Discover Loire Valley
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Day 1: Loire Valley for 4 nights
1st class train Paris – Tours/St Pierre des Corps station
Pick-up your rental car at the station
1 double prestige room, breakfast & taxes included at Domaine de la Tortiniere****
In the heart of the Loire valley Chateaux country, 10 minutes south of the city of Tours, The Chateau Hotel Domaine de la Tortiniere is an exceptional spot for tourism, leisure or business. Half-way between the Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau and the Chateau of Chenonceau, Domaine de la Tortinière is the perfect place to radiate the French kings country : the Loire Valley. History, vineyards, « Art de vivre à la Française » delightful and harmonious landscape that is what you will find here. Children are always welcome.
Day at leisure to explore
Chambord – of particular interest staircase, the main ball room, Francois 1st apartment and the roof gallery (allow about 1 hour). Master piece of Francis the first , the vast castle of Chambord, built on the banks of a tributary of the Loire river counts no less than 440 rooms. The famous double helix staircase permitted to the rivals in the court to not pass each other
Chateau de Cheverny – small chateau beautifully furnished. The family has been lived in by the same family for six centuries. (allow about 1 hour & 15). The Domain of Cheverny is located in the Centre Val de Loire region, not too far from the Châteaux of Blois and Chambord. Recognized as the most magnificently furnished of the Loire châteaux, the Château of Cheverny’s richness of decoration and its numerous pieces of marvellous furniture are relentlessly astonishing.
Suggested lunch at St-Hubert in Cour-Cheverny
In the afternoon visit the charming town of Amboise (10 minute drive from your hotel). Nestling on the left bank of the Loire, Amboise has kept traces of its royal past. In summer the town’s majestic Château with its terraces overlooking the Loire Valley is cleverly illuminated. Today remains only a quarter of the original castle. The gothic chapel takes in the alleged tomb of Leonardo da Vinci. During the wine fair in Easter, the aromas of various grape varieties float through the amazing tunnel of the Château, ideal for this kind of event. Amboise and its shopping streets have always charmed visitors. This town of character played host to Leonardo da Vinci, invited by François I to Château du Clos Lucé. Even today the genius of the famous inventor haunts this Château, where around 40 of his fabulous machines are displayed
Clos Lucé in Amboise (suggested visit time 1 hour). For the last four years of his life, till 1519, Leonardo da Vinci lived in this pink-brick manor house of the Clos Luce under the patronage of Francois 1st. An exhibition in the manor shows us a Leonardo more designer and engineer than painter. Big miniatures from his designs include a flying machine, a tank and a turning bridge.
Day at leisure to explore
Visit of a Vouvray winery – Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau: Since 1875, the Vigneau-Chevreau family has farmed the chalky soils of this 69-acre Vouvray domaine, planted entirely to Chenin Blanc. The late Jean-Michel Vigneau began steering the family domaine in an organic direction in the early ’90s and by 1999 Vigneau-Chevreau received certification from Ecocert. Shortly thereafter, the new generation of Vigneaus took the next step by adopting a biodynamic vineyard regimen. The most disciplined of organic cultures, biodynamics is based on tapping into the natural rhythms between the earth and its atmosphere. Practices include the scheduling of specific vineyard work according to the Maria Thun lunar calendar, and use of homeopathic preparations for both vines and soil
Chenonceau: Built in the 16th century , the castle of Chenonceau is famous for its location along the edge of the Cher river and its spectacular architecture .. known as the “Château des Dames”, Chenonceau was built in 1513 by Katherine Briçonnet, and successively embellished by Diane de Poitiers then Catherine de Medici. Chenonceau was protected from the hardship of the revolution by Madame Dupin.
Suggested lunch at Le Bon Laboureur in Chenonceau. This eatery follows a successful path, employing fresh and seasonal ingredients to produce cuisine with finesse and subtlety. A beautiful restaurant with good service in an elegant setting.
Chateau de Chaumont: The design is interesting in that when work started in 1465 it had many elements of a defensive castle, but as time progressed the parts added are much more in the style of a renaissance chateau, with a decorative renaissance design, much more typical of the castles of the Loire Valley, rather than protective. A century later, the castle was bought by the notorious Catherine de Medici, although she soon exchanged it for the grander Chateau Chenonceau by applying pressure on its owner, Diane de Poitiers, who had previously been the mistress of Henry II, Catherine de Medicis late husband. The impressive stables, built by the Broglies and much more recent than the chateau, are also very interesting and lavish and show the high regard in which the horses were held. Chateau de Chaumont is also now known for its summertime garden festival.
Day at leisure to explore
Villandry: Last big castle built in the Loire Valley during the renaissance time, the castle of Villandry was built in 1536 on the site of a 12th century fortress. It belonged to Jean le Breton , minister of finance of Francis I and manager of the works for the construction of Chambord . The acquisition of Villandry by Joachim Carvallo marked a return to their roots for the gardens. Already known for their beauty in the Renaissance, different owners successively transformed them, first into a formal garden, then a romantic garden. With a scientist’s meticulousness, Carvallo recreated gardens that were worthy of the restored chateau.
Azay le Rideau: The castle at Azay le Rideau faces across the river (and moat formed by the river) to the south, and is most attractive (and most photographed) from the gardens on the other side of the river. While it is undoubtedly the setting and the overall exterior appearance that are the most memorable aspect of a visit, the inside of Chateau Azay le Rideau is also very impressive with several lavishly furnished rooms, on a more manageable scale than the larger Loire castles. The most important individual highlight is the staircase, set within the castle walls and with a richly decorated facade facing the interior ‘courtyard’ formed by the ‘L’ but open to the elements. In the staircase itself note in particular the finely decorated ceiling decorations. To complete your visit to chateau Azay-le-Rideau, stroll through the attractive parkland that surrounds the castle.
Chateau de Langeais: The chateau is the center piece of the small town of Langeais centrally placed in the Loire Valley region, about 20 kilometres west of Tours and on the Loire River. While the outside of the building is strong and fortress-like, the internal facade is more influenced by the Renaissance giving it more of an appearance of the traditional chateau. The working drawbridge evokes images of knights and castles. The walk along the ramparts is delightful. Outside the Chateau you can also enjoy the meticulously maintained gardens, mostly in the French or medieval styles with lovely views across the Loire river.
Drop you rental car off at Tours/St Pierre des Corps station
1st class TGV train to Paris or Paris CDG
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