Discover the winding vineyards of The Loire Valley

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A landscape of picturesque beauty and more than a thousand vineyards.

The Loire Valley is pure French splendour. With style and renowned wine in ample measure, it’s the perfect region to escape to. When you next fancy a glass of wine, spare a thought to explore where it’s made in the stunning Loire Valley – then start planning your trip!

Loire Valley

Where in France: Loire River, Central France
Distance from Calais: 500km / 5h

No matter how high you set your expectations, the Loire Valley will exceed them. Poised between northern and southern France, the now UNESCO World Heritage Site was an important strategic geographical point for French royalty and aristocracy throughout history. Therefore, the region is abundant with hundreds of opulent estates, crenelated towers, soaring cupolas and glittering banquet halls.

The Loire Valley also boasts plenty of sophisticated cities and towns, ideal for checking off the list on a long and exciting road trip. Orléans, Blois, Tours and Angers are all included within the area’s limits, as well as 42 beautiful châteaux and dozens of villages and vineyards that serve as even more reasons to visit.

Every sight to see in the Loire Valley attests to thousands of years of rich architectural and cultural history.

Chateau de Chambord, the largest castle in the Loire Valley, France
Chateau de Chambord, the largest castle in the Loire Valley.

Vineyards

What the Loire Valley is most widely known for is its outstanding wines. Whether you’re a fan of red, white, rosé or sparkling, you’ll have tried the produce from this area. After all, plenty of famous wines such as Saumur, Chinon, Muscadet, Layon, Touraine and Vouvray are produced here.

A visit to the region will see you discover unique grape varieties, vineyards, appellations and plenty of opportunity to meet the wine makers themselves. While visiting the various vineyards you can immerse yourself in their tourist cellars and wine shops, while some even boast museums. Many of the vineyards in the region are recognised by the "Vignobles & Découvertes" (Vineyards and Discoveries) label, a sign of approval from the French wine tourism board that helps to guarantee your excursion as well-suited for the oenophiles among you!

The Vignobles & Découvertes sign of approval makes it easier to find great accommodation and food whilst in the Loire Valley, as many hotels and restaurants are also accredited. It’s common in local restaurants to find helpful menus that suggest wine pairings as well as local produce to sample. The label also recommends to you a variety of remarkable heritage sites, activities and events on offer, enabling you to discover regional gems and get the most from the Loire Valley.

Vineyard at the medieval castle, Château de Saumur, Saumur
Vineyard at the medieval castle, Château de Saumur.

France’s longest wine route

The river Loire is the second longest in France, falling just behind the Rhine, but France’s longest wine route stretches out over 1000km and of course is found in the Loire Valley. There are more than one thousand vineyards open to the public, including 400 specially accredited wine cellars, where the winemakers will greet you and allow you to taste their produce.

The heritage behind the wines is also important, which is why the vineyards are always near to the cities, villages and towns that gave birth to them.

View from Chinon Castle on the valley of the Venant
View from Chinon Castle on the valley of the Venant

The Loire by bike

The great benefit of travelling through France by car is that you can bring along kit and equipment to help you really make the most of each individual destination you visit. This is certainly the case when visiting the Loire Valley because of the fantastic cycling routes. Bringing your bicycle along for the ride is a great idea, because of the region’s plentiful cycling tracks and routes. The La Loire á Vélo cycling route, is an 800km stretch in the region that is in fact a portion of the EuroVelo 6 route, that links the Black Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.

If 800km sounds a little much, there are also plenty of shorter suggested routes along the river, while simply hopping on your two wheels to see where the wind takes you is also common practice.

Cycling alongside Château de Chenonceau
Cycling alongside Château de Chenonceau.

A sophisticated stop off

Before checking your bike’s gears, packing your suitcase or brushing up on your wine tasting skills, you’ll need to work out your route from Calais. You might want to head straight there and arrive as quickly as possible, or you might want to map out some stops along the way.

Take the A16 from Calais before joining the A28 at Abbeville, then head to Normandy’s capital region, Rouen. A stop at the age-old city is the perfect opportunity to soak up one of France’s unsung gems. Rouen is a city steeped in tangible history with architecture comprising of Gothic churches and medieval half-timbered houses, a great chance to visit a beautiful city before enjoying the wide open space of the Loire Valley.

Whether you’re a connoisseur of the world of wine, a keen cross-country cyclist, or just fancy taking in some of the glorious French countryside, head to the Loire Valley. Book your next breathtaking French road trip with us now to ensure you take advantage the best possible fares.