The Loire offers this magic: cycle 180 kilometers in four days, between Amboise and Saumur, on more or less paved tracks and roads, admire the magnificent view of the river and, from time to time, branch off a few kilometers , climbing a little, in order to visit quality wine estates. In the Montlouis, Vouvray, Chinon, Saumur-Champigny, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and Saumur appellations. This journey, we have done it. And we return it, like a logbook. On the way !
Thursday 1 June, 9 a.m.: from Amboise to Montlouis-sur-Loire
Waking up with the view of the Château d’Amboise, the same as that painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1517. “He was our first client”, jokes Franck Perronin, owner with his wife, Laurence, of the Gîte Les Terrasses royales, which bears its name well as the panorama of the city below gives the feeling of dominating the world. To accompany the meal the day before, they took out the bottles from their wedding, which took place a month earlier: a “fine bubbles” Vouvray from Boutet Saulnier − “We looked for a long time before choosing this one, artisanal and in organic conversion”, specifies the newlywed – and a red Chinon, cuvée “Les Blancs Manteaux” from the renowned Domaine de la Noblaie. The tone is set, here we drink local.
I’m going to the simplest for my trip between Amboise and Saumur: a section of “La Loire à vélo”, the busiest cycle route in Europe (1.8 million cyclists in 2022), which connects Nevers to Saint-Nazaire. For the non-athlete that I am, the company Rouelib unearths an electrically assisted bicycle, with a powerful motor, guaranteed without perspiration. It will proudly propel me along the 180 kilometers of my route, on bitumen, dirt roads and sometimes gravel, without ever weakening.
Along the river, I take the time to listen to the birds, to watch two fishermen struggling with the engine of their boat, which has broken down. And especially to greet each cyclist who crosses my path. They are sometimes numerous, often rare. We are far from the overloaded Parisian tracks. I swallow less than 10 kilometers and here I am in Montlouis-sur-Loire, in the domain of Lise and Bertrand Jousset. Since 2017, the couple have transformed a small room into a wine bar. But this year, it’s slack. “Since the Covid, it has been very difficult to find a competent cook, sighs the winemaker. We don’t want to just serve a slice of pâté to accompany the wine, we want someone who can offer homemade tapas. »
You have 86.08% .. “”.