From one Loire castle to another – by pedaling

Tours, Amboise, Chaumont, Beauregard, Cheverny, Chambord and Blois mark out the Loire à Vélo cycling route. 900 km long, it connects Cuffy (near Nevers) to Saint-Brevin-les-Pins (Loire-Atlantique). A large part crosses a territory located within the perimeter listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with castles, towns and villages steeped in history, renowned vineyards, local gastronomy, Loire landscapes, unusual and gourmet getaways.

Latest edition : 27 May 2023

Too often, holidaymakers visit the castles of the Loire at a frantic pace. To tell the truth, we too, but we replaced the car with the bicycle to combine visiting castles with discovering the landscapes of the Loire. In five days, we visited seven castles, and covered some 130 kilometres. The stages were short in order to have time to enjoy, a little (far too little!), Castle life.

The royal castle of Blois.


Day 1. Tours – Montlouis. 13.4 km.
We decided to start our little journey in Tours and to get there by train. Near the station, we picked up our bikes reserved at Roue Lib.

Roue lib is a partner of the Loire by bike.

After spending a few hours on the train, a little “saddle riding” is essential and we follow Simon, a passionate tour guide, for a tour of the city by bike.

Simon, fascinating and passionate guide. He obviously knows all the secret corners of Tours like the passage of the heartbroken...

If the passage in certain streets of the medieval quarter is not always easy (depending on the crowd), the bike tour allows you to discover a maximum of places in a short time, the banks, the bridges.

La cathédrale Saint-Martin de Tours
L'hôtel de ville de Tours.


Because we don't want to hang around town for too long and prefer to join the Loire and Montlouis, our first stop.

Especially since the Le Clos du Roc guest house is a beautiful 19th century manor house with a small park with remarkable trees. The rooms are admirably furnished, the table d'hôtes (on reservation) delicious and the wines tasted on the advice of our host, completely to our liking!

Le Clos du Roc guest house in Montlouis.
View of the Loire from the guest house Le Clos du roc in Montlouis.


Day 2. Montlouis – Amboise-Rilly – Chaumont-sur-Loire. 36.8 km. 
Our first castle is only a few pedal strokes away. Amboise proudly overlooks the Loire.

Break on the Loire by bike route, on the banks of the Loire opposite the Château d'Amboise. Photo A World by Bike
Amboise overlooks the Loire.

Too bad, the Saint-Hubert chapel which houses the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci, is closed for restoration work.

The view from the castle terraces is magnificent. No wonder Amboise was one of the favorite sites of the kings of France during the Renaissance period.

The castle of Amboise.

With the histopad (free with admission), the visit is even more interesting, Anne of Brittany, François I, Leonardo da Vinci seem to come back to life.


Time passes too quickly and after a quick tour of the gardens to admire the thousands of box trees cut into balls, we get back on our bikes.

In the park of the Château d'Amboise, thousands of box trees are cut into balls.

During a quick tour of Amboise, we buy some provisions at the market.

The clock tower of Amboise.
At the market in Amboise.

We pass in front of the Clos Lucé, place of life and work of Leonardo da Vinci, cross vineyards before finding the river.

Along the way, wine tasting and picnic (by reservation, tel. 06 43 09 30 93) at the Domaine des Pierrettes in Rilly.

Dégustation de vins au domaine des Pierrettes à Rilly.
Dégustation de vins au domaine des Pierrettes à Rilly.


It is better not to force the wine, because the arrival at the Château de Chaumont is via a nasty steep path, the only difficult passage on the route.

Le château de Chaumont vu depuis l'embarcadère sur la Loire.
Le chateau de Chaumont est posé dans un magnifique écrin naturel
L'art est omniprésent à Chaumont.
Vue depuis le chateau de Chaumont sur la Loire


Large and small living room, library, dining room, billiard room, guard room, bedrooms…. Chaumont is certainly one of the most furnished castles in the Loire Valley!

Alternately owned by Catherine de Medici, then by Diane de Poitiers, the castle has welcomed famous visitors: Nostradamus, Benjamin Franklin, Germaine de Staël. The last private owner, the Princess de Broglie, took it to modernity. Today, the estate is the property of the Center Val de Loire Region and has become a Center for Arts and Nature.

In addition to works of art, tapestries and period furniture, some rooms host works by contemporary artists each year, creating a mysterious and poetic atmosphere.


The walk in the landscaped park with its remarkable trees leads to the stables, to the model farm.


The visit to the garden festival (which attracts several hundred thousand tourists every year!) is done almost at a run, since we have booked a trip on the Loire in a traditional boat offered by the Millière Raboton association from pier below the castle.


Evening begins to fall when we get back on our bikes to cross the Loire and reach Veuzain and our bed and breakfast, Les Douves d'Onzain. Our room is in the Hélion tower (a small section of the wall of which dates from the old castle. A boat allows you to take a ride on the moat that surrounds the building and the park. It would be a shame not to take advantage of a maximum of the site and, far-sighted, we had taken what to make a picnic with the market of Amboise.

The hosts, Octavie and Sébastien, regularly organize exhibitions and concerts.



Day 3. Chaumont-sur-Loire – Cellettes – Cheverny. 35.2 km
After following the Loire, we leave the river to take the route of the castles of the Loire by bike.

Less glamorous than the large neighboring castles - therefore less popular - but so welcoming, the Château de Beauregard in Cellettes.

It is well hidden in the middle of nature! To get there, we cross a vast landscaped park of 40 ha, where the signs invite you to walk on the lawn, where an 18th century icehouse bears witness to the know-how of yesteryear for keeping foodstuffs cool.

Dans le parc du château de Beauregard.
Une glacière du XVIIIème siècle au coeur du parc du château de Beauregard.


Prière de marcher sur les pelouses. Le propriétaire du château de Beauregard souhaite que les visiteurs profitent pleinement du parc.
Dans le parc du château de Beauregard, les mauvaises herbes n'existent pas.


But still no castle in sight! We continue through a small wood with a path punctuated by illustrious characters. Anecdotes make us rediscover history in a playful way.

Petit cours d'histoire en cheminant vers le château de Beauregard.


But here is finally the Château de Beauregard. A vast fleur-de-lis is cut out in the meadows.



François I's former hunting lodge is renowned for its Illustrious gallery, a fabulous collection begun in 1617.

327 portraits of key figures in the political history of France and Europe invite to a real history lesson.

327 portraits tell part of the history of France.
The portrait gallery of the Château de Beauregard.

If there are not many rooms to visit - the castle is small and still inhabited -, it conceals jewels such as a lapis lazuli ceiling, an exceptional paving made of 5,600 Delft tiles or even some remarkable furniture. .

Le plafond de la galerie des portraits est remarquable
5600 carreaux de Delft pour un pavage exceptionnel au château de Beuregard
Le cabinet des grelots, un cabinet de travail entièrement coffré de boiseries sculptées qui cachent des placards pour les livres et docuements.
Les boiseries sculptées du cabinet des grelots du château de Beauregard sont l'oeuvre d'un ébéniste italien
Un magnifique buffet en noyer massif
Dans la bibliothèeque du château de Beauregard, une chaise incrustée de nacre.


Dans les cuisines du château de Beauregard.


Not to mention the magnificent musical clock in the antechamber of the castle. Although it dates from 1711, it still functions and reproduces its six melodies.

The musical clock from 1711 still works.

Passing through the old castle library, other portraits make us smile: those of the dogs of today's celebrities.

At the Château de Beauregard, another gallery of portraits makes you smile, that of the dogs of today's celebrities.

Before leaving, a walk in the extraordinary Portrait Garden created in 1992 is a must... It includes 12 "vegetal rooms reminiscent of the 12 groups of portraits in the gallery. Each of these “rooms” is associated with a dominant color.

The family of Guy de Pavillon, owner of the Château de Beauregard.

We would still have liked to stay in this peaceful setting, especially since the owner of the place, Guy de Pavillon, was present for a guided tour rich in little stories.

The blue garden of Touraine
At the Château de Beauregard, nothing is stuffy. Guy de Pavillon likes when visitors have fun, take advantage of the park to picnic and play.

But another castle awaits us and we get back on our bikes. The path is still just as pleasant.

The Loire castles route is part of the Loire by bike route.

Change of scenery at the Château de Cheverny, family property of the Hurault de Vibraye family for six centuries. In 1922, it was the first private château to open to the public.

le château de Cheverny.
Henri Hurault, comte de Cheverny et constructeur du château.
L'impressionnant arbre généalogique de la famille de Hurault des Vibraye.


With its Gobelins tapestries and exceptional pieces of furniture, it is considered the most magnificently furnished Château de la Loire. (the king's bedroom with the bed that accommodated Henri IV).

La salle à manger du château de Cheverny avec sa table somptueuse.
80 Henri IV a dormi dans ce lit...
Le château de Cheverny en Lego


Equally impressive is the park with its impeccable themed gardens including the garden of love. Six monumental bronze sculptures by Swedish sculptor Gudmar Olovson are intended as a tribute to life, to love of course and to family.

Le jardin de l'amour dans le parc du château de Cheverny accueille six sculptures de Gudmar Olovson
La vague, sculpture de Gudmar Olovson au parc du château de Cheverny.
La vague, sculpture de Gudmar Olovson au parc du château de Cheverny.
Prélude, une sculpture de Gudmar Olovson dans le parc du château de Cheverny.


The forest part of the park (more than 100 hectares), can be visited with a guide, on board carts and electric boats. We admire the alley of 157 cedars. The bald cypresses of the canal give an air of Louisiana.

Une allée majestueuse de cèdres borde un chemin dans la partie forestière du parc du château de Cheverny.


La végétation au bord du canal qui traverse le parc du château de Cheverny fait penser à la Louisiane.


La végétation au bord du canal qui traverse le parc du château de Cheverny fait penser à la Louisiane.


In the kennel, the hundred tricolor Anglo-French dogs, a cross between English Fox Hound and French Poitevins, put on a show.

A hundred dogs live in the kennel of the Château de Cheverny.

A nice nod: Hergé was inspired by the place to design the Château de Moulinsart. After the splendor of the castle, we find with pleasure the universe of Tintin in the permanent exhibition, "the secrets of Moulinsart". It is a pleasant immersion in the adventures of Tintin.

Tintin dévoile les secrets de Moulinsart dans une exposition permanente du château de Cheverny.
L'univers de Tintin grandeur nature au château de Cheverny.
Hergé s'est inspiré du château de Cheverny pour dessiner le château de Moulinsart.


Just opposite the entrance to the château, the Maison des Vins de l’AOC Cheverny invites you to taste 100 cuvées from the appellation.

The Maison des Vins de l'AOC Cheverny is located right next to the Château de Cheverny.

This evening, no picnic but an excellent dinner at the hotel-restaurant Relais des 3 châteaux.




Day 4. Cheverny – Villesavin – Chambord – Saint-Dye-Loire. 32km 
We leave the course of the Loire to discover another little less known castle.

Through bucolic landscapes, we reach the Villesavin castle with its country charm with its farm animals and its breeding of donkeys from Poitou.

Villesavin Castle.

Despite its apparent simplicity, details of the facades recall those of … Chambord. Nothing surprising in that when you know that it was built by Jean le Breton, governor of the works of Chambord. Hence its nickname of Chambord construction site cabin. The explanations of the guide make the visit much more interesting, raising details that we probably would not have noticed without her explanations!

La chapelle a été construite à la même époque que le château de Villesavin. Vers la fin du 16e siècle on a réalisé des peintures à l'huile dans un style caractéristique de La Seconde Ecole de Fontainebleau.


Dans la chapelle du château de Villesavin.


Also worth seeing is the wedding museum with its collections of wedding crowns and...chamber pots, the chapel and the shed with the cars.

Plus de 350 couronnes de mariage sont exposées dans le petit musée du mariage au château de Villesavin.
Des globes de mariage au château de Villesavain.
Le musée du mariage au château de Villesavin abrite aussi une collection de pots de chambre. De nombreuses coutumes y sont liées.


Une grue à oranger dans la remise du château de Villesavin


Today, Villesavin belongs to the Sparr family.

Villesavin Castle belongs to the Sparr family.

As we continue our way, we meet more cyclists. Obviously, we are approaching our next step.

De beaux panneaux indiquent un chateau plus important.


After this very peaceful little stop in the heart of the forest, it is the effervescence of the crowd that welcomes us to Chambord, a magnificent emblem of the French Renaissance.


The castle is located in the largest enclosed park in Europe: 5440 hectares. Farmland, meadows, forests, lake, river, heather moors, vineyards and a village surround the castle.

L'éco-pâturage permet l'enrichissement des sols.-Olivier-Marchant
Des vastes jardins potagers.


It was François I who ordered, in 1519, the construction of a palace in the heart of the marshy lands of Sologne. A monumental palace, a symbol of power for the young king.

©-National Estate of Chambord.-Photo-Sophie-Lloyd

But it will be necessary to wait for the reign of Louis XIV for the building to be completed, and for the site to be cleaned up. The Sun King has resided there on several occasions and Molière is presenting the premiere of his Bourgeois Gentilhomme there.    

Since 1930, the national domain of Chambord has belonged to the French State.

©-National Estate of Chambord.-Photo-Sophie-Lloyd

To make the most of the visit to the many rooms and halls, follow a guided tour (allowing you to go through places closed to the public) or equip yourself with a HistoPad to decipher the secrets of the site.

Sous les combles du château de Chambord ©-DnC-Photo-Sophie-Lloyd.
Château de Chambord
Vue sur un des jardins du château de Chambord.
La salamandre est l'emblème de François Ier. A Chambord, elle est surmontée d'une couronne arborant la devise Nutrisco et Extinguo, signifiant je me nourris du bon feu, j'éteins le mauvais.
Au château de Chambord, impossible d'oublier que la salamandre est le symbole de François Ier. Elle y est représentée plus de 300 fois!
Décor du château ambulant. © Olivier-Marchant


At the heart of the château: the famous double spiral staircase inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. This upward spiral leads from the ground floor to the terraces.

The double-revolution staircase in the heart of the Château de Chambord was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci.
On the terraces of the Château de Chambord with one of the magnificent lantern towers.

After so many splendours, and so many people, we find the Loire. For our last night on the course, we chose to be closer to the river. Or rather on the river, aboard a comfortably furnished toue cabin. The picnic awaits us in the cool for a simple meal worthy of a king thanks to the sumptuous sunset. Olivier Lelong, the owner of this unusual accommodation, had the delicacy to add a bottle of good, chilled wine!

La toue-cabanée, notre chambre pour une nuit romantique sur la Loire.
Pique-nique à bord de notre toue-cabanée.
Coucher de soleil sur la Loire.




Day 5. Saint-Dye-sur-Loire – Blois: 24 km. 
After a night lulled by the lapping of the water, we leave for the last stage following the Loire. Many swans sail majestically on the river.

The arrival in Blois is impressive with the bridge, the castle, the churches and other buildings that stand out against the sky and are reflected in the river.

Blois is reflected in the waters of the Loire.

After a short climb, we arrive at the square in front of the château royal de Blois 

Visite du chateau de Blois. CRT Centre-Val de Loire, photo Joël Damasse
Statue équestre de François Ier au-dessus de l'entrée du château de Blois. Le sculpteur n'était visiblement pas très observateur - ni logique! Regardez les pattes du cheval!


With its four wings of different styles, it is a real showcase of the architecture of the Loire castles, from the Middle Ages to the Classic period.

Les quatre ailes du château de Blois ont été édifiées dans des styles différents.
L'impressionnant escalier du château de Blois.


Here too, a guided tour is recommended to discover rooms closed to the public, small secret passages.

Après la visite de plusieurs châteaux de la Loire, nous sommes devenus incollables sur les symboles des rois!
La salle des Etats du château de Blois est l'une des plus grandes et anciennes salles civiles gothiques conservées en France
La salamandre, une oeuvre de Goudji.


We end our trip along the Loire and through the History of France with a visit to an unusual museum, the Maison de la Magique, which faces the castle.

The House of Magic in Blois.

Impossible to miss when dragons appear through the windows!

Dragons spring from the windows of the House of Magic in Blois.

This is the universe of one of the greatest magicians, Robert Houdin, a child of Blois. A visit that makes you dream!

Robert Houdin, enfant de Blois, fut un des plus grands magiciens.
Robert Houdin etat également un horloger exceptionnel.
A la Maison de la Magie à Blois, des prestidigitateurs dévoilent quelques-uns de leurs secrets.
Dans la Maison de la magie à Blois, tout n'est qu'illusion.


At the end of the afternoon, after a last look at the Loire, we go back to Blois station for a return to Tours by train.

View of the Loire from the Château de Blois.

The Train Loire by bike makes getting around easier. Except that the 17 dedicated spaces are quickly booked up (17 places, especially during the summer period, and it is better to book) and that self-service boarding depends on the crowds.



The Loire à Vélo is a 900km long cycling route that connects Cuffy (near Nevers) to Saint-Brevin-les-Pins (Loire-Atlantique). It is one of the most beautiful cycle routes in France. Most of the La Loire à Vélo route crosses a territory located within the perimeter listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with castles, towns and villages steeped in history, renowned vineyards, local gastronomy, Loire landscapes, unusual getaways.



Bike rental at Roue Lib, 55, rue Bernard Palissy.Tel. 0676535213, a few minutes from the train station and the Tourist Office.

Stroll on the Loire:
Association Millière Raboton, man of the Loire, Phone : 06 88 76 57 14,

Montlouis-sur-Loire: Guest house “Le Clos du Roc” at 4 quai de la Loire.
Phone : 07 60 34 00 66.

Chaumont: Bed and breakfast and art gallery: Les Douves in Veuzain (on the other side of the bridge). Attention: book dinner in advance in one of the few restaurants in the town. Better: plan a picnic in the romantic setting of the small estate. 7 rue de l'Ecrevissière,
Phone : 02 54 20 82 66,

Cheverny: dinner and overnight stay at the Relais des Trois châteaux, 1 place Victor Hugo, Phone : 02 54 79 96 44.

Saint-Dyé-sur-Loire: Beyond the Loire, toue cabanée, quai de la Loire; Olivier Lelong, tel. 06 89 16 49 34 (ask for a picnic basket for the evening to make the most of the romantic atmosphere).