Loire a Velo – What is it?

Loire Valley Cycling Holidays
The Loire Valley

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.  The cycle route 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 this Loire valley cycle route, 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!

Future Plans

There are exciting plans to develop the Loire a Velo cycle route. Even better, it’s the sections we use for our Loire Valley Discovery Tour.

The plans include a new ‘hanging’ section of cycle path, more cycling through the tunnel network and rest areas inside the tunnel complex itself.

If you’ve already spent a cycling holiday with us you’ll know just how much there is already to see in this part of France – well soon there will be even more!

Cycling Holidays France - Hanging cycle path on the the Loire a Velo at Turquant.
The most ambitious element will be this ‘hanging’ section of Loire a Velo cycle path near Turquant.
Cycling Holidays France - Loire a Velo Bridge Near Saumur
The proposed entrance to the ‘hanging’ cycle-path.
Cycling Holidays France - Loire a Velo Underground near Saumur
It’s planned to exploit the endless caves that follow the river.
Cycling Holidays France - The caves on the Loire a Velo near Saumur
More will be made of the existing cycle path through the caves at Parnay.

Check out more at the dedicated website

By Alison Shawcroft

Alison, along with hubbie Jon, moved to France in 2006 and spent 2 years renovating an Anjou farmstead. Gué de Ray is now home to a thriving cycling holiday business, welcoming guests from around the world. Combining food, wine and cycling and giving guests the 'Loire Life' cycling experience is the dream job!