Follow the Loire to the Atlantic coast

From the river Loire to the sea

As one of the last unregulated rivers in Europe, the wild, romantic Loire flows through gently undulating terrain towards the Atlantic Ocean. Following its course along the Loire cycle path from Orléans to Saint Nazaire, it guides the culture-loving cyclist past magnificent castles and blooming gardens back into the glorious past of France – and into a royal cycling pleasure. You can look forward to one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, enjoy the sweet life à la française and admire impressive natural spectacles.
France
Easy to Moderate
  • 10 Days / 9 Nights
  • Self-guided Tour
Meike Engling
+49 (0)441 485 97 21 Contact
"I will help you with the planning of your holidays with advice and action"
Meike Engling

Itinerary

Individual arrival in Orléans. Located at the northernmost point of the c ourse of the river Loire, this city is an ideal starting point for your cycling trip.

Shortly after Beaugency, you decide whether to cycle along the shorter route on the north bank, the official Loire cycle path, or choose the longer route on the south bank with a detour to Chambord Castle. Here, the "Domaine de Chambord" extends as far as the eye can see. You can see the walls of this largest and most splendid residence of the Loire, the eternal legacy of a faithless king, shining through the trees already from a distance.

A wonderful day of cycling with fascinating views of the golden shimmering sand banks of the Loire and the characteristic rock dwellings of this region awaits you. The most regal of all Loire castles awaits you halfway along the route: Amboise castle. It housed five kings and a Roman emperor. A 16th century genius attracts attention as well – Leonardo da Vinci, who spent his last years here in Amboise. His manor house can be visited here as well. Onward journey along the banks of the Loire to Tours.

The tributary of the Loire, the Cher, leads you straight to Villandry castle with its terraced gardens. Of course, you cannot miss a visit to these famous gardens. Shady promenades, flowery arbours, fountains and the artistically laid out vegetable garden will astonish every visitor. A few kilometers further on, you change back to the banks of the Loire, and the next castle already awaits you: Langeais. The view from the defense tower (this castle was only used for military purposes) has the river and the entire surrounding area unfold below you. Passing through small villages and taking by-roads, you approach your  destination Chinon, which impresses visitors with its mighty castle.

You leave Chinon with its mediaeval streets and follow the Vienne to Candes-St-Martin. An enjoyable walk through the village to the highest point of the hill offers an impressive view of the confluence of the two rivers Vienne and Loire. You should not miss out on a further panoramic view of the wide Loire Valley from Saumur Castle. Immerse yourself in the vineyards on the southern bank of the Loire after that and cycle towards your next big stop, Angers. If the stage seems too exhausting for you, there are alternate travel options by train from Saumur.

Take a little time to explore the small, vibrant university town of Angers before briefly following the Maine, the last significant tributary of the Loire, to its confluence into the Loire at La Pointe-Bouchemaine. We continue along at the foot of a slate granite massif to Savennières with the oldest church in the region. Some of the most splendid wines of the Loire Valley grow here, fruity, dry white wines – a visit to a winemaker seems like a great idea. Don't miss visiting Béhuard, the only village in the Loire. Béhuard is located on one of the numerous islands that make up the Loire. From La Poissonnière, your journey will take you via dikes into the former Loire ports of Saint-Florent-le-Vieil or Ingrandes-sur-Loire. High above the old town, a famous vantage point beckons in St.-Florent-le-Vieil.

Another day along the Loire through ever-changing landscapes is next. The valley narrows noticeably today, the Loire now finally enters Brittany and squeezes through slate and granite rocks to Nantes. The bike path changes from one river bank to the other several times while some smaller inclines have to be mastered – which in turn give you beautiful views. Your journey leads you past horticultural farms where field salad, carrots and lilies of the valley are produced on a grand scale. The Loire "escorts" you to the center of the historic capital of Brittany, Nantes. Although it is still about 50 km t o the estuary of the Loire into the Atlantic, the influence of the sea is already noticeable and visible here.

The river is now getting wider, the landscape increasingly serene. The journey continues downstream through small villages to the seaside resort of Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, nestled between the estuary of the Loire and the Atlantic Ocean. The impressive – but unfortunately also very busy – 3.5 km long bridge is all that separates you from Saint Nazaire, which is why we have included a shared transfer to the destination hotel for its crossing. Saint Nazaire ranks among the most impressive cities in the Loire delta. Visit the Atlantic Shipyard, one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world, or the submarine bunker which is also passable by bike.

At the end of your trip, you can relax and unwind and choose from various tour suggestions to suit your mood and desires.


a) Tour along the coast with bays and seaside resorts to the coastal resort of La Baule. Back to St. Nazaire through the back country or via the medieval town of Guérande.


b) Bicycle tour along the coast via La Baule to Batz-sur-Mer and the fishing port of Le Croisic. Return journey to St. Nazaire by train.


c) Tour of the Brière moorland where you will have the opportunity to take a boat tour through the canals of this very special landscape.

An extensive recreational bike trip along the Loire has thus come to an end. You would like to take the opportunity and relax for a few more days on the Atlantic Ocean?

The route

You cycle on small filed paths and side roads with light traffic. On some short connecting parts of the route one has to count with heavy traffic. The daily stages are mostly flat to slightly hilly. This is a bike tour that guarantees eventful holiday fun for a normal constitution.

Prices and events

All data for 2019 at a glance
Season 1
May 9, 2019 - Jun 5, 2019
Aug 29, 2019 - Sep 21, 2019
Thursday
Season 2
Jun 6, 2019 - Aug 28, 2019
Thursday
Loire and atlantic 8/7, FR-LORSM-10X
Base price
Surcharge single room
923.00
345.00
968.00
345.00
Season 1
May 9, 2019 - Jun 5, 2019
Aug 29, 2019 - Sep 21, 2019
Season 2
Jun 6, 2019 - Aug 28, 2019
Orléans B Standard
Extra night p.p. dbl/bb
Extra night sgl/bb
Mesquer-Quimiac B Standard
Extra night p.p. dbl/bb
Extra night sgl/bb
52.00
85.00
45.00
81.00
52.00
85.00
45.00
81.00
Price
21-Gang Unisex
21-Gang Herrenrad
E-Bike
115,00
115,00
210,00

Services & Extras

Included:

  • 9 x overnight stay as described
  • 9 x breakfast
  • Luggage transport from hotel to hotel
  • Collective transfer incl. bicycle over the bridge to St. Nazaire (8th day)
  • Travel documents per room in English
  • GPS-Tracks available on request
  • Servicehotline in German and English

Not included:

  • Arrival and departure
  • Costs for parking
  • City tax
  • Transfers
  • Optional sightseeings
  • City maps
  • Travel Insurance and costs of the private requirements

 

Arrival / parking / departure


Parking in Orleans: Public, chargeable parking garages. Prices will
follow.


Very good travel options by train to Orleans and Tours or from St. Nazaire.
 

Return journey to the point of departure: On the weekends continuous train service with free bike transport from St. Nazaire via Tours to Orleans. Departure around 8 am.
Travel time to Orleans about 4 hours, price about 52,– € per person.

The overnight stays are planned in well-maintained hotels of the typical 3*/2* level in acentral location.

Ratings

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