Riding a Bicycle Around Loire Valley

Trip Start Jul 1990
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Trip End Aug 1990


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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

We stumbled on Saint-Dye-sur-Loire, a tranquil little village with impressive choice of accommodation and superb location. I think that there is no better (cheaper and sort more convenient, yes) location around Blois to set camp. It is amazingly convenient if you intend to ride a bicycle from one to another chateau, or do some fishing, or just enjoy the river or walk. The village is right on the left bank of the river which is lazy, wide and impressive here.
Chambord, the crown jewel of the Loire Valley castles is only 6 km away along a peaceful road through fields and some well kept forest and then through the domain of the national park. So much more convenient than parking on one of the big lots and then walk a mile or so to the mulberry shaded tourist area and then to the castle itself. A bicycle takes you right at the gates and is an absolute must if you intend to take some pictures, which you will definitely do.
Then, from Chambord, there are another 6,5 km to Bracieux a very cute place with some excellent (not cheap) restaurants, attractive possibilities for photographers if the period between noon and 4 p.m. is skipped.
There are only 9,5 km. to Cheverny although these will not be as flat as the first ten. There are some climbs, nothing serious, just to remind one of the Tour. You will sweat but it is more than worth it.
Cheverny to Blois is just about 15 km. piece of cake because you probably will have rested in the great park of the Cheverny chateau or munched your sandwich with beer either in some of the inns opposite the castle or the town proper, which will be somewhat cheaper.
Thus, to Blois. That may be a 40-50 minute ride if you have not used a bicycle for a while. By the time you arrive there you will be tired, I guess and a glass of drink may be the first thing you need and then a shower. That one will be yet another 45-50 minutes away: Saint-Dye is 15 km. away.
You will have covered some 55 km.
If you do not feel like doing Blois (leave it for the next day) you can ride back almost the same road and save yourself some 10-11 km on the bicycle. With 45 km divided between say 9:00 a.am and 6 p.m. you will just have your appetite stirred. Now, eating and more sights come further.

MORE TO COME ABOUT:

Accommodation:
Saint-Dye-sur-Loire
Blois
Saint-Gervais-la-Foret

Sights:
Blois,
Chambord,
Cheverny,
Montrichard,
Chenonceau,
Amboise,
Tours
Various castles

Food and Wine:
Restaurants,
Picknicking,
Fast-food
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