Tour the Loire with cycle expert Harvey Downard
Summer is a great time to break out the cycle, and there's a bounty of sun soaked landscapes to explore in neighbouring Europe. We sent intrepid cycli...Read more
Bringing the whole family along for your next cycling escape? Don’t worry, we know somewhere you can have a laid-back, hassle-free family bicycle holiday. France, with its relaxed pace of life and gentle, meandering paths, is a great place to introduce children to this activity. Here are two of our favourite French tours.
Cycling tours in Mayenne
Escape the crowds by choosing the underrated rural region of Mayenne – a hidden gem in north-west France with a certain old-world charm that’s difficult to pinpoint. Medieval buildings, postcard-perfect bridges and flower-lined riverbanks all result in a quaint and attractive region that'll be a joy to explore, whatever your age.
The Mayenne area is ideal for small children or those on their first cycling trip. The terrain is easy; there are few hills – and for the most part, it’s blissfully traffic free. Most of the bike routes run along verdant and scenic riverside paths, and past little towns that seem frozen in time. Stop for a leisurely coffee on a patio in Laval, and take the kids around the Saint John the Baptiste church in Château-Gontier or the castle and museum in Mayenne town.
While in the region, you won't want to miss out on trying some traditional delicacies. We’re talking tangy local goat’s cheese and Port Salut, which was traditionally made by Trappist monks and is still available to purchase from abbeys in the area.
Cycling tours in Loire
Kids will fall in love with the enchanted, folkloric feeling of Loire, which may have something to do with the grands châteaux this region is known for. The castles of the past have been faithfully preserved, and many look like something out of a picture book. Large gardens and underground passages are perfect for firing up the little ones' imaginations, while the history-loving among them will jump at the chance to learn about France's chequered past.
For grown-ups, the Loire Valley is all about the wines. While you’re here, be sure to try one of the local whites, Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé. Chenin Blanc is also commonly found in the Middle Loire region (we think it tastes best while sipped in a vineyard at sundown after a long day of pedalling). As well as vineyards, there are plenty of cherry orchards and asparagus fields to ride past and admire. No wonder this region is referred to as 'the Garden of France'.
You and your family will also enjoy exploring the Loire Valley’s assortment of small towns. Start with Angers, where you’ll find an old castle with a grand total of 17 towers. It also houses the biggest medieval tapestry in the world, entitled 'La Tenture de l'Apocalypse', which is an awe-inspiring 106m long. While in Angers, you might also choose to check out the botanic gardens, the Le Quai theatre on the banks of the Maine river and the relaxing Jardin du Mail.
Find out more about our Loire and Mayenne cycling holidays.Back To Blog
Ask any French person and they'll confirm it: Bordeaux is known throughout France for its wonderful wine. When it comes to the smoothest, the fruiti...Read more