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Self Guided Sporting Tour in Western Loire

Road Cycling Holidays in France

Welcome to Andalucian Cycling Experience – Self Guided Sporting Tour of the Western Loire in France. Lying just north of the Loire Valley you will be cycling along rolling hills passing gentle rivers and sparkling lakes whilst being immersed in history that dates back to the stone age. Pretty French villages are tucked away in folds of the wooded hills, hidden in forests and located on the banks of rivers whilst others perch defiantly on rocky outcrops. There are more inhabited chateaux in Mayenne than anywhere else in France. Many are private residences but often the gardens are open and the architecture can be admired from afar.

Your week long point to point self guided cycling tour takes your through some of the most scenic villages of the western Loire visiting Moulay, Jublains, Sainte Suzanne, Bagnoles de L’Orne, Domfront & Mayenne.

Your week long self guided cycling tour starts off in Moulay, north west France, from where you travel south through the many apple orchards in a region famous for its cider and calvados. It is also a region rich in traditional cheeses,with goats cows and sheep all providing milk for the local creamy delicacies. En route we will visit Jublains, the most important gallo roman site in the west of France, home to the ruins of Noviodonium.

The next village of Saulges lies in the pretty valley of the river Erve. During your stay here we recommend that you visit the caves Grotte de Rochefortt and Grotte a Margot with their prehistoric paintings. A30km ride away is Ste Suzanne, a fortified hilltop town you can explore the old streets,ramparts, chateau grounds and a museum. Ste Suzanne is a lovely town in wooded countryside with the river Erve running at its feet. The chateau was besieged by William the Conqueror from 1083-1086 and you can see the remains of his “Camp des Anglais”. The original Chateau ruin now includes a superb internal metal staircase that allows you to the top for views across the valley.

Leaving the South of Mayenne for a ride through gentle undulating roads your next destination is Bagnoles de L’Orne, famous for its lake, casino and chateaux. Situated in the Department of the Orne in Southern Nornandy, Bagnoles was popularized by visiting Parisiens in the early 20th Century and has some of the finest art deco architecture in France. With numerous cafes and bars it is a vibrant town which is a testament to the old France.

You leave Bagnoles for the ride back to Moulay through the Andaines forest travelling north towards the old Roman hilltop town of Domfront, from the castle you can almost see the coast on a clear day. Stop off in Lassay les Chateaux with its feudal 16th century chateaux which is still occupied! Just prior to arriving back at Moulay visit Mayenne which has one of the oldest chateau in France where archeological excavations in the crypt have revealed many surprises including stones taken from the ruined Roman fort at Jublains. This chateau hosts a large museum which is open every afternoon. Returning to Moulay by riding along the banks of the River Mayenne.

The highlights of your trip will be the numerous smaller chateaux, the sunflower fields, traffic free country lanes where you will have the wildlife and farm animals as company.

Detailed Route Cards and Maps

We take pride in our cycling route cards, checking and updating them regularly. We also provide a map (usually 1:50,000). Our route cards are your guide, providing much more information than the basic directions. Just as a guide would tell you about the places you pass, our route cards include information on historic villages, places of interest and momuments along the way. If it’s worth making a short detour to a fantastic viewpoint, we point this out too. We even suggest cafés and restaurants where you can stop for lunch. We can also provide you with GPS files for this tour.

What to bring

Wearing a helmet while cycling in France is not mandatory. However, for the purposes of this trip, your safety and for insurance purposes we request that you wear a helmet whilst riding. Please bring your own or we can supply one for you.

It’s important to be comfortable when cycling so we recommend wearing cycling shorts, jersey and gloves. In my opinion cycling shorts are a must, if you are not comfortable on the saddle you will be less likely to want to ride. Trainers are fine for cycling and for when you stop off to visit places on foot.

Your luggage transported

We want you to enjoy your self guided cycling tour in Western Loire to the full so, for your comfort, we arrange the transportation of your luggage from one hotel to the next. All we ask is that you leave your suitcases in reception each morning and will ensure that they are waiting for you at your next hotel. All you need to carry with you are drinks, a camera, some cash and sun cream.

Chateaux & Castles Cycling Tour Itinerary

Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8Price

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Arrival

Arrive at Moulay and check into La Marjolaine Hotel. Maybe take a swim in the heated pool before enjoying a welcome drink with your representative who will give you your bikes, welcome pack and all the advice that 15 years of living in the region can bring to make sure that you have a memorable holiday. Enjoy dinner on the patio overlooking the hotels gardens and grounds.

Ambrrieres les Vallees & Domfront

After breakfast you are free to explore all the region has to offer. Why not ride the short distance to Mayenne along the riverside path before a pleasant ride to the beautiful village of Ambrieres les Vallees. If you are feeling particularly energetic carry on to the medievil town of Domfront. Said to have grown up in the 6th century, Domfront was said to have paid a big part in the wars against the English. Its castle was once home to Henry, youngest son of William the Conqueror.

Enjoy your ride back along the “route du poire” for your well earned evening meal.

Route:

  • Distance 80km Total Ascent 400m

Jublains & Saulges

Today you’ll enjoy a beautiful ride south through the fields of sunflowers and apples orchards to the beautiful village of Saulges situated in the Erve Valley,  in the South of the Mayenne Department. Why not stop for lunch in Jublains, the most important gallo roman site in the west of France and pay a visit to its museum and ruins. Set in large grounds Hotel l’Ermitage is situated in the village centre and an ideal spot to explore the surrounding area.

Route:

  • Option 1. Distance 70km Total Ascent 400m
  • Option 2. Distance 90km Total Ascent 600m

St Peters Abbey & Sainte Suzanne

Start your day with a potter around this charming village, proud to be classed as one of Frances “petit cite de character”. Why not ride to Solesmes and visit St Peters Abbey home of the Benedictine Order of France famed for its Gregorian Chant sung by the monks who live here. Return to Saulges via the fortified town of Saint Suzanne. Old streets, ramparts chateau grounds and a museum the castle was once home to William the Conqueror.

Route:

  • Option 1. Distance 60km Total Ascent 300m
  • Option 2. Distance 80km Total Ascent 500m

Bagnoles de L’Orne

Today you will travel across the Pays de la Loire into Normandy for a 2 night stay in the spa resort of Bagnoles de L’Orne. On your way you will climb up to the highest point in the Department Mont Rochard at 357m and take in the magnificent views before descending into the valley town of Bais for lunch.  After lunch you’ll wind your way through deserted lanes to the beautiful town of Bagnoles.

Route:

  • Option 1. Distance 90km Total Ascent 800m
  • Option 2. Distance 110km Total Ascent 1000m

Ferte Mace

Feel free to explore the numerous roads which zig zag through the Andaines forest and stop for lunch in the square in Ferte Mace. In the evening why not dine out in the “Cafe de Paris” widely regarded as one of the finest restaurants in Normandy and then try your luck in the casino. A popular destination with the Parisiens, Bagnoles is famous for its spas and health clubs.

Route:

  • Option 1. Distance 60km Total Ascent 300m
  • Option 2. Distance 80km Total Ascent 400m

Return to Moulay

Your final day in the saddle will take you back to Moulay through the peaceful Normandy lanes and pear orchards. Stop in the unspoilt village of Lassay les Chateaux for lunch in the square. Before you set off be sure to visit the 16th Century castle which lends its name to the village as its one of the finest examples and best preserved in the whole of France. It is still occupied to this day! When you arrive back at your hotel why not take a dip in the heated pool before enjoying a beautiful meal on the patio. Your regional representative will be there to meet you and enjoy a drink and share your experiences.

Route:

  • Option 1. Distance 70km Total Ascent 400m
  • Option 2. Distance 90km Total Ascent 600m

Departure

We say “Au revoir” before you leave for home or maybe you have chosen to continue your holiday elsewhere in France. In either case”A Bientot”and hope to see you again soon.

Prices

Prices start from

  • €1350/Person (3nights Half Board & 4 Nights B&B Basis)
  • €135 Road Bike Hire (Optional)
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Availability

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember

January

Our Chateaux, Castle and Cuisine Tour is not available in January.

We run this Tour in June, July & August Only.

February

Our Chateaux, Castle and Cuisine Tour is not available in February.

We run this Tour in June, July & August Only.

March

Our Chateaux, Castle and Cuisine Tour is not available in March.

We run this Tour in June, July & August Only.

April

Our Chateaux, Castle and Cuisine Tour is not available in April.

We run this Tour in June, July & August Only.

May

Our Chateaux, Castle and Cuisine Tour is not available in May.

We run this Tour in June, July & August Only.

June

Our Chateaux, Castle and Cuisine Tour can start on any day of the week, we can also make the Tour shorter or longer to suit your schedule. Please contact us for availability, we will do our best to accommodate you.

July

Our Chateaux, Castle and Cuisine Tour can start on any day of the week, we can also make the Tour shorter or longer to suit your schedule. Please contact us for availability, we will do our best to accommodate you.

August

Our Chateaux, Castle and Cuisine Tour can start on any day of the week, we can also make the Tour shorter or longer to suit your schedule. Please contact us for availability, we will do our best to accommodate you.

September

September

Our Chateaux, Castle and Cuisine Tour is not available in September.

We run this Tour in June, July & August Only.

October

Our Chateaux, Castle and Cuisine Tour is not available in October.

We run this Tour in June, July & August Only.

November

Our Chateaux, Castle and Cuisine Tour is not available in November.

We run this Tour in June, July & August Only.

December

Our Chateaux, Castle and Cuisine Tour is not available in December.

We run this Tour in June, July & August Only.