France | Loire Valley | Adult Only
From castles to chateaux, bask in the sumptuous charm of the Loire Valley
7 days / 6 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Move beyond the hustle and bustle of Paris on a trip to the Loire Valley on this seven-day cycling and hiking vacation. Along the Loire, you’ll discover majestic châteaux, picturesque river views, charming towns, and world-class cuisine. Each evening, sip award-winning wines while re-living the day’s adventures.
Retrace the footsteps of King Charles VIII, Catherine de Medici, Leonardo da Vinci and Joan of Arc as you indulge in the rich history, charming villages and world-class cuisine of la Loire. Our expert guides can’t wait to introduce you to the castle that inspired Sleeping Beauty, the flower-bedecked meadows and of course scintillating samples of award-winning wines. All the while, enjoy the perks of choosing the leading providers of best-in-class travel on this stunning adventure in France’s world-renowned Loire Valley.
- Canoe the beautiful Cher river route to Château de Chenonceaux, with its refined, graceful architecture
- Spend a leisurely afternoon floating down the Loire, hiking and biking dense woodlands, fertile vineyards, sunflower-clad meadows and quiet villages
- Practice your French with a friendly farmer at an open-air market in Loches
- Visit Le Clos Lucé in Amboise, the last residence of Leonardo da Vinci and home to his many inventions
- Paddle underneath a Château, following the Cher river through ornamental gardens, orchards, scented forests, and the unforgettable French countryside
- Sip award-winning wine at the world-famous Chinon and Cravant wineries
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
The Chateau de Chenonceau: This remarkable structure was built almost entirely over the River Cher in Chenonceaux and has arches at its base to let the river's water flow through.
The Da Vinci remains: The creator of the Mona Lisa spent his last days in Amboise and his tomb can be found inside St. Hubert's Chapel.
The pastries: From cream puffs to sweet tarts to buttery quiches, French pastries are fresh, savory and made from scratch.
Paris, France CDG or ORY
Paris, France CDG or ORY
We meet in Paris in the morning and transfer to the Château de Chambord “Versailles of the Loire.” Tour the château for an up-close look, then enjoy a picnic and briefing before you mount your bicycle and head to the half-timbered town of Blois. See its magnificent skyline as you approach via the Loire river. Tonight, join your guides and fellow travelers for a wonderful welcome dinner.
About Hotel Mercure
Located in the center of Blois facing the Loire River, Hotel Mercure is just a five-minute walk away from the old part of Blois and 10 minutes from the chateau and the Maison de la Magie house of magic. With modern architecture, the hotel features the Quai St Jean restaurant, as well as a bar, swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and steam bath.
Enjoy a relaxing day of chateau hopping in the Loire Valley, frolicking in the valley of the kings. We’ll depart Blois with its beautiful Château, and visit the grand Château du Chaumont, a turreted castle with a colorful past and exquisite gardens. Relax with a local vintage as we cruise down the Loire River in our private boat. Soak up the lively atmosphere of Amboise and its luminous Royal Castle, where your hotel overlooks the Loire.
About Hotel le Choiseul
Located along the banks of the Loire River and at the foot of the Royal Castle of Amboise, the hotel Le Choiseul is composed of three charming 18th-century residences that are typical for this region. A small, flowered park embellishes the grounds. Its restaurant Le 36 offers French cuisine and menus of excellent quality. The hotel wine cellar holds many fine wines, especially from the Loire region. Guests have access to the heated outdoor swimming pool.
Today we trade our saddles for paddles as we canoe the beautiful Cher river route to Château de Chenonceaux, with its refined, graceful architecture. We’ll paddle underneath the Château, following the Cher river through ornamental gardens, orchards, scented forests, and the unforgettable French countryside. Discover everything that Amboise has to offer as you spend tonight on your own. We’ll also visit the palace that Leonardo Da Vinci called home for his final days.
Start your day with a trip to Loches’ wonderful market. We’ll hike around the historic village taking in royal apartments where Kings and Joan of Arc once stayed. We’ll begin our bike ride in Cormery after a group lunch. Today’s highlight is the Château Azay-le- Rideau. Picture perfect, its graceful silhouette is mirrored in the languid waters that surround it. You’ll stay in this scenic town for three nights. After resting and freshening up, gather with the group for yet another delectable meal.
About Hotel le Grand Monarque
In the heart of La Vallee des Rois, a registered UNESCO world heritage site, sits Hotel le Grand Monarque. This hotel-restaurant offers you a charming stay and relaxation. During your stay, you will discover its enchantment, great comfort, and genuine French cuisine.
Today’s ride leads to Chinon. From the site of France’s first parliament to Ussé’s Castle, the inspiration for “Sleeping Beauty,” there is something for everyone. Bike in the densely wooded forest and walk in the steps of Joan of Arc. In the afternoon, we’ll have a chance to taste some of France’s amazing wines before being transferred back to Azay-le-Rideau. Eat dinner at a restaurant of your choosing before being wowed by a tour of one of several amazing castles in the village.
Following the Loire north, you’re greeted by some of the most amazing châteaux perched amid fertile landscapes and quiet villages. Visit the elegant Château Langeais, and the divine gardens of Château de Villandry, which is perhaps the crown jewel of all the castles in the Loire. End your fantastic day with a grand farewell dinner.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Paris for your departure home. Before heading for Paris or elsewhere in France, you can also opt to spend some time in the bustling center of Tours.
**Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures.
Arrival & Departure
Prior to the trip, arrive at your own convenience in Paris. On Day 1, we will meet you in the lobby of Grand Hotel Bedford (8th arrondissement) in Paris at 8:30 a.m. After a transfer to Blois, the cycling begins. After breakfast on Day 7, we take you to the airport, train station, or the hotel of your choice in Paris (three hour transfer).
Day 1 bicycle mileage options: 17
Day 4 bicycle mileage options: 21
Day 5 bicycle mileage options: 23
Day 6 bicycle mileage options: 17
Day 2 walking tour Amboise 2 miles
Day 4 walking tour Loches 5 miles
Day 3 canoe 4 miles
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments, and receptions are included as indicated by the itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- Meals as indicated in detailed itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Any necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle, luggage tags and luggage service.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities.
Not Included in the Trip Price
- Gratuities to Austin Adventures guides.
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Want to know how to make fast friends in foreign places and how to get the most out of a destination by experiencing it like a local? Ask Adam, a longtime Austin Adventures guide who now serves as European Operations Manager in Holland. He caught the travel bug during a semester abroad in New Zealand and Australia and quickly discovered he never wanted to stop experiencing—and more importantly, sharing—the wonder of travel. He taught English in China, managed a resort in Mexico, and now lives with his wife and child in Amsterdam, ensuring guests have the best guides and experiences possible on their European adventures.