Loire Valley

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
IanCh
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Joined: 11 Apr 2011, 1:46pm

Loire Valley

Postby IanCh » 6 May 2013, 4:53pm

Thinking about a tour along the Loire Valley next year. We can easily fly to Nantes to start. Does anyone have experience of hiring touring bikes? If so, can you hire them in Nantes and drop them off at a different location? Are there any particular parts of the Loire Valley we should see or avoid? Also, what's the best time to go?

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BeeKeeper
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Location: South Devon

Re: Loire Valley

Postby BeeKeeper » 24 May 2013, 4:28pm

I'm also thinking about this as a possible future trip and have just ordered the Cicerone book about the route which I guess may answer some of your questions and when it arrives I will know for sure! They are doing 25% off at the moment so it cost me £9.00 and free P&P. http://www.cicerone.co.uk/product/detai ... efer/freew

I would probably have to fly as trains are too much hassle from where I live and not cheap. Flybe fly to Clermont Ferrand from Southampton up until early October and a return flight to Southampton is available from the same airline from Nantes - assuming Flybe are still in business when I need to use them.

There is also a website which seems to cover the lower part of the route: http://www.cycling-loire.com/ The Loire itself starts in springs a few miles from Le Gerbier de Jonc, which I have reached on an earlier trip (see below) so starting at this point and then cycling down the river makes enough sense for it to be the basis of a trip.

Image

Binkyboy
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Re: Loire Valley

Postby Binkyboy » 29 May 2013, 10:01pm

http://www.loirevelonature.com/en/ hire out bikes that can be picked up and left anywhere in their area.

Beware that the prevailing wind usually blows up the Loire, and can be quite strong at times, so I advise go upstream (west to east).

vernon
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Location: Meanwood, Leeds

Re: Loire Valley

Postby vernon » 30 May 2013, 8:14pm

BeeKeeper wrote:I'm also thinking about this as a possible future trip and have just ordered the Cicerone book about the route which I guess may answer some of your questions and when it arrives I will know for sure! They are doing 25% off at the moment so it cost me £9.00 and free P&P. http://www.cicerone.co.uk/product/detai ... efer/freew



The Cicerone book isn't very good for navigating with and only of moderate use for background information unless there's been a recent revision it is also out of date.. There's a set of maps that cover the entire Loire and more to reach Switzerland. It's very useful as it indicates the location of camp sites and places of interest on and off route.

Gearoidmuar
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Location: Cork, Ireland. Corcaigh, Éire má tá Gaeilge agat.

Re: Loire Valley

Postby Gearoidmuar » 1 Jun 2013, 8:41am

The Loire Valley SOUNDS very romantic. It's dead boring. Other places of the same ilk are Heidelberg and Milan.

I cycled through this on my first big tour, Paris to Nice in 1991.

Go to the Dordogne, or Brittany, or anywhere that's not the Loire Valley!

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BeeKeeper
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Re: Loire Valley

Postby BeeKeeper » 1 Jun 2013, 12:47pm

Got the book now and it doesn't cover hiring bikes. The maps are not enough for daily navigation but then the author clearly says they are not meant to be. It is quite a small volume and there isn't the space but the sketches and description are enough to allow you to plot a route on say the 1:100K map. As to being out of date, I can't tell but any guidebook is likely to be out of date as soon as it is published but providing the Loire hasn't changed its course I suspect it is reasonably up to date and having a book does help to identify possible points of interest along the route. For example, on my trip up the west coast of France, which start tomorrow, we will cycle past the highest sand dune in Europe - but unless I had read that (in a motorhome magazine of all places) I wouldn't have known and would probably have just observed "there must be a very big building site near here for them to leave that much sand lying around".

I doubt I would slavishly follow the published route but the book is useful food for thought for a possible future trip.

chocjohn9
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Location: Sunny Belgium

Re: Loire Valley

Postby chocjohn9 » 1 Jun 2013, 1:12pm

+1 for it being a bit boring.

I started at the sea and went in land.... there is a decent cycle path which hugs the river but it is very flat and really quite forgettable.

Sorry!

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BeeKeeper
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Re: Loire Valley

Postby BeeKeeper » 1 Jun 2013, 1:18pm

The Loire is about 1300 km long - is it all boring?

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simonineaston
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Re: Loire Valley

Postby simonineaston » 1 Jun 2013, 1:32pm

I'm tempted to trot out that old quote, often used by elderly grandparents, too tired to successfully entertain their 6 year old grandchild, "Only boring people get bored.", but I am somewhat sympathetic to the notion of long water-courses having a slight sense of one day seeming much the same as the previous, having travelled the Nantes to Brest canal. The trick, in my humble opinion is to take frequent detours 'inland' to explore the other attractions...
For what it's worth, 2 colleagues recently returned from respective trips along the Loire reported their experience to be tip-top; one travelled by motor-car, the other by motor-bike.
byyeee,
SiE

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robgul
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Re: Loire Valley

Postby robgul » 1 Jun 2013, 2:45pm

Totally off the wall post about the Loire ...

IF you fancy a spur of the moment trip then we have up to 4 spaces on a coach/bike trailer from Calais to the Tours area in the Loire valley on Monday 10 June 2013 - leave Calais at 0800. £35 for the trip per person + bike (way cheaper than the train and no hassle with bikes).

We're riding back but, subject to dates, there is a possibility of a ride back on the coach at a bargain price.

PM with a phone number if interested

Rob