Tourist offices in France’s Loire Valley have recently introduced what claims to be the first GPS route guide for cyclists and it’s available for free loan at one of seven tourist offices in the region.
Each bar-mounted GPS, branded as ‘Cyclopedia’, holds a database of places of interest along the Loire à Vélo trail around the city of Angers; an area known as one of the lovliest and most châteaux-rich stretches of the whole River Loire. There is an English language version and to loan a unit, free of charge, you leave €250 returnable deposit at the tourist office.
Anjou’s tourist website promises GPS visual or audio commentry on the places you pass. The audio function features such things as birdsong you are likely to hear along the way, as well as a commentary from local experts on the history and nature of the Loire.
The whole of the Loire à Vélo trail will ultimately stretch for around 800km along the length of the river, from St Brevin-les-Pins on the Atlantic Coast to Cuffy in the wine growing area of Sancerre. Many sections are currently in place and signed. It will also form part of the mammoth 2,400km EuroVelo6 route, from the Atlantic to the Black Sea.
Cyclopedia is available at tourist offices in Saumur, Gennes, St-Mathurin-sur-Loire, Angers, Bouchemaine, Chalonnes-sur-Loire and Montjean-sur-Loire.