Tailormade tour Chateaux of the Loire fly-drive tour France

8 nights/9 days

Angers • Chinon • Amboise

This fly-drive touring holiday of the Chateaux of the Loire Valley features a region that is renowned for its gentle rolling countryside, vineyards, ancient hunting forests, wide rivers and numerous châteaux, both mediaeval and Renaissance. You stay in three chateaux or historic house hotels, each giving access to a wide range of cultural sites and activities and have the use of a hire-car to explore.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £1,350 per person.

Luxury fly-drive tailormade touring holiday to the Chateaux of the Loire staying in three chateau or manor-house hotels

This 8-night fly-drive touring holiday to the Chateaux of the Loire Valley includes stays in two chateaux-hotels and one historic town mansion in three different places in the Loire Valley. The Loire Valley is known as the garden of France but historically the region was the playground of the kings of France for hundreds of years. The River Loire itself was a major means of communication in Gallo-Roman times and the river itself was surrounded by fertile fields and forests teeming with game, and this encouraged the economic development of its towns from an early age. Later the region became strategically important during the Hundred Years War and the remains of mediaeval strongholds and fortresses still bear witness to this. Eventually the fortified castles were replaced by chateaux designed to be for enjoyment and relaxation. The Loire Valley became the playground of the Kings of France. The are is rich in sites that show the development of western culture since Gallo-Roman times. The numerous chateaux are obvious places of interest (Chambord, Cheverny, Villandry, Chenonceau, Aazy-le-Rideau among many others) but there are many gardens, some attached to chateaux, vineyards, walks, river trips, local festivals, museums and galleries, son-et-lumiere shows, markets (Tours boasts no fewer than twenty markets), and fine dining with an array of Michelin-starred restaurants. Your touring holiday of the Loire Valley starts with a Eurotunnel crossing from Folkestone to Calais. You then drive to your first stop for three nights at Amboise on the River Loire. From here you can visit Amboise itself, Chenonceau, Chateau du Clos Lucé, Tours and local vineyards and gardens. Your next stay is north of Angers, capital of the Anjou and cradle of the Plantagenet dynasty. Angers and its famous Apocalypse Tapestry makes for an interesting excursion. From here, drive through tranquil landscapes punctuated by stately châteaux and fields of vines of the Parc Naturel Régional Loire Anjou Touraine en-route to your third stay south of Chinon. Stop off perhaps in the delightful town of Saumur, set between the Loire and Thouet rivers and renowned for its famous vineyards and Cadre Noir riding school. From your base south of Chinon, visit the mediaeval town itself, Villandry, Azay-le-Rideau and the abbey of Fontevraud. With this holiday you fly to Paris and collect your hire-car which you keep until you return to Paris for your flight home.

Highlights

Amboise • Visit Chateau Chenonceau • Visit Saumur • Angers • Visit Villandry • Visit Abbaye de Fontevraud • Vineyard visits • Visit old town of Tours • Visit Azay-le-Rideau • Go to a Son-el-Lumiere • Chinon

Day by day

Your fly-drive touring holiday of the Chateaux of the Loire starts with a flight to Paris where you collect your hire-car which you will keep until you return to Paris for the flight home. The drive south to the Touraine takes just over 2 hrs and 30 minutes. You stay in Amboise, on the River Loire to the east of Tours, for three nights.

You have two full days to explore this part of the Loire Valley. There are numerous places of importance to visit within a very short drive. Amboise, on the banks of the river Loire, is home to the Chateau d’Amboise, a 15th century residence of Charles VIII and where you will find the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci. Nearby is the Chateau du Clos Lucé where Leonardo Da Vinci lived. In the grounds are displays of working models of this designs. Not far from Amboise is the Château de Chenonceau, known sometimes at the ‘Ladies Castle’ due to its string of female owners, such as Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers, is not to be missed. This château offers an extensive art gallery and a collection of exquisite Flemish tapestries, as well as wine-tasting opportunities. You can dine in L’Orangerie, the on-site restaurant, or relax in the tea rooms, before exploring the wax museum or enjoying a boat ride. In the warmer summer months of July and August, night strolls around the castle and its grounds are very atmospheric, particularly with the backdrop of music by Arcangelo Corelli. Whilst in Amboise, you may want to visit the capital of the region, Tours. It is an ancient university town and this region purports to speak the ‘purest’ form of French. The old town is a delight with its narrow streets and tall, gabled, half-timbered houses. The Cathedral of Saint Gatien dates from the 12th century but most of it is obviously flamboyant Gothic, completed about the same time as the Chateau de Chenonceau. In Montlouis-sur-Loire, we recommend visiting the Domaine de la Taille aux Loups to taste the local wine: the dry and fizzy Moelleux wines from this region.

This is really a day to explore the north bank of the River Loire and there is lots of see along the way, from fortified towns with the mediaeval chateaux, such as at Luynes and Langeais, to the vineyards at Bourgueil. This might also be the day to visit the Chateau of Villandry. Your stop for tonight and the next day is just to the north of the town of Angers.

Just a short distance from the banks of the river itself, sits the historic town of Angers. A number of prestigious châteaux are open for tours, including the Château de Brissac, the home of the 13th Duke of Brissac, where you see the Duke’s collection of antique paintings, the unique private theatre commissioned by the Duchess in the 19th century and dedicated solely to opera, and finally into the Château’s wine cellar, where you will be invited to taste the wine produced on the Duke’s estate. The Château of Angers itself is the ideal spot to take in views of the whole town, while strolling around the beautiful aromatic landscaped gardens, not to mention the Apocalypse Tapestry kept within its walls. Venture into Nantes to the enormous Château des Ducs de Bretagne. Its combination of 15th century, 17th century, and Renaissance architecture pays testament to how this imposing structure has developed over time. While these châteaux may be some of the most historic and impressive in Angers’ immediate vicinity, other, smaller châteaux are open for wine-tasting sessions; some wines to look out for are Saumur-Champigny, Coteaux-de-l’Aubance, Coteaux-du-Layon, and the famous Coulée-de-Serrant. For a relaxing break from exploring, sit back on one of the Loire de Lumière cruises around some of the 300km of navigable waterways in the region.

Your journey today includes a mixture of castles, abbeys and wine. Set off along the King’s Valley Route and cross to the southern side of the Loire to see the 11th century Château de Saumur, formerly a fortress, manor house, town governor’s residence, prison, arms and ammunitions depot, and now housing the museum. Nearby are the troglodyte caves the Loire valley is famous for. Not far from Saumur is the Abbaye of Fontevraud, with its strong Plantagenet connections. You can see the effigies of Richard the Lionheart and his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine here. From here it’s a short drive to your next stop, amid the fertile land south of Chinon, fields of vines and sunflowers and orchards. You stay here for three nights.

On the bank of the river Vienne sits Chinon and the Chinon Fortresse Royale, dating back to the 10th century and the legend of King Arthur. Popular wine-tasting spots include La Cave Montplaisir, the Cave Painctes for specifically Rabelais wine, and the Château de Coulaine for the local speciality, Chinon Blanc. On the edge of the Chinon Forest, sits the Château d’Ussé, so elegant in its architecture and positioning that it inspired Charles Perrault’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Or, to witness something very unusual, in the context of the French château tradition, tour the remarkable underground fortress at the Château de Brézé, sometimes called a château within a château. Nearby is the gem of a chateau at Azay-le-Rideau, built on an island in the Indre River, under the patronage of King Francois I. It combines French tradition and Italian innovation and typifies the style of architecture that developed in the 16th century.

Today you drive back to Paris airport for your flight home. The drive takes usually between 3 and 3 and a half hours. You return your hire-car at the airport.

The expert advice and experience of the travel consultants resulted in a fantastic bespoke holiday.
Mr B, May 2019

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,350 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code FRFD04

Luxury fly-drive tailormade touring holiday to the Chateaux of the Loire staying in three chateau or manor-house hotels

Your fly-drive touring holiday of the Chateaux of the Loire starts with a flight to Paris where you collect your hire-car which you will keep until you return to Paris for the flight home. The drive south to the Touraine takes just over 2 hrs and 30 minutes. You stay in Amboise, on the River Loire to the east of Tours, for three nights.

You have two full days to explore this part of the Loire Valley. There are numerous places of importance to visit within a very short drive. Amboise, on the banks of the river Loire, is home to the Chateau d’Amboise, a 15th century residence of Charles VIII and where you will find the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci. Nearby is the Chateau du Clos Lucé where Leonardo Da Vinci lived. In the grounds are displays of working models of this designs. Not far from Amboise is the Château de Chenonceau, known sometimes at the ‘Ladies Castle’ due to its string of female owners, such as Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers, is not to be missed. This château offers an extensive art gallery and a collection of exquisite Flemish tapestries, as well as wine-tasting opportunities. You can dine in L’Orangerie, the on-site restaurant, or relax in the tea rooms, before exploring the wax museum or enjoying a boat ride. In the warmer summer months of July and August, night strolls around the castle and its grounds are very atmospheric, particularly with the backdrop of music by Arcangelo Corelli. Whilst in Amboise, you may want to visit the capital of the region, Tours. It is an ancient university town and this region purports to speak the ‘purest’ form of French. The old town is a delight with its narrow streets and tall, gabled, half-timbered houses. The Cathedral of Saint Gatien dates from the 12th century but most of it is obviously flamboyant Gothic, completed about the same time as the Chateau de Chenonceau. In Montlouis-sur-Loire, we recommend visiting the Domaine de la Taille aux Loups to taste the local wine: the dry and fizzy Moelleux wines from this region.

This is really a day to explore the north bank of the River Loire and there is lots of see along the way, from fortified towns with the mediaeval chateaux, such as at Luynes and Langeais, to the vineyards at Bourgueil. This might also be the day to visit the Chateau of Villandry. Your stop for tonight and the next day is just to the north of the town of Angers.

Just a short distance from the banks of the river itself, sits the historic town of Angers. A number of prestigious châteaux are open for tours, including the Château de Brissac, the home of the 13th Duke of Brissac, where you see the Duke’s collection of antique paintings, the unique private theatre commissioned by the Duchess in the 19th century and dedicated solely to opera, and finally into the Château’s wine cellar, where you will be invited to taste the wine produced on the Duke’s estate. The Château of Angers itself is the ideal spot to take in views of the whole town, while strolling around the beautiful aromatic landscaped gardens, not to mention the Apocalypse Tapestry kept within its walls. Venture into Nantes to the enormous Château des Ducs de Bretagne. Its combination of 15th century, 17th century, and Renaissance architecture pays testament to how this imposing structure has developed over time. While these châteaux may be some of the most historic and impressive in Angers’ immediate vicinity, other, smaller châteaux are open for wine-tasting sessions; some wines to look out for are Saumur-Champigny, Coteaux-de-l’Aubance, Coteaux-du-Layon, and the famous Coulée-de-Serrant. For a relaxing break from exploring, sit back on one of the Loire de Lumière cruises around some of the 300km of navigable waterways in the region.

Your journey today includes a mixture of castles, abbeys and wine. Set off along the King’s Valley Route and cross to the southern side of the Loire to see the 11th century Château de Saumur, formerly a fortress, manor house, town governor’s residence, prison, arms and ammunitions depot, and now housing the museum. Nearby are the troglodyte caves the Loire valley is famous for. Not far from Saumur is the Abbaye of Fontevraud, with its strong Plantagenet connections. You can see the effigies of Richard the Lionheart and his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine here. From here it’s a short drive to your next stop, amid the fertile land south of Chinon, fields of vines and sunflowers and orchards. You stay here for three nights.

On the bank of the river Vienne sits Chinon and the Chinon Fortresse Royale, dating back to the 10th century and the legend of King Arthur. Popular wine-tasting spots include La Cave Montplaisir, the Cave Painctes for specifically Rabelais wine, and the Château de Coulaine for the local speciality, Chinon Blanc. On the edge of the Chinon Forest, sits the Château d’Ussé, so elegant in its architecture and positioning that it inspired Charles Perrault’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Or, to witness something very unusual, in the context of the French château tradition, tour the remarkable underground fortress at the Château de Brézé, sometimes called a château within a château. Nearby is the gem of a chateau at Azay-le-Rideau, built on an island in the Indre River, under the patronage of King Francois I. It combines French tradition and Italian innovation and typifies the style of architecture that developed in the 16th century.

Today you drive back to Paris airport for your flight home. The drive takes usually between 3 and 3 and a half hours. You return your hire-car at the airport.

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,350 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code FRFD04

Our prices include ● Scheduled flights from London or other UK airport to Paris return
● Hire of a group B car for 8 days
● Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a Traditional double room at Le Choiseul, at Amboise
● Two nights’ bed and breakfast in a Manor House double room at the Château de Noirieux near Angers
● Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at the Château de Marçay near Chinon
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Euros 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel

Additional information Driving times for this touring holiday
Paris to Amboise 2 hrs 30 minutes
Amboise to Angers 2 hours
Angers to Chinon 1 hour 30 minutes
Chinon to Paris 3 hrs 20 minutes

Luxury fly-drive tailormade touring holiday to the Chateaux of the Loire staying in three chateau or manor-house hotels

About Loire Valley

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to the Loire Valley offers travellers a chance to explore this magnificent region, known as the `Garden of France`, traditionally the hunting grounds of the Kings of France, is renowned for its gentle countryside, vineyards, forests, rivers and numerous chateaux. At the centre of this region are the regal river Loire and its numerous tributaries, attractive historic towns and cathedral cities such as Tours, Blois and Chinon and of course the chateaux. The chateaux range from vast palaces to fortresses, from mediaeval strongholds to Renaissance delights and include the well-known ones of Chenonceaux, Chambord, Villandry and pretty Azay le Rideau. The vineyards offer great variety from sparkling Vouvray to the reds of Chinon and Bourgueil. Our `Loire Valley` covers the central region of Touraine and the more westerly region of Anjou as well as taking in a more southern part that extends towards Poitiers. The visitor to the Loire Valley is embraced by seemingly endless amusements whatever the time of year, enticing for longer stays and so well situated for overnight stops or short breaks. It is very easy to reach the Loire Valley by train, combining a holiday here with a visit to Bordeaux. Alternatively, a self-drive holiday to the Loire Valley is an excellent option, allowing you to explore the region's Chateaux by car or to combine a stay in the region with a holiday to the Dordogne region and Normandy.

Highlights of the Loire Valley

Cultural highlights include wines and wine vinegars, wild mushrooms - (visit the mushroom museum), the Troglodyte caves, and local art exhibitions.

Festivals in the Loire Valley

Son et Lumiere in the chateaux in the summer months. Summer festival in Chinon in August.

Climate of the Loire Valley

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: Jan: 7.8, Feb: 6.8, Mar: 10.3, Apr: 16.1, May: 16.4, Jun: 23.6, Jul: 25.8, Aug: 24.5, Sep: 21.1, Oct: 16.2, Nov: 11.2, Dec: 7.0. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France.

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