The French have always been great cyclists, and the completion of the Loire a Velo path this year gives the energetic, and the gentle pedaler, a great cycle path to ride. The project has taken 10 years to complete and stretches 800 kilometers (500 miles) from Nevers to the Atlantic along the Loire river.
The track is wonderfully easy, surfaced, signposted and almost flat. Every age and ability of cyclist can enjoy this great ride beside the mighty Loire through a much loved landscape that is now listed by UNESCO. You can dip in and out of the path choosing where you want to go and for how long a distance.
The path has just won another award: the British Guild of Travel Writers voted it their Best European Tourism Project and the award was given at the BGTW Annual Dinner at the Savoy on Sunday November 4th, 2012.
The path runs through two major tourist regions in France -- the Pays de la Loire and Center- Loire Valley. It's very well organized, with a train that runs along the river with 20 stations all with cycle access, specially inspected accommodation that will help with punctures, maintenance, picnics and general TLC where needed, and cycle hire. You can go off track on other paths, perhaps taking in various chateaux near the river or the odd vineyard train. The website is superb with interactive maps and intineraries. A guidebook in English offers comprehensive maps.