France | Loire Valley | Family
From castles to coteaux, 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.
Just beyond the hustle and bustle of Paris lies the peaceful valley of the Loire. The area’s rich history and grand sightseeing make it a perfect choice for all travelers. Gentle terrain makes it enjoyable for the most casual bicyclists. In this area of France you will find majestic châteaux, picturesque river views, charming towns, and world-class cuisine. Enjoy an easy paddle next to charming castles, vineyards, woodlands and historic wonders that give this region its sophisticated charm.
From castles to kings to vintage cars, this week-long Loire Valley adventure is the perfect recipe for family fun. We’ve carefully-crafted a most excellent itinerary to fill these seven remarkable days spent exploring France’s treasured landscapes and charming towns. Your young princesses and knights-in-shining-armor are in for a treat on this smile-inducing, two-wheeled adventure that also holds the simple pleasure of a glass of wine or stroll through cobblestone streets as you discover some of history’s most romantic settings. Truly a trip of a lifetime!
- Pedal at a leisurely pace crisscrossing vast forests, lush vineyards, fields of sunflowers and quiet villages
- Bike from King Francois I’s Chateau de Chambord and count the staircases in the grandiose 440-room estate
- Marvel at the lifelike King Charles VII and Anne of Brittany wax figures at the Chateau de Langeais
- Visit the Clos Luce museum in Amboise, the last residence of Leonardo da Vinci, to check out his countless inventions
- Explore Chateau de Chenonceau perched gracefully over the Cher River
- Opt for a gentle kayak along the Vienne River and ooh and ahh over the vintage car collection at Musee Dufresne
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
The gardens: These well-maintained and manicured outdoor spaces include lush medicinal, aromatic, herbal and vegetable gardens as well as parterres, orchards of trained fruit, labyrinths, cloisters, rose gardens, canals and lakes.
The Mini Castle Park: After you've seen your share of castles, villas and chateaux, see them again in miniature. This charming park in Amboise contains over 40 miniature models of the country's most famous chateaux.
In-the-field expertise: From getting your kids excited about medieval history to orchestrating seamless group dynamics, our guides keep their eyes on the details, ensuring that the toughest part of your vacation truly is going home.
Paris, France CDG or ORY
Paris, France CDG or ORY
We meet in Paris in the morning. After a 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 a three-star hotel 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, frolicking in the valley of the kings. We’ll depart Blois with it’s beautiful Château. 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 in our private boat. Soak up the lively atmosphere of Amboise and its luminous Royal Castle, where your hotel overlooks the Loire.
About Le Choiseul
Located along the banks of the Loire 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 Loire 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. After we paddle underneath the Château, we’ll then hike through ornamental gardens, orchards, scented forests, and unforgettable French countryside. Explore the grounds the remarkable Chenonceaux. 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, an art of living, 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 kayak on the Vienne river before we head back to Azay-le-Rideau. Eat dinner at a restaurant of your choosing on a night on our own in the quaint village.
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
Arrival and Departures 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
- Day 5 kayak 4 miles (Family trip)
Austin Adventures guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They take the time to explain the local history and daily sightseeing and route options. Each route has been carefully planned to include options to please each traveler’s interests. Austin Adventures guides are available to help you select the distance that’s right for you and to offer advice and assistance as you desire.
In Amboise, marvel at the models of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions at the Clos Lucé, where the master spent the last three years of his life. Walk in the footsteps of Joan of Arc when you explore Chinon, and hear how this courageous young girl was able to change the course of French history. Before heading out on the day the tour ends (and if time allows), spend some hours in Tours. There’s a lot to do in this lovely town of St. Martin, and it’s only an hour by TGV train to Paris (in which case we will transfer your luggage to your hotel in Paris).
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 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 Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- All breakfasts. Lunches and dinners as listed by day. Snacks along the route.
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Bikes, helmets and other 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 guide and expert gratuities.
Not Included in 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.