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Travel Story from the Loire Cycle Path

Of roses in bloom, charming towns, and the vastness of the river
Cyclist on the banks of the Loire

This year, I was especially excited about my Team Member on Tour assignment! I had the opportunity to visit one of the regions for which I am also responsible as a Travel Specialist – the Loire Valley.

I've been to Paris and Dijon once before, so I already have some familiarity with France. Additionally, I'm motivated to refresh my French language skills and, of course, to explore the culture and cuisine of the region.

We provide two options for exploring the Loire: the "Castles on river Loire" loop tour and a distance tour on the Loire Cycle Path. I chose the 8-day version of the cycle tour from Tours to Saint-Nazaire along the stunning Atlantic coast.

Cyclist on the banks of the Loire

France, here we come

We begin our journey to France on a wonderfully sunny day and it quickly becomes clear to us that travelling by train is the right choice. We travel comfortably on the railway through different parts of the country, gradually becoming more and more French. We step off the train just in time for the bike handover.

Afterward, we have some time to explore the city center of Tours. Rue Colbert is lined with numerous eateries boasting a wonderfully open and relaxed atmosphere. Our recommendation: the restaurant L'Étable.

Passing by Château de Villandry on our way to Chinon

The following morning, we embark towards Chinon amidst blue skies and sunshine on our cycle tour in France. Our route leads us directly along the River Cher, guiding us out of the city and predominantly alongside the Loire. Just before the confluence of the Cher River with the Loire, a highlight awaits on the left side of the cycle path: Château de Villandry, renowned for its expansive and meticulously crafted gardens. The cycle paths prove to be delightfully smooth, and the proximity to the water imbues us with energy and vitality as we make our way to the picturesque and historic town of Chinon. The ascent to Chinon Castle is rewarded with an ideal vantage point overlooking the town, making the climb well worthwhile.

Ussé Castle in Rigny-Ussé

From Chinon to the charming town of Saumur

Today's stage reveals a different facet of the Loire: the river stretches endlessly until we reach Saumur, providing a stunning backdrop along the journey. Throughout our ride, we're accompanied by roses in a myriad of colors lining the way. Upon reaching Saumur, we're captivated by the city's rich cultural heritage. The imposing castle sits majestically atop a hill, offering panoramic views over the rooftops. Vineyards sprawl nearby, tempting us with their wines, so we seek out a place in the old town center to indulge in a tipple. Saumur exudes charm, and we enthusiastically recommend two restaurants: La Bourse and Le Piccadilly.

Loire riverbank in Saumur

Belgian beer tastes delicious — also in France

Today's route offers a delightful variety, making it a joy to leisurely explore the beautiful scenery by bike. Along the way, we come across a charming, idyllic lake that beckons us to pause and enjoy the serenity. Our next highlight on the route is the Guinguette la Riviera restaurant in Saint-Remy, offering a picturesque view of the Loire—an ideal spot to savor a glass of Belgian beer. After a refreshing break, we board a hand-operated ferry to cross the river before continuing our journey through fields and meadows towards the town of Angers.

We definitely recommend a visit to the castle there: beautiful gardens and impressive castle walls that you can stroll along. Our restaurant recommendation for Angers is Les Petits Prés. Wonderful French cuisine and good wine promise an evening in keeping with the motto "Live like a god in France".

From Angers to the abbey of Saint-Florent-le-Vieil

Today's stage is characterized by riverside cycle paths offering views of the untouched Loire, revealing the river's intricate network in some areas. We pause for lunch at the cozy, family-run restaurant Le Marie-Louise right along the cycle path. There, I finally indulge in a refreshing cider - just the pick-me-up I needed. After a delightful lunch, we muster enough energy for the remaining kilometers. Saint-Florent-le-Vieil, a quaint fishing village, offers a stark contrast to the towns we've encountered before. In the evening, we explore the beautifully constructed abbey, enjoying a marvelous view over the vastness of the Loire.

Boat in Chalonnes-sur-Loire

Nantes, the hidden gem of the west

Today, we depart from the quaint village of Saint-Florent towards the bustling city of Nantes. As usual, we follow the well-marked Loire cycle path "La Loire à Vélo", which leads us through picturesque landscapes and charming villages to the vibrant cultural hub. We delve into the rich history of the old town and enjoy the gentle raindrops as they fall from the sky—a refreshing change after the hot days. Nantes is truly a city worth visiting; culturally, it offers a plethora of activities and attractions.

Herd of cows in Ancenis-Saint-Géréon

Off to the port city of Saint-Nazaire!

The final day of cycling - as we near the Atlantic coast, the change becomes evident: the headwind picks up, requiring us to pedal a little harder. Along our route along the Loire, we are intrigued by the half-sunken house in Couëron and opt to take the ferry across to Le Pellerin, where a scenic countryside cycle path awaits. Saint-Brévin is now within reach. Before crossing the bridge to Saint-Nazaire, we refuel with lunch at Le Débarcadère.

Saint-Nazaire is a harbor town on the Atlantic coast - very different from the previous overnight stops. We spend the rest of the afternoon and evening on the promenade right by the Atlantic and enjoy the view of the sea.

After 6 days of cycling and a total of around 330 kilometers, we are a little proud to have arrived at our destination. The lively promenade is a great place to celebrate our success!

The following morning, we hop onto the train bound for Paris straight from Saint-Nazaire. However, our journey doesn't end there! We seize the chance to extend our adventure with two additional nights in the city of love. It's a fantastic and rejuvenating conclusion to our exhilarating and unforgettable cycling tour.


We would cycle the tour again at any time! The cycle route is impeccably developed and, above all, well signposted. We will always remember the Loire Valley with its beautiful landscapes, majestic rivers, grand castles and romantic villages. The region captivates with its diversity, not only in scenery but also in cuisine. If I had to sum up the tour in just one phrase, it would be "cycling bliss".

Cyclist at the sea in Paimbœuf

My favourite place

The Loire Cycle Route is packed with highlights, but there's one serene spot that stands out in my memory: along the stretch from Saumur to Angers, there's a charming small lake nestled within a forest right by the cycling path. A couple of benches are strategically placed by the water's edge, offering a perfect spot to relax and observe the ducks and swans while taking a break from cycling. It's a wonderful opportunity to pause, soak in the tranquility, and appreciate the untouched beauty of the surroundings.

Favorite Spot, Julia - Travel Specialist

The Loire in Saumur
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