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Cycle the River Loire from source to sea with a Cicerone guidebook

Cover of The Loire Cycle Route
13 Apr 2017
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.4cm
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The Loire Cycle Route

From the source in the Massif Central to the Atlantic coast

by Mike Wells
Book published by Cicerone Press

Guidebook to cycling the Loire, France's longest river, from its source in the Massif Central to the Atlantic. The 1052km (654 mile) route incorporates a section of EuroVélo 6 and the popular, waymarked Loire à Vélo, taking in extinct volcanos, vineyards and châteaux. Cycling is mostly on cycle paths and minor roads.

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Cover: Paperback - Laminated
Size: 17.2 x 11.6 x 1.4cm
Weight: 280g

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This guide describes a 1052km cycle route that starts at source of the Loire in the Massif Central mountains of central France and finishes at the Atlantic opposite St Nazaire. It descends past extinct volcanoes, crater lakes and deep gorges before joining EuroVélo route 6 and the fully waymarked Loire à Vélo, France's most popular cycle trail. Following the river downstream in 26 stages, the route is generally downhill or level often on dedicated traffic-free cycle tracks.
Packed with a wealth of useful information - from practical planning advice to fascinating insights about the river and its surroundings - the guidebook features detailed route descriptions and informative mapping. Details of facilities and places to stay, and a French glossary are included.
The route goes through the heart of France as the Loire becomes the royal river, bounded by extravagant châteaux, fields of Charollais cattle and vineyards. It passes through historic cities like Orléans and Tours, continuing past Angers and France's fourth largest city Nantes.

  • Activities
  • Seasons
    The whole route can be cycled when the mountains near the source are snow free, usually April-October. Stages 7 to 26 can be cycled at any time of year, though April-October is the best period.
  • Centres
    A point-to-point route with no particular bases.
  • Difficulty
    Apart from a steep 1000m climb to reach the start and a few ascents and descents in the first six stages this is a straightforward route that is generally downhill or level. Mostly asphalt surfaces in good condition suitable for hybrid or touring cycles. Much of the route follows dedicated off-road cycle tracks, suitable for family cycling, though there are a few short sections where main roads are used.
  • Must See
    Mont Gerbier de Jonc and the volcanic hills of the Ardèche, Le Puy-en-Velay, Charollais hills. After Nevers the route follows La Loire à Vélo, France's most popular cycleway, passing many of the royal châteaux (Chambord, Blois, Chaumont, Villandry, Amboise), vineyards (Sancerre, Touraine, Chinon, Saumur, Anjou, Muscadet), and historic cities (Orléans, Tours, Angers, Nantes) of the Loire Valley.
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The route
Natural environment
Getting there and back
Food and drink
Amenities and services
What to take
Safety and emergencies
About this guide
The Loire Cycle Route
Prologue Getting to the start
Upper Loire
Stage 1 Gerbier de Jonc to Goudet
Stage 2 Goudet to Le Puy-en-Velay
Stage 3 Le Puy-en-Velay to Retournac
Stage 4 Retournac to Aurec-sur-Loire
Stage 5 Aurec-sur-Loire to Feurs
Stage 6 Feurs to Roanne
Stage 7 Roanne to Digoin
Middle Loire
Stage 8 Digoin to Bourbon-Lancy
Stage 9 Bourbon-Lancy to Decize
Stage 10 Decize to Nevers
Stage 11 Nevers to La Charité-sur-Loire
Stage 12 La Charité-sur-Loire to Sancerre
Stage 13 Sancerre to Briare
Stage 14 Briare to Sully-sur-Loire
Stage 15 Sully-sur-Loire to Orléans
Lower Loire
Stage 16 Orléans to Beaugency
Stage 17 Beaugency to Blois
Stage 18 Blois to Amboise
Stage 19 Amboise to Tours
Stage 20 Tours to Bréhémont
Stage 21 Bréhémont to Saumur
Stage 22 Saumur to Angers
Stage 23 Angers to Montjean-sur-Loire
Stage 24 Montjean-sur-Loire to Ancenis
Stage 25 Ancenis to Nantes
Stage 26 Nantes to St Brevin-les-Pins (St Nazaire)
Appendix A Stage summary table
Appendix B Facilities summary table
Appendix C Tourist information offices
Appendix D Youth hostels and gîtes d’étape
Appendix E Useful contacts
Appendix F Language glossary
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