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
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)




Aug 9-15
Aug 23-29


May 16-22
Jun 6-12
Jun 12-18
Aug 8-14
Aug 22-28

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


4-16 participants


7 days / 6 nights


Tours / Chinon


30-55 km daily (20-40 miles)
Van supported


3 days flat, 2 days with gently rolling hills


Land Cost:
US $3,250
Includes 6B/2L/5D

Single Supplement:
US $815

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

Getting there
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 Chenonceau 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 the luxurious Domaine de la Tortiniere. 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

Departure Day
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!

Manoir des Minimes, Amboise

This authentic 18th century manor house was built on the foundation of an ancient medieval monastery with glorious views of the Château Royal d'Amboise and the Loire River. The spacious rooms are quite luxurious.

Domaine de la Tortiniere, Montbazon

This peaceful 19th century castle is in a fifteen acre park, overlooking the Indre River. The rooms in the Château and adjoining buildings are all decorated with rich fabrics and antique furniture. There is a large swimming pool on the grounds.

Chateau de Marcay, Marcay

This magnificent 15 th century château has extensive grounds and a swimming pool. The tastefully decorated rooms blend wood paneling, sumptuous materials and period furniture.


Trip Reviews

May 23, 2015

I have traveled with GE before and the experience is always excellent. You exceeded my expectations the first time:-). Now I expect the best!

June 4, 2014

Thoroughly enjoyed it. Having never been on anything like this before, didn’t know what to expect. A great way to see a country.

July 17, 2007

“The trip was better than expected. The people on the tour with the guide made the dinners something to look forward to. The trip was awesome. The itinerary and chateaux we saw were incredible!”

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