Chinon and its surroundings are the dream destination for cyclists and cycle tourists, for a weekend…or more
In Chinon and its region, it’s not just the Loire à Vélo to practice on 2 wheels (non-motorized)! Certainly this route attracts a considerable number of bicycle enthusiasts. Every year, around 75,000 cyclists and cyclo-tourists ride the roads in the south of the Indre-et-Loire department. Some for only a few kilometers, others for beautiful and long stages throughout this unique cycle route which follows the river for nearly 700 km. The latter are only passing through Chinon. But there is a lot to discover, by bike, all around Chinon, using the city of Rabelais as base camps for a “cycling” weekend or for a few days.
The "cycle loops"...
Indeed, 5 cycle “loops” allow you to discover this magnificent region, around the Vienne and Loire valleys. These “loops” are marked, secure routes (partly on shared roads but with very little car traffic) which offer superb views of the landscapes of this crossroads between Touraine, Poitou and Anjou.
The loop 38
The loop 38 between Chinon and Candes-Saint Martin: This 25 Km route will take you from the royal fortress of Chinon, through the Véron (the peninsula between Loire and Vienne) to the village of Candes-Saint Martin. It is one of the most beautiful villages in France, at the southwestern limit of the Indre-et-Loire, and at the confluence between the Vienne and the Loire. Do not hesitate to go 2 more kilometers in Maine-et-Loire to discover the village of Montsoreau, also one of the most beautiful villages in France, and its castle which inspired the work of Alexandre Dumas “La dame de Montsorreau”.
The loop 39
The loop 39 between Chinon and Cravant-les-Coteaux: for this loop, head east, unlike the previous loop. This 20 km route winds through the hillside of Vienne in the middle of the vineyards over its entire length. Obligatory stop at the start, at the troglodyte chapel of Sainte Raguedonde on the heights of Chinon. On arrival, ride a few kilometers to Panzoult where you can visit the Cave de la Sibylle (a famous character of Rabelais), or even a little further to Crissay-sur-Manse, one of the most beautiful villages in France.
The loop 42
Loop 42 around Chinon: This 27 km route will allow you to discover a little more of the “Rabelaisie”, that is to say the country of Rabelais. This loop goes through La Devinière, the birthplace of Rabelais, which houses the Rabelais museum. Visit warmly recommended for those who want to rediscover this great humanist who anchored his work in his birthplace. Also worth seeing nearby is the small abbey of Seuilly (which inspired Rabelais to create his “Abbaye de Thélème”) and also the majestic Château de Coudray-Montpensier (which unfortunately cannot be visited).
The loop 43
The loop 43, departing from Chinon, will take you along the rivers Vienne and Loire, to the magnificent Fontevraud Abbey, 17 km away. A must visit! It is the largest abbey in Europe, which also housed one of the harshest prisons in France until 1963! The enclosure of the abbey also houses a superb museum of modern art which presents the astonishing and eclectic collection of Martine and Léon Cligman. Count a good half day to do everything. Nearby (5 km), you will pass through the village of Montsoreau, mentioned above in loop 38.
The loop 58
Loop 58 finally joins the Abbey of Fontevraud at La Devinière (mentioned in the previous loops). This 15 km route winds along the southern slopes of the rivers Loire and Vienne, through the forest of Fontevraud and the vineyard.
Some cycle routes among many others...
All these loops are detailed on the France Vélo Tourisme website.
These are a few identified and marked routes, but the Chinon region is full of small roads and cycle paths just waiting to welcome you to taste the sweetness of life in southern Touraine. Ride, stray, get lost and enjoy!
The cottages of La Pénesais are ideally located to serve as base camps for a weekend of discovery by bike: 4 km from Chinon, on the Loire à Vélo route, in the middle of the Chinon vineyards. La Pénesais has the “Accueil Vélo” label.