Loire Valley, France

Cycling and Absinthe

Bike through the Loire Valley     Photo: Photodisc/Getty

THE DRAW Synonymous with châteaux and wine, the Loire Valley is prime bike country, too: La Loire à Vélo, a new 200-mile network of paths, crosses the valley along its eponymous river. Rent a bike in Saumur (from $22; locationdevelos.com).

THE DRINK Long decried as an agent of madness, true absinthe is nothing of the sort. In Saumur's Combier Distillery (combier.fr), absinthe artisan T. A. Breaux has resurrected the anise-flavored spirit: Lucid Absinthe Supérieure ($60; drinklucid.com), which takes its name from the clear-headed nature of its buzz, is available in America; when in France, look for Breaux's Jade absinthes.

THE RECOVERY After touring the distillery, stay at Le Prieuré, a former Benedictine priory (doubles, $200; prie­ure.com).

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