This gentle and unhurried gastronomic cycling holiday follows a triangular route through the heart of the great Loire Valley. Highlights include the majestic chateaux of Amboise and Chambord, and the rich Renaissance splendour of Chenonceau. You'll pass vineyards, sunflowers and pretty, sleepy villages, before pedalling gently along shady riverbanks and out through open countryside abundant with wildlife.
On each cycling day, you'll have the opportunity to taste dozens of different wines - stopping at big wineries or village vineyards as the mood takes you - in a wine region more varied and diverse than any other in the world.
The places you'll be staying in have been hand-picked for their elegant cuisine, extensive wines and beautiful settings. All have picturesque gardens and private swimming pools, and the Chateau de Chissay (where you spend 2 nights) is a former royal residence! Headwater's specially created gastronomic menus (typically 4 courses) include dishes such as sandre en croute d'escargots, selle d'agneau a l'ail nouveau and le moelleux au chocolat Valrhona, all washed down with a glass or two of the many fine local wines.
Arrive at Chissay and take some time to enjoy a swim before dinner.
Gentle pedalling along the banks of the Cher will bring you first to the superb Chateau de Chenonceau with its famous arches majestically spanning the river. Described by Flaubert as floating 'on air and water', it's arguably the most beautiful of all the Loire landmarks. Lunch here perhaps on the terrace of the Orangerie restaurant before heading off through the shady Amboise forest and on to Amboise. Don't worry if you don't have time to explore properly today as you can easily come back tomorrow. Your final stretch leads to the elegant village of St Ouen-les-Vignes and Jacques and Odile Arrayet's bijou hotel beside the river. Odile is a professional sommelier, and Jacques artistic chef de cuisine, so you're in for some treats here!
It's just a 5km cycle south to the narrow bustling streets of Amboise. Visit the flamboyant Royal Palace and the elegant Clos Luce, a C15 manor house where Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked for the last few years of his life. His workshops house 40 giant models of some of his most spectacular creations, the first plane, helicopter and tank, and the beautifully landscaped gardens bring life to his botanical drawings and geographical designs. alternatively it's an easy 15km return cycle along the river Cisse to wine capital, Vouvray. Here you'll find wine tasting possibilities and the option to visit Chateau de Valmer where King Charles VII once stayed.
Lovely peaceful cycling today with a choice of routes depending on how energetic you're feeling! The shorter option takes you via the sleepy village of Limeray (with a lovely white church with an impressive collection of statues) or you can head north through open countryside to Autreche - there's masses of wildlife so keep the binoculars handy! All cyclists then go on to Chaumont - the chateau here once belonged to Catherine de Medici and is quite spectacular. Between May and October, it hosts the International Garden Festival with a different theme each year. A final, shady riverside stretch takes you via the pretty villages of Les Montils and Seur and on to Chitenay where you'll spend the next two nights
The C17 chateau at nearby Cheverny, with its wonderful white stone facade, is a popular day trip. The richness of its furnishings and antiques is incredible, and the gardens are superb. This chateau was used as a model for Moulinsart by the author of Tintin and a permanent exhibition is open for viewing. Alternatively keen cyclists can head for the magnificent Chateau de Chambord - it's a 50km round trip! Set in the heart of the huge Foret de Boulogne, this C16 masterpiece appears straight from a fairytale, and reflects the lavish tastes of its original owner, King Francois I. Today, the surrounding park has been declared a national nature reserve, protecting all sorts of wildlife including deer, boar and eagles
Head south past well-tended vines and sleepy hamlets surrounded by fields of sunflowers Perhaps enjoy lunch on the terrace beside the fortified chateau of Fougeres-sur-Bievre, before free-wheeling downhill to the River Cher. Here you'll find the charming old quarter of mediaeval Montrichard, huddled beneath the C11 keep, with lots of open air cafes and splendid half-timbered houses. A final flat cycle follows the Cher back to Chateau de Chissay for a well-earned dip in the pool!
Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in France for children under 12. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own.
Please see our Planning you holiday page for full details.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.
If you'd like to keep your bikes with you for any extra nights we can arrange this for you for just £25 per adult per day and £18 per child per day. Please contact us on 1-800-567-6286 for further details.
NEARBY:The Château de Chissay is a château hotel steeped in history, set in 25 ha of parkland overlooking the Cher. Lovingly restored back in 1986, it's said that both Charles VII and Louis XI stayed here.
|11/05/2017 - 08/10/2017||£24||£40||£72|
All prices shown above are valid from 25/05/2017. Superior rooms are larger rooms overlooking the Cher Valley. Apartments are either overlooking the swimming pool or the Cher Valley. They have a separate lounge with a sofa bed. Prices for Suites are based on either a Troglodyte room or a Duplex room (on 2 floors) in the Tower.
|Dates||Double Room||Single Room|
|11/05/2017 - 08/10/2017||£122||£148|
All prices shown above are valid from 25/05/2017. Prices are per person per night including gastronomic evening meal.
Bike hire is not included in the above prices. Bike hire is not included in the above prices.
NEARBY:L'Aubinière is in the centre of an elegant village beside the River Ramberge just 5k north of Amboise. The garden is lovely - willow trees are set in lush lawns full of flowers, you can wander down to the river bank.
|Dates||Suite Privilege||Suite Luxe|
|11/05/2017 - 08/10/2017||£50||£94|
All prices shown above are valid from 25/05/2017. Both Suites are in the newer part of the hotel and are both decorated in modern style and are very spacious. Some have got a balcony.
Please contact us for extra night prices.
Tucked away in the elegant little village of Chitenay is the lovely ivy-clad Auberge du Centre, run by Gilles Martinet and his team - the food here is superb! Dinner is served either in the pretty dining room, or on the terrace - Gilles is a keen wine buff, and will happily advise on the best local tipples! With 27 bedrooms, Headwater guests are always accommodated in superior rooms with bath and feature satellite tv (including CNN) and telephone.
|11/05/2017 - 08/10/2017||£19|
All prices shown above are valid from 25/05/2017. Supplements are per person per night based on 2 sharing. The Balneo room is a larger room with jet bath and free access to hammam and sauna.
Please contact us for extra night prices.
If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.
The 4* Le Senat is simply stunning! There are just 41 rooms, all stylishly furnished and a couple of suites with terraces, if you really fancy splashing out! All have satellite television, mini bar, air-conditioning, safe and hairdryer, plus Internet access.
|01/01/2017 - 31/12/2017||£26|
All prices shown above are valid from 25/05/2017. Supplements are per person per night based on 2 sharing.
Deluxe rooms are larger with a sitting area. Some also have a small terrace.
|Dates||Superior double/twin||Superior for single use|
|09/03/2017 - 03/01/2017||£98||£178|
|04/04/2017 - 15/05/2017||£106||£196|
|16/05/2017 - 19/05/2017||£158||£300|
|20/05/2017 - 18/06/2017||£126||£236|
|19/06/2017 - 25/06/2017||£158||£300|
|26/06/2017 - 15/07/2017||£126||£236|
|16/07/2017 - 04/09/2017||£94||£182|
|05/09/2017 - 18/09/2017||£126||£236|
|19/09/2017 - 21/09/2017||£160||£316|
|22/09/2017 - 25/09/2017||£126||£236|
|26/09/2017 - 04/10/2017||£160||£316|
|05/10/2017 - 31/10/2017||£126||£2236|
All prices shown above are valid from 25/05/2017. Prices are per person per night including breakfast. Bike hire is not included in the above prices.
NEARBY:A traditional hotel in the town centre - very convenient for the channel ports and also for exploring St Omer itself - an aristocratic town that boasts the finest Cathedral in Northern France.
All prices shown above are valid from 25/05/2017.
Please contact us for extra night prices.
Transfers included from Tours St Pierre des Corps train station at 13:21 and back to Tours St Pierre des Corps train station at 11:20 Mon-Fri & 10:50 Sat & Sun.
Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email email@example.com to arrange connecting flights.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
Fantastic holiday. My husband is a keen cyclist and I am not, but I loved it. The routes were just the right distance and not too many hills. Add in great food and wine tasting and it was a perfect holiday. We made good use of the wine collection service! Already planning which holiday to book next!
An opportunity to experience something different in a beautiful part of the world with the benefit of the professional way Headwater looked after us.
Overall a very enjoyable holiday. Although not difficult, I do think a reasonable amount of fitness is required. Not sure this was made clear in the brochure.
We have travelled with Headwater on many cycling holidays experiencing the different Countries and we have never been disappointed.
Everything about the holiday is first class and we look forward to the next.
lovely holiday with easy cycling through attractive countryside and interesting hotels each with their own charms.
We had a superb holiday cycling in the Loire Valley. At times I felt i was cycling through a picture postcard, the scenery was so beautiful. The cycling was manageable for our 12 year old twins and the bikes were an excellent standard. The roads were quiet and the French were very polite and patient with cyclists (unlike British drivers!). The food was excellent quality
Beautiful scenery, wonderful dining and comfortable cycling in a lovely part of the country
The area is beautiful with many castles to visit and easy to cycle. Food is gourmet & delicious, many restaurants and cafes on route. Plenty of history. Weather is great. Though problems I mentioned need to be dealt with.
Gentle cycling through beautiful countryside - with stunning chateaux to visit - fabulous fragrances in the air - luxurious accommodation and wonderful food and wine. At the end we were fitter - but possibly fatter too!
Leisurely cycling tour through beautiful and quiet countryside with leisurely breaks at excellent hotels, providing sufficient time to visit chateaux and gardens along the way.
Don't take a vegetarian on a Gastronomic tour of the Loire! For the rest of us it was wonderful and the cycling was lovely. Generally friendly hotels - a very stroppy waiter in the second hotel and no services including coffee/teas to be had on the Monday. However, a very peaceful location and a fabulous and friendly dinner that night at the hotel up the road (in the middle of the cow fields) - would it be worth trying to organise a stay at that one instead?
Great holiday - easy cycling on quiet roads and cycle routes - delightful reps and first class hotels and food. A very successful Gastronomic holiday.
We can warmly recommend the Loire Gastronomic Cycling holiday which is particularly suitable for the reasonably fit and active over-65s. The hotels are excellent and all had swimming pools, the meals were really delicious and the cycling was not too strenuous. The countryside is stunning, as are the many chateaux along the route which are of special interest and add greatly to the enjoyment of the holiday.
Good alternative holiday
Excellent concept of relatively easy cycling (30km/day) in pleasant countryside. Plenty of places (e.g. chateaux) to visit on the way. Some fantastic food experience (i.e. at l'Aubiniere) that merits the word 'gastronomic'. L'Auberge du Centre was competent too. Chateaux de Chissay was the one disappointment - with poor levels of service - going through the motions but not really getting it unlike l'Aubiniere. They also had large tour parties (Taiwanese in our case) at Chissay which detracted from the experience and the service level in particular.
This is a very pleasant holiday and easy enough for people over 65. There is plenty of interest in the towns along the way - and plenty of chateaux, if that's your go. The weather was a bit mixed in mid-September, but we had good company on the ride which made up any disappointment. We had done the Loire Gastronomic a decade earlier, but the route has changes significantly and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Our ride this time was trouble-free, but the Headwater agents were very helpful always at hand if needed.
The food was excellent but having 5 course gourmet dinners every night was probably more than we really needed. The hotels were all very comfortable and very different with genuinely excellent restaurants and helpfull staff.
We had initially considered a Headwater walking tour of Loire as my wife is not a confident cyclist. But reading the website comments - decided Loire region was quite poor walking country but great cycling country. My wife more than coped with the itinerary and we are both raring to go on our next Headwater cycling holiday next year when we will both be 69!
Hotels and meals all excellent but we did feel that the rooms we stayed in at Chissay were a bit tired and in need of renovation, hen... read morece the fair rating.
Your HQ staff gave us excellent advice and James and Hazel as tour managers were the most brilliant ever encountered and helped make an excellent experience.
We had an excellent, well organised holiday ,in beautiful surroundings with delicious food and wine. It was at the correct standard for our level of cycling.
The reps were efficient, friendly, and well informed. The three hotels were very different but all very comfortable with excellent food.
This was our third cycling holiday in France with headwater and by far the best. Previous holidays , Brittany and Canal du Midi, were not such good value and conditions more challenging.
The gastronomic cycling holiday was a great way to see the Loire valley up close. The notes for cycling were easy to follow and enabled us to enjoy the holiday at our own pace. The bikes were well maintained with a comfy gel saddle which ensured no aches and pains were felt in unwanted places! On this holiday you can keep fit and build up an appetite for the excellent French cuisine and wines which you enjoy guilt-free and come home the same weight as when you left.
Fabulous holiday, very well planned. We were immersed in the countryside and every day we saw beautiful places that we would never have seen travelling by car. Every night we ate a sumptuous meal of fabulous quality. A real joy.
Had a fabulous time especially in view of the fact that we organised it within 24hours! Great work from Headwater on that.
Weather was brilliant too even with the 39degree heat day. It was always very supportive to know that we could call James and/or Hazel anytime form anywhere and they would help us. We did. One day, we didn't make the whole distance and were picked up without any issues at all.
I didn't take a helmet and I do feel it is compulsory for me, whatever the law. I thi... read morenk a bigger 'heads-up' re taking a helmet could be made, plus at least for the girls, take cycling pants.
All the meals were sensational. The routes were scenic and thoroughly enjoyable, especially the dedicated bike tracks and those along the rivers.
Loved the entire experience and working with this company. Five stars. Thank you.
We were very happy with the entire trip. The accommodations and food were amazing. I've already recommended this vacation to several friends.
We had a fabulous holiday, the support we got from our reps (particularly James) was of a really high standard, and definitely added to the holiday experience.
The hotels (especially Vallagon and Chissay) definitely lived up to or surpassed expectations.
This sort of holiday was new to us, but we would definitely do it again.
We luckily met another couple on our trip with similar interests so it was lovely to meet up in the evenings with them, could have been solitary on our own.
Wouldn't do Gastronomique as food was too much and very similar menu at each hotel, No Air Con at hotel on 1st and last night and it was very hot when we were on holiday. The villages we cycled through had few shops and often seemed closed when we went through them but on the whole this wasn't a major problem. The chateaus were lovely and the hotel staff on the whole very helpful. The bikes were very good.
As with my previous Headwater holiday in Brittany last year, the organisation and logistics of this holiday worked like clockwork, luggage was collected and delivered to successive hotels in time for my arrival. In all but one instance the hotel reception was excellent and the quality of the dining experience was commensurate with fine dining. In one hotel only, the restaurant was busy and the front of house staff were flustered and made several mistakes with my menus and orders, but this was... read more compensated by the quality of the food and the wine suggestions of the other staff. One evening our group was taken by taxi for the evening meal to a nearby Hotel/Restaurant as our hotel's restaurant was closed for the evening. This was done with efficiency and the dining experience worth the trip. The Rep, James, made every effort to meet me when I arrived and to explain things to me and took the trouble to see me off as I left. The Reps were very helpful, sending me a postcard with their contact details on before I started the holiday, giving me the confidence that they would be there to help if anything went wrong, which I am glad to say did not happen. If you like French food and good wines this is a good choice for you. I am a keen cyclist and prefer to cycle further each day than the Headwater brochure routes. I appreciate the flexibility Headwater adopt with me in negotiating support for a longer route than the one in the brochure. I will be booking with Headwater again next year.
We were a family group of six with ages ranging from 30 to 67 and we all enjoyed the whole experience. One of our party was a vegetarian which we recognised might be a bit of a challenge for the hotels, given that this was a gastronomic experience, but she was quite happy with the range of vegetarian options available.
Beautiful area of France with easy cycling days,many interesting places to visit and, at the end of the day, mouth watering food to enjoy.
Great holiday hampered only by poor weather at times but our reps were fantastic. Chissay was lovely. How marvellous to stay in such an historic place. Every single member of staff was very helpful and friendly. We could not fault it. We could not make much use of the pool as it was not warm enough. Hotel Aubiniere was more modern and very comfortable with lovely food. again the staff were great. The Auberge was much more cramped and very busy. We struggled to be able to find somewhere to put th... read moree bikes as the shed was so full. Out of the three this was our least favourite but the food was good if a bit over fussy. A great holiday but would not want to do it for longer as the food becomes too much by the end. If we did it again we would do it without the gastronomy just simple meals.
It was a lovely relaxing holiday. Amazing weather and the cycling routes were really easy to navigate and through beautiful parts of France. We did though feel we had earned out gastronomic dinner at the end of the day - which was perfect! Two of the hotels were lovely, at Chateau de Chissay and Hotel L'Aubiniere the facilities and food were heavenly but we didn't feel the other hotel Auberge du Centre was not quite at the same standard.
Headwater provide a fair all around holiday
Another excellent holiday with Headwater despite the disappointing weather! Delicious food again only wish we could have been there longer.
a great holiday with lovely places to stay at night with food that is to die for. during the day we stopped at great locations with good facilities for lunch and exploring, would love to go again as it was a great experience thank you
Fabulous area for easy cycling, with empty roads and lots of interesting places to visit on 'rest' days. A variety of good hotels in very peaceful locations.
Thanks to careful planning by Headwater our holiday ran smoothly from the initial phone call to our journey home. It was our first experience using Headwater, it exceeded all our expectations and we look forward to another holiday with them in the future.
The title 'gastronomique' is deserved - the food was wonderful. The cycling was generally easy and the many chateaux were a delight. Special treats Clos-Lucé in Amboise; the gardens in Chaumont; the delightful Cheverny.
Very good holiday.
The cycling and support from the reps was very good. Unfortunately apart from the one hotel I would not rate the holiday as a gastronomic experience.
Excellent Holiday: Food Excellent. Some of the hotels in need of some upgrading. Bikes great. See me separate email!
Gentle exercise with time to appreciate the rural surroundings; superior and varied accommodation; wonderful food and wine. We have never slept better!!
This is not a cheap holiday as the Gastronomic label confirms. I've not eaten 5-6 course meals for 6 nights on the trot before, but you can get used to it very easily when the courses aren't huge. The cycling, chateaux and shivering in icy swimming pools were all great. We really enjoyed it.
Good quality reps always availble to help you and offer advice.
Your representatives exuded professionalism and gave you confidence that if any mishap occurred they would easily be able to put anything and everything right. Ian and HollY also made you feel welcome and were most knowledgeable.
We had a fantastic holiday and are now pondering where to travel with you next year!
Best holiday we ever had! The Headwater experience is something everybody should do.
Excellent, may not have been as enjoyable if the weather had not been so good.
a truely relaxing holiday in beautiful surroundings
well organised - no hastles for us +
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday. Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.
|May 2017||Tour only||Availability|
|11th May||US$1782||Check availability|
|13th May||US$1782||Check availability|
|15th May||US$1782||Check availability|
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|31st May||US$1782||Check availability|
|Jun 2017||Tour only||Availability|
|2nd Jun||US$1890||Check availability|
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|6th Jun||US$1890||Check availability|
|8th Jun||US$1890||Check availability|
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|Jul 2017||Tour only||Availability|
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|Aug 2017||Tour only||Availability|
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|Sep 2017||Tour only||Availability|
|2nd Sep||US$1890||Check availability|
|4th Sep||US$1890||Check availability|
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|12th Sep||US$1860||Check availability|
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|30th Sep||US$1860||Check availability|
|Oct 2017||Tour only||Availability|
|2nd Oct||US$1860||Check availability|
|4th Oct||US$1860||Check availability|
|6th Oct||US$1860||Check availability|
|8th Oct||US$1860||Check availability|
Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed rep.
Every two days from 11th May 2017 to 8th Oct 2017, for 6 nights.
All continental breakfast and gastronomic evening meals included
This holiday may be adapted into a 4 night version - just deduct £220 per person from the prices above.
Transfers included from Tours St Pierre des Corps train station at 13:21 and back to Tours St Pierre des Corps train station at 11:20 Mon-Fri & 10:50 Sat & Sun.
Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Loire Gastronomic Cycling. Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss your requirements in more detail.