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Spotlight on: Châteaux of the Loire

Posted 09 Apr 2019

Also known as the Garden of France, the Loire Valley is located in the very heart of the country and known for the lush flora that covers the landscape between its idyllic towns and villages. As a result of having incredibly fertile land, the region produces fantastic wines that are sought after all over Europe. However, one of the main attractions is the magnificent châteaux that are peppered along and winding river Loire. Overall, this region is perfect for leisurely cyclists looking for an easy-going adventure filled with unforgettable experiences.

The Loire Valley

The Loire Valley has many other medieval towns, such as the beautiful commune of Chinon, which are well worth stopping in for a break from pedalling. On your journey around the valley, you will pass through towns such as Savigny-en-Véron, home to a brilliant museum that has great exhibits ranging from the history of the area to striking art from local artist Max Ernst. Another commune worth exploring is the lovely village of Turquant, famous for its houses that are carved into the rocky hillside and still inhabited by the locals; some, however, have been made into miniature museums that you can visit.

An atmospheric French market

The towns and villages of the Loire Valley are also known for their market days; throughout the week many towns will host two or even three market days. They are a perfect opportunity to pick up any produce or wine that you have taken a liking to, or, brilliant for just wandering around and enjoying the friendly atmosphere. Throughout the year, the towns and châteaux of the Loire also hold several larger events that you should definitely take time to see. During July and August, Château Villandry hosts the ‘Nights of a Thousand Lights’ wherein you can explore the gardens of the famous château at night when they are illuminated by thousands of candles. If you love cars as much as you love bicycles, the Grand Prix de Tours festival in late June, a classic car and motorbike show, might be perfect for you.

A lovely local dish, straight from the river

If you’re a cycling food fanatic, you will be pleased to know that the Loire Valley is filled with gourmet cuisine. The river Loire is a source for a lot of the produce you will find in the restaurants you come upon, such as delectable bream, pike and perch dishes. Another local favourite is rillettes, a pork paté-style dish; often served with fouace, a local traditionally-made bread. For wine lovers, the white wines here are exquisite and accompany the light cuisine perfectly. A dry Sancerre or a sweeter Vouvray are brilliant whites made for enjoying on a sunny terrace by the riverside.

Château Villandry's spectacular gardens

One of the main spectacles of the Loire is the amazing châteaux. There are more than 300 châteaux along the river Loire, each with its own majestic style and personality. Chinon is home to Château de Chinon, the once-royal home that dominates the medieval town. It is now a museum where you can learn about the fortress’ long and fascinating history. Château Villandry is home to amazing gardens that are spread across its three large terraces, there is also a serene water garden with beautiful fountains which make an ideal setting for a tranquil afternoon.

Our Châteaux of the Loire cycling tour

Our Châteaux of the Loire tour is perfect for a cyclist looking to leisurely pedal around the Loire Valley visiting once-royal homes and ancient medieval towns filled with history.

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