Only 1 hour south of Paris lies a region that since the Renaissance has been a favorite of kings and the aristocracy; the Loire River valley is dotted with fine chateaux, vineyards, and some of the most beautiful (and gentle) cycling routes in France. Our tour visits the most magnificent chateaux, the extraordinary gardens of Villandry, but also leaves time to explore the subtler aspects of a region that has much to offer

Only Great Explorations:

  • Small groups, extraordinary guides, and authentic experiences.
  • A ride you will never forget: our bike path along the Loire River.
  • A sumptuous picnic on the grounds of one of the grand chateau.
  • Order off the menu at restaurants you won’t find in guidebooks.
  • Distinctive, charming hotels too small for larger groups.
  • We design and operate our own trips so there are only good surprises.



Tours, France

Starting Location


Amboise, France

Day 2-3


Veigné, France

Day 4


Chinon, France

Day 5-6


Azay-le-Rideau, France

End Location

What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?


Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides and support vehicle
6 nights lodging
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and all dinners but 1
Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
Detailed map and route instructions
All baggage transportation
All transportation from initial meeting point to final drop-off (see arrive/depart cities)




May 20-26
June 10-14
June 16-22
August 12-18
August 26-September 1


May 18-24
June 8-12
June 15-21
August 10-16
August 24-30

Self-guided and custom trips also available and can start any day. Call or email for details.


8-16 participants


7 days/ 6 nights


Tours / Chinon


30-55 km daily (20-40 miles)

Van supported


3 days flat, 2 days are gently rolling


Land Cost (current year):
US $2750
Includes 6B/2L/5D

Single Supplement:
US $690

Bike Rental:
US $180

Please note: Final itinerary is subject to revision; any changes made are done so in an attempt to provide the best possible trip given route conditions and available services. Due to the nature of our business and exchange rates, prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are U.S. dollars but we gladly accept payment in Canadian dollars also. Due to cancellations and waiting lists, trip availability fluctuates daily. If you have any questions or would like to confirm space on this trip before making your reservation, please contact us at or by telephone at 604.730.1247

Tours: Located just one hour south of Paris there are frequent train connections.


Day 1

Your hotel is included on arrival day on this tour; we have a walking tour of the historical district planned at 4:00 and then dinner at a favourite bistrot at 7:00.


Day 2-3


Cycling from Tours, we’ll ride east along a quiet road winding through vineyards to Amboise, with its impressive castle and charming village. Leonardo da Vinci lived here and we’ll visit the museum in his former home. On our second day we’ll cycle to Chenanceaux where we’ll enjoy a guided visit of one of the most magnificent chateau in France.


Day 4


Riding west we’ll stop for lunch at a curious castle whose owner has a passion for growing tomatoes (his garden has 500 varieties); we’ll enjoy lunch here before continuing on through forests and sun-flower fields, making our way to Montbazon. Here we’ll stay at a former mill that has been turned into a charming hotel, with a restaurant that is outstanding. A long option on this day will offer a chance to ride to the gardens of Villandry.


Day 5-6


Following one of the tributaries of the Loire, we’ll enjoy some of the best riding in the region, stopping to visit Château de Sache, where the writer Balzac resided. In Azay-le-Rideau we’ll visit the impressive château that is the ‘jewel of the Loire Valley’ followed by a sumptuous picnic nearby. In Chinon, we’ll stay in the medieval center at a hotel that is warm and welcoming. On our last day of cycling there are options to cycle past popular vineyards along quiet cycling roads or a longer option to Richelieu. As on all of our trips, we’ll have a celebratory feast at a distinctive restaurant near our hotel for final night.


Day 7

Depart at your leisure from Chinon train station.

Maison Jules, Tours

This charming property is more chambre d’hote than hotel. This quiet hotel is our favourite in Tours; the rooms are very large, the lounges are wonderful. The owner, Alexandra, is a bon vivant and a wonderful host. Breakfast was superb!

Le Clos d'Amboise, Amboise

This 16th century manor house is situated in a large French-style landscaped park with a pool and fountain, enclosed by ancient stone walls in the heart of the old town. The spacious rooms offer the highest standards in comfort and ambience with original wood flooring, fireplaces and ancient paneling. Enjoy breakfast in the Rabelais room boasting period woodwork and a unique 18th century Versailles wood floor.

Le Moulin Fleuri, Veigne

Stay in a sixteenth century mill, situated in the centre of a large park, on the Indre River. Each room has exposed beams, rustic furnishings and boasts river and garden views. The restaurant here is one of the best in the entire region, using fresh produce from the market in traditional ways.

Hôtel Diderot, Chinon

This charming hotel, built in the 15th century and located in the historical center of Chinon is distinctive with friendly owners. Recommended by Guide de Charme and the top-rated Chinon hotel of Trip Advisor.


Trip Reviews

September 20, 2014


August 17, 2014

For our family (all novice bikers) this was a wonderful experience. Experiencing the beautiful scenery on bike made it more personal and enjoyable. Key Biscane, FL

May 26, 2014

Everything was exceptional. We enjoyed the sights, the company, both of the guides and the rest of the group which got along superbly. We particularly enjoyed the pic-nics at Azay-le-Rideau, the visits to castles, and riding our bikes through the fields. La Castellana Venezuela

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