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Loire Gastronomic Cycling – Short Break

from $2,279.00

A gentle, unhurried introduction to the very essence of the Loire Valley: majestic chateaux, wide rivers, world-famous wines and some of the finest food we’ve ever eaten in France! Holiday includes two nights in a luxury chateau.

  • Reviews 8 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Easy
    3/8
All about the Loire Gastronomic Cycling – Short Break.

This gentle and unhurried gastronomic cycling holiday follows a triangular route through the heart of the great Loire Valley. Highlights include the majestic chateaux of Amboise and Chambord, and the rich Renaissance splendour of Chenonceau. You’ll pass vineyards, sunflowers and pretty, sleepy villages, before pedalling gently along shady riverbanks and out through open countryside abundant with wildlife.
On each cycling day, you’ll have the opportunity to taste dozens of different wines – stopping at big wineries or village vineyards as the mood takes you – in a wine region more varied and diverse than any other in the world.
The places you’ll be staying in have been hand-picked for their elegant cuisine, extensive wines and beautiful settings. All have picturesque gardens and private swimming pools, and the Chateau de Chissay (where you spend 2 nights) is a former royal residence! Headwater’s specially created gastronomic menus (typically 4 courses) include dishes such as sandre en croute d’escargots, selle d’agneau a l’ail nouveau and le moelleux au chocolat Valrhona, all washed down with a glass or two of the many fine local wines.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 4 nights accommodation
  • All continental breakfast and gastronomic evening meals
  • Services of your local Headwater Representative
  • Headwater Wine Collection Service
  • GPS route directions and maps
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality hybrid bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels (inquire for prices and details)
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • E-Bike (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Tandems available (inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Easy, flat cycling and short distances – perfect if you’ve not cycled for years
  • Superb hotels, all with pools, including a bijou waterfront hotel and a luxurious chateau
  • France’s finest chateaux: Amboise, Chambord, Cheverny, Chenonceau
  • Truly outstanding gastronomic menus and world-famous wines – tasting opportunities galore
  • Shady riverside cycling paths, lush forest trails, quiet country lanes
  • Based on our popular 6 night, Loire Gastronomic Cycling
  1. Day 1 Day 1 Arrive at Chissay

    Arrive at Chissay and take some time to enjoy a swim before dinner. (Staying at Chateau de Chissay, Half board)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 Chissay to St-Ouen-les-Vignes 29km/18mi

    Gentle pedalling along the banks of the Cher will bring you first to the superb Chateau de Chenonceau with its famous arches majestically spanning the river. Described by Flaubert as floating ’on air and water’, it’s arguably the most beautiful of all the Loire landmarks. Lunch here perhaps on the terrace of the Orangerie restaurant before heading off through the shady Amboise forest and on to Amboise. Don’t worry if you don’t have time to explore properly today as you can easily come back tomorrow. Your final stretch leads to the elegant village of St Ouen-les-Vignes and Jacques and Odile Arrayet’s bijou hotel beside the river. Odile is a professional sommelier, and Jacques artistic chef de cuisine, so you’re in for some treats here! (Staying at Hotel L’Aubiniere, Half board)

  3. Day 3 Day 3 St-Ouen-les-Vignes to Ouchamps 45km/28mi

    Cycle through the open countryside to Autreche and on to Chaumont and its spectacular chateau, which hosts the International Garden Festival (May-Oct). A riverside stretch takes you via pretty villages to Ouchamps. Enjoy two nights at the Relais des Landes, a 17th century manor house beautifully set in its own private grounds, with evening meals included. (Staying at Relais des Landes, Half Board)

  4. Day 4 Day 4 Ouchamps to Chissay 32km/20mi

    Head south, to the fortifi ed chateau of Fougeres-sur-Bievre. Freewheel down to the River Cher, medieval Montrichard and on to Chateau de Chissay where a gastronomic dinner (included) awaits. (Staying at Chateau de Chissay, Half board)

  5. Day 5 Day 5 Leave Chissay

    Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in France for children under 12. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own. Please see our Planning you holiday page for full details.

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Where you stay
Chateau de Chissay
The Chateau de Chissay is a chateau hotel steeped in history, set in 25 ha of parkland overlooking the Cher. Lovingly restored back in 1986, it’s said that both Charles VII and Louis XI stayed here. In the stately dining room, once the guard room, you’ll be treated to delicious cuisine inspired by local produce and also a comprehensive wine list. The rooms have been tastefully decorated and their bathrooms each feature mosaic designs representing famous people from French history who marked the different periods in time. Please note that the swimming pool at the Chateau is not heated. Pool towels are provided.
Hotel L’Aubiniere
L’Aubiniere is in the centre of an elegant village beside the River Ramberge just 5k north of Amboise. The garden is lovely – willow trees are set in lush lawns full of flowers, you can wander down to the river bank. Good size heated swimming pool with views opening on to the garden and its trees. Pool towels are provided. All the bedrooms are stunning; all are different – imaginative design and high quality fittings. Owned and run by Jacques and Odile Arrayet, it is the restaurant that truly demonstrates their combined skills – Odile is a wine expert, a trained sommelier. Jacques is an artistic chef whose trained eye finds the best regional produce to conjure up dishes that are full of taste and natural flavours. A culinary treat awaits!
Relais des Landes
Set in the Heart of the Loire Valley, le Relais des Landes is the ideal resting place for visiting the favourite region of Kings and Queens of France, its castles and its vineyards. This 17th-century manor house in the middle of a 14ha park in blossom surroundings and planted with trees, will allow you to appreciate the charm of a house with a lot of character and the pleasure of its covered and heated swimming pool located in the border of a forest.
Eating and Drinking

The Loire prides itself on it’s cuisine. It is refined country cooking, not heavy but rich in flavours and textures, drawing on the great garden of the Loire valley. Fruit and vegetables abound. Asparagus, artichokes, button mushrooms, cherries and strawberries from the Loire are transported to kitchens throughout France, which demonstrates the quality of the produce. These all provide delicious accompaniments to the duck, venison and wild boar dishes (all hunted locally) and served in sauces using wines from the local vineyards. Fish also features in abundance. With three wide, gently flowing rivers passing through the region, freshwater fish appear on most menus. ‘Sandre’ (pikeperch) and breme (bream) are especially popular and are usually served in a beurre blanc sauce – made with shallots, butter, dry white wine and vinegar. The majority of the cheese found in the region is goat’s cheese. We suggest trying Selles-sur-Cher from the neighbouring Blesois region. Desserts are often based on the fruit from the local orchards. They include ‘tarte tatin’, a yummy caramelised upside-down apple pie – the invention of two absent-minded sisters in their attempt to salvage a dessert they had dropped on the floor.

The Loire is undoubtedly one of Europe’s finest wine producing regions with many of the separate wine areas producing red, white, rose and sparkling wines. Distinctive whites include Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume, Vouvray and Muscadet; for reds, try Chinin, Bourgueil and Saumur. Anjou is by far the most popular rose.

We offer a complimentary wine carrying service on this holiday. Just purchase your wine at the vineyards en-route and our rep will collect your purchases for you and transport them to your final hotel for you to collect at the end of the holiday.

Cycling Conditions
Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)
Average daily distance: 32.6km (20.5 miles).
No. of days cycling: 3
Terrain and route: The suggested cycling mainly follows quiet tarmac roads with a few sections on dirt roads. The terrain is mainly flat with a few undulating sections, ideal for first timers.
Vehicle Support:This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. A representative will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The routes notes contain an emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 19/08/2019
5/5

Ms Reddan

As a couple of first-timers on a self-guided cycling tour, this was venturing into the unknown. We felt that a clearer description of what to expect and how the tour would actually "work" would have been much better at preparing us for what to expect. For example, we were unclear of our overall itinerary, our daily distance etc. This would have allowed us to ensure we were of sufficient health and fitness. I think this would have been a simple, valuable addition to pre-departure information. Once we met our guides, who explained the self-guided GPS app and how it worked, we felt we had a much clearer idea of what to expect.

In addition, when we requested an itinerary change, it would have been good to have had this better explained.

That said, once we were in the capable hands of our hosts and the itinerary was better laid out for us, we felt we had a better understanding of what lay ahead. Our guides were excellent - very responsive. Always in phone contact ensuring that when we cycling during a heatwave we were well-equipped and well-watered and safe. We felt Helen and Mike were never far away.

We have recommended Headwater to a number of our friends who followed our adventures on social media. Many are keen to now give it a try - and we will certainly do it again - hoping we won't be cycling in a heatwave next time!

Reviewed On 05/08/2019
5/5

Mr Williams

Very interesting castles to visit along the way. Roads have very little traffic and great country and village scenery

Reviewed On 01/08/2019
5/5

Mrs Oneill

HELEN AND MIKE WERE ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC - SO WELCOMING, KNOWLEDGEABLE AND ENTHUSIASTIC.

Reviewed On 04/09/2018
5/5

Ms Broom

Excellent organisation made it all very easy. Great bikes - 21 gears and gel seats made it a comfortable ride. Routes were very quiet or completely off-road, very well chosen. Very nice meals and the Chateau de Chissay in particular was a lovely place to stay.

Reviewed On 30/07/2018
5/5

Mrs Carroll

Cycling through the French countryside was a real pleasure and to end the day in a swimming pool of one of the lovely hotels, looking forward to the superb meals was all anyone could ask from a hoilday.

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Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
May 9, 2020
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$2,279.00
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$2,279.00
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August 1, 2020
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August 27, 2020
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$2,379.00
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August 29, 2020
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$2,379.00
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August 31, 2020
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$2,379.00
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