France·June 7 - 13 2024

The Castles, Gardens & Wines of the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is legendary for its magnificent chateaux, gorgeous gardens, charming villages, incomparable wine and regional cuisine.

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Overview

If it's French splendor, style, and gastronomy you seek, the Loire Valley will surpass all your expectations. Beyond visiting iconic chateaux like Blois, Chambord, and Chenonceau, we’ll explore historic towns, enchanting villages, and gardens more beautiful than you can imagine. We're in France, so no trip would be complete without stops to savor spring produce and the spectacular wines produced here. Chinon’s Cabernet Franc is among our founder’s favorites. Sancerre and Vouvray are world-renowned, plus you’ll discover light reds such as Saumur Champigny, which marries perfectly with fish or can be enjoyed chilled in summer. June is the perfect time to visit the Loire Valley as it is 74 °F (23 °C) during the day and 53 °F (12 °C) at night, with low humidity.

Highlights

Wander the legendary terraced gardens of Villandry some of the most beautiful in all of France

Wander the legendary terraced gardens of Villandry some of the most beautiful in all of France

Tour a Chinon chateau estate and sample its wines

Tour a Chinon chateau estate and sample its wines

Wake up in a vast enclosed park overlooking magnificent Chambord, France’s largest Renaissance chateau

Wake up in a vast enclosed park overlooking magnificent Chambord, France’s largest Renaissance chateau

Treasure hunt at the Loire’s premiere flea market in one of its “Plus Beaux Villages“

Treasure hunt at the Loire’s premiere flea market in one of its “Plus Beaux Villages“

Discover the contemporary art installations and international garden festival at Domaine de Chaumont

Discover the contemporary art installations and international garden festival at Domaine de Chaumont

Experience Chenonceau, the most romantic chateau and learn about its female-focused history

Experience Chenonceau, the most romantic chateau and learn about its female-focused history

Visit a 1000-year-old Royal Abbey with a new modern art museum

Visit a 1000-year-old Royal Abbey with a new modern art museum

Explore the Royal City of Blois while shopping its chic boutiques

Explore the Royal City of Blois while shopping its chic boutiques

Itinerary

Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip

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Day 1: Friday June 7th, 2024

We will meet you at the Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (Tours) train station - an hour’s journey from Paris.Don't worry about booking the train we will take care of that for you. If you are arriving in Paris today please make sure you arrive no later than 8:00am.

Our Loire adventure begins with a gastronomic lunch at Pom'Poire, a rural auberge nestled in an apple orchard. Young chef Bastien Gillet was awarded a Michelin Star for his sustainable, locally sourced cuisine. Next, we will discover Château de Villandry - famous for its six magnificent gardens, including intricate renaissance ornamental flower gardens and incomparable vegetable gardens. It’s truly magical.

We then travel downstream to “the pearl of Anjou” – the lovely town of Saumur founded in 845, where we check into our hotel overlooking the Loire in the historic center.

After free time to unwind or a take brief stroll along the quay, we’ll convene for a sparkling welcome toast, followed by dinner at l’Essentiel, the adjoining bistronomique restaurant.

Overnight stay at Anne d’Anjou.

Included

Lunch

Dinner

Not Included

Breakfast

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Day 2: Saturday, June 8th, 2024

Our morning begins with a tour of Saumur’s historic quarter, including an organic market in Place Saint Pierre. We then drive east through the pastoral Anjou countryside to Fontevraud, Europe’s largest Abbey, dating back to the 11th Century. Run by a succession of abbesses, it played a pivotal role in French and European history and houses the tombs of Henry Plantagenet, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, and his son Richard the Lionheart. The complex of buildings and courtyards were exquisitely restored. The recent opening of a Modern Art Museum confirms its reputation as a regional cultural center.

Our afternoon private tour of a Chinon chateau estate winery begins with a casual buffet featuring regional specialties. Our host, Sébastien’s family, has owned the chateau since 1636! He will guide us through the vineyards and wine cellar, explaining how the wines are crafted, then offer a tasting of Chinon AOC cépages - from sparkling brut to Chenin blanc and cabernet franc rouge. 

This evening, we’ll enjoy a cozy dinner at a wine-focused Saumur bistro.

Overnight Stay at Anne d’Anjou.

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Wine Tssting

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Day 3: Sunday, June 9th, 2024

This morning, we’ll journey upriver to the Loire’s best flea market – Les Puces de Montsoreau – which convenes on the 2nd Sunday of each month along the quay of one of Frances’s “Plus Beaux Villages.” The 30-year institution draws 80 dealers and throngs of “chineurs” to browse their treasures. We’ll have lunch amid Bourgeuil vineyards at Vincent Cuisinier de Campagne, a Michelin ”green star” farm-to-table restaurant in a traditional winegrower’s house.  

Our afternoon destination is the beguiling town of Amboise, where we settle into our hotel. Our destination for the next two nights is the stunning Le Clos d'Amboise, a restored 17th-century mansion full of old-world charm and elegance.

Leonardo da Vinci lived in the Amboise at the end of his life as a guest of Francois 1st at the Chateau du Clos Lucé, the king’s childhood home. 

We will stroll the historic pedestrian quarter and visit the fascinating Clos Lucé, dedicated to the Renaissance genius. Dinner tonight will be at your leisure in Amboise. 

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Not Included

Dinner

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Day 4: Monday, June 10th, 2024

Today, we’ll visit the fabled and enchanting Château of Chenonceau. Its history was intrinsically influenced by a succession of remarkable women, including iconic rivals Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers. The chateau’s furnishings, painting collection, and gardens are exceptional. We’ll begin with a flower-arranging demonstration by Jean-Francois Boucher, who has been honored as a meilleur ouvrier de France and is responsible for the château’s magnificent floral installations. 

We will enjoy a casual lunch at the chateau’s informal eatery, where French fries are finally on the menu! The afternoon is dedicated to immersion in French l’art de vivre at Le Clos de la Richardière, where you will learn about the diverse range of wines produced throughout the Loire Valley. Christophe Galland, founder of a renowned gourmet epicierie in Amboise, will guide the tasting and share his extensive knowledge of the region’s appellations and gastronomic marvels.  

What better way to conclude the day than dining at La Cave, located in a cavernous limestone wine cellar on the banks of the Loire? 

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Day 5: Tuesday, June 11th, 2024

We will set out early for a highlight experience at the Grange aux Savoir Faire cooking school, where we will prepare a healthful lunch of savory and sweet in-season cuisine made with fresh organic produce from their marvelous kitchen garden. 

The Loire’s hottest cultural ticket is our afternoon destination. Our tour of Domaine de Chaumont Arts and Nature Center begins in the furnished Renaissance chateau and stable complex – which are filled with creations by major international contemporary artists. The visit continues with the garden festival, sculpture park, and permanent gardens created by leading horticultural designers.  

We’ll then head to our hotel, Le Relais de Chambord, overlooking the majestic Château de Chambord, the region’s crown jewel. You’ll want to savor a cocktail on the terrace as the sun sets behind the chateau before we enjoy Sologne country cuisine in neighboring Bracieux.  

Overnight stay at Le Relais de Chambord.

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Cooking Class

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Day 6: Wednesday, June 12th, 2024

This morning, we’ll explore the imposing Château de Chambord, built by François I as a hunting lodge intended to awe rival monarchs with its sheer scale and the originality of its architectural features. We’ll also visit the chateaux recently installed formal gardens.  

You will have the afternoon free to explore the Royal City of Blois, which was the Renaissance capital of France. After lunch on your own in the charming historic center, you can shop its chic boutiques for Loire mementos and original gifts or visit the chateau. 

Back at the Relais, we’ll have time to rest or enjoy the spa before a celebratory dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, where we’ll toast to the experiences and laughs we’ve had and lasting friendships made. 

 

Included

Breakfast

Dinner

Not Included

Lunch

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Day 7: Thursday, June 13th, 2024

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll sadly have to say our goodbyes. We'll return to Paris via TGV train from Saint-Pierre-des-Corps. If you are flying out this day please make sure your departure flight is in the evening.

Included

Breakfast

You'll Be Staying Here

Anne d’Anjou

Anne d’Anjou

Anne d’Anjou is close to the center of the city with a view of the river or the castle above.

Le Clos d'Amboise

Le Clos d'Amboise

Le Clos d'Amboise is a 4-star haven housed in a 17th-century mansion, offering luxuriously appointed rooms with a classic French touch.

Le Relais de Chambord

Le Relais de Chambord

Le Relais de Chambord is nestled amid an amazing 5,440 acre estate. Click on the link and you'll be WOWED!

Hosts

Casey O’Brien Blondes

Casey O’Brien Blondes

This trip will be led by Casey O’Brien Blondes, a GG2P Colleague based in the Loire Valley since 1992. A dual-national and author of two travel and lifestyle books about France, Casey knows the Loire Valley, its history and vibrant culture intimately. Her insider connections offer a privileged entrée to this fabled region. Casey receives rave reviews from GG2P clients!  

Price

Private Room

Private Room

Everyone gets their own fabulous room

FROM$7,535

Shared Room

Shared Room

Share a room with a friend or family member

FROM$7,035

The Loire Valley is grossly underestimated. The prices are fair, and the wines are real.

The Loire Valley


The Loire Valley is famous for its world-class wines. The Valley is laced with vineyards all the way from Sancerre to the ocean, and it offers wines to suit every palate from sparkling vouvrays to vibrant sancerres.

The Loire Valley

What's Included

What's Included

Everything stated in the itinerary above including all meals plus wine with dinner.

Lodging at 4* (or more) unique Hotels, Chateaux or Abbey’s

Welcome drinks

All in-country transport including airport transfers

All guides, experts and entry fees

Roundtrip airfare to France

Train trip to and from the Loire

Any spa treatment desired

Any personal souvenirs or purchases.

Meals on your own

Additional wine, beer or spirits beyond what is offered at meals.

Travel and Medical Insurance (required)

Reviews

"An extraordinary trip to Paris and the Loire Valley with amazing women. Doni has impeccable taste in hotels, food, guides, and life!!! I had never traveled with a group of women...I can't wait to do it again...with Doni, of course. I highly recommend traveling with her. You will not be disappointed!"

Patricia M, Aug 2021 on Trip Advisor

"1st- Fantastic concept- travel for women-only 2nd- Logistics- organized and well-paced 3rd- Itinerary- amazing coaching from Debbie Philips combined with Paris/Loire Valley 4th- Service- Impeccable, casual, positive 5th- Group- well-travelled, diverse but with a common soul-sister connection Highly recommend, will absolutely do additional trips!"

Stacey S, July 2021 on Trip Advisor

"What a super trip with a knowledgeable guide who helped navigate both language and cultural barriers as needed. Don't be worried about travelling alone, 4 out of 6 of us travelled solo. We were a mix of ages and from both the US and Australia and got on well. The tour provides ample opportunities to do things alone or as a group. All 3 hotels were excellent: great locations for early morning walks (and photos) with easy access to our dinner locations. The days started at an easy pace, no 'crack of dawn' alarms required. Meals catered for dietary requirements and were delicious. The local restaurant dinner, cooking class and flower arranging demonstration were just a few of many highlights. The last hotel at Chateau de Chambord was particularly special - how wonderful to be within walking distance from this glorious chateau. I'm already reviewing my options for 2024 and will again travel solo and no doubt, meet more new friends."

Margot P, Sydney, Australia, 2023 Guest Trip

FAQs

Fly into Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris and catch the train to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps. Train fare and air fare are for your cost.

The trip officially starts on the afternoon of June 7th, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to Paris, you may want to consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and adjust to the local time zone before catching the train the next day. On our website we have a list of fabulous hotels in Paris under "Hotels we love." If you have any questions or need help booking a hotel, please let us know.

We will have a zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list. Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.

June is nothing short of delightful. It is the third warmest of all months with its average temperature of 16°C. The nighttime low temperature is 11°C, which is cool but by no means cold, while the afternoon high temperature is a pleasant 21°C.

This trip will be led by Casey O’Brien Blondes, a GG2P Colleague based in the Loire Valley since 1992. A dual-national and author of two travel and lifestyle books about France, Casey knows the Loire Valley, its history and vibrant culture intimately. Her insider connections offer a privileged entrée to this fabled region. Casey receives rave reviews from GG2P clients!  

Inquire about this trip

The Castles, Gardens & Wines of the Loire Valley

France· June 7 - 13 2024· 6 nights

FROM$7,535/pp