We are two friends called Agnès and Margot. Over the past few years we’ve started using our bikes to travel because it’s more environmentally friendly and allows us to meet people and admire the scenery in more detail. As we’re not particularly sporty, we started with three days of 40km stages on the Loire à Vélo. That was two years ago. This time, we returned to the Loire à Vélo for a longer trip...
Angers - Cholet (60 km)
First stage between Angers and the Ferme des Trois Poiriers (near Cholet) to start with an anniversary.
We got a bit lost on this leg, so a word of advice: don’t use Google Maps when cycling! There are plenty of apps like Komoot or Géovelo that are much better. We had a good ride though and admired the surrounding scenery of the Coteaux du Layon vineyards.
After a night in Anjou and a breakfast of crepes, we set off again to catch the train in Cholet to Saint-Nazaire, were we would start the Loire à Vélo…
Saint-Nazaire - Nantes (70 km)
After a night in very pleasant Warmshowers accommodation, we set off from Saint-Nazaire in the rain. Warmshowers is a platform where people offer accommodation for cycle tourists in their homes.
Inevitably, we passed the Saint-Nazaire port with its ships under construction. Then we crossed the bridge on the free shuttle that took us to Saint-Brevin-les-Pins. There, we could really start our journey to Nantes, via the pretty villages of Paimboeuf and Indre, just before entering the “big city”.
Nantes - Angers (110 km)
This was a long stage of more than 100km! We struggled a bit… especially as we had chosen a route on the north side of the Loire and the south side seemed prettier and less stony. We did pass through lots of pretty villages though, including Chalonnes-sur-Loire.
A few kilometres from Angers, we treated ourselves to a short break for local wine and saucisson before arriving at our destination feeling proud of our achievement. We were staying with friends for the night and a lie-in was looking likely for the next morning!
Angers - Saumur (60 km)
After a quick tour of Angers, we set off for Saumur. Our route included a man-powered bike ferry.
In Saumur, we went to our campsite (the first one of the journey), which had a view of the Château.
We were treated to a magnificent sunset. In the evening, we had local wine and an excellent meal on a canal boat, before turning in at the Saumur campsite.
Saumur - Rigny-Ussé (50 km)
After a visit of the Château of Saumur, a stunning stage through vineyards awaited us. A word of caution: it’s a bit more uphill!
We had an excellent meal in a troglodyte restaurant that served local specialities, namely fouées, which are a local version of a kebab, and stuffed mushrooms.
Along the way, we admired the Royal Fortress of Chinon and remembered the climb to reach it!
All that before arriving at the Château of Ussé, or Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and spending the night at a campsite (our final night).
We are two cycle tourists and we love this mode of transport because it allows us to take our time and travel without emitting Co2! We wanted to share this experience to encourage more women to start cycle touring. We really enjoyed the Loire à Vélo because it combines culture, gastronomy, beautiful scenery and cycling. We particularly liked the hillsides and troglodyte villages. There is truly something for everybody: cities (on our trip: St Nazaire, Nantes, Angers, Saumur) as well as little villages. It’s easy going and very easy to find accommodation, even at the last minute.
A few key figures:
– 5 days’ cycling
– 400km travelled
– 7 châteaux seen
– 4 rivers passed (Loire, Indre, Maine, Vienne)