The slow-cycle way is to spend a long time dreaming about hopping on a long-distance bike ride… And one I’d been wanting and waiting to do was The Loire, from Orleans, past the great chateaux of the Loire to the West coast of Brittany.
This would mean that I’d follow a part of Eurovelo 6 again. This time, in the opposite direction. Here’s a link to a previous journey, east from near Orleans which follows the Loire inland. https://slow-cycle.com/2018/09/16/slow-cycle-guide-to-the-loire-and-burgundy/
Orleans is a good place to start a tour. It’s about 90 minutes by train from Paris, with a regular service from Austerlitz. It’s especially nice by the river and in the old quarters. It felt very safe too. We stayed at the Youth Hostel (which is pretty well located for cyclists) and and picked up the touring bicycles that had been delivered for us by Leo at Cypreo email@example.com The bikes were superb for the whole journey. Many thanks 🙂
It was mega hot. We managed to find a lido to swim in safely. Another free thing to do in Orleans is the son et luminere (which starts around 11pm). The lights, music and lasers are pretty spectacular. They tell the story of the young Joan of Arc and her triumphs against the English. The atmosphere is electric, partly due to the constant jeopardy of watching old and young dithering on the tram lines, until alerted by very efficient Police and stewards with nerves of steel.
From Orleans to Nantes beyond, our journey was parallel to the Loire train. If you go with a friend, or friends, and want to use the train for your bikes, check out the multi-person ticket options to share fares. https://www.loireavelo.fr/reservation-ter/ We didn’t book in advance and didn’t encounter any problems in the height of August 2022.
Later on in the holiday, when returning the bikes, we spent another night in Orleans in an Ibis near the station and inner ring road. I wouldn’t really recommend that area, as it wasn’t distinctive or quiet and it was a long way to the restaurants near the river.
More on the Chateaux of the Loire later… but tonight I am going Provence with my friend Bev xx