5 good reasons to cycle together in the Loire Valley

With your helmet on and your hands on the handlebars, take the whole family on a tour of our exceptional heritage along the cycle paths of the Val de Loire cycle route. It's the ideal way to introduce budding cyclists to the joys of cycling, with a ride full of surprises.

The Loire Valley cycle route winds its 900 kilometres of cycle paths through iconic châteaux, picturesque villages and unspoilt countryside. As well as the must-see historic monuments, there are many more unusual sites to discover along this route, which is suitable for cyclists of all ages. So many discoveries that promise unique experiences for all the family.

Blending in with the scenery

A not-to-be-missed stopover on the Val de Loire cycle route near Tours, the stunning château of Azay-le-Rideau, built on an island in the middle of the Indre, is not the only curiosity in the area. Take your bike as far as the troglodytic valley of Goupillières (External link) , a 15-minute pedal away, to discover these strange houses carved out of the rock, typical of the region. On arrival, your little cycling aces will be greeted by Fripette the goat, Câline the anesse and Léonard the pig. During a trip back to the 19th century, they can slip into the shoes of a small Touraine farmer to find out how wells, bread ovens and grain silos worked, as well as exploring a fortified castle and even entering a witch's house...

The great illusion

When you arrive in Blois, on the Val de Loire cycle route, leave the pretty cycle path that winds along the river to enter a world of illusions, mirror games and tricks of all kinds. At la Maison de la Magie (External link) , young and old alike will see all manner of colours and shapes! After being greeted by the six-headed hydra that jealously guards this old bourgeois house from the late 18th century, you'll plunge into the world of Robert-Houdin, France's most famous magician. In this 2,000 m² exhibition space, optical games, tricks and amazing illusions follow one another until you lose your bearings. All of which you'll find again, of course, when you return along the cycle route.

A step into history

After the Maison de la Magie, another tour de force awaits you on the Loire Valley cycle route from Blois to Tours. At the Parc Mini-Châteaux (External link) , located near Amboise, not one but 45 of the Loire's most emblematic châteaux can be seen at a glance. While parents admire the remarkable architecture of these jewels of the Loire Valley in miniature, little cyclists can swap their trusty steeds for a mini-cylinder. Aboard a miniature Bugatti, it's off for a ride through history in style and with your foot to the floor. More of a fan of steeds than engines? Miniature horses are also available for the little ones, so they can ride through the park in style.

Being in your own bubble

Leaving Blois, one of the loops on the Val de Loire cycle route will take you all the way to Cheverny and its sublime château. Does its façade look familiar? Imagine it without the two towers that frame it, and the Château de Moulinsart, home of the hilarious Captain Haddock, will jump out at you. Made world-famous by the cartoonist Hergé, the Château de Cheverny (External link) never forgets to pay tribute to its creator and his hero Tintin. Alongside its richly furnished rooms, which alone are worth the diversions, a permanent exhibition allows young and old alike to bubble over in Tournesol's laboratory, in the crypt of the Secret of the Unicorn or in front of The Treasure of Rackham the Red.

From one mount to another

Another stage on the Loire Valley cycle route, Saumur is a popular destination for cyclists who love art and history, as well as horse riding. With your family, put down your bike and enter the prestigious Cadre Noir (External link) , which has been perpetuating the excellence of French tradition for almost two centuries. Push open the gates of the school's stables to discover all the secrets of a rider's life and the art of working horses, before attending a sumptuous gala given in the large riding arena. Little detectives at heart can also take part in one of the tours dedicated to 6-10 year-olds to try and unravel the many mysteries of the school.

Gwtting to Loire Valley