Walking the Loire Valley:
Discover some of the renowned chateaux of the Loire Valley on this tour between rivers, abbeys, and castles...
|Classic + Tour||1390€|
* Price based on double room occupancy - please contact us for details on single room supplements
|Hotel Bellevue in Amboise||www.hotel-bellevue-amboise.com|
|Hotel de Biencourt in Azay le Rideau||www.hotelbiencourt.fr|
|Hotel Diderot in Chinon||www.hoteldiderot.com|
|Hotel La Croix Blance in Fontevraud||www.hotel-croixblanche.com|
|Hotel Le Londres in Saumur||www.lelondres.com|
|CLASSIC + PACKAGE|
|Le Clos D'Amboise in Amboise||www.leclosdamboise.com|
|Le Grand Monarque in Azay le Rideau||www.legrandmonarque.com|
|Hotel Agnes sorel in Chinon||www.hotel-agnes-sorel.com|
|L'Hotel Fontevraud in Fontevraud||www.hotel-fontevraud.fr|
|Hotel Saint Pierre in Saumur||www.saintpierresaumur.com|
|Le Choiseul in Amboise||www.choiseul.com|
|Chateau de Rochecotte in Saint Patrice||www.chateau-de-rochecotte.fr|
|Chateau de Marcay in Marcay||www.chateaudemarcay.com|
|Chateau de Verrieres in Saumur||www.chateau-verrieres.com|
Upon your arrival at the Tours central or St Pierre de Corps train station we will transfer you to your first hotel in Amboise. You’ll have a trip orientation and receive your trip package from our Trip Manager, and then have some time to explore this marvelous town, including a visit to the Royal Chateau d’Amboise, and the Clos de Lucé, where Van Gogh lived out the final years of his life in service to the French King. Dinner tonight is included at one of our favourite restaurants.
After breakfast, we transfer you to near the town of Montrichard, on the banks of the Cher River. Wander the streets of Montrichard, or climb up to its 11th century Donjon with a great panoramic view over the town and river below, before starting your walk. You stay parallel to the river all day, through lovely villages such as Chissay and Chisseaux, en route to your destination of Chenonceau. The walk is not too long today, meaning if you wish, you have time to take a canoe ride, arriving at the Chateau paddling instead of pedaling. You’ll want to spend some time visiting the Renaissance castle, one of the most popular in France. It was completed in the 16th century, when it was given as a gift by King Henry II to his beloved mistress, Diane de Poitiers. Diane has the stunning arched corridor spanning the river constructed and oversees the planting of its extensive gardens. She was the unquestioned mistress of the castle, but after King Henry II died in 1559, his strong-willed and jealous widow and regent Catherine de Medici forced Diane to exchange it for the Château Chaumont, and triumphantly makes Chenonceau her own residence. After visiting the tranquil scene of such feminine battling, we will have you picked up and taken back to Amboise for a second evening.
We drop you in the village of Villandry to start your day today, where you will likely decide to stop for a visit before you start walking. The castle in Villandry can be visited, but it is the beautiful Renaissance gardens that are of worldwide renown. You can wander through the vegetable gardens, flower gardens, water garden, and symbolic garden, all beautifully presented in formal patterns, outlined with low box hedges. The route then continues southwards, through forest and pretty fields of wheat and flowers, and wonderful vineyards, descending eventually to yet another River, the Indre, and the town of Azay le Rideau. You will want to take some time to explore the town and visit the castle - not one of the largest chateaux of the Loire in size, the 16th century castle of Azay is one of the prettiest, with the mix of Italian Renaissance style that was so popular, and the charm of a French castle on the water, as it sits on the banks of the Indre River. (please note, the DELUXE itinerary stays this evening in St Patrice sur Loire; the route takes you to Langeais, where you will be able to visit the impressive fortified castle of Langeais instead of Azay).
Today is a slightly longer walk, starting on the banks of the Loire River, in the village of Rigny-Usse. A tiny hamlet, made famous by the nearby Chateau Ussé, the enchanting castle that inspired the Sleeping Beauty castle of Disney fame. The castle is an interesting one to visit, as it is mostly furnished in rich antiques and tapestries. After your stop, your route takes you up into the pretty countryside above the river, and eventually descends once more to yet another river: The Vienne. Your destination is medieval Chinon, a lovely and lively town spanning the banks of the river, but your approach brings you via the renowned vineyards that have made the town’s reputation amongst wine lovers of the world, for the delicious, crisp red wines, with their particular spiced-fruit flavours. Chinon is firmly anchored in the region’s history; it was here that Joan of Arc arrived to convince the Dauphin King of her destiny to win back lost territories from the English. Imagine her plea to the unbelieving court as you wander the ruins of the castle today. You can spend some time wandering town, including Rue Voltaire with its many medieval houses, its boutiques and cafés, and of course taste some of the local wines, before your dinner tonight.
We take you right to your final destination this morning, in the beautiful village of Fontevraud. From there, you have a loop walk, starting with a descent through vineyards to the banks of the Loire. Your route passes through the villages of Candes sur Loire, and Montsoreau, both listed in the official Prettiest Villages of France. You’ll definitely want to spend some time exploring the tiny cobblestoned streets, their churches and panoramas over the river, and restaurants, where you can find some lunch. Once fortified, you’ll be ready to attack the climb back away from the river, and heading back up onto the rich forested land around Fontevraud. You’ll want to arrive back in time to visit the Royal Abbey, a spectacular site, both beautiful, and entrenched in a thousand of years of history. Take a moment as you explore this UNESCO Heritage site to feel moved by the site of the burial tombs of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and her son, Richard the Lionhearted, both at rest at the abbey with the Plantagenet King. Explore the vast gardens and the abbey buildings, and then refresh yourself with a drink at one of the cafés in the village before deciding where to have dinner this evening.
Your final day’s walk has you following the banks of the Loire all the way in to medieval Saumur. We drop you off in the pretty village of Turquant, with its Tufa stone quarries and troglodyte homes. Meander close to the river, or up in the vineyards just above all day, passing through the remains of a whole troglodyte village in Souzay-Champigny, and a fun “pommes-tapées” (literally, smashed apples) producer along the way. You’ll arrive in Saumur with a view of its impressive chateau overlooking the river and town below. We provide a self-guided walking tour to help you explore its many and varied sites: the medieval squares in the heart of town, several beautiful churches, the chateau itself, a great tank museum, and also several sites dedicated to horses, as one of France’s great cavalry schools is based in Saumur. Your final dinner tonight is included at one of our favourite restaurants.
After a final breakfast, you can get connections out of Saumur train station for your further travels – Bon Voyage!