Lyon to Orléans by bike - a serious backroads tour of Loire headwaters

Orléans, France

Aug 22 - 31, 2020
Group size: 1 - 15
Lyon to Orléans by bike - a serious backroads tour of Loire headwaters
Orléans, France

Aug 22 - 31, 2020
Group size: 1 - 15

About this trip

Ride through the centre of France on this eight-stage tour through some of the country's least-visited regions.  Starting from the valley of the Gier, a tributary of the Rhône, you'll spend most of this tour flirting with the headwaters of the Loire.  Small rivers and canals are your constant companions as you ride, while forests, agriculture, and villages define the landscape.

At a glance

Lyon - Orléans

Saturday 22 August - Monday 31 August

10 days

9 nights

8 riding days

7 départements: Rhône (69), Loire (42), Saône-et-Loire (71), Alier (03), Nièvre (58), Cher (18), Loiret (45)

3 département capitals: Saint-Étienne (42), Moulins (03), Nevers (58)

2 région capitals: Lyon (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), Orléans (Centre-Val-de-Loire)

557 km total riding

70 km average daily ride

Moderate relief with some significant ups and downs over the first 2 riding days. mostly flat for the latter 6 riding days

Mostly paved, with some canalside sections on hard-packed trails on the latter half of the tour.

Mostly on small local roads with minimal vehicle traffic for the first few days of the tour, including several stretches on busier roads. Mostly on dedicated cycle routes for the latter part of the tour

Your tour leader

This tour is supported by experienced tour leader Ryan Matthews, who has ensured the logistics for a wide variety of group tours in over a dozen countries.  He will transport your luggage directly between your lodgings each day, while also being available on the road to give rides to up to two cyclists and their bikes at once if needed.  He's neither a cycle coach nor mechanic, but rather a logistician.  He's also a cyclist like you and knows the entire route, so he'll be able to describe what to expect each riding day.

Le Grand Tour Cycliste

This Lyon-Orléans tour is one of six sections of our Grand Tour Cycliste.  In August 2020, we're offering four sections of this Grand Tour, of which this is the fourth.  For cyclists who would like to enjoy longer cycling holidays, it's possible to join multiple back-to-back sections, while also enjoying multi-tour discounts.  The luckiest participants can cycle 1700km over 25 stages!

Please get in touch if you would like to combine multiple tours.

What’s included

  • Hotels x9 (comfort)
    Good locations, double occupancy, private bath, nights 1-9
  • Hotels x4 (budget)
    Same hotels as comfort participants in Lyon, Saint-Étienne, Roanne, and Orléans, nights 1, 2, 3, 9
  • Hostel bed x1 (budget)
    One night in a shared dorm in Moulins, night 5
  • Campsites x4
    Four nights in your own tent in Digoin, Nevers, Saint-Satur, and Sully-sur-Loire, nights 4, 6, 7, 8
  • Breakfasts x10
    Breakfast is included at the hotel every morning, days 2-10 (x5 for budget participants, days 2, 3, 4, 6, 10)
  • Dinners x2
    Welcome dinner and farewell dinner, days 1, 9
  • Briefing
    Trip briefing with your tour leader on the first evening
  • Luggage transport
    All daily baggage transfers between lodging between Lyon and Orléans
  • In-person support
    Your tour leader is available for any reason for all participants
  • Maps
    Paper maps of each of the towns where we overnight
  • GPS itineraries
    Each day's route in .gpx format
  • Bike
    The best bike to use is your own, easily transported to and from the tour by train
  • Bicycle accessories
    Helmet, lock, water bottles...
  • GPS computer
    You can also use your smartphone affixed to your handlebars. Some sort of GPS computer is required for this tour to follow the .gpx tracks
  • Transport
    Transport to and from the starting and ending points of the tour
  • Breakfasts x4 (budget)
    Breakfasts are not included the mornings at the campgrounds
  • Lunches
    You're free to stop wherever you like for your lunch break along each day's route
  • Dinners x7
    You choose your restaurant each evening in the overnight towns along the way, nights 2-8
  • Laundry services
    Please plan your wardrobe accordingly
  • Insurance
    Please ensure that you are covered for cycling
  • Gratuities
    In case you are particularly pleased with the support of your tour leader
  • Other
    Anything else not specifically listed above as being included

Available Packages

Comfort option
Available until August 18, 202015 left
Deposit: €300
Budget option
Available until August 18, 2020
Deposit: €200

Available options

Single room supplement


Lyon day
Welcome to Lyon

Feel free to check in anytime as of 15:00.  The tour begins as we gather for the first time to get ready for the road ahead, with a group rendez-vous at the hotel at 18:00.  We'll go over the eight stages, we'll meet each other, and then we'll all head out together for a group dinner (included) so we can all get to know each other before our coming adventure.

Lyon is one of France's best-known cities, so try to spend some time before our meeting to explore its sites.  The city centre is a great area for just roaming around, while the basilica on the hill is rather astounding for its opulence.  But rest up, because tomorrow we ride 64km to Saint-Étienne, starting off with the biggest elevation gain of the tour (around 1200m)!

Your Organizer

Perma Social Club
Perma Social Club est votre agence de voyages locale et écoresponsable, centrée sur l'écotourisme et la permaculture. Nous proposons des expériences et séjours éthiques et locaux, mais surtout des séjours engagés ! Sa mission est de contribuer à son économie locale et de valoriser les acteurs du tourisme et les producteurs appliquant la permaculture : - Prendre soin de la nature - Prendre soin de l'humain - et Partager équitablement Nos partenaires sont à notre image, ils partagent des valeurs humaines proches de l'environnement.