Loire Valley

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
1234567890
Posts: 4
Joined: 22 Aug 2009, 8:50pm

Loire Valley

Postby 1234567890 » 22 Aug 2009, 8:57pm

hi all,
anyone done a tour anywhere long the loire? between angers and Orléans? any recommendations / things to avoid?!

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frank9755
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Joined: 11 Oct 2008, 10:38am
Location: London

Re: Loire Valley

Postby frank9755 » 22 Aug 2009, 11:04pm

My wife and I did a bit of cycling round there in June. We went from Angers to Saumur and on to Tours, and did a couple of side trips. It was pleasant enough! Didn't really like Angers, as there was a big roadworks project right outside the hotel we had booked in the middle of town! We weren't too keen on Saumur either, but Tours had a nicer atmosphere. However, as is usually the case in France, some of the smaller towns were delightful.

We checked out of the Angers hotel and booked a couple of nights in a chateau, via the tourist office. That was excellent and not too expensive. Our own 50-step spiral staircase to get up to the room, meant that it was best to check nothing was forgotten before going down!

The cycling was fine, traffic reasonably light. There is a very well signposted 'Loire a velo' route which is pretty good, although it errs slightly too much on the side of avoiding traffic at all costs to take you on hillier and less pleasant roads away from the river. Generally the traffic was not too heavy and drivers courteous, so it is worth getting off the main signed routes to explore a bit.

Big disappointment for us was the food. Maybe we were just unlucky and had too high expectations, but the restaurants didn't seem to be anything special.

Our overall verdict was that it was ok but that we wouldn't put it down as a place to go back to. We did a tour in the Netherlands a few weeks earlier and enjoyed all aspects of that more (including, to our surprise, the food!). I'm sure others will feel differently and if you do a search on here you'll see a few posts that I remember reading.

vernon
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Location: Meanwood, Leeds

Re: Loire Valley

Postby vernon » 23 Aug 2009, 9:28am

I've just been along the Loire from Nantes to Auten then onto Beaune. I used the Eurovelo six route and the novelty of cycling on traffic free cycle paths and very low traffic minor routes wore off after five or six days. I was riding with some newly acquired partners that I met on the ferry to St Malo and the great craic dulled the boredom. We parted company at Orleans where they pressedonwards towards Switzerland and then onto Poland while I looked for a replacement bike (rear drop out fractured) and spend the day being a tourist in the city. I then deviated from the published route and selected my own public roads which lead to greater and more frequent exposure to towns and villages making the remainder of the ride a lot more enjoyable.

1234567890
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Joined: 22 Aug 2009, 8:50pm

Re: Loire Valley

Postby 1234567890 » 24 Aug 2009, 11:40am

thanks guys, good to know!

I was quite interested in the loire à vélo route, especially around saumur, some of the châteaux look amazing and I'd like to get to fontevraud l'abbaye too..
what was the surface like on the route? was it all tarmac? i'm planning on travelling fairly light and riding an out-and-out road bike so I'm a bit worried about lumpy puncture-traps! Although if the cycle track is a bit less interesting than the roads it might work out better just to take the roads! I'm guessing the scenery's still pretty good from the piste tho?

vernon
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Location: Meanwood, Leeds

Re: Loire Valley

Postby vernon » 24 Aug 2009, 3:13pm

1234567890 wrote:thanks guys, good to know!

I was quite interested in the loire à vélo route, especially around saumur, some of the châteaux look amazing and I'd like to get to fontevraud l'abbaye too..
what was the surface like on the route? was it all tarmac? i'm planning on travelling fairly light and riding an out-and-out road bike so I'm a bit worried about lumpy puncture-traps! Although if the cycle track is a bit less interesting than the roads it might work out better just to take the roads! I'm guessing the scenery's still pretty good from the piste tho?


The surface of the route is generally sound and my 700c x 28 tyres had no problems. Some of the surfaces are compacted sandy type which saps a bit of energy and there was a section of cobbled road ( pavé) which might have contributed to the demise of my rear drop out. The Eurovelo Six maps are good as they include a wide corridor of public roads too. It's good to chop and change between the official route and a parallel road based route to offer variety.

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frank9755
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Joined: 11 Oct 2008, 10:38am
Location: London

Re: Loire Valley

Postby frank9755 » 24 Aug 2009, 9:08pm

Agreed, the surface of the route is pretty good. Much is tarmac minor road and the sandy forest tracks are fine, but that kilometre of pave near to Villandry is well worth bypassing! It is marked as a hazard on the maps so do find an alternative route for that bit.

gordonyoung
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Joined: 16 Sep 2009, 10:44pm

Re: Loire Valley

Postby gordonyoung » 16 Sep 2009, 10:53pm

Hi

We cycled from Orleans to Tours this year during August and last year from Tours to Angers. We both thought it fantastic. Great to be on cycle paths away from traffic looking out over the river with the great wildlife. Great food and wine, good gardens to visit and nice old towns. We used the local tourist office in Tours to arrange bikes and accomodation and transport of luggage. Worked out really well. €38 per day per person for hotel and breakfast, hire of bikes and transport of luggage which I thought was exceptional value. Flights from Stansted to Tours for €20 return including taxis was also exceptional. A really 5 star holiday. My photos are on Flickr and have web addresses of the cycle hire etc if you want it.

regards Gorodn Young

DougieB
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Joined: 23 Nov 2008, 6:59pm
Location: Barcelona

Re: Loire Valley

Postby DougieB » 17 Sep 2009, 8:26am

I did a tour there last year. If you have time to spend in Orleans I can recommend the hotel called Abeille (Bee), in the centre. They were great, and took the bike inside to a store room while I stayed there. It wasn't that expensive either.

cheers,
Doug

Mattie
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Joined: 23 Feb 2009, 9:19pm

Re: Loire Valley

Postby Mattie » 17 Sep 2009, 1:26pm

1234567890 wrote:hi all,
anyone done a tour anywhere long the loire? between angers and Orléans? any recommendations / things to avoid?!


I would not use the N152 route between Orleans and Tours again. I turned off as it was bumpy, busy and could not see much of the river because of the trees. (and a roaring headwind at the time so not pleasant memories of that stretch of road !)

La Fleche north east of Angers was beautiful, stayed on the camp site.

pq
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Location: St Antonin Noble Val, France
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Re: Loire Valley

Postby pq » 17 Sep 2009, 2:28pm

When I did a kind of French end-to-end a couple of years ago, I thought the Loire was rather dull. Yes, there are great Chateaux, but the countryside was just large flat fields with the river rarely in view.

France is such a great place to ride a bike, you can do much better than the Loire.
One link to your website is enough. G