Maps, topoguides, GPS tracks ...

Is the whole length of the itinerary signposted?

The itinerary of La Loire à Vélo is designed to be easy and secure. All 900 km are fully converted and signposted. You can cycle by following the signs from east to west or the other way around.  Take a look at the signs you might see during your trip

Is there a detailed map of the route?

The mapping information on the loireavelo.fr website comes directly from the geographic information system (G.I.S) of the Regional Council of Centre-Val de Loire and Pays de La Loire, which allows for the trail to be defined precisely and updated on a regular basis. There is no printed map which outlines the whole itinerary. In order to help guide you throughout your trip you can either refer to topo-guides, download GPS tracks, or access the mobile version of the website on your smartphone.

Are there topo-guides on La Loire à Vélo and where do I find them?

Yes! Specialised publishers and pioneers in cycling routes in France such as Le Routard à Vélo, Chamina and Ouest France have written about La Loire à Vélo. You will find them in the Topo-guides column. These topo-guides are regularly updated and contain detailed maps of La Loire à Vélo, section by section, practical and tourist information, useful addresses, specialised services and equipment, etc. in order to make your journey easier.

Can I download the GPS tracks of the itinerary?

You can download the GPS tracks of Loire à Vélo in GPX La format and then easily transfer them to your cycling GPS unit. There are two ways in which you can do that: either by downloading one of the itineraries from the route suggestions  or by creating your own itinerary and importing the tracks directly from your logbook

Prepare your trip

Which is the right type of bicycle for La Loire à Vélo?

La Loire à Vélo is a cycle route, therefore it follows all types of secure paths i.e. small roads with light traffic, cycle paths, green lanes. The road surface isn’t only asphalt and is therefore not always suitable for racing bikes with narrow tyres. For trips that last several days, it is preferable to embark with a hybrid bicycle. To find out more, visit the pages “Tipps for organising your trip” and “Overview of La Loire à Vélo. La Loire à Vélo lives up to its name. It is meant for bike travel, preferably with a hybrid bike. The itinerary is not suitable for other non-motorised vehicles (rollerblades, scooters, quadricycles, etc.).

Is the route accessible for people with reduced mobility?

Only the strips on green lanes which are reserved for non-motorised vehicles are accessible for people with reduced mobility. You can find the ‘Tourisme et Handicap’ establishments in the accommodation section

I’ve never done a bike trip before. How many kilometres should I cover a day?

If you are in a normal physical condition, start with 30 to 40 km per day. During the first days keep your speed at 10 km/h. This will leave you the time to discover the rich landscapes and cultural heritage or take advantage of the activities included in the itinerary. Depending on your level of fitness you can then progressively increase the travel distance.

Can I do La Loire à Vélo with children?

La Loire à Vélo is perfectly suitable for families, thanks to its easy, signposted and secure trail and the many rest areas situated along the whole route. The path alternates between ‘car-free’ roads (green lanes and cycling paths) and ‘shared-lane’ roads (bike lanes, roads with light traffic and non-transit roads). You can view the type of roads which the route follows on the map. (lien vers la cartographie). Furthermore, bike hire companies also offer equipment which is suitable for children (bike trailers, etc.). And finally, the itinerary includes many exciting things to see and do for both young and old. (Lien vers page « Sites et loisirs pour jeunes  et autour de l’eau »)

Is the accommodation suitable for bike tourists?

All of the accommodation on the website is part of the national initiative ‘Accueil Vélo’, which guarantees a warm welcome and specific services that cater for bike tourists. They are located less than 5 km away from the itinerary. They are equipped with a secure bike storage room, a bike repair kit, cleaning materials, etc.

Where can I park my car for a long period of time?

Before leaving, contact the Tourist Office of your city of departure. It may be able to tell you where you can park your vehicle. There are long-term car parks situated along the itinerary and close to train stations. This makes it easier for you to plan your return journey, if you decide you want to travel back with public transport . You can also ask your first host. Perhaps they will also be able to give you advice.  In certain accommodation you can park your vehicle and leave it there while you are following the itinerary.

What is the best time to travel along the route?

A spectacular scenery is guaranteed throughout the year. Nevertheless, the period from April to October offers better weather conditions for cycling than the winter period. Moreover, the Loire is a wild river, which sometimes overflows its banks, especially in winter and early spring: get information about the next leg of your trip – trafficability, current landscaping projects and roadworks

What direction should I cover La Loire à Vélo in? East to west or west to east?

La Loire à Vélo is just as easy to cover in both directions. The wind is the only thing that can pose somewhat of a challenge: the dominant west winds often push cycling tourists inland, away from the ocean. But every self-respecting local will tell you that the Loire has two faces, depending on whether you are travelling towards its source or its mouth.

Services on the itinerary

Can I rent a bike in one city and leave it in another?

The majority of bike hire companies listed as ‘Accueil Vélo’ offer this service. Thus, you can rent a bike in one city and then return it in another rental outlet. You can even have it delivered to your hotel or a train station. Find all the bike hire companies and their rental outlets to make the planning of your trip easier

Are there any secure bike parking stations and luggage lockers in the tourist sites and cities?

The tourism and leisure sites listed as ‘Accueil Vélo’ have bike parking stations near their entrance. Some of them are also equipped with luggage storage rooms. This service is also offered by some bike hire companies and accommodations. Finally, the ‘Accueil Vélo’ tourist offices can also direct you to the nearest luggage storage site.

Can I have my luggage transported?

If you want to travel light, a luggage transportation service is offered by specialised service providers. These professionals will come to your accommodation in the morning to pick up your luggage and will carry it to your next accommodation during the day.  

How do I send my bike back to my point of departure?

There are several ways for transporting your bike on La Loire à Vélo A network of specialised logistics professionals offer a transportation service for bikes or passengers. If you are travelling in a group, we strongly advise you to contact these professionals to take care of your bikes. Under certain conditions, you can also take your bike on TER trains and regional buses. In the summertime, consider Train Vélo Loire: a bike reception service in specially equipped cars on the Interloire Orléans / Saint-Nazaire route

Can I cross the Saint-Nazaire Bridge with my bike?

The over 3 km long bridge allows you to cross the estuary of the Loire between Saint-Brevin and Saint-Nazaire. The vehicles there travel on a three-lane motorway and the traffic can be quite heavy at certain hours. Although it is possible, we urge you not to cross the bridge with your bike, because it is not suitable for bikes and is dangerous because of the wind and the road traffic. You can cross the bridge safely with a shuttle bus or taxi. Find out more at How to cross the bridge of Saint Nazaire ?

How can I take my bike on trains/buses/planes?

The transport requirements vary depending on the mode of transport. You might have to fold or dismantle your bike or pay a fee so that you can take it with you. Find practical information on accessing the itinerary

Where can I charge my electric bike along the itinerary?

You can charge your electric bike along La Loire à Vélo at one of the charging stations on the itinerary or with Accueil Vélo service providers. Places that provide charging stations: – Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, place du Port (fast charging station) (sat nav coordinates: longitude 2.22252852 – latitude 47.8599924) – The National Domain of Chambord (fast charging station) – Accueil Vélo et Rando in Tours (fast charging station) – The Tourist Office in Villandry cycle rest areas in Montsoreau (sat nav coordinates: longitude 0.05495 – latitude 47.21753) – cycle rest areas in Souzay-Champigny (sat nav coordinates: longitude -0.07216 – latitude 47.25768) – cycle rest areas in Les Rosiers sur Loire (sat nav coordinates: longitude -0.21351 – latitude 47.34325) – cycle rest areas in Gennes Val de Loire (sat nav coordinates: longitude -0.23109 – latitude 47.34293) – Destination Anjou Vignoble et Villages ( sat nav coordinates: longitude -0.7632566 – latitude 47.3513941) – cycle rest areas in Champtoceaux (sat nav coordinates: longitude -1.2750323 – latitude 47.3391298) – cycle rest areas in Frossay (sat nav coordinates: longitude -1.9157145 – latitude 47.2587559) – Charging station at Frossay (sat nav coordinates: longitude -1.9356 – latitude 47.2445) – cycle rest areas in Paimboeuf (sat nav coordinates: longitude -2.0284347534179688 – latitude 47.2894172668457) – Charging station at Paimboeuf (sat nav coordinates: longitude -2.0283382 – latitude 47.2894181) – cycle rest areas in Corsept (sat nav coordinates: longitude -2.0627645 – latitude 47.2797502) – Charging station at Corsept (sat nav coordinates: longitude -2.0572671 – latitude 47.2793477) – cycle rest areas in Saint-Brevin (sat nav coordinates: longitude -2.1672923 – latitude 47.2680433) – Charging station at Saint-Brevin Pôle de la Bresse – GPS : longitude -2.1624132 – latitude 47.2479549 Boulevard de l’Océan – GPS : longitude -2.175140380859375 – latitude 47.22843933105469 Parking Aquajade – GPS : longitude -2.1547505 – latitude 47.2361221 – cycle rest areas in Mindin – Saint-Brevin (GPS : latitude 47.2680433 – longitude -2.1672923) – cycle rest areas in Pointeau – Saint-Brevin (GPS : latitude 47.23227 – longitude -2.17928) You can also charge electric bike batteries with Accueil Vélo professionals and at Accueil Vélo tourist sites.

The Loire by Bike website

What are the site’s features?

The loireavelo.fr website has many features. You can:
  • Create your own itinerary
  • Plan the stages of your journey depending on your desired pace
  • Add the tourist services that you are interested in (accommodation, bike rental, visits, activities, etc.) to your itinerary and book some of them through the website.
  • Import selected GPS tracks
  • Share your experiences, photos, etc. after or during your stay by completing a form on the contact page