Get away to . . . France

There are still good deals to be had in France this summer. Belle France has reduced the price of its one-week cycling holidays in the Loire for departures on July 30 or August 27.

Choose a recommended route between your nightly stopovers following flat lanes among the Sauvignon vineyards. Perhaps you'll even have time for a tasting or two en route - and while you're about it, why not add some of the local goat's cheese and make a lunch of it?

You can explore the riverbanks of the Loire and the Cher, home to ducks and houseboats, and visit some of the fairytale chateaux of the region as you go, including the the glamorous Chateau de Chenonceau, or Chateau d'Amboise, which is still owned by the remnants of the French royal family.

Amboise itself is the town where Leonardo da Vinci passed his final years. His residence now houses a museum of some of the artist's magnificent works. There is an engaging Max Ernst fountain in the main marketplace, depicting a teddy bear on top of a turtle. And the recently knighted Mick Jagger has a mini-chateau all of his own somewhere nearby.

Price, including six nights' half-board accommodation in two-star hotels, bicycle hire and transport of your luggage between hotels, is pound;489 per person self-drive, or pound;598 for those travelling by rail.

For more details, tel: 01797 223 777 or visit

Renata Rubnikowicz

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