My Favorite Rides (#2): The Azay – Villandry – Usse Loop

Let’s try something a little different.

I have lots of photos, and even a few short videos, of one of my favorite rides: Azay-le-Rideau to Villandry to Usse and back to Azay. I call it the Three Castle Cruise. So, instead of me going on and on about how to turn right onto the D39 to the D16 and then over to the …

I’ll let my photos tell the story…

This is the castle in Azay-le-Rideau. Not bad, huh! Built in the 1500s by some lord or duke or dauphin, it’s considered the most romantic of all the Loire castles. Why? Not sure, think it’s because its surrounded by water (a moat) and the perfect reflections of the castle you can see in the water when the sun is shining. People (including me) line up to capture the reflection


From Azay, head west on the D120, past the train station (gare) and a hundred meters later, make a right onto this tiny road and start heading up the hill … and into the rural-ness of the Loire


This is apple orchard territory. They’re everywhere. Thousands of pomme trees. Couldn’t resist, picked one … ate it … and delicious. May have taken another. Not sure if this is considered thievery (probably is), but come on, I’m in the Loire, riding my bike, there are millions of pommes everywhere and …
Saw this along the way. Not sure what kind of trees they are … or why they’re planted in such perfectly aligned rows (which is quite common in France), but liked the view. Stopped and ate another apple

Up and over the hill, down into the town of Villandry, along the Cher River, walked thru the gate and into the gardens and…


I know, kind of amazing
And then even more amazing
And it has a moat/canal in the middle

After a few hours in Villandry (bring your lunch and eat in the gardens), rode over to Brehemont and did a little loop around this peninsula filled with farms and flowers. And took this video along a quiet, residential street…


Then followed a bike path/small road west along the Cher, made a left turn, looked up and saw this (wait for it…)

From here, headed back to Azay. It was a 44-mile ride total, not much climbing. Here it is on MapMyRide.

Here’s the link to the blog post on my 1st Favorite Ride post: The Gorges de la Nesque in Provence

And, for more on Biking the Loire, check out my eBook on this very same subject (coincidence? I don’t think so).Loirecover



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