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An Active Guide to Exploring Loire

by Angelique Platas

May 11, 2019

Radu Razvan Gheorghe – Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Europe

UNESCO World Heritage sites, endless vistas of stunning lakes, vineyards and rolling estates: just another day in the Loire Valley region of France. If this sounds like your dream destination, that’s because it is. Escape from reality into a fantasy land of European charms, history, luxury and quaint, quintessential French delights in the Loire Valley, but with all the shopping, dining, unique town activities and family fun your kids can handle. 


On Wheels
Begin with an activity the kids might already know and love, like biking. Trek the scenic bike route of La Loire à Vélo, showcasing the stunning views of the Valley. Lining the 560 miles of bike path are vineyards, charming villages, natural landscapes and chateaus. The entire ride brings travelers from Cuffy to the Atlantic coast. Enjoy a well-deserved Sancerre at the Chateau de Chambord, or take a tour of Blois, a famously royal town.


Sancerre, France.

Sancerre, France. Photo: Kloeg008 – Dreamstime.com

If your family would rather take the scenic, but shorter, route, Indre à Vélo is a 124-mile bike ride connecting Berry province with Azay-le-Rideau. Bike along the easy-to-moderate path, enjoying all the historic sites and French gardens along the way, including the Indre River, Fortress of Montbazon, the Chateau de Chenonceau and the unique village-garden, Chédigny. Read more about nearby exhibits, dining options and accommodations you can enjoy along the way. 


By Boat
Get out on the open waters of the Loire River, as this official UNESCO World Heritage site is even better enjoyed by boat. Visit the wild and secluded beauty of the area’s surrounding islands, only visited by boat. Get outdoorsy with Destination H20’s two-day Canoe and Bivouac camping trip along the picturesque river with some help from experienced professionals, or keep it simple with Canoe Company’s canoe ride and picnic bundle. Enjoy views of the Chateau de Chenonceau and the easy pace of the day.


Sail, paddle or just float for hours on a tour, ending with sips of local wine, or plan a traditional rowing excursion with Millière Raboton through the islands of Loire, Chaumont-sur-Loire or Amboise to Chinon. The excursions are all ages and great for families looking to enjoy the region in a unique way.


On Foot
Always a viable option, walking along the scenic Loire footpath, GR3 is roughly 800 miles through countryside beauty. The trek stretches from Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc to La Baule. With the Atlantic Ocean as the finish line, it’s no wonder this grande randonnée, or long distance, footpath is the first and only in France — created specifically for travelers to explore and enjoy.


Expect caves, vineyards, historic sites, local landmarks and endless natural beauty along the way. Read more about the path, family offerings and local activities for you and the kids to enjoy.


Of course, you don’t have to walk or bike the entire way, but whatever activity your family does enjoy will lead you to a beautiful town to explore.


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