Our Loire Valley Cycle Tour takes in a great number of the spectacular chateaux that line the banks of the River Loire. Allow our guides to lead you through the traffic-free lanes to Chateau d’Ussé, the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty, and Clos Lucé, the temporary residence of Leonardo da Vinci. If you don’t fancy the challenge of the odd hill then this cycle tour is for you with its almost flat sunflower-filled landscape peppered with beautiful towns and villages. The end of the days bring stunning accommodation in beautiful locations accompanied by gourmet traditional food and local wine.
The Loire Valley climate is temperate, ideal for cycling, with few extremes. Average daytime summer temperatures are in the high twenties and low thirties centigrade though it is much warmer at the height of the midday sun.
The Romans occupied what is now Pays de la Loire in 52 BC after displacing the powerful Cenomanni and Carnute tribes during the Iron Age, and they were responsible for creating the towns of Angers and Le Mans. Christianity gained the ascendancy in 313 and the following centuries witnessed a series of invasions, notably the Vikings in the 9th century. The end of the first millennium saw the rise of the powerful counts of Maine and Anjou––the most famous being Henri Plantagenet, who later became King of England. In 1202, the region eventually returned to the French crown and soon became the cradle of feudalism and, in the 16th century, a platform for Renaissance ideas including architecture, literature and music. The Wars of Religion (1562-79) took its toll on the region until King Louis XIV managed to restore peace and order as power was centralised under the crown.
The cuisine of the Loire is one of the richest in France and includes fish from the Atlantic Ocean, shellfish from the estuary and freshwater fish caught in the many rivers. The many fish dishes include lamproie, an eel like fish caught in the estuaries and cooked in walnut oil; grilled chard, tench, or carp, with a sorrel sauce, and friture de la Loire, small fish caught in the Loire, deep fried and served with lemon. Upon travelling around the region it is evident that fish dishes give way to meat and game, including pork with plums and cream, stuffed cabbage with hare and partridge with wild mushrooms. Tarts and pies, using local fruits, figure prominently in the region also. A frequently found dessert of the region is clafoutis; a batter cake stuffed with cherries, which used to be served to the pickers during the grape harvest, and is still popular today.
The Loire Valley is known for its wines, with about 75% of the wine produced in the region being white, created from the Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon grape; the Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Gamay are used for the making of the red. Touraine, at the centre of the Loire Valley, and where we’ll be concentrating our tour, is a huge wine growing area and is where you can find most of the well known Châteaux de la Loire; home to such appellations as Touraine, Bourgueil, Chinon and Vouvray.
Cycling the Loire with this dynamic duo is too memorable for words. The fantastic food & wine, great routes, lovely accomodation are only surpassed by feeling on top of the world at the end of it. For the hearty as well as faint of heart cyclists alike. Can’t wait until my next adventure with Gary and Germain.
-Mary & Katie – London UK & USA
We can see why they call it the Valley of the Kings because we lived like a couple for the length of the tour. Great food, great scenery, great company and wonderful hotels. Will be recommending you guys to all our friends.
-Brad & Angela – Boston, USA
Thank you Gary for looking after all our needs. Love this place and your team made it all that bit more special. Would love to try one of the other tours…………we’ll be back. We’ll miss those beautiful hotel rooms and those fantastic meals…………oh, and the wine!
-Jeff & Margaret – Toronto, Canada
Europe was magnificent, but the highlight was definitely joining you for the Loire Valley tour. How did you find such beautiful places to stay?. You’re right, why shouldn’t a cycle tour be a deluxe experience. Great food, wine and people. We won’t forget this for a long time.
-Bob & Brenda – Christchurch, New Zealand