Reader Q&A: Which section of the Loire is best for cycling with kids?

Published by Andrew on 15 January 2018

We received this email query about cycling in the Loire with kids. We're posting it here to help others.

Best cycling in the Loire for Kids

The magnificent Chambord is enough to impress even the fussiest kids! Photo: Etienne Boucher

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Q: I am trying to research a suitable cycle tour to do with the family next summer. The children will be 11, 10 and 8 and are all confident cyclists. We completed the Devon coast to coast last summer over 4 days, so they can cover up to 30 miles a day and do hills. I am looking for a tour of about 4 days, so between 100 and 120 miles, and wondered if you had any advice on which section of the Loire valley route is the best. We would be camping and have all our own bikes and kit.   

If you have any suggestions or can point me in the direction of good advice or write ups I would be really grateful
Lyn replied: Gosh that's a hard question, though with my own kids I'd probably aim for the eastern end of the Loire - the Tours-Blois-Orleans stretch as this area has some of the more awe-insiring chateaux.
Regardless of which stretch you do, it's an easy route (in fact probably one of the easiest in France to do with kids of all abilities) - you simply follow the river and take any detours to castles (see here for some of the best ones). Beware there are very few hills, though, so if your kids are more experienced, you may want to factor in longer daily distances or more tourist stops.
Lots of maps are provided locally or you can see the official Loire website.
I've actually added this blog recently with some good links to maps for the Orleans and Tours areas.
Note: A Loire bike train runs in spring and summer and is great for one-way rides with bikes – have a read here.
This is a useful guidebook > Cycling the River Loire, it covers the whole route but includes this stretch.
I hope that helps.

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