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Difference between Loire à Vélo and EuroVelo 6

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Difference between Loire à Vélo and EuroVelo 6

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Old 01-18-19, 05:07 PM
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Difference between Loire à Vélo and EuroVelo 6

My wife and I are planning to pedal along the Loire River this summer. I have been thinking that Loire à Vélo and the Loire section of EuroVelo 6 are the same route, but wanted to check with this group to ensure that my assumption is correct. If I'm wrong, where do the routes difffer?

Thanks.
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Old 01-18-19, 06:03 PM
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From the Atlantic to Nevers they are the same. At Nevers (Cuffy) the 800km long Loire a Velo ends and the EV6 continues east.

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Old 01-18-19, 06:18 PM
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Enjoy! That river is so beautiful.
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Old 01-19-19, 12:39 AM
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Thanks for clarifying this for us.
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Old 01-19-19, 12:10 PM
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where are you thinking of starting/ending? I've ridden this route and it seems to me that we saw eurovelo 6 symbols on the signs even when the Loire a Velo symbols were up also.
Here is an example of how the signs look like, sometimes they were smaller and only the route symbols.

The Loire section is the most popular and from memory, was the easiest to keep track of following "the route" even without a map, just be using common sense. If you can purchase a book or whatever with detailed sectioned maps, it will make things a bit easier if you get off route and if you are comfortable using a cell phones gps with offline mapping things , such as maps.me, you can easily see where you are compared to a paper map. As you can tell, I didnt use a dedicated gps thing with the route on it giving turn by turn directions, but this must be an option also.
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Old 01-19-19, 06:16 PM
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The plan is to fly into Paris, take the TGV to St Nazaire and then cross the Loire by bus before starting to pedal in St Brevins les Pins.
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Old 01-19-19, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by schoolboy2 View Post
The plan is to fly into Paris, take the TGV to St Nazaire and then cross the Loire by bus before starting to pedal in St Brevins les Pins.
A couple of things. You should reserve your bike space on the TGV ahead of time. There are a limited number of bikes allowed on those TGVs which do take bikes.

Also, bikes are allowed on the bridge. In fact, I biked across it quite a few years ago. That said, lots of folks would rather not ride across it. There's a free shuttle for bikes from June 18 thru Sept. 9 (in 2019), which might be the bus you were referring to. In any event, here's a link (in French):

https://www.loire-atlantique.fr/jcms...gory=p2_871220
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Old 01-19-19, 08:56 PM
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good info ax, nice to share it.

schoolkid, let me know if you need a recommendation of a reasonably priced , but perfectly fine hotel in Nantes. We stayed there on our first day of riding and explored the city for a day before continuing on. Neat city and I highly recommend seeing the mechanical elephant and the site of the mechanical stuff, easy to see with a search.

you didnt mention, but campgrounds are common and a great option to use, but you havent said if you are campers or how you plan to do this trip accomodation wise.

its a fun route. We crossed France following the 6 to Basel, Switzerland, and overall for the vast majority, its a really nice route with mostly paths and very quiet small roads, so nice to be able to chat.
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Old 01-20-19, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
A couple of things. You should reserve your bike space on the TGV ahead of time. There are a limited number of bikes allowed on those TGVs which do take bikes.
in my experience, if your bike is packed in a soft bag, no need to book space for your bike (s) - aim for 1.2m x .9m if you wish to abide by regulations. But you are unlikely to be bothered by staff even if your bag is larger. I usually keep mine close to the door opposite to the platform, moving it as required.

My modus operandi is to roll the bike on the platform up to the location where I'll have to board, remove the front wheel, drop the bike in a bag (flight bag or rinko) and (eventually) board.
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Old 01-20-19, 02:12 PM
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We got our info for the Loire from MayQ's site
He has instructions for making a bag to hold your bike on the TGV (a housse)
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Old 01-20-19, 04:01 PM
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My friends & I all were touring on folders (Bike Friday). While Bike Fridays are designed to pack securely into a suitcase, they're not really a quick-fold. We would have gladly paid 10€ each to check them, but the limited bike slots were all already reserved when we bought our tickets. We brought large plastic trash bags to use if we were unable to check them. We removed the pedals, folded them, and put 'em in the trash bags. They're still unwieldy, however. It's a bit unnerving boarding the train because lots of folks were bringing large suitcases into our car and the baggage area is usually insufficient on crowded trains. 2 of us quickly got our bikes on board while the 3rd dealt with our panniers which could go in the overhead racks which weren't full. On a previous trip, we were connecting from a TER train (a slower, regional French train) where we could hang our bikes ourselves (for free) on hooks, to a TGV. The baggage people told me there was insufficient time to check them on the TGV during our connection, so we used the trash bag option that time, too. I got the idea of using large trash bags for a French cyclist. BTW, on that TER train, more cyclists boarded at a subsequent stop after we had boarded and there were no remaining hooks. The cyclists jammed them into the area between the railcars and the ticket inspectors didn't complain.

Here's some more French train experience which might prove useful to someone in the future. A friend & I were trying to take a train back to Paris on a day when SNCF (French railroad) workers had announced a strike (somewhat amusingly called a mouvement social). Alas, strikes are not rare in France. I've also dealt with railstrikes in Italy. There was going to be only one train going to Paris from the town instead of perhaps 10 daily. The ticket office had reduced hours and they weren't permitted to sell us tickets for travel that day, but they gave us a document which would prove to the on board ticket inspector that we had attempted to purchase tickets before boarding. That way, we wouldn't have to pay the penalty for buying the ticket on the train. Strangely, that lone train we were able to take wasn't crowded (I had feared a cattle car), and no ticket taker/seller ever appeared so we rode for free that day.
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Old 01-21-19, 01:29 PM
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Can't say to the Atlantic coast, but we started in Never after taking the regional train from Paris last summer, and it was roll-on roll-off for the bikes. The train cars had the hooks that stood the bikes upright. We stopped in Nantes, due to the logistics of crossing the bridge and in general spending another day and a half to get to the ocean and back to continue on with the next part of our trip. Do know if you take the buses across with a bike, reservations are required. There is also an on-demand taxi service, although I cannot recall the name right now.

We used this book: https://www.amazon.com/complete-Loir.../dp/2737350018. Not the cheapest/easiest to find, but it had really good information and had the route broken down into suggested manageable chunks. We generally did 2-3 sections a day.

It is a nice route. Nothing too difficult, very touristy, easy riding in general. Lots of vineyards if that is your thing. Do know if you aren't used to French culture, and are not packing lunches, in the little villages lunch will only be available from 11-1 or so, and along that route there can be a decent gap form one village to another with a restaurant. Camping is very prevalent along the route, as are B&Bs/guesthouses/hotels/hostels that we stayed in. Most are very accommodating to cyclists, if they've got a Loire a Velo sticker or recommendation they generally have secure parking for bikes.

As to your actual question, EV6 and Loire a Velo are generally one in the same. That said, the LaV is regionally run, while EV6 is EU run, so in some areas they diverge for a few kilometers, especially where the region has an interest in running you through a town or tourist spot. I didn't find either route to particularly be better or worse, and generally followed the LaV signage, which is excellent. There are many areas on which you can ride either side of the banks that isn't explicitly called out, getting some sort of map is advised despite the good signange.
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Old 01-21-19, 01:53 PM
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Some photos of the route. As you can see in one of them, the other place the map helps is staying on roads versus the "route" itself, they go out of their way to get you off roads in some populated areas, often onto a singletrack that parallels the road...






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Old 01-21-19, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Some photos of the route. As you can see in one of them, the other place the map helps is staying on roads versus the "route" itself, they go out of their way to get you off roads in some populated areas, often onto a singletrack that parallels the road...
re "staying on the route itself" vs a nearby road. I'd have to say that it generally didnt bother me that it did a little meandering. I'm usually more of a rider who will just take a bit of a road to avoid goofy detours , and a few times I would have taken the road, but my wife very much preferred to keep to the route, and thats ok--the main plus of this is the quiet aspect of the whole eurovelo thing, and being able to chat and not worry about cars, if worrying about cars or not paying attention to cars is your concern.

I would add though, that having to keep an eye out for the signs , especially during some of the more meandering detours, is more time consuming and attention consuming than simply following lets say, " D124 until you get to JoeBlowsville, then go left on D149 until Pierresville".
My wife regularly rode right past signs indicating turns without seeing them, but I know that about her, but it did mean that I had to be more attentive than usual.
And to be fair, I made a few boo-boos and took us the wrong way, but all in all it worked out well.

good group of photos--it gives a good impression of the overall feel of the whole thing.
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Old 01-21-19, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Can't say to the Atlantic coast, but we started in Never after taking the regional train from Paris last summer, and it was roll-on roll-off for the bikes. The train cars had the hooks that stood the bikes upright. We stopped in Nantes, due to the logistics of crossing the bridge and in general spending another day and a half to get to the ocean and back to continue on with the next part of our trip. Do know if you take the buses across with a bike, reservations are required. There is also an on-demand taxi service, although I cannot recall the name right now.
The train the OP is talking about to St. Nazaire is a TGV. Your train to Nevers wasn't a TGV. If a TGV accommodates bikes, you must make a paid reservation. Many TGVs do not take full-size regular bikes at all. Many TER regional trains in France have free roll-on roll-off service. Intercités trains sometimes do, sometimes don't. And sometimes it's free, and sometimes you have to pay. (Actually, I'm not sure how loading a bike works on an Intercités train which requires a payment. They used to always be free.) The SNCF has been changing the bike rules a lot in recent years, and it's gotten harder to take a bike on their trains, and payments are now sometimes required on trains which used to have free bike service.

The French regional page whose link I posted earlier in this thread explains that the bike & passenger shuttle (navette in French) across Loire bridge at St. Nazaire will resume on June 18, 2019 and continue until Sept 9. Other language states the shuttle existed in 2017 but says nothing about 2018, so I presume the service didn't exist last year. The page also says the shuttle is free, you don't make reservations, and it can accommodate up to 8 passengers and their bikes but not tandems. There will be 9 crossings in each direction each day.* As I previously wrote, my friends & I biked across the bridge.* I don't recall any great fear on that crossing, but it was many years ago.* I do recall some other bridges I've biked across that I really hated.

Another thing: I've found that it is not normal for restaurants in France to open for lunch before 12 noon, but it is normal for service to go beyond 1pm, certainly for people who are already eating.* Other than bakeries, small-town food shops are sadly disappearing in France and have been replaced by large supermarkets on the outskirts of towns that people typically drive to. Small food shops which still exist typically close at 12:30pm for a siesta. We usually did picnic lunches and always made sure we stopped at a boulangerie prior to 12:30pm so we would have fresh bread.
*
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Old 01-21-19, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
re "staying on the route itself" vs a nearby road. I'd have to say that it generally didnt bother me that it did a little meandering. I'm usually more of a rider who will just take a bit of a road to avoid goofy detours , and a few times I would have taken the road, but my wife very much preferred to keep to the route, and thats ok--the main plus of this is the quiet aspect of the whole eurovelo thing, and being able to chat and not worry about cars, if worrying about cars or
not paying attention to cars is your concern.
Maybe I could have worded that a a bit better. I didn't mind actual detours, but for example that singletrack we followed for about three miles before I said screw it and got back on the road that was right on top of the dike thirty feet to the right. There were a few other places where it was a rutty dirt walking path next to an empty beautiful slab of asphalt.

Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
Another thing: I've found that it is not normal for restaurants in France to open for lunch before 12 noon, but it is normal for service to go beyond 1pm, certainly for people who are already eating.* Other than bakeries, small-town food shops are sadly disappearing in France and have been replaced by large supermarkets on the outskirts of towns that people typically drive to. Small food shops which still exist typically close at 12:30pm for a siesta. We usually did picnic lunches and always made sure we stopped at a boulangerie prior to 12:30pm so we would have fresh bread.
*
Ah sorry, didn't realize they were different trains, I could have sworn they had the same system when I originally was looking at leaving from the Atlantic.

We ate at quite a few places before noon, but it could have just been their hours. We basically got to the point where first thing we saw open after 11 we stopped at, unless we knew for certain there was something up ahead. You are correct if you were seated before close, service was expected to continue, it wasn't like here where they frown on you walking in 5 min before the doors are locked. Just trying to convey that if eating out, it is vastly different from here, so others don't go hungry their first day too
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Old 01-21-19, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Maybe I could have worded that a a bit better. I didn't mind actual detours, but for example that singletrack we followed for about three miles before I said screw it and got back on the road that was right on top of the dike thirty feet to the right. There were a few other places where it was a rutty dirt walking path next to an empty beautiful slab of asphalt.
we had the same experience a few times, of going to the road that was right nearby and all was fine traffic wise, but other times my wife was happier staying on "the route" so thats what we did.
All in all, the vast majority of it is well thought out, and it is designed for any and all kinds of riders--a lot of folks we saw were retired and there seemed to be all levels of riders, so its good that its set up to make things as least trafficy as possible, and Im sure is part and parcel of attracting all levels of riders so that they have an enjoyable and safe time (which is great from a tourism point of view for the area).
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Old 01-22-19, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
All in all, the vast majority of it is well thought out, and it is designed for any and all kinds of riders--a lot of folks we saw were retired and there seemed to be all levels of riders
Agree 100%. People like to think the Netherlands is a cyclists paradise, but I found the Loire a Velo to be considerably better than the LF2 in most regards.
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Old 02-13-19, 06:48 PM
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We're doing a short tour along the Loire a velo in September. Just 2 days with one overnight. Decided against the package deal from the bike shop, because other than luggage transfers and maps, we don't seem to be getting much for the extra cost. We'll rent bikes and panniers from them. If we can't carry what we need for a single night (staying in a hotel) in panniers, then we are completely hopeless for longer tours.

I'm a little nervous that I can't find a detailed map of the route. We're starting in Tours, spending a night in Azay-le-Rideau and ending in Chinon. Dropping the bikes off in Chinon. What I can't seem to find is a downloadable map of the actual route. I ran it through Google Maps, but I'm not entirely sure it's putting me on the bike path. Probably pretty close to it though. I'm sure we can get a printed map at the tourist office before we set out. I took a look at street view. Other than getting out of Tours itself, it seems pretty quiet. Just pedal fast through the city section to get to the countryside we wanted to see.
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Old 02-13-19, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
We're doing a short tour along the Loire a velo in September. Just 2 days with one overnight. Decided against the package deal from the bike shop, because other than luggage transfers and maps, we don't seem to be getting much for the extra cost. We'll rent bikes and panniers from them. If we can't carry what we need for a single night (staying in a hotel) in panniers, then we are completely hopeless for longer tours.

I'm a little nervous that I can't find a detailed map of the route. We're starting in Tours, spending a night in Azay-le-Rideau and ending in Chinon. Dropping the bikes off in Chinon. What I can't seem to find is a downloadable map of the actual route. I ran it through Google Maps, but I'm not entirely sure it's putting me on the bike path. Probably pretty close to it though. I'm sure we can get a printed map at the tourist office before we set out. I took a look at street view. Other than getting out of Tours itself, it seems pretty quiet. Just pedal fast through the city section to get to the countryside we wanted to see.
go to the eurovelo 6 website, and on those pages are detailed maps of the "stages" so to speak.
I used them as a reference, along with an offline mapping app called maps.me, that would show me where I was if I wasnt sure.
I am sure you can print these pages from the website up, especially as you are only looking at a few days of riding.

have you ever looked at the website itself?
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Old 02-13-19, 08:01 PM
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this is an example of the pages, with detailed maps that can be zoomed in , and I presume, printed.

https://en.eurovelo6-france.com/troncons/tours-saumur

In general though, the route is well marked, but having an idea of where you are going, and specifically, a printed page with it on , is sufficient to follow, depending on your navigation skills.
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Old 02-13-19, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
this is an example of the pages, with detailed maps that can be zoomed in , and I presume, printed.

https://en.eurovelo6-france.com/troncons/tours-saumur

In general though, the route is well marked, but having an idea of where you are going, and specifically, a printed page with it on , is sufficient to follow, depending on your navigation skills.
Thanks. I have looked at the website and zoomed in on the map. It was good enough to tell that Google maps was actually sending me on the bike route. And from zooming in on street view, I could actually see the signs that mark the route. I'm not too worried. We're not going until early September anyway.
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Old 02-14-19, 10:50 AM
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and given that you are riding only two days, it should be straightforward to be able to plan out and print the route on diff pieces of paper, so you have a physical backup if you miss signs or whatever.
Without looking at your route specifically, the eurovelo route generally follows the river, and having the route on hand and looked at beforehand, and being simply observant , it really should not be an issue, just as if you were going somewehre by car and have to follow a map.
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Old 02-15-19, 12:19 AM
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Nevers is in many ways the forgotten town in Burgundy. That said, if you take that route and like wine, spend time at Pouilly-sur-Loire and Sancerre. Sancerre is a pretty hilltop town and well worth a stop/detour, plus the white wine can be exceptional. It is a whie wine region, by the way, and Pouilly claims still to have the oldest white wine grape - sold under the town’s name. The other wine is the more familiar Pouilly Fumé, which has sauvignon blanc as the ony grape.

Aside from wine, there’s also the photogenic town of La-Charité-sur-Loire, which is well worth a visit, if only for the book fair. No wine, but the town has a long history and has managed to maintain its historic buildings well. It is also one of the key stops on the Compstelle, the ancient pilgrim route still well frequented in summer.
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