A land of bucolic countryside shaped by rivers and streams, the Loir valley is the ideal destination for cycle touring ! The Vallée du Loir à Vélo is a well-kept secret and a naturally charming bike route. On the way, you will have the leisure to admire châteaux, museums, gardens, troglodyte villages and other gems dotted along the banks of the Loir. Time to start cycling ! 

The Vallée du Loir à Vélo, a 320-km signposted cycle route

The Vallée du Loir à Vélo (V47) travels 320 km from Saint-Eman, near Chartres, to Angers. It was the first French cycle route to follow a river from its source to its confluence and the start of the itinerary follows the Loir faithfully until it joins the royal river.
145 km separate Saint-Eman from Ruillé-sur-Loir, on the edge of the Sarthe department. A total of seven stages of approximately 20 kilometres will lead you through the heart of the beautiful Loir valley. On the way, you will pass stunning scenery featuring prestigious châteaux, picturesque villages, fertile orchards and unspoilt nature. The itinerary then continues to Angers where it joins the Loire à Vélo.  

A peaceful and charming route along the Loir 

Saint-Eman – Saumeray

Start your journey in Saint-Eman, at the source of the Loir. Follow the river and you will soon arrive in Illiers-Combray, the birthplace of Marcel Proust. This perfectly bucolic location is the ideal place to stop for a breather and you will quickly see why the writer found so much inspiration in this beautiful setting ! Here, the Vallée du Loir à Vélo connects with the Véloscénie and Saint-Jacques à Vélo routes. 

Saumeray – Châteaudun

D. Darrault – CRT Centre-Val de Loire

This stage takes you through fields and meadows to the Bonnevalais area. The village of Bonneval, nicknamed the “Little Venice of Beauce”, is perfect for a break on the banks of the Loir.

Next, continue your journey in the direction of Châteaudun, a town steeped in history and listed as one of the “Most Beautiful Detours in France”. Its château, known as the “first in the Loire Valley” from Paris, is definitely worth the detour ! The pretty little streets in the medieval district, the museum and the Foulon Caves are equally worth a visit. 

Châteaudun – Cloyes-sur-le-Loir

The Loir à Vélo will take you off the beaten tracks. Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Loir valley is a land of quintessential villages where vineyards grow alongside orchards and lakes, which you will see plenty of as you pass Saint-Denis-les-Ponts. Here, the meanders of the Loir create refreshing pools that are real havens for wildlife. 

Cloyes-sur-le-Loir – Fréteval 

Châteaudes des Enigmes – VDL

Follow country lanes once again in the direction of Fréteval, located at the heart of the little agricultural region of the Loir valley and its hills. The town is not lacking in incredible places to visit, including the Château des Énigmes, the foundry museum, Saint-Lubin lake and Grisset Tower, the remains of an amazing ancient cella from a Gallo-Roman temple, the only one of its kind in northern Europe ! 

Fréteval – Vendôme

Continue along the Loir past verdant scenery to the superb Château of Meslay, an elegant residence with a terrace overlooking the Loir. The surrounding Vendômois hills are home to historic vineyards. Don’t hesitate to stop at a winemaking estate to taste a traditional vintage ! After cycling a little further, you will arrive in Vendôme, a listed City of Art and History.  

MP Média – Studio Mir

Vendôme – Montoire

Unspoilt and bucolic, the Vendômois region is perfect for all those looking to recharge their batteries away from the hubbub of daily life. In Vendôme, visit the park of the Château of Bourbon-Vendôme, where the winding paths in the English-style garden offer panoramic vistas of the town !  

Montoire – Ruillé-sur-Loir

Your journey is nearly complete but there is one must-see still to go before you arrive in Ruillé-sur-Loir : the village of Trôo, where the improbable silhouettes of troglodyte houses stand out against the tuffeau stone. Wander through this “Petite Cité de Caractère®” and admire its architectural gems up close, including charming houses and underground galleries.  

A few tips for organising your cycling tour

The Vallée du Loir à Vélo cycle route is suitable for all, whether with family or friends, and can be explored during a day trip, a weekend break or longer. Along the route you will find plenty of fine restaurants, authentic places to visit, remarkable locations and, of course, all the services you need to make your cycling holiday easier (rental, repair, etc.).
Did you know? Tyre patches, those handy little devices for repairing punctures, were once made in the Loir valley… All the more reason to make sure you’re fully prepared for your cycling tour before you leave !

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