Loire and Atlantic, 8 days

Saumur – Mesquer - Quimiac.

The Loire is more than a river; it is a myth, an exceptional river: soft, capricious, graceful and untameable. The banks were never regulated and the river can meander through the landscape unchecked until today. The river changes the appearance constantly, washes around light sand banks and islands, and embraces a village with loops and flow quietly past idyllic gardens and dark forests. On its journey downstream from Saumur to the mouth in the Atlantic Ocean the great river and the varied landscapes that people have formed in accordance to the moods are the centre of our attention. There are many treasures to be found and unknown places to be discovered: from the caves near Saumur where people lived, stored champagne bottles or grew champignons to the dykes near Angers, hiding picturesque villages behind them, and to the majestic granite rocks of Nantes. The crowning destinations of your journey are three days at the Atlantic Ocean, in the mouth region of the Loire. The Peninsula of Guérande with its varied landscape shapes already belongs to Bretagne and was also decisively formed by the Loire: the sand that the river carries from the central massif into the sea is responsible for the wide beaches. The dunes on which such modern sea resorts as La Baule were built divide deserted bays from the sea. You cycle one week long through a rich cultural landscape; every day has its surprises. And in the evening, you can enjoy culinary specialities of the region and the excellent supply of wines that mirror the variety of the landscape.

Classic

  • 8 Days / 7 Nights
  • self guided
frkueste5_seperator

Itinerary

In the early evening welcome briefing and bike distribution (if booked). Saumur, known as the ‘white city’ because of the light lime sandstone that characterises the city is an ideal starting point for your bike tour: situated picturesquely on the Loire bank, the city is dominated by a mighty castle, the most western of the Loire castles.

Your first stage takes you at first past a big sparkling wine cellar and a champignons farm, located in a former quarry. Continuing across soft tree-covered hills you reach some of the most beautiful Loire villages: Chénehutte, Cunault, or Le Thoureil used to be important inland harbours where wine and lime sandstone were usually loaded. There are some fortress ruins from this period here, also Romanesque churches (Cunault), as well as impressive villas of Dutch and English wine merchants. You cross the Loire near St. Mathurin and cycle through a varied landscape that lies under the water level of the Loire during floods. The route is flat, hamlets and farmsteads are situated side by side, and the land is fertile and has been cultivated for centuries for gardens and seed production. The destination of the day is Angers, the black town – houses and roofs are built from slate that is still produced here today.

Set some time aside for the small lively university town of Angers, especially for the fortress where you can see the world-famous “Apocalypse of Angers,” a monumental tapestry from the fourteenth century that is exhibited in a special gallery of its own. Angers is situated on the Maine, the last important tributary of the Loire before the Atlantic. You follow this river to where it joins the Loire near La Pointe-Bouchemaine. You continue along the foot of a slate-granite massif to Savennières, with the oldest church in the region. Some of the greatest wines of the Loire Valley grow here: fruity dry white wines. You can visit a wine estate. You should not miss a detour to Béhuard, the only village in the Loire. Béhuard is located on one of the numerous islands that the Loire forms. From La Poissonnière, the path takes you across the dykes, with beautiful insights into and views of the Loire, to the charming town of Saint-Flrent-le-Vieil.

Before us another day along the Loire through constantly changing landscapes. A famous vantage point in St-Florent-le-Vieil invites for a visit above the old town (next to the church). If you don’t like the idea of ‘climbing’ today then admire the city from below. Soon the valley narrows down; the Loire finally enters the Bretagne and pushes its way through slate and granite rock to Nantes. The cycle path changes the bank a few times. Some small ascents have to be conquered in the process – however, they offer beautiful views of the surroundings. Your path takes you past some garden farms where salad, carrots and lilies of the valley are grown in big quantities. The Loire ‘escorts’ you into the centre of the historical capital of the Bretagne, Nantes. Albeit the sea is still 70 km away, its influence can be already felt here: boats, ebb and flow.

Use the time before noon for a tour through the former harbour city Nantes and discover its rich architectural and cultural heritage. To reach the Atlantic take the train to the harbour and shipyard town Saint-Nazaire. You are on the Peninsula of Guérande, a small region of amazing landscape and culture variety. Peat mining, thatched roofs, reed-overgrown channels and islands that the fog sometimes covers with a white sheet, characterise this mystic landscape. You will find an unique flora and fauna in the wide fields and reeds here. Small islands with picturesque hamlets and whitewashed houses rise above the moor regions. Use the opportunity and explore this fascinating region with a typical punting boat – a wonderful experience and highlight of every visit to the Brière. You should smell the sea by now: your accommodation for the next three days is situated in the small sea resort Mesquer-Quimiac, only a few hundred meters away from the beach.

Enjoy this day at and in the sea. From your hotel you cycle along the coast road into the romantic fishing harbour La Turballe (sardines). Next, you cycle across the salt gardens to Batz-sur-Mer and finally, onto the furthest land tip to the harbour of Le Croisic. North of Le Croisic, you continue along the Côte Sauvage, a rock coast that shows that this used to be an island. It was connected gradually to the mainland by the sand of the Loire. The small town Batz-sur-Mer is situated at the most narrow point of this sand bridge. The church tower of Batz is a unique vantage point over the sea, the bay and the salt gardens – the more than 200 steps should not stop you from enjoying this grand view. Enjoy the trip along this charming coastal landscape and the views of the blue sea. Your accommodation is again in Mesquer-Quimiac.

Today’s tour takes you at first through a slightly hilly but fascinating landscape with old Breton farmsteads and hamlets and through lonesome salt gardens. The real destination of today’s bike trip is the natural preserve “La Grande Brière”, one of the biggest uliginous and lagoon territories of the French inland. Peat mining, reed covered houses and canals and islands overgrown with reed, often wrapped in fog, make the mystic moor lands unique. You can find an extraordinary fauna and flora. Small islands are rising from the moor lands, with pictorial hamlets and low houses. Use the opportunity to discover this fascinating swathe of land with the typical punt. It will be a swell experience and highlight of every Brière visit. Your accommodation is again in Mesquer-Quimiac.

A bike tour full of events ends todays. We can also book some extra days in Saumur or Mesquer-Quimiac for you.

Tour character

You cycle on small filed paths and side roads with light traffic. On some short connecting parts of the route one has to count with heavy traffic, e.g. in the high season  on the peninsula of GuérandeThe daily stages are mostly flat to slightly hilly. This is a bike tour that guarantees eventful holiday fun for a normal constitution.

Prices and events

All data at a glance
Season 1
Apr 7, 2018 - Apr 20, 2018
Sep 22, 2018 - Oct 6, 2018
Saturday
Season 2
Apr 21, 2018 - Jun 29, 2018
Aug 25, 2018 - Sep 21, 2018
Saturday
Season 3
Jun 30, 2018 - Aug 24, 2018
Saturday
Loire and Atlantic Sea, 8 days, FR-LORSM-08X
Base price
Surcharge single room
Surcharge half board
698,00
218,00
149,00
741,00
208,00
149,00
763,00
208,00
149,00
Season 1
Apr 7, 2018 - Apr 20, 2018
Sep 22, 2018 - Oct 6, 2018
Season 2
Apr 21, 2018 - Jun 29, 2018
Aug 25, 2018 - Sep 21, 2018
Season 3
Jun 30, 2018 - Aug 24, 2018
Saumur
Extra night p.p. dbl/bb
Extra night sgl/bb
Mesquer-Quimiac
Extra night p.p. dbl/bb
Extra night sgl/bb
54,00
80,00
52,00
74,00
54,00
80,00
52,00
74,00
54,00
80,00
52,00
74,00
Price
Rental bike 21-gear
Electric bike
80,00
170,00

Services and infos

  • Accommodation as mentioned
  • Breakfast buffet or an extensive breakfast
  • If half board is booked: every day a 3 course meal
  • Welcome briefing
  • Luggage transfer between the hotels
  • Well elaborated route
  • Detailed travel documents
  • Train ticket Nantes – Saint-Nazaire (incl. your bike)
  • GPS-data is available
  • Service hotline

Arrival / Parking / Departure

  • Train station Saumur
  • Free parking close to the hotel.
  • Return journey by bus from Mesquer-Quimiac to Saumur: Every Saturday at approx.. 09:30 o´clock, € 80 per person incl. bike, reservation necessary, payable in advance.
  • Return by train from La Baule Escoublac (about 20 km away from the last hotel). Taxi to the train station approx. € 45, train ticket approx. € 34 per person, connections only in the morning.

This tour has 1 more variant