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Self-Guided Loir and Sarthe Cycling
7 days
France - Trip code CSLV

Self-Guided Loir and Sarthe Cycling

Nowhere in France will you find as many châteaux and manor houses as in the Loir Valley. On this self-guided cycle trip you ride along country lanes with almost no traffic, through shady woods and fields filled with sunflowers along the way. Vineyards, chateaux, castles, picturesque villages and lovely towns like La Flèche, all contribute to the charm of this valley. At the end of each day, meet the charming manor house owners, delight your palate at dinner and then sleep peacefully in style.

Trip highlights

  • Chateaux - Lodging in French castles and manor houses offers you a taste of château life
  • Peaceful cycling - Quiet back roads with very little traffic
  • Loir River Valley - Winding picturesque valley with beautiful gardens, medieval castles and endless meadows
  • Loir not Loire - A more peaceful and equally beautiful alternative to the ever popular Loire
  • Historic - One of the richest châteaux areas in all of France
  • La Fleche - A charming riverside town
Accommodation grade:
Our premium accommodation is hand-picked and chosen for its character, location or local importance. These properties have excellent facilities and a higher level of comfort and service. They provide the perfect wind down after an active day.
Cycling grade:
Suitable for anyone who enjoys easy and relatively short rides on flat or gently undulating terrain. Ideal if you simply want to explore a region by bike at a relaxed pace.


Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Holiday starts in Seiche sur le Loir

Your accommodation for the first two nights of your holiday is in a stunning and quintessential 19th century manor house located approximately 7 km outside of Seiches sur le Loire. The hospitality here is exceptional and, after unpacking, you can look forward to the first of the week's many gastronomic feasts. Should you arrive earlier in the day, there is the opportunity to fish, canoe or go for a stroll in the surrounding forest. If it's hot, a refreshing dip in the river is recommended. Your bike will be delivered today or tomorrow morning and you will be required to sign an agreement of care upon receipt of the bike. Details of how to reach the start point of your holiday can be found on our website in the tour specific 'dates and prices' section by clicking on 'Joining Info' and then the 'Show More' button.

Accommodation: Hotel Domaine de Bre(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Meals Provided: Dinner
Day 2 - Circular ride through the Loir Valley

Today, you can look forward to a circular ride through the Loir Valley. On the 'au Coeur' (heart-shaped) route, you will enjoy lovely views of the Loir River and surrounding countryside, whilst also passing through quaint little villages. Every so often, you will come across a picturesque old watermill or a chateau. The cycling route follows surfaced lanes, with a short section on a gravel road. Your total cycling distance today is approximately 39 kilometres.

Accommodation: Hotel Domaine de Bre(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Meals Provided: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 3 - Pedal to La Flechè via Durtal and Bazouges chateaux

Cycling on peaceful country lanes, today's route to La Flechè passes many stunning chateaux, providing proof (if any were needed) that castle builders chose very attractive spots on which to build their grand statements. Along your route, you will pass Durtal Chateau, which is worth a visit. We also recommend spending some time looking around the robust 15th /16th century Bazouges Castle. Its watermill is particularly attractive and, should time permit, there is even the option to take to the water on a rowing boat. After passing through the varied green valley of St. Jean, your day ends in the lively market town of La Flechè, on the banks of the Loir. Here, your accommodation for the next two nights is in a comfortable and conveniently-located hotel in the centre of town. Your total cycling distance today is approximately 40 kilometres.

Accommodation: Hotel Le Vert Galant(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 4 - Circular route from La Flechè; Visit Chateau du Lude

Today's circular route takes your through fruit orchards, woods and farmland to the stunning Chateau du Lude. Built on the banks of the Loir, this castle was well suited to defend the Anjou Kingdom. Flanked by six towers and surrounded by deep moats, the stronghold played a strategic role during the Middle Ages, particularly during the Hundred Years War. Later, under the reign of François I, various Italian artists and architects were employed to convert the functional fortress into a comfortable and elegant residence. The lavishly-sculptured facade is one of the purest examples of Italian Renaissance architecture in France. On your return journey to La Flechè, part of your routes follows the 'Rue Vert' - a cycle path converted from the old railway. Your total cycling distance today is approximately 47 kilometres.

Accommodation: Hotel Le Vert Galant(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 5 - Bike to Chambiers via Baugé

Heading south through wooded terrain, you will re-join the 'Rue Vert' cycle path, passing by La Flechè's Zoo, which boasts more than 1200 different animals. Continuing on to Baugé, here you can visit the town's imposing castle and interesting 17th century apothecary - thought to be the most well-preserved in France. The second part of today's ride takes you through a large, ancient forest belonging to the impressive chateau that will be your accommodation base for the next two nights in Chambiers. Once again, this hotel excels in hospitality and, this evening, you can look forward to an impressive dinner of expertly-prepared local produce. Your total cycling distance today is approximately 40 kilometres.

Accommodation: Chateau de Chambiers(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Meals Provided: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 6 - Choice of circular routes through forests and vineyards

Today you have a choice of two routes, both passing through peaceful and varied landscapes, dotted with old farmhouses, vineyards and chateaux. Both options also take you through the leafy Fôret de Chambiers - home to plenty of interesting flora and fauna, from lichens to wild boar. The longer ride passes by the castle of Roi René in Baugè, with the option of enjoying some wine tasting in Lué, or visiting an Aviation museum. The shorter route will take you through the pretty village of Jarzè. Your total cycling distance today is approximately 55 or 38 kilometres, depending on the route that you take.

Accommodation: Chateau de Chambiers(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Meals Provided: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 7 - Holiday ends in Chambiers

After breakfast, the organised part of your holiday comes to an end in the town of Chambiers. If you have left a car parked at the hotel in Seiche there are a couple of interesting cycle rides to take you back there but you will have to arrange a luggage transfer separately at extra cost.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Cycling information

General cycling information
On this journey you cycle 206 km over six days (an average of 34 km per day). The terrain is mostly on gently undulating hills and open valleys. Most of the route is on country lanes and secondary roads with very little traffic and there are small sections of good gravel roads. Two days are on a paved cycle path. We have graded the route as easy.
Bike included
21 gear Maxx Crossmaxx hybrid bike.
Bike information
Your included bike is a 21 gear Maxx Crossmaxx hybrid bike and will be the correct frame size for your height. A handlebar bag, rear pannier bag and water bottle holder is provided as well as the facility to fit your own pedals or saddle if you wish to bring them. A lock, pump, spare inner tube and puncture repair kit with tyre levers is included. You will be required to sign an agreement of care upon receipt of the bike. All you need to bring is your own helmet.
Cycling grade

Why book this trip

Unlike many other operators, we include the hire of your bike in the overall cost of the holiday: you don't need to bring your own or pay extra to hire one locally. We also provide a pump, lock, spare inner tube and tyre levers. All you need bring is your own helmet.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 6
  • Dinner: 4
  • Bicycle
  • 4 nights premium hotel
  • 2 nights standard hotel
Award Winning Explore Leaders
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Price Guarantee Promise
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Airport Transfers
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FairFX currency card
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Trip information

Country information

France Holidays & Tours


Across France, from April - August, weather conditions are generally warm and pleasant with moderate rainfall; Autumn temperatures are a bit lower and the winter months (though colder) remain mild. The summer months on the Mediterranean Coast in the south tend to be warmer than the rest of France and have less rainfall, and also more mild winters; freezing conditions are nearly unheard of. The mountainous areas of the Alps, Juros and Pyrenees can be quite different. During summer the morning and evening temperatures are considerably cooler and it becomes much colder in winter with heavy snowfall. Western France, along the English Channel, there can be very strong winds and frequent rain during the winter months Nov - Apr. Wine harvesting takes place in late August/early September.

Time difference to GMT



2 Pin Round





Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

Throughout this trip there are opportunities to see and stay at a number of chateaux, with good viewpoints during the cycle rides for photo stops in the beautiful countryside. Day 3 - Spend time today visiting Bzaouges Castle and see its watermill. There is also the option here to go out in a rowing boat. Day 4 - Due to its size it is worth spending quite a bit of time today exploring Chateaux de Lude. Day 5 - After visiting Chateaux Bauge it is worth adding time to explore the adjacent Apothicairerie de Bauge (the hospital museaum).


Bring cycling gear such as quick drying cycle tops, padded cycle shorts and cycle gloves. Remember that the weather is slightly more changeable in northern France, and it can be cool, especially at night and at the start and end of the season, so bring a warmer jacket/fleece. A waterproof cycle jacket is recommended in case of rain. A light windproof jacket is always useful.


If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. SPD cycle shoes are not well suited to tours that combine sightseeing with cycling. Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.

Luggage: On tour

Bring one main piece of baggage as per your airline luggage allowance, maximum 20 kg per person. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage if using public transport so don't overload yourself. Luggage transfers between hotels are normally arranged by the hoteliers. Mark your bags clearly and leave them at the place and time arranged with them. When travelling on public transport you should always take your luggage with you.

Luggage transfer

Included between each hotel.


On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses (to protect against dust, insects, pollen, sun etc) , cycle gloves (padded for more comfort) and a water bottle or water delivery system (eg camelback or platypus). Please note that it is a legal requirement to wear a helmet while cycling in France. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies (explore included) are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage. Maps - Along with the destination manual and route notes you will be sent a set of maps that have been created specifically for this trip to help you navigate. The route is marked on each map together with a series of numbered waypoints which correspond with instructions in the route notes. Should you wish to purchase a more detailed commercially produced map we recommend the following:- General maps Pays de la Loire 1:200.000 Michelin Italiana ISBN-10: 2067135252 ISBN-13: 978-2067135253

Country Information

France Holidays & Tours

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.

Lunch price
Dinner price
£16.00 - 18.00
Beer price
Water price
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Pounds Sterling and US Dollars can only be changed in larger airports with a Bureau de Change. Please change currency into Euros prior to arriving in France.
Where To Exchange
Bureau de Change can only be found in major cities and large airports. Many French banks no longer exchange Foreign currency.
ATM Availability
In cities and most major towns
Credit Card Acceptance
In major restaurants (make sure you have informed your credit card company that you are travelling abroad as some companies will reject payments)
Travellers Cheques
Travellers Cheques are no longer commonly accepted and can only be changed in larger airports with a Bureau de Change.

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information


Accommodation notes

Booking a Single Room

All of our group tours are planned and operated on a twin-share basis, meaning that the standard cost is based either on individual travellers sharing accommodation with another group member of the same sex, or people who book together sharing accommodation. Please refer to the tour notes where the single room option availability is detailed on a night by night basis for this tour, and the price for the available nights is detailed on the dates & prices tab by departure date. For Self-Guided trips the Single Room supplement offers the option of a single room each and is charged per person. The Single Room supplement also applies to the third person in a party of three that will be accommodated in a single room.

Premium - Hand-picked and chosen for their character, location or local importance, these properties have excellent facilities and a higher level of comfort and service. They provide the perfect wind down after an active day. Standard - Our mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities.

Essential information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Essential Information

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa Information

France: Visas are not required by UK, EU, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.

If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.


Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.

Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  

For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here


It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.

Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.


Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

France Holidays & Tours


Nothing compulsory. Tetanus recommended. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at and from your local healthcare provider.

Dates, prices and booking

Price from
Single room option

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