Tailormade tour Chateaux of the Loire self-drive tour France

8 nights/9 days

Blois • Tours • Amboise

This self-drive luxury touring holiday to 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. Drive yourself to the Loire Valley and stay in three chateau- or historic hotels, with easy access to a range of cultural sites and activities.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from £1,590 per person.

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to the Chateaux of the Loire Valley

Highlights

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

Day by day

Your self-drive touring holiday of the Chateaux of the Loire includes a Eurotunnel crossing from Folkestone to Calais for your car and passengers. The most direct route takes you around Paris but you may want to choose a slightly longer route that avoids the French capital. In this case you drive south through the Pas-de-Calais into Normandy, crossing the River Seine at Rouen and then continuing south through the Natural regional park of the Perche, passing Le Mans to reach the River Loire at Tours, at the heart of the Garden of France. Amboise is just to the east of Tours. You stay in Amboise 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 south of Tours.

The historic city of Tours with its mediaeval old town and cathedral is about 15 minutes’ drive away; the magnificent chateaux of the Loire Valley such as Chenonceau, Amboise and Chaumont in one direction and Azay-le-Rideau, Langeais and Villandry in the other. The Maison de Balzac is in nearby Saché and the town of Chinon has a fascinating mediaeval history and has associations with the writer Rabelais who was born nearby. Chinon is also known for its red wine as is St Nicholas de Bourgueil on the northern bank of the river Loire. To the east of Tours the white wine route runs along the Loire valley through Montlouis and Vouvray. There are outstanding gardens at the Chateau de Villandry and the Chateau de Chaumont, where every year 24 different landscapes from around the world are featured.

Your journey today takes you eastwards to the Sologne region south of the cathedral and castle town of Blois, also situated on the river Loire itself.

The chateaux of Chambord and Cheverny are nearby; the town of Blois with its castle, there is a chocolate museum, beehive visits and cheesemakers; Le Clos Lucé in Amboise (cultural space dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci), vineyards of the Loire Valley and wine routes to follow, long distance walking tracks (GR3, GR31), farm visits, boat trips on the Loire from Blois, garden festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire.

You can return to Calais avoiding Paris by taking the road north passing Chartres, Evreux and Rouen. You have a crossing on Eurotunnel from Calais to Folkestone included for your car and passengers.

Special offers for this holiday>

Excellent. So much easier coming to you than trying to book accommodation ourselves. Will certainly come to you again, especially for a self-drive holiday.
Mr D, Sep 2023

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,590 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code FRSD05

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to the Chateaux of the Loire Valley

Special offers for this holiday>

Excellent. So much easier coming to you than trying to book accommodation ourselves. Will certainly come to you again, especially for a self-drive holiday.
Mr D, Sep 2023

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,590 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code FRSD05

Our prices include ● Eurotunnel return crossing from Folkestone to Calais for car and passengers
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Traditional double room at Le Choiseul, at Amboise
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at the Domaine de la Tortiniere, south of Tours
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at La Borde en Sologne, near Blois
● 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
Calais to Amboise 5 hours
Amboise to Veigne 1 hour
Veigne to Vernou-en-Sologne 1 hour 30 minutes
Vernou-en-Sologne to Calais 5 hours

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to the Chateaux of the Loire Valley

Expressions Holidays includes these hotels in this touring holiday as suggestions, but they can be substituted by others in the same region, if you have a preference to stay elsewhere.
Hotels included in this tour

Special offers

Call to make your booking and save an extra £50 per adult Call us instead of emailing us when you are thinking of booking a holiday and save an extra £50 per adult (in addition to any special offers that might be available). We want to talk to you to discuss your requirements and a phone call is usually the best way for you to define what you want enabling us to respond more accurately. We want to talk to you and you save an extra £50 per adult.

Excellent. So much easier coming to you than trying to book accommodation ourselves. Will certainly come to you again, especially for a self-drive holiday.
Mr D, Sep 2023

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,590 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code FRSD05

Luxury self-drive tailormade touring holiday to the Chateaux of the Loire Valley

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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