Loire Valley tips and advice

Harvey Downard, from our specialist vacation company Cycling for Softies, has this advice:

Why visit the Loire Valley?

It’s an incredibly rich historic area. It used to be one of the most powerful regions in France and it’s full of castles. Every town, it seems, has its own grand castle. Mainstream tourism for the Loire valley is basically going on coaches and moving from castle to castle for a week. We tend to suggest and promote smaller and privately-owned chateaux rather than the tourist traps – there’s a nicer experience to be had elsewhere.

Getting there

There are flights from Stansted but most people tend to take Eurostar and then a TGV train. It’s about a five hour journey and then there’s a half-hour transfer from the train station. Alternatively, you can fly to Paris and take a TGV from the airport terminal to Tours.

Advice for first-time cyclists

A lot of people who come on our vacation are a bit nervous – whether that’s because they don’t cycle very much or they don’t travel very much – so it’s very important for us to be hands on with them through the whole process of the trip. The whole nature of a cycling vacation can be quite intimidating, especially when you’re moving from town to town – the navigation is quite important to your vacation. So knowing that you’ve got the support there (from us) is very important. We use a Smartphone app called Ride with GPS which is becoming the new industry standard. It talks to you like a car sat nav. Guests can download their route onto their phone and then they don’t have to use their data overseas. We also have the option of paper maps and can supply the French equivalent of OS Maps, which are called IGN.

E-Bikes

More and more people are using E-bikes. It opens the doors for people who are scared of doing 40km a day and it’s great for multigenerational tours. Be aware that E-bikes only go down to certain sizes. Currently, if you’re under 5 foot there are less options available – we will have a limited number of smaller E-bikes soon.
Caroline Peeters, from our specialist cycling company Safrantours, shares the best time to go:

Best time to go?

May and June are the favourite times for visits, as during those months the flowers at the castles are blooming. July to August is the period for families because of the school vacations. September is nice as it’s quieter and the weather is still good.

Carbon reduction

On cycling vacations, luggage is transported by a taxi from one hotel to the other. However, we are working on a new concept to reduce carbon. We are developing a small trailer to be attached behind a bike to transport the luggage.

Our top Loire Valley Vacation

Loire Valley cycling holiday, France

Loire Valley cycling vacation, France

Discover the Loire valley and it's iconic châteaux by bike

From £1315 8 days ex flights
Tailor made:
This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Loire Valley or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Tips from our travelers in the Loire Valley

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Loire Valley travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation – and the space inside your suitcase.
For us the highlight was being able to open the door to a beautiful, quiet garden and relax while our daughter could safely explore.
- Traveler, Becky Reid.
“Despite reading reviews about how well equipped the cottages were for families with young children, I still over packed – but I didn't need to. Nicole and Alex provided everything we needed. They are incredibly friendly and have great suggestions for how to get the most out of your stay. It was a home away from home, which made the vacation all the more restful...The gite was lovely – for our 18 month old daughter the highlight was definitely the chickens! For us the highlight was being able to open the door to a beautiful, quiet garden and relax while she could safely explore.” - Becky Reid booked a Loire Valley self-catering farm cottage
Written by Eloise Barker
Photo credits: [Page banner: Daniel Jolivet] [Why visit?: Benh LIEU SONG] [Advice for first time cyclists: David Darrault - Cycling For Softies] [Best time to go: Guillaume Baviere] [Becky Reid quote: Nicolas Boullosa]
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