What to expect
Make the most of the Loire Valley’s flowing waterways and network of cycle tracks as you tour this rural region of chateaux and vineyards by bike and barge. Follow the course of France’s longest river from Cours-les-Barres to Rogny (or choose the reverse itinerary), sleeping in a peaceful cabin each night. A UNESCO World Heritage site and world-class wine region, expect rolling green scenery, magnificent architecture and traditional villages.
As you pedal along riverbanks and forested tracks, you’ll pass some of France’s most impressive chateaux and castles, with lakeside Pont Chevron and the formidable fortress at St Brisson among the finest. Stopping at a wine cellar after a day of pedalling through the vine covered hills of Sancerre is a real highlight halfway through the trip and relaxing with a glass of crisp white or mellow red makes a fitting reward in the evenings.
Please note that this runs in reverse from Rogny to Cours-les-Barres on alternate weeks, please see Dates & Prices.
At a glance
- World Heritage chateaux, traditional villages and world-class wines
- Cross the Loire River via the world's longest navigable aqueduct
- Shady forests and rolling hills cloaked in vineyards
- Cycling on slightly rolling hills with beautiful scenery
Day 1 (Sat):
Paris - Cours-les-Barres
Meet at the Gare du Nord railway station in Paris at approximately 3pm for a bus transfer to your floating hotel in Cours-les-Barres (the bus departs at 3.30pm). Meet your crew and guide before enjoying your first evening meal with your fellow guests.
Please note that this tour runs in reverse from Rogny to Cours-les-Barres on alternate weeks.
Day 2 (Sun):
Cours-les-Barres - Cours-les-Barres
31 miles (50 km)
Cycle to the clifftop village of Aprémont to visit the 12th century castle and its fabulous gardens. Continue through open countryside to the historic town of Nevers, before returning to your boat at Cours-les-Barres.
Day 3 (Mon):
Cours-Les-Barres - Ménétréol
34 miles (55 km)
Cruise to the village of Beffes and cycle to the Roman town of La Charité-sur-Loire, crossing the 16th century stone bridge for a view of the town’s Notre Dame church. Cycle past fields of grapes to the region of Pouilly Fumé wines and enjoy a tasting of fine local wines at Ménétréol, beneath the Sancerre vineyards.
Day 4 (Tue):
Ménétréol - Beaulieu
31 miles (50 km)
Visit the historic town of Sancerre-sue-Loire and pedal through the Sancerre vineyards, passing idyllic wine producing villages. Arrive in the riverside town of Beaulieu for the evening.
Day 5 (Wed):
Beaulieu - Briare
25 miles (40 km)
Cycle past the historic locks and aqueduct of Châtillon-sur-Loire and visit the spectacular St Brisson Castle. Enjoy fresh forest air in St Brisson forest and cross the Loire river via the aqueduct to the grand riverside houses of Briare.
Day 6 (Thu):
Briare - Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses
28 miles (45 km)
Spend some time exploring Briare, before cycling through landscapes dominated by lakes, to the castle of Pont Chevron and the 16th century castle near Bléneau. Arrive in the village Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses, famous for its seven historic locks.
Day 7 (Fri):
Rogny - Châtillon-Coligny -Rogny
31 miles (50 km)
Cycle to the pretty market in Châtillon-Coligny, touring past traditional towns and appreciating the diversity of the Loire’s grand chateaux, continuing on to the castle at La Bussière. Return to Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses and re-join your barge.
Day 8 (Sat):
Depart from Paris
Take a stroll around Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses before saying goodbye to your guide and crew at around 11am and boarding the coach back to Paris. Arrive at the Gare du Nord at around 1.30pm (around 3pm for the reverse itinerary).
Please note: The captain reserves the right to alter the itinerary due to changes in weather and other conditions.
Cours-les-Barres to Rogny
The Anna Maria IV offers 9 two-berth guest cabins. All have bunk beds and en-suite shower/wc, apart from two cabins which share facilities. All cabins have a porthole which can be opened when moored.
In the saloon, where meals are served, there is an "honesty" bar. You help yourself to wine, beer or soft drinks and record what you have taken so that you can pay at the end of the week.
Rogny to Cours-les-Barres
This is the reverse itinerary that operates from Rogny to Cours-les-Barres on alternate weeks.
Dates & Prices
Please choose your route, then click on a departure date for price options at a glance - please contact us for 2020 prices
- 7 nights aboard a standard class barge
- Board basis: Full board including breakfast, packed lunch and 3 course dinner
- Hybrid bike with 24 gears and pannier
- English speaking tour guide on board and on bike
- Maps and route information
- Visit to castle and winery
- Return bus transfers from Paris/Gare du Nord
- Flights and transfers
- Cycle helmets
- Drinks aboard the barge
- Special diets - except vegetarian, diabetic and low-sodium
How to Get There
Fly to Paris
Alternatively, take the Eurostar to Paris (Gare du Nord).
You will be collected at the Gare du Nord in Paris at approx. 15.30 and transferred by coach to your barge.
Take the coach (included) back to Paris.
Fly from Paris
Alternatively, take the Eurostar from Paris (Gare du Nord).
News, Reviews & FAQs
Simply click on a question to reveal the answers
How much space will I have in my cabin?
There is limited space in the cabins, so pack light and take a soft suitcase.
Will the itinerary ever change?
For Boat & Bike tours the boat will generally keep to the advertised itinerary, however the captain may have to adapt the itinerary due to the river or sea conditions.
What's the etiquette with crew tips?
Tips are at your own discretion, an envelope is always left in the cabins on the last day.
What is the average temperature on this tour?
Can I stay on the boat during the day and not cycle?
Yes, you can relax on the boat or explore when you arrive at each destination instead of cycling.
Can the boat cater for special dietary requirements?
Please advise us of any special requirements at time of booking and we will notify the boat operator in advance. Understandably, kitchen galley space is limited and it may not be possible to provide specialist products (eg. Gluten free). We suggest you bring a few items with you and, in some cases, these can be provided at a supplement.
What other customers have said
Been on this tour? Add your review!
Freedom Treks was extremely helpful in booking the tour for me. They answered any question I had and was very informative about the tour. The tour was wonderfully structured and can be done at any age. The guide and the people on the boat were very helpful and friendly, they were passionate about the tour. Overall great experience.Lynette Johnston, USA, June 2018
This could be a really good way to see the french country side and waterways however you need to be lucky on the guide appointed and the boat owners menu - Both are changeable so hope you get lucky. Also don't expect luxury...Neil Harris, UK, July 2017