Some cyclists prefer climbing hills, and some prefer a flat landscape with a few rolling hills. For the last category the landscape of the Loire Valley is the perfect place. The project La Velo d’Loire was started in 1995. Their goal was to create 800 km of bike paths along the river Loire. Now in 2010, 650 km of bike paths is ready for bicycle tourists. The Loire valley is known for its many castles and for producing excellent white wines. Along the river the terrain is easy and do not require a lot of a cyclist. From the 13th to the 16th century, many magnificent castles was built in the Loire valley. They served first as fortification, later as hunting castles and luxury palaces for the French kings. It is without doubt the castles that have made the Loire valley world-famous. The district has a rich wine production and the white wines from this area is dry, fresh wines often from the Chenin Blanc.
The existing network of cycle paths expands in Bourgogne with 200 kilometres. The bike paths winds along the railway lines, the rivers and the vineyards. In the areas of Cher and Loiret has a distance of 60 kilometers been reserved for cyclists only..
These cycle paths in the Loire valley is part of the European Rivers Cycle Routes that, when it is finished, will connect 2400 kilometers of bike paths from the Atlantic Ocean to Budapest.
There are many companies that specialize in planning bike vacations for tourists, both self guided tour and tours for groups. Many also offer transfer of baggage while you ride from town to town. The routes winds through woods and vineyards and visits to some of the many of the castles is of course added to the route.
A day trip from Blois to Amboise is at 44 km and lead you through beautiful landscapes. You can visit the castle Chateau de Chaumont sur Loire, located on a hill along the river Loire. When you cycle towards Amboise you will see the castle located on a hill above the city. The city centre of Amboise is charming with half-timbered houses. After a visit to the Royal Chateau of Amboise, you deserve a visit at Patisserie Bigot which is centrally located just below the Castle. They have the best cakes in the world and they also have their own chocolate production.
If you stay the night in Amboise and plan to continue cycling the next day, the Chateau de Chenonceau is one of the most stunning, and also most visited castles in the area. From Amboise it’s about 18 km to the Chenonceau. Go for a walk in the beautiful park and enjoy the view from the end of the park towards the chateau’s galleries that is built across the river Cher. A visit inside the castle is of course also a must. Here you will see great flower decorations in many of the rooms. These are grown on the farm that is located just behind the wax museum. A walk through the farm is a nice ending to the visit. If you are hungry there is both a cafe and a restaurant inside the chateau area.
On your way out of town, you should enjoy a little ride in the village of Chenonceaux. A very beautiful village that is worth a visit. Perhaps a place to stay the night before you start on tomorrows ride to new places.
This is just a few of the many excursions you can do in the Loire Valley in France.