Castles of the Loire Valley
Castles of the Loire Valley
Castles of the Loire Valley
8 days – 7 nights
Paris, Chartres, Angers, Tours, Blois, Orleans
Discovery, Art, History, Culture
This program may be operated for individuals or for groups
This is a suggested itinerary – Please call us to customize
Day 1: Paris, Chartres, Angers
After your arrival at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport you’ll be met by our representative and driven to Chartres for a visit to the Chartres cathedral, model of the great Gothic constructions. This UNESCO listed monument was started in 1145, and then rebuilt over a 26-year period after the fire of 1194. The cathedral marks the high point of French Gothic art.
Some time for lunch after the visit and continuation to Angers with a stop to visit its castle, an impregnable royal fortress built in the thirteenth century. The gigantic fortress of seventeen towers of shale and limestone extends for almost 1,650 feet giving a formidable impression of power. Be sure to contemplate the Tapestry of the Apocalypse (328 ft. long) and visit the remarkable gardens. Continue to the city for dinner and overnight. [D]
Day 2: Angers (Brissac, Saumur, Fontvreaud l’Abbaye, Montsoreau)
Today we’ll visit the western-most castles of the valley starting with Brissac, the highest castle in France with 7 floors and 204 rooms. The 16th century chapel and Belle Epoque theater, the dazzling decor composed of gold leaf ceilings, tapestries and precious furniture and the park are well worth the time spent. A short drive will take you to Saumur located on the historic route of the Plantagenets (first kings of France) and overlooking the ancient city that lies at its feet. The castle is one of the most beautiful testimonies of the French kings’ taste. Time for lunch. In the afternoon, continue to Fontevraud-l’Abbaye for the guided tour of the Royal Abbey, located in the heart of the Loire region, royal necropolis of the Plantagenet's family. The majestic 12th century abbey church shelters the recumbent figures of Richard the Lion Heart, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry Plantagenet. At the end of the day, guided visit of a sparkling wine cellar followed by a tasting session. Return to Angers for dinner and overnight. [B/D]
Day 3, Angers, Chinon, Azay-le-Rideau, Langeais, Tours
At the crossroads of three provinces: Anjou, Poitou and Touraine, the rocky outcrop where stands the royal fortress of Chinon is a strategic site occupied since antiquity and coveted at all times. A castle settles in the tenth century at the latest: at that time the count of Blois, Thibaud the Cheater, built a tower, but it was Henry II Plantagenet, Count of Anjou and King of England from 1154, who gave the fortress its current silhouette. A few miles through the natural park will bring you to Castle Azay-le-Rideau built under the patronage of Francis I on an island in the middle of the Indre River. Subtle alliance of French traditions and innovative decorations from Ital, make the castle an icon of the new art of building the Val-de-Loire in the sixteenth century. Its landscaped park, designed in the second half of the nineteenth century, offers a real natural setting. In 1905, the State became owner of the castle of Azay-le-Rideau. Its successive owners have contributed to make it the most harmonious architectural jewel of Val-de-Loire. Cross the Loire River to arrive at the castle of Langeais, both fortress and princely residence, housing many treasures: carved furniture, rich hangings, objets d'art recall the life of the great lords. The reconstruction of the secret marriage place of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany, which marks the attachment of the duchy to the crown of France, and the remains of the oldest stone keep located in the heart of the park take you back to the time of the Middle Ages. Animations for young and old are offered throughout the year. After the visit continue to Tours for dinner and overnight. [B/D]
Day 4: Tours (Villandry, Montrichard, Chenonceau)
Villandry is the last of the great castles of the Loire erected in the Loire Valley during the Renaissance. The sober elegance of its architecture combined with the charm of its remarkable gardens make this monument one of the jewels of the world heritage. The castle and gardens of Villandry are living testimony to the times they have crossed. Since the Renaissance, they have undergone reworking according to the aspirations of their successive owners: innovation and opening to the outside in the Renaissance, search for comfort in the eighteenth century, return to origins in the early twentieth century, continuity in modernity in the 21st century. A 50-minute drive will take you to Montrichard Castle where, on approach, you’ll notice the massive stone tower, dating from the early 11th century, constituting its dungeon, and the only remaining vestige of the fortress that once protected the valley. You cannot climb the top of the donjon itself but the walk around, in the middle of the ruins, is pleasant and offers a beautiful panorama of the city. Time for lunch and, in the afternoon, continue to Chenonceau, one of the jewels of the Loire region. With its gallery spanning the waters of the Cher, its rooms adorned with tapestries and terraced gardens, the castle of Chenonceau embodies the grace of the sixteenth century. Inside, discover a refined decoration, combining each of the pieces of furniture with tapestries. More than the decoration, the castle has an important collection of paintings of great masters like Murillo, Tintoretto, Nicolas Poussin, Rubens ... Chenonceau is a visionary castle that followed closely the evolution of the Renaissance in the Age of Enlightenment and is therefore marked by the greatest thinkers and the greatest philosophers. We end the day with a quick visit of Tours starting at the 18th century former Archbishops' Palace. Then appreciate the graceful silhouette of St. Gatien Cathedral - named after the first Bishop of Tours. A few blocks away, enter the old Grand-Rue of the Middle Ages, now Colbert street. Everything is there: the picturesque, with its old cafes and shops; the authentic, with houses of the 15th and 16th centuries; and the tragic, with the narrow passage of the Coeur-Navré, the way taken by the condemned to join the place Foire le Roi, where they awaited the scaffold or the pillory. Enjoy a coffee or an appetizer at one of the esplanades before returning to your hotel for dinner and overnight. [B/D]
Day 5: Tours, Amboise, Chaumont, Cheverny, Blois
Amboise Castle was built in the 15th and 16th century as a medieval fortress and became a symbol of the Renaissance, during which it served as residence to several kings of France, from Charles VIII to Louis XIV. It has also hosted many important events for France such as the death of Charles VIII in 1498 and the funeral of Leonardo da Vinci in 1519, whose tomb is in the Saint-Hubert Chapel. During the Revolution, a large part of the castle was destroyed with only one fifth remaining today. We continue to Chaumont a castle which history begins around the year 1000, when Eudes 1st, count of Blois, built the fortress on the hillside overlooking the river, to monitor the border between the counties of Blois and Anjou. The visit of the castle makes you discover its furnished interiors. Here you are in the sumptuous decorations wanted by Diane de Poitiers, one of the famous owners of the castle, after Catherine de Medici and well before the extravagant Princess de Broglie, who embellished and modernized the castle before giving it to the State in 1938. Stop for lunch before driving to Cheverny to visit the castle of the Loire, still inhabited by the same family, recognized as the most beautifully furnished. Cheverny will amaze you with its charm and decoration. From the Botanical Park to the splendid interior of the Castle, from the Kennels to the Tintin exhibition and from the gardens to the forest park, the owners invite you to discover a fantastic heritage, authentic and alive. Arrive in Blois for a walking tour of this no-hustle-no-bustle city. In Blois you will enjoy strolling through the streets and alleys that will lead you from traditional houses to mansions, from the Puit-Châtel district to Saint-Nicolas church, the Roseraie and the Jardin des Sens. Dinner and overnight in Blois. [B/D]
Day 6: Blois, Chambord, Orleans
The Royal Castle of Blois is a synopsis of the art and history of the Loire castles. Around a single courtyard, it brings together a panorama of French architecture from the Middle Ages to the classical period. It is the favorite residence of the kings of France in the Renaissance, and evokes, by its diversity of styles, the destiny of 7 kings and 10 queens of France. More than 35,000 pieces of furniture, objects, works and collections are testimony to the rich past that you will discover through a general presentation in the courtyard followed by a visit to the royal apartments. After the visit we’ll cross the Loire River, once more, to reach the magnificent Chambord Castle. Whatever your desires, your temperament, you will find in these royal walls as in the gardens or the park of the domain, your ideal visit ... Inside or outside, who knows what you will meet during your visit? A majestic deer or may be the ghost of Leonardo da Vinci? Great and great! These are probably the two words that best define this impressive building, "simple" hunting relay designed by Francis I on which hovers the shadow of Leonardo da Vinci ... In the center of the dungeon is a majestic and revolutionary double staircase that allows a person who climbs it to never cross the one who is going down! If the name of the official architect of the castle has never been known, the plan of this staircase could be a work of the brilliant Leonardo da Vinci. Time for lunch after the visit before continuing to Orleans for a panoramic tour leading us to the Sainte Croix cathedral, in Gothic style, virtually identical to those of Notre-Dame de Paris, to the Groslot Hotel recognizable by its magnificent red brick Renaissance façade and the old center of Orleans with beautiful half-timbered facades. The city known for its story of heart with Joan of Arc. In her half-timbered house watch a multimedia presentation evoking her life and recalling the memory of her passage in Orleans in 1429. Then visit the Place du Martroi where the convicts were executed and served as the wheat market. This square is, today, the most important place, marked by the equestrian statue of the “Maid” and represents Joan of Arc giving thanks to God. Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight. [B/D]
Day 7: Orleans, Chateaudun, Paris
Overlooking the Loire Valley and built on a rocky outcrop, Château de Châteaudun is considered one of the first castles of the region. This monument, attached to Jehan d'Orléans said Jean de Dunois, illegitimate son of Louis of Orleans and companion in arms of Joan of Arc, is noted for its remarkable architectural and stylistic qualities of the twelfth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Continue to Paris with a stop en-route for lunch. After check-in at your hotel in Paris you’ll have free time until our farewell dinner aboard a Seine River cruise. [B/D]
Day 8: Paris, USA
At the appointed time you’ll be picked-up and transferred to Charles de Gaulle Airport to board your flight back home. [B]
[B] = Breakfast | [D] = Dinner | [B/D] = Breakfast and Dinner
- Round-trip airfare New York-Paris
- Arrival and departure transfers
- 7 nights’ accommodation:
- Angers 2 nights
- Tours 2 nights
- Blois 1 night
- Orleans 1 night
- Paris 1 night
- Breakfast daily
- 6 dinners
- Farewell dinner
- Tours of:
- Chartres Cathedral
- Fontevraud Abbey
- Walking tour of Blois
- Tour of Orleans
- Castles’ visits:
- Pre-booked castle visits
- Entrance fees
- Driver-Guide throughout the itinerary
- A/C vehicle
- Local taxes
Not included in tour
- Any taxes and surcharges relating to airfares
- Travel Insurance
- Meals not mentioned under inclusions
- Tips to guides or drivers
- Expenses of a personal nature
- Any item not mentioned as “Included”
|Angers||Logis du Cavier||4|
|Tours||Best Western Plus l'Artist||4|
|Blois||Ibis Styles Blois Centre Gare||4|
|Paris||Albe Hotel St. Michel||4.5|
|Angers||Hotel 21 Foch||4.5|
|Tours||Chateau de Beauvois||4|
|Blois||La Maison d'a Cote||4.5|
|Paris||La Regence Etoile||4.5|
|Angers||Mercure Angers Centre||4|
|Blois||Auberge de la Caillere||4.5|
|Orleans||Empreinte Hotel & Spa||4.5|
Hotels will be confirmed at time of booking
Note: Additional nights in Paris available upon request
From: $3,549 including airfare
Add-ons available from all US gateways.
Prices are per person and may change without notice
This program can be customized for individuals and groups.
Changes to this program may be requested by phone (1855-55-TOURS) or using the web FIT Quote Request
We also be glad to add the necessary airfare from your gateway so you take advantage of our special discounted leisure fares
You may add or remove;
Cities and sites
The program was designed with private services, however, we may substitute shared sightseeing where available
If you prefer deluxe services we may operate this program including private driver, private guide and concierge service.
Once we have designed the program the way you want we'll give you a quote within 2 business days.
Tour Code: FR04PAR21VT
- Lunches and dinners can be arranged for individuals, families and groups at top restaurants or any restaurant requested by you.
- We can revise the itinerary to spend more time and provide more depth in those areas that you are interested on.
- Any other changes to the itinerary will be accommodated depending on the facilities available in the area.
- If you wish to use these programs for your group or as the basis for a customized journey please either call us (1-855-55-TOURS or use the web Group Quote Request.
- In either case our specialists will work with to refine all the details and they will get you a quote with 2 business days. Quotes may be obtained for the air and land portions of just for the lad journey.
- Booking both air an land with us will represent savings for you because of our buying power and longtime relationship with the airlines.
- We will also may have the choice between regular fares and special leisure fares not available to the public.