Cooking Vacations in France: Biking and Cooking in the Loire Valley
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Biking and Cooking in the Loire Valley
Blois, Loir-et-Cher

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About the location: The Loire is rich not only in medieval, Renaissance and classical chateux, it has an abundant production of agriculture. From the superb salmon in the Loire River to the valley’s Atlantic side, which produces grapes for wonderful wine, you will be treated to incredible food and drink. Blois is a little town with a famous château, which is piece of living history, and enjoys a scenic setting on the right bank of the Loire.

 Your accommodations will be at a lovely bed and breakfast in the heart of Blois, as well as at a charming 4-star hotel at the foot of the royal castle in Amboise.

About the bike riding: The Loire Valley is a very scenic and pastoral location for easy to moderate bicycle riding. This is a self-guided riding tour, and you will be equipped with all the necessary equipment, maps and itineraries.

About the lessons: Your first lesson will take place in a charming chateau, where the kitchen dates back to the 15th century.  The chef will lead you in a hands-on lesson in the cuisine of the region, and you'll make seasonal dishes — including a starter, main course, and dessert — which you can recreate back home. For the second class, visit a boutique cooking atelier where you'll work with one of the 10 chefs who love to share their know-how and love of French gastronomy. Through both courses you'll learn how to select the best produce, the tastiest cheeses, and more, all while learning to craft a seasonal menu.

Biking and Cooking in the Loire Valley Itinerary

Day 1

  • Meet in Blois train station (in the morning).
  • We provide you with quality bicycle, detailed maps, complete flat tire set, helmets, entrance tickets to Chambord, Blois, Amboise, and Clos Luce Chateaus, vouchers for hotels and other services in the tour, itineraries, maps, emergency phone for assistance.
  • You are welcome to take a short ride around the hotel for final bike adjustments.
  • For assistance during your tour, you may contact us 7 days a week on our emergency line.
  • Check-in to your hotel La Maison de Thomas, which is located in a pedestrian area in the city center of Blois.
  • The ancient city of Blois has a rich historical past. In the sixteenth century Blois was the capital of France, under King Louis XII. Enjoy a stroll through the old town and along its charming paved streets.
  • Visit the Chateau de Blois. The Chateau is unique for its combination of four architectural styles: Gothic, Flamboyant, Renaissance and Classic. Built by the Counts of Blois, Louis XII, Francois I and Louis XIII, this chateau was the site of many well-known historical events.
  • Enjoy a gourmet dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Blois. (Drinks not included).

Day 2

  • After breakfast, start out on your 22 mile loop of the surrounding area.
  • You will see the Chateau of Chambord during your trip today. Chambord was the very first Chateau of the Valley to be proclaimed by UNESCO as a world heritage. It was ordered in 1519 by King Francois the 1st to Leonardo Da Vinci and his architects.
  • Lunch on your own in Chambord.
  • Pedal back to Blois among the fields and vineyards. Back at your accommodation, time to rest or freshen up.
  • Dinner at your leisure with recommendations provided by the hotel.
  • Overnight in Blois.

Day 3

  • After breakfast, depart on your bike, 16 miles. Ride to Chaumont sur Loire, where you will see its famous chateau. The Chaumont Chateau was originally built in the 10th century by counts of Blois as a medieval fortress but was completely destroyed in 1465 by Louis XI and subsequently re-constructed by different owners. Now the chateau combines medieval and Renaissance styles. From May to October you can tour the very popular Garden Festival inside of the castle (neither tickets are included), where 30 fairy interactive gardens can be explored.
  • In mid-morning, take part in a private cooking class in the Chateau de la Bourdaisiere. You’ll learn how to make seasonal French dishes, including a starter, main course, and dessert, in a historic 15th century kitchen and using products straight from the chateau’s garden.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • In the afternoon, you will be transferred, along with your bikes and luggage, to Amboise.
  • Check in to the 4-star Hotel Le Choiseul in Amboise, which is located at the foot of a royal castle. This typical Touraine townhouse was built between the last wild river of Europe and the terrace gardens lined with troglodytic cellars.
  • Time on your own. Perhaps tour Chateau of Amboise, which was built in the 15th & 16th centuries as an authentic royal castle, and introduced Italian style to the Loire Valley. (Entrance to the Amboise castles are included).
  • Dinner at your leisure with recommendations provided by the hotel.
  • Overnight in Amboise.

Day 4

  • After breakfast, you’ll be transferred with your bike to the town of Tours.
  • In the morning, meet your chef at a boutique cooking atelier for a private hands-on cooking class. You’ll love visiting the market with the chef, where you’ll discover the best vegetables and tastiest cheeses. After selecting your products based on the season, return to the atelier to cook with the chef. Lunch to follow based on your efforts, and the meal will be paired with some good wine.
  • Cycle about 16 miles back to Amboise along the Loire à Vélo bike trail, which follows the quiet Loire river.
  • Tour Chateau du Clos Luce, which is where the genius Leonardo da Vinci spent the last 3 years of his life. You will discover the Manor and gardens, as well as some of his inventions, including the helicopter, parachute, mobile bridge, tank, and much more.
  • Dinner on your own.
  • Overnight in Amboise.

Day 5

  • Breakfast and end of the tour.

(An extra day is possible during which you can cycle on a 22 mile loop, and visit and see the unique architecture of the Chateau of Chenonceau, one of the most exquisite chateaux in the valley. The extension includes an extra night at the hotel, breakfast, entrance to the chateau, and bikes.)