The châteaux of the Loire Valley, a sublime legacy of the Renaissance. This is an itinerary for bikers seeking a cultural aspect to their trips to French regions! If you’re a fan of history, majestic monuments, beautiful gardens, landscapes alongside the Loire or heritage, then head to the starting point of your trip, Orléans.
Surrounded by history, with open air guaranteed throughout, this tour crosses departments along the banks of the Loire.
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Begin your journey with a walk through the streets of Orléans, a city defined by its links with Joan of Arc, and as an ancient medieval shrine, before riding your bikes to visit the symbol of the French Renaissance: Chambord. In love with the arts and fascinated by Italian style, King Francis I was clearly thinking big when building his hunting lodge. During his reign, he made a magnificent edifice that merged the imposing stature of a medieval fortress with the elegant finesse of Renaissance architecture.
Take to the road again, enjoying the morning colours along the Loire as you head to Cheverny and the famous Château de Moulinsart (Marlinspike Hall in The Adventures of Tintin), with its classic style and interiors containing details spanning the last six centuries. Next, head to Blois to visit its old town and chateau, which was home to no less than seven Kings and ten Queens of France.
Mytriptailor Advice: In the courtyard of the Château de Cheverny, busy with hunting hounds, visitors can attend the amazing 11.30am Feeding of the Dogs at the kennels at 11.3am.
In Blois, weather permitting, you can attend the Sound and Light festival held in the castle courtyard at 10pm through the summer.
From Blois, go for an early morning visit to one of the most spectacular of Loire’s châteaux, Chenonceau. This « palais des dames », managed and maintained by an uninterrupted line of women, a succession of Queens and favorites of kings. It’s famous for its gardens, particularly its pont à arcades which spans The Cher and adds surprise to its architecture to say the least. The château d’Amboise, built on a spur above the Loire, was finely chiselled from Leonardo da Vinci’s expertise, who enjoyed his golden age under Charles VIII and Francis I, who were committed to its renovation.
Louis XI made it the capital of France, Alfred de Vigny praised it, Ronsard lived there. A city of history and letters, Tours is also a great city to live. Park your motorbikes in the centre to enjoy its pedestrian lanes and the hustle and bustle of the bistros in its old town before visiting its magnificent cathedral of flamboyant style.
Mytriptailor Advice: If you have time, head to the Château de Villandry to admire its splendid French gardens.
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