A family cycling adventure on the Loire à Vélo

We met Emilie and Antoine and their two boys, Paul (eight) and Jules (five). In summer 2020, they packed up their car and headed to the Atlantic Loire Valley for a cycling holiday between Saumur and the coast. This 230-km trail follows the River Loire past majestic chateaux, wild islands, troglodyte caves and vineyards. They told us about their favourite spots along the route.

“Equipped with a trailer and tent, four sleeping bags, cooking and laundry basics, a bike repair kit and some clothes, we had everything we needed for our trip. We’d planned to camp each night and had no difficulties finding a campsite, but it’s still best to book in high season – especially for the well-equipped sites with swimming pools and childrens’ games.”

Saumur to Angers: Bubbles and boats

“In Saumur (External link) , we loved strolling through the streets of the old town – the climb up to the chateau gets your calf muscles ready for cycling, whatever your age! There are so many opportunities to combine cycling with culture, such as at Bouvet-Ladubay, where tours into the deep cellars take place on bikes. The boys had so much fun and the tour ended with a sparkling wine tasting, perfect for us parents. Then in Le Thoureil, leave the bikes behind for a ride on a toue – a traditional river boat – with company Rêves de Loire et Ailleurs.”

Angers to Nantes: History and fun

“Our highlight in Angers (External link) was the spectacular Tenture de l’Apocalypse tapestry, secreted within the chateau. We recommend a lunch stop in Saint-Florent-Le-Vieil – and don’t miss the climb up Mont Glonne, from which the view of the Loire is exceptional. In the afternoon, our legs needed a break and we headed to L.A. Kayak in Champtoceaux, where the boys had refreshing water fights along an eight-kilometre paddle on the river. Nantes (External link) , the regional capital, is great for exploring by bike as a family. The Chateau of the Dukes of Brittany has ramparts to run around and the Machines de l’Ile is a crazy steampunk universe of mechanical animals, inspired by Jules Verne and Leonardo da Vinci!”

Nantes to Saint-Brévin: The sea awaits

“The long-awaited route to the sea first took us to Couëron, to cross the Loire by ferry. It was fun boarding the boat with the bikes. From Nantes to Saint-Brevin we had a real treasure hunt spotting the artworks in the estuary. And finally, after pedalling beneath the majestic Saint-Nazaire bridge, we arrived at the Atlantic opposite the famous Serpent d’Océan: a massive metal sculpture with an important environmental message. It was time to rest, relax and have a dip! We decided to cycle a bit further down the coast on the Vélodyssée, taking us to pretty Pornic (External link) where we finished with ice creams from La Fraiseraie. The perfect way to end our holiday!”