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Loire locks by bike and kayak

From: #flymeto   |   Jul 20, 2019

The Loire basin lazily lays down the lowlands here and there with a protrusion on which you will most likely find a town or chateau. While some served as year-round aristocratic residences, others only served as a Renaissance-Baroque version of the summer cottage.

Most are scattered between Orleans and Angers. Take a tour of the relatively flat terrain of the whole of the UNESCO-protected basin, and take a closer look at the local gems. Get inspired with three routes that show you the best.

Route # 1: Top 5 locks in 1 day

Chambord - Blois - Amboise - Chenonceaux - Cheverny - Chambord.

With ragged ears, but still you can go around the 5 most popular locks in one day. They regularly appear in all rankings of interest in the Loire Basin. The history of Chambord Castle is as dramatic as its appearance - surviving the plundering of French revolutionaries to become a stash of the most valuable national treasures during World War II, including the painting of Mona Lisa.

Blois Castle, a place associated with Joan of Arc, is a wonderful example of the evolution of period architecture over 400 years, when its walls were alternated by French kings. Everyone added something, it is worth mentioning the hypnotizing outdoor spiral staircase.

Amboise Castle rises on a rock above the town of the same name. From a distance it looks like a castle, because it was reconstructed by a Gothic fortress. It was the first local castle to be upgraded to a Renaissance chateau.

Chenonceaux Castle stretches from shore to shore of the Cher River as a luxury beaver dam. The ingenious system of supporting columns in the past has allowed the nobles to “live high” and today makes the castle one of the most visited monuments in the country.

Cheverny Castle was the property of one family for 6 centuries, and its preservation and equipment is of a high standard. In addition to the magnificent park and gardens, you will find a kennel of English-French hounds, whose breeding has a long tradition.

Driving takes approximately 7 hours.

You step around 126 km.

Explore close-up route

Route # 2: Large circle of about 10 magnificent castles

Chambord - Villesavin - Cheverny - Troussay - Chissay - Chenonceaux - Amboise + Clos Lucé - Chaumont - Blois - Chambord.

If you want to look at only half of the castles, plan where to lay your head. Maybe in one of them. The route will take you from popular castles by the river to more distant places hidden in the woods. Here you will find the cozy country castle of Villesavin with several museums and exhibitions, one charting the development of wedding rituals and propriets from 1850 to 1950, and Troussay, one of the smallest castles in the entire Loire Basin.

Along the way, you will enjoy a balanced combination of Renaissance, smaller farmhouses and castles that do not deny their medieval past, such as Chissay with its thick castle walls.

Next to him and his gigantic neighbor - Amboise, Clos Lucé looks like nothing. Together with him and the city, however, it forms the most busy stop on the entire route. You should not miss them.

Driving takes approximately 7 hours.

Stepping around 123 km.

Explore close-up route

Route # 3: From Orleans to Angers

Orleans - Chambord - Blois - Chaumont - Amboise - Azay-le-Rideau - Ussé - Chinon - Saumur - Angers.

Because all of the sites are concentrated in the lane from Orleans to Angers, why not go through them too. Orleans will impress you with its magnificent architecture and strong history associated with Joan of Arc.

Azay-le-Rideau welcomes you from afar with Disney’s turrets that protrude above the surrounding trees. Set on a river island, the chateau will enchant you with its exterior and lavishly decorated interior.

The best stories in the area are told by Ussé, the castle of Sleeping Beauty, which, paradoxically, never sleeps. Its spaces are dominated by mannequins in period costumes, which play their part in various scenes.

Like a chameleon, the Chinon changes from castle to castle and its walls coincide with the surrounding streets. Its history was signed by the Templars and Joan of Arc, who first met King Charles VII.

The castle and the city of Samaur are linked to heroic stories of courage in World War II and, more importantly, to the production of great wine. The ideal refreshment stop before you go through the huge walls of Angers.

The journey takes approximately 13 hours.

You step around 276 km.

Explore close-up route

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