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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 28 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Anna Brooke

La Loire a Velo is a waymarked cycle route that meanders for 900km along the River Loire – France’s longest river – with a prime central section amid the famous chateaux of the Loire Valley.

Much of the route is on car-free ‘green ways’, other sections are on quiet low-traffic roads. Supported by a network of cycle-friendly hotels and facilities, it’s a rewarding, family-friendly way to discover the Loire, drawing three-quarters of a million cyclists a year.

The best – and most popular – stretch is the central, 300km-long UNESCO-listed Val de Loire section, from Beaugency to Nantes. If you have only a few days, concentrate on the 50km-long Val de Loire section between St-Dye-sur-Loire near Chambord and Amboise.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around
Duration: 1 day-2 weeks

Getting there & doing it

Although it’s easy to do on your own, package trips can help with planning or with transporting luggage for you between hotels.

Most people do just a section of the route, for anything from a day to a week. There are numerous places to hire bikes along the route, and many hotels have secure storage. The local railway line runs near to the route in many places so you can combine cycling with sections by train.

The route is well signposted, although the Loire à Vélo guide, with maps and addresses can be useful. Much of the route is very family-friendly.

When to do it

The route is accessible all year round.

Spring, early summer and early autumn are ideal times, when the route is not too crowded and it is generally cooler than in sweltering July and August.

Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Loire Valley

Loire Valley, France

Exterior of the front of the chateau, with a tree-lined driveway in foreground

Northern France’s beautiful UNESCO-listed valley, home to heart-stoppingly beautiful historic chateaux, authentic village life, world-class wines and fascinating troglodytes.