Cycle Through The Picturesque Loire Valley

France has a rich and colorful past, evident from its enchanting castles preserved so marvelously for today's generation to view and admire. It is also a land of wines and gastronomic delights. The breathtaking scenery changes from the north to the coastal Riviera and you meander through valleys and then go up the dizzying heights of the Pyrenees. A vacation in France is like a trip through time to another place when you visit the Loire Valley, a cultural heritage site, dotted with quaint and exotic castles.

One of the better ways of exploring the Loire Valley is by cycling through it at a leisurely pace. The roads are open with very little traffic. Soak in the sunshine, have a little coffee at a wayside bistro, sample the cuisine as you go along, breathe the invigorating air - a great way to enjoy a vacation. You can start your cycle tour all the way from Paris, taking your time to explore the countryside and proceed to the Loire Valley Chateaux exploratory tour. You could of course choose to arrive by the TGV from Paris and begin your cycling tour of the valley. Chenonceau is 14 miles south-east of Tours, Villandry 12 miles west, Amboise 18 miles and Azay-le-Rideau 15 miles southwest. Blois is another place you can start from, exploring the local Blois Castle and Cheverney just 8 miles southeast of Blois and pedal your way to the other exotic castles.

The Chateau d'Usse is one you see in fairy tales. As you pedal your way towards it, you will be enchanted by its aura that inspired several of Disney's classics. The Chateau de Chaumont is the place for summertime garden festivals. Explore the banks of the Loire and soak in the panoramic vistas from high above the castle. Do not forget the Chateau de Chambord, the largest chateau in the valley known throughout the world for its stunning mix of Italian and French architecture. The Chateau de Chenonceau along the Cher River is another monument depicting the wondrous architectural style in all magnificence and grandeur. The tour inside is just as enchanting as the view from outside. The valley is home to hundred castles. You may not have the time to visit all, but the few you visit make your cycling tour worthwhile.

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The Loire Valley is famous for its wines. Your cycling trip should be a sheer delight, allowing you to take in the visual delights and sample the sparkling Champagne and other wines with the appropriate local cuisines at the innumerable restaurants you will come across as you cycle on from one castle to the other.

When planning a cycle tour of France and the valley, you could opt to go it on your own or for a bike tour with a specialist bike hiring company. The benefit of having such an arrangement is that they will rent out cycles to you at nominal charges along with the right biking gear, making the cycle available to you when you arrive at Bois or Toulouse. You do not have to worry about your baggage or a place to stay for the night or even meals. The tour operator arranges it all, giving you freedom to concentrate on having an enjoyable dream cycling trip through the lush Loire valley.