A beautiful fall weekend calls for getting out of Paris.
We hadn't been to The Loire Valley yet, so I did a little research to figure out a good trip for just a weekend. What really attracted me to the area was the Loire à Vélo, the 800km long bike trail that follows the river from Never to Orleans, and then all the way out to the Bay of Biscay. You can bring your bike or rent one. You can have your bags forwarded or pack a little bike trailer. You can hop on a train with your bike if you want to skip around a bit. You can rent a bike in one place and return it down the trail when you are done with it. You can arrange to stay in B&Bs on the way or camp. The way the whole system is set up makes it a breeze to plan. The whole region is flat as a crepe and ideal for cycling, with lots to see and do along the way.
Obviously, we couldn't do all 800 km in two days. Someday maybe...it would be a great way to spend a fair-weather week or two in France and I would be willing to look into it if anyone wants to go with me.
I choose the town of Blois as our home base for the weekend.
It's two hours from Paris by train via Orleans.
It had several Chateaus within reach, and a few of the trails loop around at Blois so you don't have to take the same trail twice.
Blois has a Renaissance Chateau, winding cobblestone streets that lead up to a cathedral, and a big stone bridge that crossed the Loire.
We rented bikes, shopped the early morning market for the day's picnic lunch, and started on our way.