The Loire region is - quite literally - a dream of a destination. This is where fairy tales come to life and where you feel like royalty when discovering so much splendour.
On this experience trip, you will explore the Loire region's most beautiful castles and routes. From royal courts and imposing cathedrals to Unesco World Heritage sites, during this week you will undoubtedly be spoilt for choice. Stroll through traffic-free streets in the centre of the historic art city of Tours and enjoy the excellent red and white wine for which the region is renowned on a cosy terrace.
We will gladly map out your route, depending on what you want to experience. Feel free to contact us in order to put together your wonderful trip.
Day 1: Departure to the Loire
Your holiday to the enchanting Loire is ready to begin. The first stop of your trip is, of course, one of our Caractère hotels in the Loire where you will stay for three nights.
Day 2: Visit Blois and Chambord Castle
The historic city of Blois was once the residence of Louis XII. Before the French court was moved to Paris by Henry IV, Blois was the main residence of French kings. All architectural styles are represented in its buildings. Inside the Château de Blois is the famous 'Staircase of Francis I', which is partly on the outside of the castle and meticulously decorated with Renaissance effigies. The highlight of Renaissance architecture in the region is the castle of Chambord, Unesco World Heritage Site: for its construction, they originally wanted to divert the course of the Loire. The ground plan and design of the spiral staircase are attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.
Day 3: Amboise and Chenonceaux
On day 3, you will head along the Loire to the lovely town of Amboise, with a castle that belonged to King Charles VIII. Historically one of the most important castles, the chapel is said to hold the presumed remains of Leonardo da Vinci. Next, head to Chenonceaux Castle, which spans the Cher with a 60-metre-long gallery - built on arches: it is also called the 'Castle of the Six Women', after the noble ladies whose intrigues shaped its history.
Day 4: Vouvray - Tours
The first visit of the day is dedicated to wine: Vouvray is known for its excellent white and sparkling wines and its ancient limestone cave dwellings. This is followed by a visit to the historical art city of Tours, with its numerous museums and sights: the impressive Cathédrale St-Gatien, the Hôtel Gouin - the most beautiful Renaissance building in Touraine -, the picturesque and car-free streets of 'le Vieux Tours' with half-timbered houses from the 15th and 16th centuries, the Tour Charlemagne, sole remnant of the first church of St-Martin... Tours is the largest city in the Loire Valley and also the birthplace of the writer Honoré de Balzac. You will stay three nights in one of our charming hotels nearby.
Day 5: The castles of Villandry, Langeais and Azay-le-Rideau
Along the verdant Loire Valley, drive to Villandry, the last built Renaissance castle on the banks of the Loire renowned for its remarkable harmony in architecture and its exceptional gardens and terraces. The journey continues to Langeais, with the 15th-century castle of Louis XI and known for its beautiful Flemish tapestries. You will return via the castle of Azay-le-Rideau praised for its ideal proportions.
Day 6: Chinon, Ussé and Saumur
Chinon castle is an impressive medieval fortress where the trial against the Order of the Knights Templar took place in 1308 and the historic meeting between Joan of Arc and Charles VII in 1429, which was crucial to France's history. Along the Indre, the flamboyant Château d'Ussé that inspired Charles Perrault for 'Sleeping Beauty' shows off. You will continue along the banks of the Loire to the medieval town of Saumur, nestled in the heart of the Anjou wine region. Here, the magnificent high castle of the Dukes of Anjou catches the eye. Make sure to visit the lower historical centre, with the 17th-century Eglise St.-Pierre, the cosy alleys with old half-timbered houses and the Place St.-Pierre with numerous terraces and restaurants. A nice ending of your day on your drive back is a 'dégustation' in the cellars of Domaine Olga Raffault in Savigny-en-Véron.
Day 7: Going home
Sadly, it's time to pack your bags and return home. Of course, if you wish to stay a little longer, you can extend your stay at a Caracactère hotel of your choice.
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