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


Montbazon, France

Day 4


Azay-le-Rideau, France

Day 5+6+7

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




May 13-19
Jun 3-9
Jun 9-15
Aug 5-11
Aug 19-25
Sep 9-15
Sep 16-22


Dates available upon request

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 / Azay-le-Rideau


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


3 days flat, 2 days with gently rolling hills


Land Cost:
US $3,650
Includes 6B/2L/5D

Single Supplement:
US $920

Bike Rental:
US $280

E-Bike Rental:
US $480

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
For those arriving via Paris, most international flights arrive at Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport. The easiest way to reach Tours is via a train from the Montparnasse station (trains take a little more than 1 hour).


Day 1


Arrive in Tours. 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 Chenonceaux 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. On our last day of cycling, there are options to cycle past popular vineyards along quiet cycling roads and diversions to wine taste, or sight-see. As on all of our trips, we’ll have a celebratory feast at a distinctive restaurant near our hotel for the final night!


Day 7

Departure Day

Depart at your leisure from Azay-le-Rideau 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 is superb! Alt: Oceania L'Univers Tours

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 Tortinière, Veigné

Near 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. Member of Relais du Silence.

Le Grand Monarque, Azay-le-Rideau

Located 150m from the irresistible charm of the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, this former 18th century coaching inn and its Directoire building have been turned into a charming 4-star hotel. The rooms feature exposed beams and tuffeau stone walls. Member of Chateaux & Hotels Collection.


Trip Reviews

October 28, 2022

“The guides were fantastic. You should be very proud of how the guides represented your company and took care of me while at the same time providing excellent service to the other members of my group. Just excellent!”

October 28, 2022

“The guides were fun and had great personalities, the area was beautiful, the cycling was at the right level with interesting views. The chateaux visits were great and the group was fun!”

June 4, 2022

“First our guides were a delight, great personalities , concerned for our enjoyment, safety and just fun to be with. The area is fantastic and since the area is flat you had more time to look around and enjoy rather than work too hard cycling. I had a great time, you did a good job!”

June 4, 2022

“I loved both our guides. They were fun to be with and each had a great sense of humour. I loved the routes we took. We had a few falls along the way and the guides handled them calmly and did what had to be done. My experience was excellent and I don’t know what could have made it better.”

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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