Arriving at Chambord by bike

After looking around the pretty town of Beaugency we were back on the bikes and cycling towards Blois. Rather than take the same route as the day before we decided to head inland once we reached St Dyé towards Chambord. We'd seen the Loire à Vélo signs the day before and were confident it wouldn't add too many miles onto our journey. 

But first we had to get to St Dyé. I hadn't taken many photos on this part of our cycle so I planned to put that right. Starting with this quaint little building. I'm sure it had a practical use but it looked pretty too.

Heading to Chambord by bike from Beaugency past picturesque fields

As we cycled close to where we'd had lunch the previous day we agreed to stop and slap on some suntan lotion as we could start to feel it burning through the clouds. We've caught the sun on cloudy-but-warm cycles before and didn't want to get caught out again.  And this pretty setting for a bench made the perfect place for that. The hedgerows behind were covered in elderflower and their scent was starting to make itself known.

A bench with a view and scents of elderflower
The hedgerows were full of elderflower - a shame we couldn't pick any to make elderflower cordial!

On the move again we cycled steadily along to St Dyé and paused to admire the full river.  And it was hard to imagine this pretty, sleepy village as the former river port for Chambord, where all of the building materials arrived. It's hard to believe now isn't it?

On the banks of the Loire - and a full river at that
The quai at St Dye where all the building materials passed through
The village of St Dye is pretty and holds a history you wouldn't imagine

My plan was to wander around the village and take even more photos, a plan that had the approval of MOH too. But after heading past three Swiss cyclists and stopping for a beer, when we left the bar the photographs were forgotten as we didn't want to be overtaking them again. And so it wasn't long before we found ourselves at the entrance to the estate of Chambord and this rather charming lodge. 

The Lodge at the entrance to the Chambord estate

The stag between the first floor windows made me smile and I hoped was an indication of the grandeur that awaited us. And well, I wasn't wrong or disappointed.

our first view of the chateau de chambord

We cycled around the edge of the main grounds to get the shot above and cycled much closer for the shot below. The week before our visit the chateau had been shut as they fought to keep the rising waters away from it, so it was really good to see it open. In fact it was a relaxed type of place and one that didn't object to people cycling around the grounds, even close to the outer wall.

Getting a bit closer to Chambord and looking at the detail

After posing for some photos and then taking even more we found a bench with a view to eat our baguette and cheese of the day. Not a bad view was it? 

So today we had our first glimpse at a proper chateau, just from the outside. We would go in, but not today as we still had to get ourselves to Blois, 11 miles or so further on. The other reason for not going in today was I hadn't been organised enough to buy my chateau-multi-ticket - or the Pass Châteaux de la Loire (see below) - online and that was a job for tomorrow in Blois.

Need to know

Loire à Vélo cycling trail

This is a well signposted and ever growing route which links the towns of the Loire Valley. There are plenty of accredited hotels all of which are located within 5km of the path. There's also a special Loire à Vélo train which runs between the towns, although we were a couple of weeks too early for that, and there's much more information to help you plan your trip on the site.  Thoroughly recommend the site and the trail.

Chateau de Chambord

it's probably one of the most well-known chateaus in France and work started in 1519. Amazingly it wasn't built as a permanent residence.  It was included on the first historical monuments list in France in 1840; the forest and wall were listed in 1997. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

Pass Châteaux de la Loire

I'd love to say that I found this with my extensive pre-holiday research, and I did find it before we went but just not in enough time to buy online, so luckily the tickets were also available from the Tourist Office in Blois.  If you're visiting the Loire and have chateaux in your sights then take a look at the many options to buy a multi-ticket.