Biking Loire Valley, Stay in Amboise?

Oct 21st, 2013, 08:13 PM
  #21  
 
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Biking Loire Valley, Stay in Amboise?
Posted by: amwosu on Oct 20, 13 at 9:44pm


Years ago I stayed in Blois and rode a bike out to Chambord, a huge place. It was an easy ride. I went by train to Amboise and saw several more of the castles over a few days in the valley.

For information on bringing your bike on French trains see http://tinyurl.com/mdpwr94. He has a lot of information on cycling in central Europe linked from his home page http://www.europebicycletouring.com/index.htm. One itinerary is on the Loire Valley.

Ditto all that FrenchMystiqueTours said. I also recommend the Michelin Green Guide Chateaux of the Loire. In Amboise there is the Leonardo da Vinci museum, Clos Luce. It is small but very interesting.
spaarne is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2013, 05:28 AM
  #22  
 
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http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Troglo..._i9531770_.htm

You can stay in troglodyte houses in Amboise - there is a string of these houses built into a small cliff just south of the castle - the street is rather hidden and few folks see it but it is lined by such cave houses - here is one you can stay in! (Not endorsing it - just mention for the novelty.

More images of Amboise' troglodyte houses -
https://www.google.com/search?q=trog...=1600&bih=1099
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2013, 06:53 AM
  #23  
 
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Ann Marie

Check out trip reports on www.crazyguyonabike.com There you will get some information on what parts of the Loire bike trail are not nice pavement. Lots of good pictures.

You don't have to stick to any bike route. Lots of times they don't go where you want to, especially doing loop rides.

Any road in the area that is white on a Michelin 1:200,000 will be excellent. Yellow roads may not be that bad. Red roads are best avoided, although not as bad as riding on Shea Blvd.

Are you still in Fountain Hills? I live in Colorado ow, so I probably won't ever get that cup of coffee!
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 08:06 AM
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Avoid the N - National road along the south bank of the Loire at any costs - lots of speeding trucks and cars - roads on the north side are largely calm roads - perfect for biking - yes stick to white roads or yellow roads on Michelin maps - the Loire Bike Path sounds neat but no need to follow it to have a back roads route to the chateaus of your choice.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 12:58 PM
  #25  
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I'm furiously cutting and pasting all the information so thanks guys.

"Are you still in Fountain Hills? I live in Colorado ow, so I probably won't ever get that cup of coffee!"

bigtyke,
Yes! Our best friends bought a gorgeous house high on the hill overlooking the fountain and have completely renovated it. We want to eliminate the redundancy of two vacation homes in the same town/state so we're going to sell the FHs condo when the market comes up a bit, keep our mountain bikes at the friends' house and buy a house in Colorado. We'll vacation in each other's homes as we all love AZ and CO.

We mountain biked in Salida, Nathrop and Buena Vista in July and looked at real estate. We love the promise of long warm summers in the "Banana Belt" but mountain biking starting at 9000+ ft elevation was a killer. We may revisit the idea of buying near Alma or Fairplay. We want to have good roadbiking and not be farther than an hour from skiing. Got any other ideas?
Ann Marie
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Oct 23rd, 2013, 12:48 PM
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the Loire bike route seems to follow the Loire a lot and the Loire at most points is not very scenic - the river itself that is - at Amboise IMO it is is most scenic - a wide often nearly dry river beds thru which small rivulets of water course - I would not try to follow the Loire itself but go inland on those nice D roads - lots of neat little villages to go thru each with their own cafe - try the local cafe at noon hour for some great specials of typical local food but nothing gourmet.
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Oct 23rd, 2013, 12:50 PM
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St Cirq is dead on about hectic traffic in the Tours connurbation IME OF Biking and visiting it many times and like most large French towns very little room for bike paths.

Amboise is too small have have traffic jams except along the main N road that runs thru it along the Loire.
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Oct 23rd, 2013, 06:19 PM
  #28  
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PalQ, I've noticed from photos and videos that the Loire River isn't particularly scenic. Do you think that along with the D roads, riding along the Cher and Indre Rivers is a good choice?
Ann Marie
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Oct 24th, 2013, 06:48 AM
  #29  
 
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Riding along the Indre is more scenic than the Cher. As I had mentioned previously, look at the Michelin map for designated scenic roads. You'll see the designated scenic roads run along the Indre from its beginning at the Loire all the way to Loches. I've driven this route a few times and it is quite nice. You'll pass by some pretty châteaux and some impressive ruins along the way. Plus, there are some charming towns and villages you'll ride through. I'll stress, though, that just because a road isn't designated as scenic on the map doesn't mean it's not a pretty road to ride on. Use google street view to check out your potential routes.

The Loire region isn't really noted for its scenic landscapes or natural beauty but rather for its wine and châteaux. But it's not un-scenic either and I'm sure you'll find the country scenery pleasant enough even if it's not dramatic.
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Oct 24th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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PalQ, I've noticed from photos and videos that the Loire River isn't particularly scenic. Do you think that along with the D roads, riding along the Cher and Indre Rivers is a good choice?>

As FMTours says the Cher river valley is dotted with some really neat towns and castles and even some wineries - and yes the Loire is rather blah as river go though the part right around Amboise to me - and Saumur too is really sweet because here the river runs often in rivulets thru an expanse of a wide sandy river bed.

No I would not go out of my way to bike along the Loire - the Cher is much nicer but still I'd just chose some castles you want to see and plot a side roads way connecting them the most efficient way as the Loire as a whole as FMTours says is not known for its beauty - mainly sun flower fields which can be beautiful at first but boring after miles of them and other crops - do stop in at any sign saying Fromage de Chevre (sp?) as then you can see how goat cheese is made - the goats and taste and buy from the farmer.
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Oct 24th, 2013, 06:17 PM
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I think where PalenQ was saying the Cher he meant to say the Indre, as I was making the case that the Indre is more scenic than the Cher but maybe he'll come back and clear that up.

<>

Exactly. This was the point I was making with my advice about how to use a Michelin map to plan interesting drives/rides in any region in France. I'll repeat, in addition to looking for châteaux icons look for towns with the historic church icon, look for the ruins icon, look for designated scenic roads (where possible) and make sure the route goes through as many small towns and villages as possible. Roads that appear dead straight on the map are probably going to go through fields of wheat or some other crop on pancake flat terrain so look for roads that twist and turn a bit as they'll provide some topographical relief and variety of view.
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Oct 25th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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http://www.touraineloirevalley.co.uk...tourism-routes

Well I am not so familiar with the Indre River valley as I am with the Cher, where I have biked and drove along many times and there are some really nice smaller towns on it - but the river itself - like the Indre river I think itself is not all that scenic so sorry for the confusion.

Loches, on the Indre River is one of my favorite Loire castles - a chateau fort as they say in France - a grim looking fortress built not as a pleasure dome but for defence - it is right in the heart of Loches, a pleasant regional town and is known for having replicas of the notorious Hanging Cages of some King Looie where the king literally hung some of his enemies out to dry for years on end in total darkness in the dungeons - one swinging cage - not high enough for the prisoner to even stand up still swings here.

From wiki:

(Loches) The donjon includes, besides the ruined keep (12th century), the Martelet, celebrated as the prison of Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, who died there in 1508, and the Tour Ronde, built by Louis XI of France and containing the famous iron cages in which state prisoners, including according to a story now discredited, the inventor Cardinal Balue, were confined.>

not your average Loire castle.

the Indre River at Chinon is neat - flowing right thru the town - I camped in a camping once on the island - neat view of Chinon - to me the loveliest of all Loire towns I have been to - graced by the famous Chateau de Chinon where there is now a Joan of Arc Museum documenting her time here. Chinon is known also for its wines.
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Oct 25th, 2013, 11:53 AM
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Chinon is indeed a lovely town but it is on the Vienne River, not the Indre. I also prefer the towns and scenery on the Vienne to the Cher. Where the Vienne joins the Loire are the lovely towns of Montsoreau and Candes-Saint-Martin. You could head to the Abbey of Fontevraud from here or go along the north side of the river to Chinon. Just east of Chinon are the cute little villages of Crissay-sur-Manse, Avon-les-Roches and Les Roches-Tranchelion. Some other nice little towns and villages nearby would be L'Île Bouchard, Saint-Epain and Crouzilles.
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Oct 25th, 2013, 11:59 AM
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I'll add that if you go to Fontevraud you could take a quiet country road through the village of Couziers to the D117 and then head east towards Chinon. On the D117 you'll pass by a few pretty châteaux and a ruin or two on your way to Chinon. They are noted on the Michelin map.
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Oct 26th, 2013, 08:31 AM
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The Abbey of Fontevraud is often overlooked it seems in folks Loire plans but it is IMO a major sight, both physically and historically.

https://www.google.com/search?q=abba...=1600&bih=1099
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Oct 26th, 2013, 08:47 AM
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One more piece of advice. If you are planning on using trains to get around the region with your bikes then Tours makes the most practical base. The reason being that much like Paris, trains in that region operate on a hub and spoke system. Tours is the hub and all the spokes radiate out from there. This will help you avoid making train transfers as you'll always be starting your day from Tours on a direct route to your starting point and you can take a direct train line back to Tours. For example, if you are in Amboise and want to bike near Chinon you'll have to make a train transfer in Tours and transfer times may not be convenient. Look at the train map I linked to earlier and you'll understand why. Before heading out each day you should know where you'll be returning from and know what time the trains will be from that departure point. Don't just assume that trains will be frequent.
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Oct 26th, 2013, 09:33 AM
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Tours is a very nice city as well - a largish city with a large university presence - the old town has a Latin Quarter type feel with oodles of eateries - the cathedral is superb but Tours is also hectic traffic-wise so biking around it can be hectic as well.

but yes Tours is often overlooked when folks talk about their Loire plans - can be a utilitarian base - direct TGVs from Paris and direct trains to Chinon and Loches, Amboise, Chenonceaux, Blois, Angers, Saumur - trains that mainly you can just put your bikes on - explore different parts of the Loire by bike easily done by trains.
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Oct 26th, 2013, 09:54 AM
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I'm sending FMT a post-dated cheque for all this great info.
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Oct 26th, 2013, 10:58 AM
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A cheque would be nice cold. I need a new fannypack. All the dang pickpockets have torn mine to pieces.
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Oct 26th, 2013, 12:27 PM
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Thanks thanks thanks. I knew the Loire region was more about chateaux, vineyards and towns rath than scenery but it definitely helps to read about the towns and areas to visit. I chose the Loire region for its mostly flat roads. I've "done" the Alps and Pyrenees on bike and don't need to go there again. Ugh. I was considering the Luberon but I don't even want to see a hill.
Signed,
Old and Lazy Ann Marie
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