West of Tours, the Loire and its many tributaries meander through the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Park, an area of vineyards, rolling farmland, hunting forest and limestone cliffs into which curious troglodyte dwellings have been carved. Here are the Loire’s most splendid chateaux: the elegant palace of Azay-le-Rideau, the sturdy fortress of Chinon, the chateau of Usse; and the abbey of Fontevraud.
Day 1 Arrival in Saumur:
Allow time to visit its 14th century château.
Day 2 Saumur – Fontevraud Cycling (44 km):
Cycle through the Saumur Champigny vineyards known for their elegant red wines. Stop at Château de Brézé to view its impressive underground cellars. Continue to the royal abbey of Fontevraud founded in 1099.
Day 3 Excursion to Montreuil – Bellay Cycling (45 km):
Relax or visit the Fontevraud Abbey which houses the tombs of the Plantagenets Aliénor d’Aquitaine and Richard The Lionheart Coeur. Take a circuit ride to the fortified village of Montreuil-Bellay and its château.
Day 4 Fontevraud - Chinon Cycling (48 km):
Cycle through the Fontevraud forest to the Chinon vineyards that produce excellent red wine. Stop at the Château du Rivau before reaching the mediaeval town of Chinon, on the Vienne river banks.
Day 5 Chinon – Azay le Rideau Cycling (41 km):
Explore cave dwellings (also known as troglodytes), wine cellars and vineyards en route to the village of Crissay sur Manse, one of the most beautiful villages of France. Continue to Azay le Rideau and its romantic Renaissance château.
Day 6 Excursion to Villandry and Langeais Cycling (44 km):
Circuit ride to Villandry and its famous French-style Renaissance gardens, then to medieval Château de Langeais.
Day 7 Azay le Rideau - Saumur Cycling (58 km):
Cycle to the village of Candes-Saint-Martin and onto the beautiful village of Montsoreau.
Day 8: Arrangements end in Saumur
Easy to moderate with some rolling hills. Shortest day is 41 km and longest 58 km