The total ‘Loire à Vélo’ route runs from Nevers to ‘l'Océan‘, let's say from ‘source' to mouth. The route can be divided into 3 various stages which can also be booked separately.
Start: Nevers Finish: St -Nazaire
You individually travel to Nevers. Check in at your hotel and take a walk through the charming town centre. Visit the potters, known for their faience pottery, a skill introduced by Italian craftsmen in the 16th century. Palais Ducal with its renaissance façade is also worth a visit. It’s one of the first castles that was built along the Loire. Nevers is a stop on the well known pilgrims’ route to Santiago de Compostella.
You leave the Burgundian town Nevers and you go on your way to the village Cuffy, the place where the Loire and the Allier unite. This is the official start of the long ‘Loire a Vélo’ route, 800 km in total, ending after 13 stages at the Atlantic Ocean. You go to the monastery town Charité-sur-Loire where you reach the magnificent Roman church ‘Notre Dame’ via the oldest bridge (16th cent) across the Loire. This monastery church, included in Unesco’s heritage, is certainly worth a visit.
Cycle through the beautiful natural reserve ‘Loire Valley’ along vast, undulating vineyards. Admire the lovely bell tower/belfry of the church in Pouilly-sur-Loire. You go on through the woods and fields to the famous Sancerre wine region. Take a break on the way to taste a local wine grower’s (white) ‘Sauvignon Blanc’, of course this should be accompanied by a Chavignol goat’s cheese. Enjoy the magnificent view of the Loire Valley from Sancerre situated somewhat higher and dominated by its 15th cent donjon.
Leave Sancerre via the tow path along the ‘Canal Latéral’ and go via Bannay to the flower town Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire, beautifully situated on the right bank. Then go to Belleville-sur-Loire, Beaulieu-sur-Loire and finally the small town Briare. Admire the metal canal bridge, a monumental piece of hydraulic engineering, realized at the end of 19th cent. It bridges the Loire by a giant step and connects the 2 adjacent canals. With its 72 lampposts and decorated pilasters a beauty of former technique.
Cross the Loire river via the canal bridge, the ‘Pont Canal de Briare’, and cycle to Saint-Brisson-sur-Loire with its medieval castle, specialized in catapults and cannons. This is followed by the lively town of Gien with its panoramic view. Here too is situated the castle of Anne de Beaujeu, built about 1500, and the beautiful 18th cent bridge with 12 pillars. Your destination is Sully-sur-Loire with again a remarkable medieval castle, completely surrounded by canals/moats and with a gorgeous view of the river.
Today on your way to Orléans. Enjoy the grand views on the way to Saint-Benoit.Once there visit the 11th-13th cent abbey that belongs to the most remarkable Roman churches in France. Then go to Chateauneuf-sur-Loire, one of the important ports of the Loire in the 18th cent. You get the first sight of your destination: Orléans, the town of ‘art and history’, liberated from the English (rule) by Jeanne d’Arc. Be sure to take a walk through the beautiful, historic centre.
Once in the country you soon reach the confluence of the Loiret and the Loire. A great part of the day you follow the high banks with beautiful views of the surrounding undulating countryside. Don’t miss the historic towns Meung-sur-Loire and Beaugency. These old towns and the modern power station of St. Laurent-des-Eaux very clearly show how important the Loire has always been. A wonderful, flat track takes you, in a very relaxed way, to the special and unique landscape of the world famous ‘Pays des Châteaux’.
From Blois you follow the southern bank of the Loire. Between rolling hills with vineyards you cycle to Cande-sur-Beuvron. Cycle back along the Beuvron to the majestic Loire. High on the bank is the elegant castle of Chaumont-sur-Loire surrounded by beautiful gardens. You are in the historic region Touraine. Visit a wine grower and taste a local ‘sauvignon blanc´. Enjoy the grandeur of the Château Amboise and Clos-Lucé where Leonardo da Vinci once stayed. There are some short climbs on the way.
Today you go to the wine region of the prestigious ´Montlouis’ wines. The ideal microclimate, close to where the Loire and Cher unite, produces grapes of a unique quality. Discover this yourself during a visit to a wine cellar or a lunchbreak. A fine track leads to Tours, the friendly capital of what is called ´the garden of France´. Continue along the beautiful southern bank of the Cher to the castle of Villandry, with its gorgeous gardens. Here, close by the modest Cher flows out in the broad Loire.
Via the ‘Bec du Cher’ along the Loire to the Château of Ussé. On the high bank you have beautiful views of the river and its islands full of water birds. The landscape is unspoiled where the Indre flows out in the Loire. Enjoying the magnificent panoramas you go on to the lovely Candes-St-Martin where the Vienne and Loire confluent. This is Anjou, known for its wines and troglodytes. Choose the track close to the Loire or follow the higher, more exciting but also more strenuous track across the vineyards. Both end at the castle of Saumur.
Go right along the southern bank of the river. Admire the monuments of local white tuff stone, such as the church in Cunault and St-Maur Abbey. Once in St-Mathurin-sur-Loire you follow the northern bank of the Loire through a former swamp that was drained in the Middle Ages. Some time later you see tracks of the old slate quarries of Trélazé. Then, taking a small ferry, you cross the Authion river. Faraway your destination Angers, situated on both sides of the river Maine, attracts your attention.
You leave the busy town in a surprisingly calm way through a park like setting. Cycling along the river Maine you reach Bouchemaine, with pleasant restaurants and nice picnic places. Here the Maine flows out in the Loire. Somewhat more to the west the vineyards of Savennières and Coteaux du Layon begin. You cycle close to the river and cross the island of Chalonnes. Via calm tracks you reach the high Montjean-sur-Loire with beautiful views. In the charming St-Florent-le-Vieil you finally finish.
Start the day on the Mont Glonne with a great view of the Loire. Set off to the fortified Champtoceaux via calm roads and tracks, and have a go at a climb for a magnificent panorama. Here, in the department Loire-Atlantique you already begin to experience the influence of the Atlantic. The Muscadet vineyards on the islands and the fields with vegetables provide a variation in landscape. After Mauves-sur-Loire you notice the outlines of Nantes, the biggest and maybe the most attractive town on the Loire.
Surprising works of art at unusual places enliven the start of this trip along the mouth of the Loire. After Le Pellerin the Martinière canal is your guide. You cycle via small, quiet roads through landscapes belonging to the mouth of a big river: broad swampy areas and vast forelands. From Paimboeuf you follow a part of the coastal route ‘Velodyssey’ and you more and more notice the strong influence of tides and currents on the Loire. The end is in sight: St-Brevin, a lively seaside resort on the Atlantic.
Breakfast marks the end of the trip.
All accommodations are carefully selected because of their location, atmosphere and/or unique services.
We choose comfortable 2*/3* hotels or B&Bs where all rooms have private en-suite bathroom and every morning breakfast are included.
For more comfort, when it's possible we can upgrade the hotels with 3/4 * category (supplement applied).
You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April and October.
The international Paris airports Charles de Gaulle in the north and Orly in the south are served by a large number of scheduled and low cost airlines.They are connected with Paris by metro and bus services. From Paris you can take a train to Nevers, see below.
Arrival in Nevers
Departure from Saint-Nazaire
From Paris to Nevers (approx. 2h40 - 250 km/155 mi). Acces to driving routes see the website ViaMichelin.
Parking informations on request
HYBRID RENTAL BIKE
VELO DE VILLE Trekking A200, 24 Speed
The bikes come with pannier, handlebar bag, spare tube, tools, pump, helmet and lock
ELECTRIC BIKE RENTAL
VELO DE VILLE CEB 400 Belt
The bikes come with pannier, handebar bag, spare tube, tools, pump, helmet and lock