La Loire à Vélo en fête

Published by Lyn on 6 June 2011

If you can't make the Fête du vélo en Anjou (Anjou Festival of Cycling) but you still fancy cycling the river Loire, then the Loire à Vélo en fête in early July might be a good alternative.

The Canal d'Orléans, which links up with the river Loire at Orléans. Photo: FredArt

The Canal d'Orléans, which links up with the river Loire at Orléans.
Photo: FredArt

The Loire à Vélo is one of France's showcase cycle routes, covering some 800km, with two-thirds of the route running alongside the river Loire (27% of it on bikes-only tracks). It links with 11 other cycle routes to form the EuroVelo 6 , a cycleway that crosses 10 countries from France to Romania.

The Loire à Vélo en fête is an annual showcase of not only the Loire's enviable cycling infrastructure, but also local produce and wines, and the environment.

Three 'hospitality villages' are earmarked for the banks of the river at Orleans, Blois and Tours, with each hosting farmers' markets, bike-based displays and stalls, and stands geared towards raising awareness of local environmental and protection issues. In addition to these three main focal points, there will be smaller gatherings at Beaugency, St Dyé-sur-Loire, Chaumont-sur-Loire and Amboise, each promoting similar themes. The festival will be rounded off from 9pm with a free concert on the banks of the river at Blois.

There's more information at Loire à Vélo en fête (in French).

And to help you enjoy the day ...

See our bike hire listings for bike rental options in Pays de la Loire and Centre. Check here for links to accommodation in France, including hotel, gîte, B&B, self-catered and campsite options. See Rail Europe or SNCF for train times and ticket prices.

For more on the river itself, see John Higginson's overview of cycling the river Loire. John's followed the river from its source to the sea and covered it for us in three installments: from Gerbier de Jonc to Le Puy en Velay; Le Puy en Velay to Sancerre; and from Sancerre to St Nazaire. See also our guide to the top 10 Loire chateaux to see by bike.

On the guidebook front, see John Higginson's Cycling the River Loire: The Way of St Martin, published by Cicerone. L'intégrale de la Loire à vélo de Nevers à la mer is now also available in English (The Complete Loire à Vélo Trail from Nevers to the Atlantic). There is also Richard Peace’s Cycling Southern France: Loire to Mediterranean.

The Loire à Vélo website is also worth checking out.

For more general tourist information on the Loire, see the DK travel guide to the Loire, the Loire Valley Footprint guide, or the Cadogan equivalent. See also Michelin's Tourist Guide Chateaux of the Loire (there's also a map). Both Michelin and IGN have Pays de la Loire regional maps.


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