Châteaux of the Loire Valley
Jewels of the Loire Valley
Considered to have once been the favourite region of French Kings, the Loire Valley boasts a rich and regal history. The area is full of treasures that are waiting to be discovered as it is brimming with vineyards, historic towns and architecture. The majestic châteaux that are dotted throughout are one of the main draws of the area. Each of the many châteaux has its own unique character, but all of them are equally wonderful. From geometric gardens to reflective lakes that are the stuff of fairytales, there is something to suit everyone’s taste. This stunning region features on the UNESCO World Heritage list and is one of the world’s most prolific wine producing areas.
Some of France’s finest Châteaux
Boasting more than 20 châteaux, you don’t have to travel far through this province before you find one. Based in Tours, at the eastern end of the valley, this tour allows you to visit the very best of them. Comic fans will recognise Captain Haddock’s home, the beautiful Château de Cheverny. While the Château de Chambord is the largest of all the castles, it was only really used as a hunting lodge! Because of this, the beautiful castle remains largely empty. You can also enjoy the glorious gardens that surround the castles. Lose yourself in the spectacular Renaissance gardens at the Château de Villandry. Furthermore, in the nearby Caves des Producteurs de Vouvray allows you to sample one of the region’s specialities – wine. The city of Tours itself is picturesque, full of historical sites. Because of its ideal location, the town of Tours is your gateway to explore the stunning Loire Valley.
5th and 31st July 2020
Travel to the Loire Valley
Depart from your local area in the UK and travel towards Dover for the ferry crossing to Calais. Arriving in Calais, continue through France, stopping in Rouen or similar for an overnight stop. The following morning, continue to your hotel in the city of Tours, your base for the next four nights.
Tours, Château de Chenonceau and Wine Tasting
This morning, there’s free time to explore the cobbled streets and elegant fountains of historic Tours. In the afternoon, we visit the Château de Chenonceau, arguably one of the most impressive and memorable of all the châteaux in the Loire Valley. We then enjoy a wine tasting at the Cave des Producteurs de Vouvray.
Azay-Le-Rideau and Villandry
Enjoy a visit to the highly recommended Château d’Azay-Le-Rideau. Surrounded by and reflected in the river waters, it is perhaps the most romantic and attractive château of them all. Considered an excellent example of French Renaissance architecture, the château is one of the most popular in the Loire Valley.
Continue to the Château de Villandry, with its magnificent Renaissance gardens including a water garden, ornamental flower gardens and vegetable gardens. They are all laid out in geometric patterns created with low box hedges and are truly a sight to behold.
Chambord and Cheverny
Visit the Château de Chambord. Although the largest of all the Loire Châteaux, it was in fact only used as a hunting lodge. The amazing architecture is reminiscent of a fairy-tale castle and it is one of the most recognisable château in the world. Don’t miss the spectacular staircase, the centre-point of the castle. Fine furnishings and tapestries were brought into the château temporarily to impress visiting dignitaries; otherwise it remained virtually empty, as it is today.
Continue to the Château de Cheverny, a lovely place and familiar to fans of the Tintin cartoons as ‘Moulinsart’, the imaginary home of Captain Haddock. The château has belonged to the same family for six centuries and was built in the early 1600s. The interior reflects the history and tastes of the family and the grounds offer an orangery, used as a safe haven for famous works of art during WW2. Listen out for the hunting hounds kept on the grounds!
It’s time to leave the Loire and return to the UK. Retrace your steps through France, stopping overnight en route back to Calais, where you will take a return ferry back to Dover before continuing home to your local area.
Ibis Tours City Centre ***
Located a 15-minute walk from the centre of Tours, ibis Tours Centre Gare offers free Wi-Fi access and an on-site restaurant. The rooms feature a desk, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom with a shower. A buffet breakfast composed of sweet and savoury dishes is served every day. Coach parking is available at the station.
Novotel Tours City Centre ****
This hotel is ideally situated in the town centre of Tours. Recently renovated, rooms are en-suite with minibar, safe, TV, telephone, radio, WiFi and air-conditioning. There is a bar and Novotel Cafe onsite. The TGV railway station and Le Vinci International Congress centre are both within walking distance. Coach parking is at the hotel or the station – about 2 minutes away.
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|7 days by Land and Sea, departing||Hotel||Half Twin||Single Supplement|
|5th July 2020||Ibis Tours Centre Gare||From £385.00 per person||From £139.00 per person|
|31st July 2020||Novotel Tours Centre Gare||From £455.00 per person||From £197.00 per person|