Bicycling France’s Loire Valley est Fantastique!

LE VIEUX MOULIN, FRANCE Two summers ago, my husband and I plus two friends decided to do our own personal Tour de France. No surprise, with our last name, that it quickly became known as the Tour de Frause.

I checked into a lot of bike tours, and what I was attracted to at Le Vieux Moulin Bicycle Touring Center was that you stayed in the same place all week. No packing up every morning to bike to the next destination. Instead, the group would take various day trips, whether to a winery or a small outdoor market or seeing the lush valley that’s known as the Loire.

During our stay, Le Vieux Moulin was owned by Boston born Frank Pettee and his French wife Coco. He was the biker, she was the chef. They were a great duo, but have since moved to Provence, where Frank continues to lead bike tours and Coco still cooks.

Today, Le Vieux Moulin’s owners are Steve Mitchener and Michelle Ballou, a husband and wife team from Denver, Colorado. Steve says they have kept the format the same (the scenery hasn’t changed, beautiful as always!) along with the fabulous French food.

Biking in France

Le Vieux Moulin is an 18th-century country inn located in the village of Patinges in France’s Loire Valley. The mill house and guest house are nestled alongside the River L’Aubois and the banks of the tiny Canal Berry.

Accommodations include twelve guest bedrooms with private baths, two salons with wood-burning fireplaces and an intimate dining room with a fireplace.

But it’s time to bike, and bike we did. Over hill, over dale, we soaked up the Loire. And yes, you can enjoy a glass of wine or two at lunch and continue to pedal!

Our quartet would not be considered “serious bikers” (there were several in the group that week), but we had a blast. And although most of the time I was at the back of the bunch with “biker boy” Paul Hurst, I never felt pressured to go faster or keep up with the group.

This year’s tours run through Oct. 15, 007.

Tour de Frause

Pictured here are the official members of the Tour de Frause after their final bike ride: Sue Frause, Bob Frause, Sandrajean Wainwright and Victoria Locke. Viva La France!

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  1. We took our young kids – 2 and 4 at the time – to the Loire Valley a couple years back. It was a wonderful trip and we enjoy living in a castle for 3 days. So easy to get to from Paris too.

  2. Yes, I think the Loire Valley is one of those undiscovered spots — it’s absolutely beautiful and we ran into very few visitors. It was fun to hang out in “normal” towns and villages that haven’t been overrun with tourists. We were there in late spring and the flowers were beautiful. Happy Travels!

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