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
There aren't many destinations as romantic as France, with its sumptuous cuisine, undulating countryside and timeless villages. Our short breaks, offering three to seven days of leisurely cycling, wine tasting and exploration, provide an opportunity to unwind and reconnect in this idyllic setting. Here are just three of our favourites.
Côtes du Rhône
Enjoy some quality time with the special person in your life during a laid-back bike ride through the valleys of the rocky Dentelles de Montmirail mountains. You’ll pass through Mazan, whose historical old town centre is protected by huge, ancient walls, and Loriol du Comtat, a peaceful village with a Romanesque church.
On your way to and from these medieval hubs, you and your partner will explore a number of wine regions including the iconic Châteauneuf-du-Pape – perhaps the most important wine-growing area in southern France (and covering a massive 3,200 hectares, it's one of the largest too). The wines produced here are gloriously complex and rich thanks to the blending of different grapes. Sample some Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre in one of the Côtes du Rhône vineyards, perhaps accompanied by some local goat’s cheese and crusty bread.
Burgundy and Beaujolais
What pops into your head when you hear the name 'Burgundy'? We’re guessing a rich, full-bodied red wine – which is just as well, because that’s exactly what you’ll find (plenty of) here. This cycling tour is punctuated by vineyard visits, giving you the chance to sample a number of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Sunset is the best time for sipping wine – and the most romantic for appreciating your surroundings à deux.
You’ll also discover some of France’s fascinating history on your Burgundy holiday. The village of Brancion sits atop a hill, its entrance marked by a grand castle dating back to around 1200. The town of Cluny is also a must-see – the monastery and abbey provide an afternoon’s worth of exploring, while there are also plenty of sun-soaked patios upon which to enjoy a café au lait.
Châteaux of the Loire
Grace and beauty are everywhere you look in the Loire Valley – from the fairy-tale turrets of its castles to the lazy and meandering riverside paths you’ll cycle alongside. Grand buildings used by French and English royalty for over a thousand years have been lovingly preserved, providing an atmospheric setting for a cycling holiday with the person you love. For an extra dash of romance, why not take an evening stroll through the colourful and whimsical gardens at Villandry?
And, of course, no French cycling holiday would be complete without plenty of eating. You’ll pass through a number of quaint villages – Montsoreau and Chinon to name but a couple. To fuel all those miles of pedalling, pop into a restaurant and order some delicious Fouace (also known as Fouée). This light, traditional bread from the Loire Valley is airy and sugary – the perfect snack to share with your sweet one.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