The Landscapes of the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is known for its remarkable and highly diverse landscapes. They are the result of an interaction of more than 2000 years between Man and nature.
Crossing the Center Val de Loire and Pays de Loire regions, the territory has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.
Beyond the classified area, the variety of landscapes and their interest contribute to making this region a cycling tourist destination of choice for all nature lovers.

© Bike trip

The Loire, a majestic river…

The landscapes of the Loire Valley, listed as World Heritage, are marked by the presence of the river which flows from East to West, from Sully-sur-Loire in Loiret to Chalonnes-sur-Loire in Maine-et-Loire.
What strikes the visitor and never ceases to amaze local residents are the thousand faces of the river. First of all, the colors, in which the sky is reflected. Sometimes an intense blue, sometimes gray and dark, the Loire turns a soft pink at sunrise to complete its flamboyant moult at the end of the day.
Depending on the seasons, its character changes. It impresses with its powerful flow in winter and becomes gentler again when the sunny days return, revealing its banks and islands.

The Loire with a sunset
© Bike trip

The Loire offers exceptional fauna and flora. Herons, cormorants, egrets and Loire terns represent a small sample of the birds that come to nest on its islands, finding here a haven of peace and a wonderful larder. Because the Loire is also a beautiful reservoir of fish, from pike perch to eel and shad. Among mammals, efforts carried out over nearly 50 years have enabled the reintroduction of the European beaver on the banks of the Loire, a good sign! If it is difficult to see, a slightly discerning eye will be able to recognize its passage!


How to discover the Loire?

Canoeing on the Loire
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A canoe trip offers the opportunity for unprecedented proximity to the fauna and flora of the Loire, in total connection. Associations of Loire boatmen, installed between Orléans and Angers, today revive the Loire Navy. Tourists have replaced the goods and the boatmen like to share their passion. At dawn, during the day or at dusk, for a picnic aboard a boat or on an island, the trip often has some nice surprises in store.
But cyclists can rest assured, the banks of the Loire also allow you to enjoy good times in complete peace and quiet to observe, listen, hear and feel this majestic and so alive river! All you have to do is venture onto small paths to find almost secret beaches!

The Loire and its tributaries

The Cher in Savonnières
© Bike trip

In the Loire Valley, there are numerous tributaries on the right bank of the river. For many, their confluence with the Loire is on the Loire by bike route, to the delight of cycle tourists.


THE Loiret, in the eponymous department, is a resurgence of the Loire into which it flows after a few kilometers, at Saint-Pryvé-Saint-Mesmin.


THE Beuvron, is a Sologne river which ends its course at Candé-Sur-Beuvron, between Blois and Chaumont-sur-Loire in Loir-et-Cher. Cyclists, don't pass too quickly if you don't want to miss the confluence!


THE Dear : it is on the Cher that the famous gallery bridge of the Château de Chenonceau was built. Cyclists will be able to appreciate its bucolic banks thanks to the Heart of France cycle route by bike. Upstream, it leads to Montrichard and the troglodyte site of Bourré. Downstream, it takes you to Tours. Needle dams and locks follow one another, witnesses of a past where commercial navigation was intense. The river follows its path to its confluence with the Loire at Bec du Cher, passing through the picturesque village of Savonnières. Don't miss a stop at the observation point. Along the way it is not uncommon to meet everyone from the Cher boatmen's association sailing on the river.


L'Indre : here is a very romantic river. In its peaceful and green setting there are mills and magnificent castles: Azay-le-Rideau located on an island and its famous reflecting pool, the Château de l'Islette, witness to the loves of Rodin and Camille Claudel, Ussé, Sleeping Beauty Castle. It is in this context that Balzac set the scene for his novel Lily in the Valley.
About ten kilometers from the confluence, the sensitive natural site of the shingles of the Indre is a discreet, marshy place dotted with islands, a rural landscape developed by man to protect against floods. A discovery trail punctuated by information panels presents the history of the site.


There Vienna : after a long journey of more than 300 kilometers, it is in Touraine that the Vienne ends its journey. Passing through Chinon, it joins the Loire at the picturesque village of Candes-Saint-Martin. If there is one site not to be missed, it is the Véron bocage, between the Loire and the Vienne. With its floodable meadows and paths bordered by ditches and double hedges, the bocage is home to remarkable fauna and flora.

Troglodytic sites in the Loire Valley

Troglodyte Turk
© Bike trip

From Chaumont-sur-Loire, following the course of the river, a tuffeau chalk cliff borders the banks of the Loire. These geological formations are also found along the tributaries of the Cher, the Indre and the Vienne.
This soft white stone was used to build most of the castles of the Loire but also the towns and villages of the region. So cities like Saumur And Chinon, villages such Montsoreau And Candes-Saint Martin and castles as famous as Chambord And Chaumont-sur-Loire were built by digging quarries all over the cliffs.
The kilometers of galleries then served as mushroom farms and wine cellars, the temperature and humidity conditions being ideal for winemaking. Some can be visited, offering a cool refuge during summer afternoons.
Troglodyte dwellings: in Touraine, Saumurois and Anjou, cyclists can observe the numerous cavities, often on several levels, in the cliff. These are often cellar entrances but also homes, sometimes abandoned.


Some sites to discover:

THE petrifying caves of Savonnières, the troglodyte valley of Goupillères in Azay-le-Rideau, the village of Turquant, the cellars of the Château de Moncontour in Vouvray or the Ambacia cellars in Amboise.

The forests of the Loire Valley

Russy Forest
© Bike trip

South of the Loire, from east to west, beautiful forests allow cyclists to take a good breath of chlorophyll and find a little freshness on hot summer days.


It is a region of ponds, moors, heather and game-rich forests populated by deer, roe deer and wild boar. The ponds which are home to numerous fish are a delight for fishermen but also for birds such as the heron or the osprey.
Sologne, mainly private, can be explored by bike on developed tracks or paths and on small, peaceful roads.


The Domaine de Chambord
Located in the Boulogne forest massif, the Chambord estate is the largest enclosed forest in Europe. Its 32 kilometer surrounding wall is home to large animals including deer, Corsican mouflon and wild boar.


The forest of Boulogne
In the heart of Sologne, an extension of the Chambord park, the Boulogne forest reserves beautiful wooded paths for pedestrians and cyclists which lead towards the Château de Cheverny.


The Russy national forest
Formerly royal property, this vast forest complex located south of Blois is now state-owned. Its forests, mainly planted with oaks, are among the most beautiful in France. Between Blois, Cheverny and Chaumont-sur-Loire, it can be traveled by bike on wooded paths where car traffic is completely excluded.


The Amboise forest
On the plateau overlooking the Loire, this large oak forest is crossed by small roads and paths which connect Chaumont-sur-Loire, Chenonceaux and Amboise. A perfect place to cycle in the shade on hot summer days.


The Chinon forest
Between the Loire, the Indre and the Vienne, the national forest of Chinon is a forest of oaks, beeches and Scots and maritime pines.

The Loire Valley vineyard

Saumur in the vineyards woman on bike
© Bike trip

The wine landscape is inseparable from the identity of the Loire Valley. For 2000 years, vines have been cultivated there on the clay-limestone hillsides and plateaus overlooking the Loire, along the banks of the Cher, or on predominantly sandy soils, near Cheverny...
On the wine routes that crisscross the region, from Vouvray to Saumur via Chinon, the vines stretch as far as the eye can see. For a weekend or a longer stay, they can be explored by bike and combine perfectly with the discovery of the region's other natural, gastronomic or cultural riches.


Discover the vineyards of the Loire Valley.

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The castles

The Loire Valley is known worldwide for its great Renaissance castles: Blois, Chambord, Amboise, Chenonceau and many others! There's nothing like a bike trip to discover this unique architectural heritage in the world.

Vineyards and gastronomy

A large French wine region, the Loire Valley is renowned for the quality and variety of its wines: Vouvray, Chinon, Saumur… It offers a gourmet gastronomy of savory or sweet specialties. A region to discover by bike!

Parks & gardens

Nicknamed “Garden of France”, the Loire Valley has cultivated the art of gardens since the beginning of the 16th century. From the first Renaissance gardens to the contemporary creations of Chaumont-sur-Loire, let yourself be guided!

Discover the landscapes of the Loire Valley in our selection of turnkey tours

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Your questions about exploring the landscapes of the Loire Valley by bike

Here is some more information to answer your most frequently asked questions:

Paysages du Val de Loire

  • Is there a lot of elevation change around the Loire cycling routes?

    Traveling the Loire by bike does not present any particular difficulties; on the trails along the Loire and its tributaries, there is no difference in altitude. At most you will have to plan to climb a few hills to reach the heights of the hills which border the river between Chaumont-sur-Loire and Amboise, and around Chinon and Saumur. The opportunity to enjoy panoramic views of the valley. On the hills, the terrain is hardly more rugged and you cycle effortlessly through vineyards, fields or forests.

  • Cycling, children and landscapes: how to interest them?

    Consider taking breaks with your children to better get back on the bike. Castles yes, but not only that! Stop on the banks of the Loire to observe birds, have ricochet competitions and enjoy areas of cool shade. Try to spot moufflons, wild boars or even a deer from the viewpoints of the Chambord forest. Take them on a trip on the traditional boats of the Loire or Cher. Take a break in the troglodyte cellars such as the petrifying caves of Savonnières or in the Goupillières valley. Explore the beautiful green and shaded paths of the numerous forests…

Do you still have questions about choosing your bike trip to the land of Loire castles? Do not hesitate to contact us so that we can help you choose the solution that suits you best, according to your desires and your constraints.