A weekend among vineyards and cliff dwellings

  • place
    Saumur– Saumur
  • compare_arrows
    45 km
  • access_time
    2 days– 1 night
  • people
  • Montsoreau © M. Chaigneau

The troglodyte dwellings and the vineyards are a characteristic feature of the Loire à Vélo cycle trail. Cycle through age-old rock chambers, discover the craftworkers who occupy these places and admire the surrounding hillsides of UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites.

Day 1: Saumur – Montsoreau - Fontevraud l’Abbaye – 25 km

Turquant © Région Pays-de-la-Loire M.Gross

Get to Saumur by train or car and rent your bike from one of the local bike rental outlets.

Start the morning on the Loire à Vélo trail along the banks of the Loire. Cross the D947 road at Souzay-Champigny. Make a stop here in this troglodyte village, where real underground streets will lead you to charming manor houses built into the cliffs. White facades of tuffeau stone dot the path through the heart of the Loire Valley.

Continue via the vineyards to Turquant, famous for its craft village nestled in the cliffs which overlook the Loire. An ideal spot to rest your legs! Meet with the craftworkers who combine tradition and modernity and admire a unique view of the vineyards. Take the time to visit the Musée des Pommes Tapées, dedicated to a local apple speciality, and enjoy a coffee at the edge of the vineyards.

On leaving Turquant, get back on the cycle trail along the banks of the Loire to reach the quaint village of Montsoreau, with its flower-filled streets in the summer, its cave dwellings, ancient lodges and architectural heritage. Its magnificent château ,on the banks of the Loire, is a unique blend of contemporary art and Renaissance heritage.
Have lunch in Montsoreau and pay a visit to the castle’s contemporary art museum, or enjoy a boat ride along the river.

Cycle for 6km more to reach Fontevraud.

Montsoreau - © S. Gaudard

Day 2 - From Fontevraud to Saumur – 20km

Fontevraud - © S. Gaudard

Begin the day with a visit to the Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud. The quaint streets will lead you to this architectural wonder, where you can contemplate the tombs of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart, discover the prison through its photo archives and admire contemporary art works. Digital devices are available to guide you through the site. 13 hectares of white stone and green landscapes to explore in a day or an afternoon…

Climb back on your bike and head through the hills towards Montsoreau. Just before you reach Montsoreau, turn left and follow the Loire à Vélo trail towards Turquant.  Make a stop at a wine cellar to meet with passionate winegrowers who will be happy to share the fruits of their labour with you.
Continue on to Parnay, where you can spot the Domaine de Rocheville built on the hilltop. This estate produces Saumur Champigny, one of the most renowned appellations of the Loire Valley. Its geographical location benefits from all the advantages of the Loire Valley, in terms of rainfall, the shelter of the Fontveraud forest and a microclimate.
The Château de Parnay, built with tuffeau stone, also possesses its own vineyard. You can visit the castle and admire more views of the Loire and the surrounding vineyards.
Picnic along the way with delicious local produce, or order your picnic hamper from Bonpicnic!

Parnay © M. Chaigneau
Château de Saumur © S. Gaudard

From Parnay, follow the Loire à Vélo trail via the hills in the direction of Saumur, to arrive directly at the Château de Saumur. A stunning view of the Loire awaits you from the patio, where you can contemplate the royal river one last time before heading back. Descend towards the town centre to stroll around the old town and enjoy a well-deserved break.

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