On E-Biking days cycling distances average 55kms
After checking in at Auckland Airport this afternoon we board our Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore. We’ll arrive this evening and transfer to our hotel.
We have a day at leisure in Singapore and late this evening we transfer to the airport for our flight to Paris. We have a late check out of 6.00pm at our hotel.
On arrival in Paris this morning and after the passport formalities we meet our private transfer and are taken to our hotel. (The hotel has been booked from the night before and so we can check in straight away). There will be opportunity to explore the local area, take in some daylight and try and adjust those body clocks to European time. Paris has much to offer and even if you have been here before, let’s see if we can find something new for you to experience. In recent years many cycle paths have been built through the city which has reduced traffic congestion and improved the air quality.
The day is free to do what you wish with…but if you would like to come along with me, I’ll take you for a walk in the oldest parts of Paris where we will uncover some glimpses of medieval Paris. A personal favourite of mine is exploring around the Marais.
Another day to take in the glorious sights of Paris. If you would like to come along with me, I thought today we could visit Montmartre in the morning and some of those ‘must-see ’icons of Paris.
Time to get on our bikes and today’s adventure includes cycling out of Paris. The Eurovelo 3 is a long-distance cycle route that runs from Trondheim in Norway over 5000 km to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain (following the ancient pilgrim route). We follow it for a very short distance, from Paris south to Fontainebleau. We will spend the next two nights in this town, which is steeped in history and crowned by a fantastically beautiful Renaissance chateau. Once upon a time the Kings and Queens of France came to Fontainebleau, so for a wee while we might pretend we are royalty with only time for play.
To the west of Fontainebleau lie vast forests, once the hunting ground of French royalty. Here you can spend hours in total seclusion and silence. We intend to cycle in a loop into the forest and back to Fontainebleau. The ride is optional; if you would prefer you can stay in Fountainebleau and explore on your own.
In the morning, we set off on an hour’s ride to Nemours, a small town that sits on the old Loing Canal. This charming village has a fairy-tale castle and very nice cycling by the canal. Along the way are old locks, and anglers catching surprisingly large fish. We are heading to La Bussière, another charming town with its own remarkable castle. Tonight we stay in Briare, and can admire the unique canal bridge over the Loire.
The Loire Valley is one of the most famous areas in France, which is due to the numerous castles built here. There are over 400 of them, and we will pass by some of them today as we follow the country’s longest river to Orléans. Orléans is dominated by a massive cathedral and a golden equestrian statue of Joan of Arc, the “Maid of Orléans,” who liberated the city (and later all of France) from the English on May 8, 1429.
Today is officially a rest day; however, we would like to introduce the old centre to you properly with a local guide. After this two hour walk around you will have a better idea of what you might like to explore further on your own. As with any village, town or city in France–we recommend you take time to have a coffee/drink at a café and just watch the world go by.
Today we continue along the Loire River, heading southwest towards Cellettes. Along the way we will be passing castles, pretty little villages and people going about their business. One highlight to look out for is the Château de Chambord nestled in a large, unspoiled forest; one of most famous of all Loire castles.
We have now arrived at the central reaches of the Loire, the density of châteaux is the highest, and there are also a large number of them on the tributaries. Our last stop is the city of Tours, famous for its beautiful historic centre.
After breakfast we can cycle or just explore Tours. Between old half-timbered houses and narrow streets Tours gives us glimpses of its medieval past. It has a Gothic cathedral, which took over 200 years to build and has to be seen in person to truly appreciate its size and beauty. Saint Martin, founder of the first occidental monastery and patron saint of Travellers, worked here from 375 until his death in 397 and is buried in Tours. But there’s plenty to see outside the city, too, and we can ride our bikes out to the castle of Villandry or the moated castle of Azay-le-Rideau depending on the weather and the wishes of the group.
This morning is at leisure and this afternoon we travel by coach to Paris Airport. Late evening, we board our Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore.
We arrive at Singapore airport early this evening and transit through to our flight home.
Home to New Zealand with special memories of enjoying the active life in the Loire Valley.