Upon your arrival at the Tours central or St Pierre de Corps train station we will transfer you to your first hotel in Chenonceaux, a lovely small village and home of one of the most elegant chateaux in the region. Your trip package will be waiting for you at the hotel, and our Trip Manager will give you a call, to go over the tour and answer any questions you may have. Dinner tonight is included.
After breakfast, we transfer you to Montrichard, on the banks of the Cher River, where you can climb up to its 11th century Donjon with a great panoramic view over the town and river below. You stay parallel to the river, through lovely villages such as Chissay and Chisseaux, en route back to Chenonceau. You’ll want to spend some time visiting this Renaissance “ladies” 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.
We drop you off in a village with a unique heritage: tiny Vilaines-les-Rochers is home to the region’s basketry centre, with a community of artist’s continuing the traditional workmanship, as well as pushing it further with modern inspiration. After explorations there, continue on in the rich Touraine countryside, crossing the Indre River to the tiny hamlet of Goupilleres, where you can visit the extensive troglodyte site there, with its three farms dug into the tufa stone including wells, baker’s ovens, cattle sheds, and grain silo. In order to protect themselves from brigands and the ravages of war, the peasants of a hundred years ago dug an ingenious underground refuge in this exceptional setting. From there your walk brings you in to the town of Azay le Rideau. You will want to take some time to 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 delightful combination of Italian Renaissance style, and the charm of a French castle on the water, as it sits on the banks of the Indre River.
We transfer you after breakfast to the beautiful village of 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 before heading out on your day’s walk, starting with a descent through vineyards to the banks of the Loire. Your route passes through the village of Candes sur Loire, and brings you at the end to neighbouring Montsoreau; the pair, sitting atop the confluence of the Vienne and Dordogne Rivers, are 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. (note the Deluxe itinerary stays in Candes St Martin, and sees Montsoreau on tomorrow’s walk)
Your final day’s walk has you following the banks of the Loire all day, as you return to your hotel for a second evening. We drop you off in the pretty village of Dampierre to start, and from there you meander just a little above the river, passing an incredible variety of interesting site. Amongst other things, zig-zag through the heart of the vestiges of a whole troglodyte village in Souzay-Champigny, walk with great river views past a producer who has revived a traditional local specialty, “pommes-tapées” (literally, smashed apples), and continue through Turquant, with its pretty church, Tufa stone quarries and troglodyte homes. The end of the walk brings you back to your hotel in Montsoreau for your final evening.
After a final breakfast, we transfer you to the Saumur train station for your further travels – Bon Voyage!
- 5 nights’ accommodation of the comfort level of your choice * CLASSIC, CLASSIC + or DELUXE
- All breakfasts and 2 dinners (drinks not included with the dinners)
- Orientation with our Trip Manager at the start of the trip
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
- Transfer to first hotel from Tours or St Pierre des Corps train station
- Transfer to Saumur train station at the end of the tour
- Taxi transfers to the start of the walks
- Detailed maps and step-by-step route instructions
- Uploadable GPS file of the route to use on a free APP in your smartphone **
- Regional information and advice
- Phone call support 7 days a week
* Price based on double room occupancy – please contact us for details on single room supplements
** Can be used without international internet plan (offline)