JOIN A SMALL GROUP
Maximum 8 participants
Visit chateau highlights, and taste great wines on this guided tour.
2017 per person price
* Price based on double room occupancy - please contact us for details on single room supplements
Any day but Saturday
Upon your arrival in Amboise, settle in to your hotel before explorations by foot of the charming town of Amboise, where you will be based for four nights. After you have worked up your appetite, enjoy your gourmet dinner, included this evening.
Mondays and Thursdays
You start today with a guided tour of the chateau of Azay le Rideau. This is one of the purest gems of Renaissance architecture in the Loire Valley. The Chateau, delicately placed on an island on the Indre river, still shines today thanks to the lightness and balance of its mullioned, pepper pots, dormers and above all its graceful staircase. Admire the Chateau under every angle with a stroll around the English style garden, a nest of greenness for one of the prettiest castles in the region. Afterwards, you have a tour, wine tasting (with the region’s Bourgueil or Chinon wines) and lunch at a family estate. After lunch, cross the Loire River on the truly elegant Langeais bridge, for a tour of the Chateau de Langeais. A visit of the interior not only gives a good idea of the day-to-day life in the Middle Ages, but also provides reminders of a key event in French history: the marriage of Charles VIII and Duchess Anne of Brittany, which eventually led to her still-independent duchy becoming part of France. Your final visit takes you to tour one of the most spectacular gardens of Touraine at the Chateau de Villandry. With its diversity and originality (Love Garden, Kitchen Garden, Aromatic and Medicine Plant Garden, Water Garden and the brand new Sun Garden) and by its size (15 acres, 1150 linden trees), Villandry is THE Loire Valley garden not to be missed. With your guide, learn to understand the symbolic language of a medieval and Renaissance garden, and discover the power of thyme and basil on your health.
Tuesdays and Fridays
You are heading eastwards along the Loire River today, heading to the majestic small city of Blois. Once there, you will tour the Royal castle, perched high in the city, and home over the ages to 7 kings and 10 queens of France. From there you continue to Cheverny. The “Cheverny” appellation produces elegant red wines as well as fruity white wines, including a stunning white for real connoisseurs: the “Cour Cheverny Appellation”; made from a grape called Romorantin, imported by King François I into the Loire Valley, this white wine is the only appellation in the world still using it. After a local lunch, you have a guided tour of the Chateau of Cheverny, which has been owned by the same family since the 13th century. The Marquis has succeeded in giving warmth to his chateau, which is one of the most richly furnished in the region. The chateau, which inspired the Moulinsart Manor house in the famous comic book Tintin, is also famous for its tradition of hunting and its impressive pack of 100 dogs. Your last visit is spectacular: we drive to the Estate of Chambord, a national game reserve as large as the town of Paris. The chateau de Chambord, with more than 400 rooms and its double spiral staircase, is a highlight of the Loire Valley, and was the first of the region's chateau to be listed as a UNESCO Heritage site.
Wednesdays and Saturdays
Today starts with a tour of the beautiful and elegant castle of Chenonceau. Renaissance Chenenceau, one of the most popular chateaux, was completed in the 16th century, when it was given as a gift by King Henry II to his beloved lover, Diane de Poitiers. Diane 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 out, and triumphantly made Chenonceau her own residence. After visiting this scene of feminine battling you continue for a special winery tour, visiting extraordinary tufa stone cellars, and tasting a variety of wines, accompanied by plates of award-winning cheeses and sliced meats, and crusty baguette for lunch. From there visit the Royal Castle of Amboise, a Renaissance Chateau built in the 15th and 16th centuries. Steeped in history, it was the residence of Charles VII and the future King Francois I. During the visit, you'll of course see the chapel, with the recently restored tomb of Leonardo Da Vinci. From there we take you to the Clos Luce, the Manor house where he spent the last three years of his life in the service of the French king. You will marvel at the displays in his inventions' room, with models of Leonardo's most spectacular machines.
Your Loire Valley Guided Tour has come to an end; after a final breakfast, you can get train connections out of Amboise for your further travels. Bon Voyage!