Starting in Orléans, spend a leisurely weekend discovering the multitude of islands and bird species hidden along this section of the river. Admire the many authentic towns along the way, home to gardens, châteaux, abbeys and much more.
Day 1: Orléans to Châteauneuf-sur-Loire (32 km):
- Cross the historic Georges V bridge to the south bank and follow the Loire à Vélo route. Destination: Sully-sur-Loire! You will soon leave Orléans behind you as you cycle along the peaceful route to Charlemagne Island… The many playgrounds and observation points provide ideal stopovers if you have children. Next, carry on at a good pace until you reach Jargeau where you can stop for lunch. For those with a sweet tooth, make a quick detour to Ayrole chocolate makers for a tasty treat or two! It’s time to continue the journey, with another small detour via Sigloy and the Passeurs de Loire to discover the local fauna and flora aboard a traditional boat.
- At the end of the day, head to Châteauneuf-sur-Loire for the night, a small town on the banks of the Loire. Don’t forget to visit to the Departmental park of the Château where you can enjoy a breathtaking stroll among the hundred-year-old trees on the banks of the Loire. For your accommodation, you can choose according to your desires and budget: Villa Moya and the Hôtel du Parc will welcome you in a verdant setting, while the more adventurous can opt for La Maltournée campsite, ideally situated on the banks of the Loire.
Day 2: Châteauneuf-sur-Loire to Sully-sur-Loire (20 km):
- The adventure continues over the last 20km separating you from Sully-sur-Loire, following the constant meanderings of the river. Leave the itinerary for a few kilometres in the direction of Germigny-des-Prés (leave your bikes at the Tourist Office during your stop) and visit the must-see Carolingian Oratory. Admission is free and you can admire a stunning Carolingian mosaic lining the upper dome of the church. After this exotic detour, continue along the Loire à Vélo. A little more effort will take you to Saint-Benoît-sur- Loire, where the imposing Benedictine Abbey of Fleury welcomes you to the city. Feeling hungry? There’s nothing like a lunch menu or a few regional specialities from Boulangerie des Ecoles to fill you up… to be enjoyed with a view of the Abbey! Don’t forget to visit the Abbey of Fleury, which was founded in 630 and is one of the most remarkable Romanesque buildings in France. To find out more, don’t hesitate to visit the Romanesque Art and Abbey Interpretation Centre in the Belvedere next to the religious building, which will teach you all about this piece of heritage and its history. It is also the burial place of a famous poet: Max Jacob. Admission to the building is free, or you can opt for a guided tour for €4 per person.
- Return to your bikes for the last leg of your journey: 10km separating you from Sully-sur-Loire, mainly on greenways. Take a quiet break at Mahis Island where you can spot beavers and otters if you are lucky! After a final effort, cross to the other side of the Loire along the railway bridge adapted for cyclists: you have arrived at Sully-sur-Loire, the final stop of your adventure! Don’t miss out on a visit to the Château of Sully-sur-Loire, a genuine medieval fortress. Admission is €7, or €8 for a guided tour. It’s the end of your weekend! To return to Orléans, enjoy a comfortable ride on Line 3 of the Rémi, which has space to store your bikes. You can sit back and relax with your mind at ease and recall all the happy memories of your trip, but not without hint of nostalgia as you look forward to the next one… Top tip: don’t hesitate to visit the tourist offices with the “Accueil Vélo” and “La Loire à Vélo” labels all along the route to find out more about the region and its heritage.