5D/4N - 2020 Romantic Castles & Exquisite Wines of The Loire Valley

    Romantic Castles and Exquisite Wines of the Loire Valley        small group tour, exclusively in English

    5days/4nights,  Amboise/Amsoise

    Optional: choose to stay in Tours or Amboise
    2020 Depart daily:  year round

    Cost from 3* : $1955 per person in twin share (single supplement on request)
    Cost from 4* : $2265 per person in twin share (single supplement on request)

    The Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Offers Everything from Castles, Historical Towns to Stunning Landscapes.  See Marvellous Castles such as Châteaux d’Amboise and Chambord & Chenonceau, Visit Leonardo Da Vinci’s Ultimate Residence. Tour the Unique Chateau de Blois, Built During Four Distinct Periods of Architecture. Sample a Variety of Wines from the Region

day 1 Tours or Amboise-Arrival

Met in Tours or Saint Pierre des Corps Train Station and transferred to your centrally located hotel in Tours or Amboise. Remainder of the day is at your leisure

day2 Chenonceau and Aboise Castles wit Lunch
Breakfast at your hotel.
9.00am Pick up at Tours Tourism Office
9.30am Pick up at Amboise

A comprehensive guided Tour of the ‘Chateau des Dames’
Because it was marked by a large number of women throughout history, Chenonceau Castle has earned the title of being the Women’s Castle. Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medici or Louise de Lorraine are some of the women that contributed in making Chenonceau one of the most exquisite Chateaus of France. Spanning the River Cher, the castle is a delight to all visitors as it is very difficult not to be impressed by its breathtaking landscape & architecture. On the exterior part, the Chateau is completely surrounded by numerous gardens. You will surely take some time to wander along the “floating parterre”, created in the Renaissance and that has remained unchanged since the time of Diane de Poitiers. Another unique attraction is the Maze that was desired by Catherine de Medici, planted with around 2,000 yew trees and that covers more than a hectare in Size.
Inside, follow your guide as you tour this incredible monument. As you listen to the tales, history and intrigues that took place in the Chateau, highlights of the tour will include the visit of the Five Queens’ Chamber, name given in the memory of Catherine de Medici’s two daughters and three daughters in law; but also Diane de Poitiers Bedroom, the Gallery – a 60 meter long ballroom, Louis XIV’s drawing room showcasing a portrait of the “Sun King” and much more.

Enjoy a fun & informative Wine Tasting session followed by lunch
Daniel, oenologist, welcomes you in his cellar, former tuff stone quarries, for a tour followed by a wine tasting session of the most emblematic of Vouvray, Montlouis, Chinon, Bourgueil and Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil wines. In order to transcend your meal, we will pair your wines with a selection of cheeses.

Take a leap back in time as you visit Renaissance Royal Castle of Amboise
Strategically located over the Loire Valley, the building of Amboise Castle dates back to the 11th C. The Golden era of the Castle spans through Renaissance times when both King Charles VIII and Francis I decided to make important reconstructions. The castle is also very famous for having been a major stop for numerous academics and artists and most notably Leonardo Da Vinci. As you follow your guide for a comprehensive tour of the Chateau, you will understand the Political and Artistic importance it played during Renaissance times. Highlights of the tour include the visit of the different towers and underground passage, the Lys Hallway as well as the ramparts.

End the day with a Visit of Leonardo Da Vinci’s ultimate residence
Your final visit will be at Chateau Clos de Lucé. Bought in 1490 by Charles VIII, the Chateau became the summer residence of the Kings of France and even the childhood home of King Francis I. Without a doubt, the most important date for Clos de Lucé is 1516. This is the time when King Francis I and Louise de Savoie invite Leonardo to visit Amboise. Named “Premier Painter, Engineer and Architect of the King” the Master is offered to stay at Chateau Clos Lucé, located at a short distance from Chateau d’Amboise. Here, Leonardo will spend the last 3 years of his life as a guest receiving a generous pension free of any specific responsibilities. He frequently meets with the King and it is said that he possibly designed the famous double-helix staircase of Chateau de Chambord and completed major artworks while in Amboise.

Let your guide take you to all the main attractions that this castle has to offer. After a visit of Leonardo’s bedroom, office, reception room and kitchen, the highlight of the tour will certainly be the visit of the underground rooms where you will admire detailed recreations of de Vinci’s inventions. After, enjoy some time in the gardens before returning to Amboise or Tours meeting point.

day 03 Azay le Rideau-Riveay-Vallandry casles with lunch

Breakfast at your hotel.

9.00am Pick up at Amboise Tourism Office or 9.30am Pick up at Tours

Come experience a full day of castles and gardens in during this fantastic Loire Valley tour!

In the morning, the driver will pick up your group in Tours or Amboise and take you to the fist stop of your Loire Valley day tour: Azay le Rideau. There, you will have the opportunity to visit the iconic castle, built on an island on the Indre river. The castle was built in the 16th century under the patronage of King François I, who loved to come spend time in the Loire Valley. With our day tour of the Loire Valley, you will visit the inside of the castle as well as the gardens, including the famous water mirror with detailed explanations provided by your private English-speaking guide.

The second stop on this Loire Valley full day tour is a memorable lunch with a wine tasting pairing

The lunch takes place in Chinon, where vineyards dominate the landscape. Most of the wine produced is red, and only a couple percents of the grapes end up in rosé and white. Chinon wines are usually dominated by a red berry smell. As they pair particularly well with red meat, cheese (and particularly goat’s cheese from the Touraine region), poultry, and game meat, you can expect to find that on the menu!
After lunch, this Loire Valley experience will then take you to Villandry

The landmark there is a small country castle built during the Renaissance times and modified during the 18th century. However, the most interesting thing in Villandry is certainly the castle’s gardens. In the early 20th century, the new owner of the castle, Joachim Carvallo, decided to recreate the Renaissance garden to give the Villandry its grandeur back. If you are lucky enough to have a sunny day on your visit, you will love strolling along the flowerbeds and around the lake.

Finally, your Loire Valley tour will end with a stop in Rivau

The castle in Rivau was built in a blend of Renaissance and medieval style and feels like you are in a fairytale. While Rivau is one of the lesser known castles in the Loire Valley, it is worth seeing nonetheless. Inside the castle, you can expect to see period furniture, ceilings with magnificent beams, and withe stone fireplaces. Recently, a sound scenography has been added to the castle, so visitors can hear banquets, lords and ladies chatting, and even troubadours… it feels just like you are back in the Renaissance!

The Rivau gardens are also not to be missed

More than 14 different gardens are on display. The most famous one is certainly the worse garden, containing a collection of more than 450 different kinds of roses. Each garden in Rivau has been inspired by a medieval fairytale and will take you right back there!

day 3 Blois, Cheverny & Chambord Castles with Lunch
Breakfast at your hotel.
9.00am Pick up at Tours Tourism Office
9.30am Pick up at Amboise

Make an appointment with French History as you visit Chateau de Blois
The Royal Chateau of Blois is without a doubt one of the most impressive castles of the Loire Valley. Residence of 7 Kings and 10 Queens, the Chateau is a perfect summary of Court life during the Renaissance times. What makes the Chateau so unique is that the four grand wings were built during four distinct periods of Architecture: Gothic (13C), Flamboyant Gothic (1498-1501), early Renaissance (1515-1520) and Classical (1600’s).
Begin the tour of the Castle with your guide and visit some of the most fascinating rooms of the Chateau such as the King’s room where tapestries, carved furniture and silverworks are exhibited and underscore the power of the sovereign and the wealth of the kingdom. Another highlight of the tour is the visit of the Council Chamber that was the theatre of the major drama of Blois: The Assassination of the Duke of Guise! After the visit of the Chateau, we will head to a winery located in the heart of Loire Valley Wine Country.

Participate in a unique Visit & Wine Tasting followed by lunch
“Cheverny” appellation produces elegant red wines from pinot noir and gamay as well as fruity white wines from chardonnay and sauvignon. You will enjoy this moment as you taste a wine for real connoisseurs: the “Cour Cheverny Appellation”, a stunning white wine made from a grape called Romorantin, imported by King François I into the Loire Valley.

Visit the Chateau that Inspired Marlinspike Hall in the Adventures of Tintin
Cheverny Castle has but slightly changed since its construction in the early 1600’s. The architecture of the castle presents an immaculate picture of symmetry, peace & aristocratic good life. The interior of the Chateau, which you will discover with your guide, exhibits a range of fine artworks by artists such as Titian, Rigaud or Jean Clouet. The king’s bedroom as well as the dining room are the most exquisite as is the large collection of weaponry that can be seen in the Salle des Armes. After the visit of the Chateau it will be time to head for the final visit of the day, Chateau de Chambord.

Visit the Grandiose Renaissance Castle of the Loire
Instantly recognizable because of its very distinctive French Renaissance Architecture, spectacular Chateau de Chambord stands out from all the other Chateaus of the Loire Valley. By far the largest of all the Chateaus, it is composed of 440 rooms, a fireplace for every day of the year, a surrounding wall that is 20 miles long & the River Loire was probably diverted to make space for the building. Enter the Chateau with your professional tour guide and discover the open double spiral staircase supposedly designed or at least inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. The two helices ascend the three floors without ever meeting, illuminated from above by a sort of light house at the highest point of the chateau. Another highlight of the visit is the ornate roof that makes the Chateau so recognizable. When you reach the top level of the Chateau, you can walk between the towers and admire the enormous attention to detail in the masonry work.
After the visit, return to Amboise or Tours. Night at your hotel
day 4 Tours or Amboise
After breakfast meet in the hotel lobby for your return transfer to the train station of Tours or Saint Pierre des Corps.

Inclusions: accommodation at 4* Hotel sharing a double/twin room in Amboise or Tours, arrival/departure transfer, breakfast daily, expert English speaking driver/wine guide on tours, full day around Chambord and Chenonceau, entrance fees to the mentioned castles, wine tasting with lunch, travel in recent, comfortable & fully equipped Mercedes Minivan, complimentary bottles of water in the minivan, minimum 2 - maximum 8 participants.
Exclusions: Meals, drinks unless mentioned in programme, personal insurance and expenses, entrance fees to monuments, museums, attractions other than mentioned in the programme, eventual gratuities, not suitable for children under 18 years of age.

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