We are a group of five friends who decided to embark on a cycle tour for the first time. Once the challenge was set, we needed to find a destination. There were a number of constraints. Firstly, we weren’t all setting off from the same place: some were coming directly from Paris and others from Saint-Nazaire. In addition, we were travelling with two “joyous” companions: Maiko, a 6-year-old husky and Thérèse, a young 10-month-old border collie. This meant towing a heavily laden trailer! We couldn’t plan a route with too many hills. We quickly decided on the Loire à Vélo, a classic option that suited us well and was fairly flat…
From Angers to Saumur : 56km
We left Angers on Sunday morning in light rain and travelled along pleasant cycle paths, via the slate mines in Trélazé. We then took a pretty ferry (the Chevalerie ferry over the Authion) with no trouble. The first day went well, alternating between lanes and cycle paths without meeting many people. We found supplies for a picnic quite easily given that it was a Sunday and arrived in Saumur, where we had booked a lovely hotel in advance, in the late afternoon. After relaxing in the hotel’s spa, we set off in the evening to visit the city and its beautiful château, and found a restaurant for dinner.
From Saumur to Azay-le-Rideau : 65km
A picturesque route out of Saumur through troglodyte villages. We had planned a “little” detour to visit the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud. The route took us along hilly little roads and we made slow progress. We visited the abbey in Fontevraud, where you can see the recumbent statues of Richard the Lionheart and Eleanor of Aquitaine.
We set off again and finished this long stage in Azay-le-Rideau, where we had booked a night in a yurt at a horse–riding centre.
From Azay-le-Rideau to Amboise : 58km
After an excellent night in a yurt surrounded by horses, we set off for Amboise. The journey was beautiful. We passed Tours without stopping and arrived in Amboise in the afternoon. We visited Le Clos Lucé and the city with its magnificent château, which is lit up at night.
From Amboise to Blois : 41km
After an excellent breakfast with a view of the Château of Amboise, we hit the road again. We passed through many winemaking estates and the scenery changed quickly. It was a very pretty stretch. We stopped at Domaine des Pierrettes for a tour of the wine cellar and a tasting. There was a very friendly welcome and the visit was interesting. This short break was unanimously approved! We arrived in Blois in the late afternoon and had time to visit the city. In the evening, we visited the Château of Blois with its illuminations.
From Blois to Chambord to Blois : 46 km
We had booked two nights in Blois and, for the last day, we decided to do a loop via Chambord. The route was very varied and led us easily to the château, which we visited before ending the tour with a picnic in the superb park of Chambord. For the return journey, we decided to ride along the Loire.
We rounded off the adventure with a pleasant final night in Blois before catching the train back to Angers. The journey went well despite all our luggage (bikes, trailers, dogs, etc.).