Visit iconic chateaux and experience the beauty of the Loire Valley on this small group tour.
About the Tour
Relish an intimate look at the charms of the Loire Valley on this small group tour of Northern France. Because this tour caters to a limited number of guests, we are treated to luxuries that are simply not available to larger groups. Enjoy five nights of hotel accommodations at the lavish Chateau d'Artigny and tours of three of the region’s other chateaux: Château de Chenonceau, Château de Cande, and Château du Rivau. Delight in a sumptuous picnic lunch on the grounds of Château du Rivau and a private wine tasting at Domaine de Rocheville. A guided walking tour of Tours further enhances this voyage. The history of the Loire Valley is undeniable and yours to behold on this memorable adventure.
- First Class rail travel on board the high-speed Eurostar
- Hotel accommodations for 5 nights
- 11 meals including a farewell dinner at Château d’Artigny
- Visit Château de Chenonceau and Château du Clos Lucé
- Guided walking tours of Tours
- Guided tours of Château de Cande and Château du Rivau
- Tour Domaine de Rocheville, including a private wine tasting
- Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional Tour Manager
Day 1 - London to Château d’Artigny
Arrive at London St. Pancras International, and meet your Tour Manager and group. Together we board our Eurostar train to Paris, enjoying a light meal and drinks as we travel. For the last leg of the journey, we join the direct rail service bound for Tours. On arrival in this city, which serves as the gateway to the Loire Valley, we continue by coach to our spectacular 5-Star hotel, the Château d'Artigny, which lies just 9 miles (15 kilometers) south of the city. Take a moment to settle in, then we sit down to a decadent three-course dinner, served in the hotel's grand 18th-century dining room. Overnight Montbazon. (Eurostar Meal, D)
Day 2 - Château de Chenonceau
Our explorations of the chateaux of the Loire Valley begin this morning with an excursion to Château de Chenonceau, which is arguably the most iconic of its kind in the region. The Château sits elegantly above River Cher and is a fine example of both Gothic and Renaissance architecture. As we explore the Château and its picturesque fountain gardens, we uncover its rich history, which dates back to the 12th century. Following, we travel by coach to the town of Amboise, former home to the French royal court. Here, we visit the place Leonardo da Vinci called home, Château du Clos Lucé. Brimming with his fascinating inventions and beautiful artwork, this elegant manor house is a delight to explore. You are free to meander through the Château and its scenic grounds on your own following in the footsteps of the master himself. Overnight Montbazon. (B, D)
Day 3 - Tours
Located on the lower reaches of the River Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast, Tours is our destination today. Provincial Tours is the largest city in the Loire Valley and is often compared to Paris, yet on a much smaller scale. The city boasts impressive historical attractions, charming cobbled streets, a host of cafés and a scenic riverfront that is the perfect place to soak in the ambiance of the city. During our explorations today, we enjoy points of interest such as the Archbishop's Palace; Saint-Gatien Cathedral, home to some fine 13th-century stained glass windows; quaint Rue Colbert; Place Plumereau and Saint Martin's Basilica - built in homage to St. Martin, the Bishop of Tours from 371 to 397. We enjoy lunch together at a local restaurant and then you have the remainder of the afternoon at leisure to continue your discoveries of the city independently. Overnight Montbazon. (B, L)
Day 4 - Château de Cande
Take the morning at leisure to enjoy the amenities of our hotel before an afternoon visit to the elegant Château de Cande. This magnificent home was the marriage place of the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson. Take time to admire the intricate woodwork and period decor of each room. Clothing, accessories and other remnants from the Duke and his wife remain in the house in fascinating displays. Outside the Château, a park-like setting brings a sense of tranquility. This 600-acre property includes a walking path, a beautiful lake, bountiful vegetable gardens, and even an orchard. We return to Montbazon this evening for dinner with the group. Overnight Montbazon. (B, D)
Day 5 - Château du Rivau
Marvel at the unique blend of medieval and Renaissance architecture that characterizes Château du Rivau today. Set in the heart of Loire Valley, it is here that Joan of Arc replenished her stock of horses during the Hundred Years' War. Château du Rivau is everything you could expect from a French castle and more, seemingly imagined from the pages of a fairytale. From the majestic drawbridge and frescoes depicting the Feast of Belshazzar to the turreted outer buildings and pristine gardens filled with contemporary artwork, there is much to admire here. We enjoy a guided tour of the Château and its impressive grounds led by one of the current owners. As the tour concludes, we are led to the gardens for a gourmet picnic lunch.
We make our way to Domaine de Rocheville, a renowned wine estate in the Saumur region, by coach following lunch. Here, we are treated to a tour of the wine cellars and are given a unique insight into the winery's specific growing, harvesting and fermenting techniques. The tour concludes with a tasting of the red, white and sparkling wines that are produced from the winery’s decades-old vines. On our return to Château d'Artigny, we enjoy a farewell dinner together in the hotel's restaurant. Overnight Montbazon. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - The journey home
After breakfast, we transfer to Tours by coach in time for the train to Paris. In Paris, we continue our journey to London aboard Eurostar in Standard Premier Class with a light meal and drinks served as we travel. As you disembark the train at St. Pancras International, our journey concludes and you are free to make your way home. (B, Eurostar Meal)
Chateau d'Artigny, Montbazon
A luxurious establishment constructed in the style of an 18th-century Château, the Chateau d'Artigny is actually a modern establishment that was built in the 20th century. The castle sits within a 60-acre (25-hectare) park of manicured gardens. While each room is adorned with antique furnishings and there are marble flooring and gilded colonnades throughout, there are also plenty of modern touches, such as complimentary Wi-Fi and an indoor pool with jacuzzi. Visitors are guaranteed relaxation in the onsite spa, which features beauty treatments from all around the globe. The onsite restaurant features beautiful views and a menu inspired by the very best of French cuisine.
Linking St. Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France and Brussels in Belgium, high-speed Eurostar trains are an efficient means of transportation between these countries.
The highest class available on Eurostar trains is Standard Premier Class. In the dedicated Standard Premier carriages, guests enjoy larger, more spaced seating in which to stretch out and relax. As part of the service, enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments, served seat-side by the helpful wait staff.
Introduced in 1981, France's TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) was the original European high-speed train. Linking Paris with Lyon, this service revolutionized train travel, making it the best option for traveling short and long distances. Since its introduction, the network has expanded rapidly to now offer connections between 60 destinations throughout France. These sleek, stylish trains reach speeds of up to 186 mph (300 km/h) on most long-distance routes and 200 mph (320 km/h) on the new TGV Est line, which links Paris with Strasbourg, Luxembourg, and Basel. Travelers have the choice between First and Second Class aboard the train, both of which offer spacious seats, power outlets and access to an on-board buffet car that serves a selection of drinks and light refreshments.
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