If you go
THE BEST WAY TO PARIS
From LAX, Air France and Air Tahiti Nui offer nonstop service to Paris, and Delta, United, Lufthansa, Air Canada, KLM, British and Swiss offer connecting service (change of planes). Restricted round-trip fares from $1,252 to $1,764, including taxes and fees. From Paris, it's a one-hour train ride to Orléans on the TGV.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 33 (country code for France) and the local number.
WHERE TO STAY
Hôtel de l'Abeille, 64 Rue Alsace-Lorraine, Orléans; 2-38-53-54-87 www.hoteldelabeille.com/Rub_383/English. Lovely hotel close to the Orléans train station and only a few blocks from Place du Martroi, the town's main square. Doubles from $132.
Château de Verrières, 53 Rue d'Alsace, Saumur; 2-41-38-05-15, chateau-verrieres.com. A night in the Small Green Room, the estate's coziest, goes for $229. The Art Nouveau mansion turned boutique hotel is impeccably maintained by the owners, an elegant couple and their regal dog, Uno.
WHERE TO EAT
Beware — most kitchens in France close between 2 and 7 p.m.
Le Cheval Rouge, 9 Rue Principale, Villandry; 2-47-50-02-07, lecheval-rouge.com. Knows how to treat hungry cyclists; a three-course meal runs about $43.
Les Années 30, 78 Rue Voltaire, Chinon; 2-47-93-37-18, lesannees30.com. Run by a husband- and-wife team, the authentic French restaurant boasts fresh food, a wood-burning fireplace and a Michelin star. Lunch runs about $27.
TO LEARN MORE