Today is an arrival day so there are no planned activities and you may arrive at any time throughout the day (please note that check-in at the hotel is usually around 2-3pm). Look out for a message from your CEO at the hotel reception detailing the time and location for an important meeting in the evening, during which you will meet your CEO and fellow group members, as well as complete some admin and learn more about the trip. After the meeting, you may choose to join your CEO and travel companions for an optional dinner in a local restaurant. If you arrive late, no worries, your CEO will leave you a message detailing where they can be contacted and when to meet the following morning. The city of Blois has been an important city in the Loire region since the 9th century. Over time, Blois has been the resort of the French court, and maintains a regal air. If you arrive here in time then you can wander around the city at your leisure, or perhaps enjoying some delicious French cuisine. Overnight in Blois
First day on your bike today, as we pedal through the French countryside enjoying the beautiful scenery as we pass. First we visit Chateau de Blois, home to several French kings and the place where Joan of Arc went to be blessed before she went into battle with the English. A visit to the Chateau is an excellent introduction to the Loire, as you can get a sense of the regal history in this area. We continue cycling onward towards the village of Chenonceau. Total distance approx: 45km Distance approx: 24km Blois to Chaumont Distance approx: 26km Chaumont to Chenonceau
Another chateau to visit this morning, the spectacular Chateau de Chenonceau. Built in 1513 on the site of an old water mill, the chateau sits astride the river Cher and is an incredible sight. With its extensive collection of paintings by the old masters, you will want to linger here for hours. This afternoon we continue on through the villages and countryside to the town of Tours, via the city of Amboise. Along the way we stop at a variety of markets, and pick up some succluent local fare. When we reach a suitable stopping point, we will relax with a great picnic and enjoy a lazy afternoon by the river. Continue to Tours Total distance approx: 51km Distance approx: 25km Chenonceau to Amboise Distance approx: 27.5 km Amboise to Tours
Following the river along through the green fields and flower strewn meadows of the Loire to the medieval citadel of Chinon. The terrain here is known as 'bocage', which refers to rolling hills filled with forests and pastures. Along the route we stop to visit the Chateau Usse, famed for its picturesque appearance, and the famous renaissance era gardens of the Chateau de Villandry. Carefully restored by Joachim Carvallo, the gardens are laid out in formal designs and include a water garden, vegetable gardens and flower gardens. From here we continue on to Chinon, where we stay for the night. Distance approx: 60km
Waking up in Chinon this morning there is time to wander through the city before taking off once more on our bikes. There is one thing Chinon is famous for, which is it's red wine! We visit one of the vineyards in the region today to learn about how this is produced and, more importantly, sample some of their wares. After leaving Chinon, the terrain becomes different around our route. A steep white limestone cliff rises above us, known as 'Tuffeau'. We cycle in the shadow of this cliff along the river. You can see houses built out of the cliff face as you pass. Along the route we will be able to visit the wine cellars among the cliffs and learn more about the production of wine in the Saumur region. An interesting sight that is peculiar to this region is 'pommes tapees', literally translated as hammered apples. Traditionally apples are dried for storage. This technique involves tapping them until they are flat, making for easier storage! We arrive into Saumur where we spend the night. Distance approx: 36km
We continue onwards today towards Gennes. Along the route we will see tiny villages, and as we are in 'the garden of France' as the Loire region is known, you might be able to help yourself to some of the delicious roadside fruit along the way. Gennes is overlooked by a large war memorial, which commemorates the cadets from Saumur who defended the bridges here against the Germans in 1940. As this took place after the French has surrendered, many consider this to be one of the first acts of the French resistance. Along the route we also stop to visit the unusual mushroom caves of the Musee du Champignon. Gennes, as with many of the villages here, is dominated by a large chateau. Once we arrive here, there will be time to explore the surroundings and see more of the town. Distance approx: 20km
Our final leg of cycling today. After a week of leisurely cycling across the Loire, today is the last opportunity for you to stretch your legs and enjoy the great scenery along the route. The bulk of the route here is on specific cycle paths, but we do spend some time cycling on the main roads as well. Its fairly flat cycling through mostly countryside along the way. When we get to Angers, the chateau here is well worth a visit, in particular for the famous Apocalypse tapestry. Covering the length of a football field and commissioned by Louis I it is the oldest French medieval tapestry still in existence. The tapestry depicts the revelation of St John, and the style and design of this has little equal anywhere in the world. Angers is our final stop, so tonight is a great opportunity for one final taste of the great French cuisine and wine that the Loire is famous for. Distance approx: 40km
Train to Nantes this morning. Depart any time in the afternoon from Nantes.