with confidence: 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 monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.