Loire a Velo – What is it?
Loire a Velo – a great French idea, amazingly executed!
Loire a Velo is a marked cycle-way that runs 800kms from Cuffy in France (not far from Nevers) to Saint-Brevin-les-Pins on the french Atlantic coast, just to the west of Nantes. Loire a Velo is the first part of a much bigger European cycling project which aims to have cycling greenways following major rivers including the Rhine and the Danube. It will be possible to follow Eurovelo 6 (of which Loire a Velo is part) all the way from the Atlantic in France through to Budapest!
In creating the Loire a Velo many french regional, local and national organisations were involved – each locality designed its own part of the route, then the French regions of Pays de la Loire and Centre brought the routes together into a common signage theme and ensured the whole route linked up.
The Loire a Velo maps are split into various stages, with each available in the tourist office located in that stage – so if you want to do the entire route through France the best way is to buy a book detailing not only the route but the stops along the way. ‘The Complete Loire a Velo Trail from Nevers to the Atlantic’ by French author Michel Bonduelle is one of the best. Don’t worry its been translated from French!
Along the route there are now Bed and Breakfasts or French ‘Chambre d’Hotes’ that sport the ‘Loire a Velo Welcome’ sign and each major town has bike shops that will do repairs and offer spares. The tourist offices along the route also stock toolkits for those in need!
Our Loire Valley Discovery Cycling Holiday, makes use of a number of Loire a Velo stretches. From Langeais to Villandry (and a Loire a Velo detour to Azay le Rideau), from Candes St Martin to Saumur and finally Gennes to Le Thoureil. We’re lucky as all these are within the UNESCO designated part of the Loire Valley!