A gentle, unhurried introduction to the very essence of the Loire Valley: majestic chateaux, wide rivers, world-famous wines and some of the finest food we've ever eaten in France! Holiday includes two nights in a luxury chateau.
Day 1: Arrive at Chissay Arrive at Chissay and take some time to enjoy a swim before dinner.
Day 2: Chissay to St-Ouen-les-Vignes 29km/18mi Gentle pedalling along the banks of the Cher will bring you first to the superb Chateau de Chenonceau with its famous arches majestically spanning the river. Described by Flaubert as floating 'on air and water', it's arguably the most beautiful of all the Loire landmarks. Lunch here perhaps on the terrace of the Orangerie restaurant before heading off through the shady Amboise forest and on to Amboise. Don't worry if you don't have time to explore properly today as you can easily come back tomorrow. Your final stretch leads to the elegant village of St Ouen-les-Vignes and Jacques and Odile Arrayet's bijou hotel beside the river. Odile is a professional sommelier, and Jacques artistic chef de cuisine, so you're in for some treats here!
Day 3: St-Ouen-les-Vignes to Ouchamps 45km/28mi Cycle through the open countryside to Autreche and on to Chaumont and its spectacular chateau, which hosts the International Garden Festival (May-Oct). A riverside stretch takes you via pretty villages to Ouchamps. Enjoy two nights at the Relais des Landes, a 17th century manor house beautifully set in its own private grounds, with evening meals included.
Day 4: Ouchamps to Chissay 32km/20mi Head south, to the fortified chateau of Fougeres-sur-Bievre. Freewheel down to the River Cher, medieval Montrichard and on to Chateau de Chissay where a gastronomic dinner (included) awaits.
Day 5: Leave Chissay Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in France for children under 12. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own. Please see our Planning you holiday page for full details.
British Airways Heathrow to Paris CDG 07:15/09:35 then rail Paris Charles de Gaulle to Tours St Pierre des Corps 11:19/12:58 and transfer to hotel 35 minutes. Return: Transfer to station 35 minutes then rail Tours St Pierre des Corps to Paris Charles de Gaulle via Marne-la-Valle 10:54/13:02 then British Airways Paris CDG to Heathrow 16:35/16:55.
Chateau de Chissay (3 star) The Chateau de Chissay is a chateau hotel steeped in history, set in 25 ha of parkland overlooking the Cher. Lovingly restored back in 1986, it's said that both Charles VII and Louis XI stayed here. In the stately dining room, once the guard room, you'll be treated to delicious cuisine inspired by local produce and also a comprehensive wine list. The rooms have been tastefully decorated and their bathrooms each feature mosaic designs representing famous people from French history who marked the different periods in time. Please note that the swimming pool at the Chateau is not heated. Pool towels are provided.
LAubiniere (4 star) L'Aubiniere is in the centre of an elegant village beside the River Ramberge just 5k north of Amboise. The garden is lovely - willow trees are set in lush lawns full of flowers, you can wander down to the river bank. Good size heated swimming pool with views opening on to the garden and its trees. Pool towels are provided. All the bedrooms are stunning; all are different - imaginative design and high quality fittings. Owned and run by Jacques and Odile Arrayet, it is the restaurant that truly demonstrates their combined skills - Odile is a wine expert, a trained sommelier. Jacques is an artistic chef whose trained eye finds the best regional produce to conjure up dishes that are full of taste and natural flavours. A culinary treat awaits!
Relais des Landes (3 star) Set in the Heart of the Loire Valley, le Relais des Landes is the ideal resting place for visiting the favourite region of Kings and Queens of France, its castles and its vineyards. This 17th-century manor house in the middle of a 14ha park in blossom surroundings and planted with trees, will allow you to appreciate the charm of a house with a lot of character and the pleasure of its covered and heated swimming pool located in the border of a forest.
Add 170 for sole occupancy of a double room.
All continental breakfast and gastronomic evening meals
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