A cycling stage along quiet roads sticking close to the Loire, running through a rural setting. Follow the signposting for the Véloire, the way is along minor roads with little traffic. Take care between Balbigny and Pinay, where you may occasionally encounter farm vehicles and lorries (serving a quarry). Both experienced cyclists and those on electric bikes will appreciate this stage, with a shift in altitude of 687m on the 40km between Saint-Jodard and Villerest. There are quite a few slopes to tackle, but wonderful views too, with fairy-tale castles and remarkable villages to take in.
SNCF train stations
Stations at Balbigny and Roanne
- Pinay: with its dam built to regulate the flow of the Loire.
- Château de la Roche: with its escape game.
- Bully: with its river port
- Saint-Jean-Saint-Maurice s/Loire: a medieval village designated a Village de Caractère en Loire, with a corner for local craftspeople.
- Roanne: boating river port on the Loire; Musée des Beaux Arts et Archéologie Joseph Déchelette (for fine arts and archaeology); church of Saint Anne. François Pralus chocolate shop, run by a master chocolatier; Praluline, producing tasty brioches containing caramelized nut pralines.