Biking and Hiking in the Loire Valley

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Nov 14th, 2003, 08:31 AM
  #1
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Biking and Hiking in the Loire Valley

Thinking of using Blois and Amboise as bases for a one week trip (May-Jun 04)either before or after staying a week in Paris. Thought it would be fun to do a mix of hiking, biking and sightseeing.

Two healthy 45+ recreational riders, but physically fit and able to handle rides of 20 to 30 miles per day plus some walking.

Thought was to save a little money by using public transportation to move between bases (no support wagon) and rent bikes versus signing up for a formal escorted bike tour.

Would be a self-guided affair with out and back rides each day and then a move (via train or bus) to the next base. However, we are concerned about breakdowns and lack of technical support since we don?t speak much French.

Would appreciate feedback on: biking & hiking websites, where to base out of, what ** & ***hotels would be friendly to bike riders, where to rent bikes, what map series to use, tour companies, sights to see and things to do around Blois and Amboise.
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Nov 14th, 2003, 01:20 PM
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Degas
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Our old Pal, Rick Steves, says Amboise, Blois, and Chinon make the best bike bases. He has a small blurb on bike rides in his France, Belgium and Netherlands book. He says all those towns have bike rental places that charge about $20 per day.

I did a google search for loire valley and cycling and got a ton of good info on routes and tour groups.

 
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Nov 14th, 2003, 03:37 PM
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Degas
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Forgot this one. Check out Lonely Planet's book: Cycling in France.
 
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Nov 15th, 2003, 09:43 PM
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The new issue of Frommers' Budget Travel has a tip that suggests you ask the local bike shops about renting bikes and for suggestions for tour routes.

This site looks informational:

http://meleterc.com/Page6france.html
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Nov 17th, 2003, 04:33 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. It lead me to lots of sites on planning self-guided trips. Guess this type activity is not that popular on this forum. Looked at some 2002 posts where "steve" had done this quite a bit.
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Nov 17th, 2003, 08:40 PM
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I based out of Onzain, a small town between Blois and Amboise - Hope to do it again in 2005. Both Blois and Amboise are good bases. You can probably rent bikes at the train stations in each town.

I think the french train system (SCNF?) has a brochure on bikes - might be available on the internet or by writing the national tourist office in NYC.

Get a Michelin map for the area - 1:200,000 and stay on the white roads wherever possible. Most of them are so little used that they are like private bike paths. Even the yellow roads are pleasant to bike on. Red roads can have quite a bit of traffic.

From Blois, you can easily see Chambord and from Amboise you can see Chaumont and Chenonceau without much trouble. There are really very few hills in the area.

In Blois the only thing I ever vistied was the Chateau which was very interesting. In Amboise there is the chateau and Leonardo da Vinci's house.

There is the Vouvray wine producing region between the two.

Just up river (? east) from Chenonceau there is a picnic area that is very pleasant.

That is a great time to be biking in the area as it doesn't get dark until after 10 PM, so you can make it a long day if you want.
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Jan 13th, 2004, 10:12 AM
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Still open to feedback & recommendations.
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